There is nothing more frustrating as a coach, than to sit and prepare an athlete for battle and see them fail. In fact, I can’t begin to tell you the amount of frustration and irritation I accumulate if an athlete that I’m working with does not achieve our desired training goal.

I feel I’ve let that person down, and I always take full responsibility for everything that happens to an athlete the second we decide to start working with one another.

It’s my sole purpose to get this person to their end goal as safe as humanly possible, stronger, faster more agile and ready for anything that is thrown their way.

What fascinated me about training Crossfit athletes, especially the Masters division that I work with world wide through our remote coaching platform Iron Force Athletics , has been the process of elimination.

As a coach, I need to eliminate their fears, and help them understand that we are going to be embarking on an INSANE journey together, and they need to trust the process that I and my other coaches know exactly what we are having our athletes do, and why.

But training competitive Crossfit athletes throws a massive unknown variable in the equation making it a lot more challenging to essentially train for everything without burning an athlete to the ground.

surf

This is also what makes me a better coach and truly has forced me to think outside of a typical training paradigm and establish what will be the absolute best way to train competitive Crossfit athletes.

Let’s have a closer look into what I’m jabbering on about shall we?

 

There is no question about it, the more time you spend developing and molding your craft, the better you will ultimately become (or one would hope) The same goes for training a competitive Crossfit athlete. You need to look at the athlete as a whole, look at the time you have to prepare them for their given end goal (open,regional,games) and develop what I like to call a “floating” Cycle.

Microcycle
– Shortest period of training – usually one week but can vary from 4 to 10 days
Mesocycle
– A group of Microcycles – usually one month but can vary from 2 to 4 weeks
Macrocycle
– A small group of Mesocycles – usually three months but can vary considerably

Floaters essentially will be broken up into Mesocycles, but with a heavy emphasis on Microcycles with a Macrocycle that’s outlined before the start.

Confusing?

In short, we always go in with a purpose and have the best outline we feel will dictate that individual to get from point a to point b but along the way, things are going to change constantly due to circumstance (life, sleep, sick, hungover) and how the athlete is adapting to the protocols the way we were expecting. Having a plan is great, but being able to adapt typically and more often on the spot is the key to consistent progress, and keeping the athletes health and state of mind at the forefront.

I don’t give a shit what anyone says, strength in my eyes will always and should always be a major focus and set up in a way where the athlete has at the very least an 8 to 10 week cycle to focus mainly on getting stronger, pinpointing and addressing weak points that most can not be addressed if you’re constantly going 1,000mph and burning through metcons without ever spending time to slow things down and see why you’re either not progressing, or why a lift is feeling heavier than it should be. I don’t know how many times I’ve worked with an athlete and they say something along the lines of

“Wait, what the hell is this? We’ve never done anything like this at my box”

Flash forward 8 weeks and that same athlete is now stronger, aches and pains have subsided, weakness’s have been addressed, form has improved, range of motion & mobility has improved and they are on their way to world domination.

One of the things that completely blows my mind is when an athlete tells me they want to improve their squat  but have only been squatting 4x’s a month and I think back to Mr. John Broz and one of the most on point quotes I’ve just about ever read.

“If your family was captured and you were told you needed to put 100 pounds onto your max squat within two months or your family would be executed,  something tells me you’d start squatting everyday”

squats

Case in point here is that I’m not telling you to squat everyday BUT, having a training schedule that adheres to multiple squat variations within a given week is not even recommended but expected at the elite level athletes programming. (Back Squats, Front Squats, Overhead Squats, Squat Snatch, Squat Clean, Air Squats, Thrusters, Lunges) etc. As long as you have a reason to the madness, and it’s progressive in nature and consistent, you will make gains and be able to add everything you need to within a giving training week.

Now, on the flip side of that notion, you have to find balance and become not the best, not the greatest but very good at everything. Strength, weightlifting, aerobic & lactic capacity, rowing, swimming, skills, gymnastics and have the stones to throw that all into a cluster fuck of a wod and come out the other side rolling on the ground, panting like a baby and yelling “that was brutal, what else are we doing?” I honestly see some of the shit these athletes do and am just so beyond impressed and am reminded daily, just how skilled these athletes are.

After you’ve achieved what your limit (or absolute) strength is, you would only have to retest again during the year’s training cycle no more than two times. Anyone aged 40+ breaking 85% outside of a strength cycle is unnecessary.  Work higher reps at the top end %’s without having the complete burnout from working up to a max lift. So, if you’re a 400lb squatter, and you can now hit 85% (340lbs) for say 8 to 10 reps+ you don’t think that 400lb squat has now increased substantially?

Conditioning protocols for a competitive Crossfit athlete are a completely different beast in and of it’s self because the “typical” conditioning methods of say a football, basketball or “normal” sport does not factor in the energy system development that is needed to compete at the level these athletes have to compete at, and the multitude of variations within not just one event, but several spanning over several days. It’s like playing the super bowl three days in a row, just a pile of awful in the best way but emphasis on awful 😉

I still feel that in order to be a complete dominant player in the CF game, you MUST spend some solid time developing your skills and bodyweight work, which is where becoming good at everything comes back into play. The strongest deadlift or the fastest mile doesn’t mean shit if you can’t work in muscle ups at high rep ranges, handstand push ups, double unders, pistol squats, handstand walks, etc and be able to factor in everything above with precise execution, thought analysis of the event at hand and the best way to approach it.

Event Example:

Deadlift 10 225lbs

200M Run

HandStand Push Ups 15

400M Run

Kipping Pull-Ups 20

Double-Unders 80

2 Rounds For Time

From a Mon-Sunday training schedule, I typically would look at 3 main days, 3 metcons of various intensities (short, med, long) but making sure your body was well equipped and completely recovered to hit the next main days training. I also think there needs to be consistency within your training weeks, and repeating workouts (although sacrilegious in CF) in my eyes is a true staple to improve upon the training stimulus and forced adaptation from weeks prior.

Week Example:

Monday

Strength-Endurance

Tuesday

Metcon-Skill-

Wednesday

Strength-Endurance

Thursday

Metcon-Skill

Friday

Strength-Endurance

Saturday

Metcon(s)-Skill

Sunday

Off

Training to compete at the highest level of Crossfit is absolutely no small feat. The sacrifice and undertaking one must put their bodies through, and overcoming 20x’s what most other athletes would have to endure is enough to steer even the “fittest” away from the sport.

The more I see people poke fun or laugh at Crossfit I immediately laugh at the fact that they wouldn’t last a full day of what it truly takes to become a monster in Crossfit. Before you point a finger and say something’s stupid, really break it down and do some fucking research to understand the paradigms in which these athletes must adhere to before you run your mouth and write something off. 

*Tear It Down*

Mike Casavant