Boulder CrossFit’s Competition Series Program:
The competition series classes are designed to make you a top level CrossFit performer in the following 5 disciplines:
- 1) Strength
- 2) Conditioning
- 3) Skill
- 4) Mobility
- 5) Mind
First off, your goal is to become a three headed monster. Top athletes in the sport of CrossFit have Strength, Skills and Conditioning. Your goal is to be feeding (improving) all three heads at the same time – every day, every month, every year. If you have a serious weakness in one (one head is smaller than the other two), feed it more till its as big as the others.
Strength – The sport of CrossFit rewards strong athletes. The average 2013 Games Athletes have the following numbers (men/women):
Clean and Jerk: 319/187
Back Squat: 434/247
Dead Lift: 509/311
In fact at this year’s games the CJ ladder was one of the most predictive events of final placing. The top ten OVERALL male finishers averaged about 325# on the C&J ladder at the Games. Places 11-20 in the overall standings averaged about 315#. Places 21-30 were about 313# and the bottom 15 or so places clean and jerked an average of 295#. In other words, assuming you have the conditioning and skills to make it to the games, the stronger you are the more likely you are to place well overall.
Skills – Few aspects of the sport separate the good from the great more than their skills. Work capacity and strength are certainly vital pieces to success, but it doesn’t matter how strong you are (500# deadlift), how well conditioned you are (sub 5:00 minute mile), or how many burpees and kettlebell swings you can do – if you can’t do big sets of Muscle ups, HSPU, Pistols, Double unders, Butterfly pull ups, Handstand walking, etc… If you can’t do the high skill stuff you are going to be stopped in your tracks in a competition.
Conditioning – This is the “Sport of Fitness”, and we define fitness as work capacity. Do you have the conditioning and stamina to move quickly regardless how light or heavy the task is, and regardless of how long the effort may take. Lots of dudes can do 10-20 Front Squats at 225#, but what happens when they need to rep out 225 front squats with their heart rate at 190?
From Three headed monster to 5-tool player…
Mobility – will help you move efficiently. This is the name of the Game and will allow you to train with greater volume.
Mental Game – Are you a “Game-Day Athlete”? Thriving under the bright lights. Using the nerves and adrenaline to improve performance. Focusing on what you can control and ignoring the noise. Lots of athletes put up big numbers in their gym, but can’t perform on the big stage. This is a mental issue and it’s something that needs to be worked on everyday – not just when you get to the big stage.
Use the greatest champ our sport has ever seen (and may ever see), Rich Froning. Rich is the best 5-tool players in the sport; strength, conditioning, skills, mobility and the mental strength to compete at anything, anywhere at any level. This is what we are striving to build here.
- Olympic Lifts: We will be hitting variations of the Snatch and Clean and Jerking 2x/week; one heavy session and technique session. The fast lifts are a cornerstone of CrossFit Competition. It is almost a guarantee that some variation of a O-lift will appear in your next competition. Be willing to spend time developing these lifts.
- Squat: You NEED to be squatting. Every CrossFit athlete would benefit from getting stronger and there is no movement with great bang for the buck than the barbell squat. We will be doing a squat variation, from heavy to moderate loading 3x/week. Even with the squats in metcons, O-Lifts, and in the 20 rep tests this as a moderate amount of squat work. You can tolerate this and it will turn you into a beast.
- 20 Rep Benchmark: We will be rotating through movements and testing a 20 rep max lifts twice per week. 20 reps is enough to ensure we are developing more than just maximal strength. We are looking for strength endurance, stamina, and efficiency in our movements. In addition, 20-reps, if done right, is enough to get yolked and see God.
- Pulls: Your posterior chain is your engine. Your hammy’s, glutes and spinal erectors are where all of our power come from. If you want to develop these you best be pulling off the ground. These movements are also excellent in developing midline stability, which is the foundation of all athletes regardless of sport.
- Gymnastics: We will have two targeted sessions for gymnastics every week. One to benchmark, test and train our bodyweight movements and a second session to develop skills, balance and strength.
- Bounding: We are looking to develop explosive athletes. These plyometric movements will increase your speed, O-lifts, balance, coordination, agility and make you a more powerful athlete. Essentially they will make you a better athlete. Think of it this way, of all the tests at the NFL combine, the vertical jump test is the best indicator of success in the NFL (better than the 40-yard dash, pro-agility shuffle, bench press, and all others).
Metcon – The Open is first and foremost a test of work capacity. How much work can you do in a given time. 100% of the events that have come up over the past three years have been a test of Metabolic Conditioning. Our number one goal for this program is to build a huge engine. Metcons will come first every training session as this is your primary focus. These Metcons will focus on AMRAPs in the 4-20 minute time domain, and movements and loads that we have seen in the past and can expect in this year’s Open. Running, Handstand walking, Monkey Bars, L-pull ups, GHD Sit ups, Rowing, Yokes, Ring Dips and the like are great movements to build GPP, but very unlikely to show up in The Open competition.
- Rowing/Ski Erg: The C2 is an amazingly efficient tool to build work capacity in athletes; both from a metabolic standpoint and the ability to tolerate volume without breaking them down. If you want to be fitter – row & ski more.
- Flexibility/Mobility: Still probably the most overlooked of the 10 components of fitness. Mobility (think lacrosse balls, rollers, voodoo bands, etc..) is great, but don’t overlook the benefits of increasing range of motion from traditional stretching.
- Active Recovery: Wednesdays are not “rest days”. You will recover faster, perform better every other day of the week, build up tolerance to volume, and be a better all-around athlete by moving on your recovery day. Doing something outside the box will get you more exposure and expand your margins of experience.
- Core Work: While almost everything we do involves strengthening the midline, we will develop the stabilizers of the midline on Saturdays and during some of our gymnastics work on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Rest Days: Take a complete break, mentally and physically from training. You need this to stay fresh, strong and healthy.
- A Word on Volume: To excel here you need the ability to perform one to two max effort sessions of 4-20 minutes per week. This is a VERY low demand in regards to volume. If you are training with high volume in hopes of excelling at Regionals your are missing the boat. Instead focus on intensity and quality of training during you sessions.
Training vs. Practice
It is important to understand what your limiting factors are and how best to improve them. The protocol used to improve highly neurological movements like double unders, muscle ups and butterfly pull ups are very different from the highly organic movements like dead lifts, thrusters and strict pull ups.
The most efficient way to train for neurological adaptations (agility, balance, coordination and accuracy) is through “practice”. Practice implies working skills, timing, and movement patterns. Practice shouldn’t be done at max muscular or cardiovascular efforts. Practice is best performed with lower hear rates, lower weights, and controlled environments.
The most effective way to train for organic adaptations (cardio vascular endurance, strength, stamina and flexibility) is through “training.” Training implies working hard with high heart rates, heavier loads and maximizing intensity.
It is important to distinguish the limiting factor of a given movement and use the limiting factor to determine the best training approach. For example, if you are a bad runner, is that because you have no metabolic capacity? If so, train by doing 800 repeats. If you are a bad runner because your form sucks, running max effort 800′s isn’t going to help you nearly as much as doing adding POSE running skills and drills to improve your technique.
I will do my part to give you the best programming available. Please do your part by coming in on time and ready to work. Be prepared to take it to THE NEXT LEVEL. I want to thank Ben Bergeron and the winning competitors at Crossfit New England as well as the world class strength and conditioning programming at Westside Barbell for making this program possible.