Paul & Lynda gave me the honour of taking over the programming for U1 for the WODs & Strength classes. For those of you who don’t know, I have degrees in sport science and sport psychology, owned a box for 2.5 years and sent teams to the African Regionals in 2013 and 2014. My programming philosophy is simply based on building a complete, bulletproof athlete who is nearly impervious to injury and can transfer their skills and capacities to new and unfamiliar tasks.
Human physical adaptations follow a familiar pattern, which each new capacity gained building on the one that came before. This is generally referred to as classical, linear periodisation and has been the best way to coach elite level athletes since ancient Greek times. Rather than being at odds with CrossFit’s constant variance, it provides a framework for developing the abilities we would like to see.
The steps above are designed to create the fullest physical capacity possible, based on how the body adapts to various demands placed on it. Each of these phases will last anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks. The calendar year for these phases begins and ends the following year, this is built around the end and start of the Crossfit Open Qualifiers. This will manifest as a bias in the overall program that favours the development of each of these adaptations in turn.
Hypertrophy: You can’t make muscles stronger, faster and fitter if you don’t have any to begin with! This phase will favour moderate weights and reps, include lots of negatives and favour low skill bodyweight and powerlifting movements.
Brute strength: Here we will start building tanks with both the barbell and gymnastics. A lot of weighted pull ups and dips, heavy squatting, deadlifting and pressing, farmers walks, rope climbs, strongman lifts and gymnastics “shapes” (hollow, arch, handstand holds, loaded shoulder, levers etc).
Power and complex skills: Emphasis on low rep, heavy Weightlifting as well as handstand push ups and walks, muscle ups and pistol squats.
Metabolic capacity: Now that we have a tank, it’s time to put a nuclear reactor in it. We emphasise traditional CrossFit, glycolytic energy development and just pure, awesome badassery. This phase will lead up to the 2019 Open and then starts all over again for the 2020 Open.
Outline of the current cycle: