Phase Two: Preparation
Ok before I look at a very general and “what if” type of program design for CrossFit and more importantly for CrossFit competitions it is very important that you understand that there is no such thing as a lifting system called CrossFit. Someone would like to lead us to believe that there is but that is simply not the case. CrossFit is a company. It is a brand name for a business that operates in the industry of exercise and fitness. It would be no different than calling the early years of bodybuilding “Golds Gym” as if it was a particular system that made people muscular. So when we talk about CrossFit we have to be clear that like with all training, there can be a lot of variation under the name and title from those that emphasize endurance based workouts to the centers that emphasize strength. At no time would I ever tell a world-class hammer thrower that CrossFit as a name or system will make them an Olympic Qualifier. It is simply the name of a company and now a competition, period. Training has been training since the day Milo placed a baby calf across his shoulders…
When we look at developing the athlete for the upcoming games we have a couple of things that are going to work in our favor. One, we have a long training period to prepare the athlete, giving us a calendar year between championships. The only thing that will play havoc with this is a local and regional qualifier, but for the elite in any sport they will train through these meets and prepare for the peak to come at the games. Younger or developing athletes may have to peak for the secondary comps and then hang on for the championships, but this is pretty normal in the progression of performance. I would actually say that is one of the biggest mistakes that coaches make in sports like this one, they think
that they should focus on the final but do not maintain a realistic perception of the qualifiers. Or their athlete’s abilities compared to their opponents and even though they could do well nationally they fail to qualify regionally. Two, the events are predictable and for the most part they will always have to perform a number of set routines that are similar to or exactly the same as training session that they use in their personal programming.
Once you have established the time line that you are training off and for the majority of athletes this should start the first day of September so that they get into a routine of using August as an unload or recovery month following the 11 gruelling months of preparation. You could use two different preparation phases for the athlete depending on their weaknesses and strengths. For example, if they are naturally geared towards endurance then they will have to get stronger and visa versa for those that are very strong but not very fit.
So lets look at a potential template for an athlete at the Macro Level.
Month Phase Focus
Sept GPP -Flexibility, injuries, ROM, Bi-lateral unity, soft tissue, Gen. Fitness
Oct Hypertrophy 1 -Structural Balance, Secondary Muscle groups
Nov M=St 1 (power) -Deads, Squats, Chins. Posterior Chain, Learn Movements. (olympics etc)
Dec M=St 2, Metabolic 1 -Intro Oly Pulls, Weighted Chins, Rope Climb, Sled, *sigh* a jog or two
Jan Hyp 2 (power) -Oly unload, GM,RDL,box sqt, Chains, Bands, Deficit work, ana capacity work.
Feb M=St 3(0ly) Meta 2 -Introduce Oly Lifts full. Start plyos, add battle ropes and kettle Bells and Strong man
March M-st 4 (oly) Meta 3 -Olympic Lift Cont. Add overhead squats, swimming,sprints, sleds, tires, WOD
April M=St 5 (power) -Oly unload, PR attempts during block; deads, box squats, Unload Metabolic, WOD
May M=St 6 (oly) Meta 4 -Oly PR attempts, Clean, Snatch, Hang, Improve jumps, sprints. Swim
Jun M=st 7(oly) Meta 5 -Oly unload 55-70% effort, WOD priority, Work Technical aspects.
When you begin to look at the games for what they are there is a shift towards the more power based and anaerobic based training methods and events.This is just a rough outline of what you could do if you were working with a committed athlete over the course of a year with the hopes of doing some things very well at the games themselves. You have to realize that you need to develop the athlete in phases; you simply cannot do WOD every week all year and think that will be enough. Not when you look at the games and over the duration of three days you only actively do 3 WOD. You also have to be ready for all the other events like Med ball throw, 700m swim, short run, sprints, some heavy Olympic lifting and multi carry and runs.
“Today the games cater to a larger FT athlete to lift heavier loads faster and repeat it over multiple short events…”
–Robin.L CrossFit Coach, Gym Owner and competitor
I don’t really see this changing anytime soon at the Championship level as they work to make the event even more TV friendly to drive up the viewers and sponsor dollars. The idea of having multiple locations and extensive camera crews following the athletes on their runs and swims is simply not likely. Not to mention that it is an event of total scores not best scores and due to that it doesn’t make for great motivation when your eventual leader is jogging in 18th during the endurance events…and some dude who won’t sniff the top 5 smokes him. It makes the viewers raise an eyebrow and wonder what it is exactly that they are watching.
Thanks for reading and in phase three we will look at exercise selection.