PROGRAMMING for the Total – 3 months out!


Rest easy today, CFCC. We are about to start a 3-month cycle in prep for the CrossFit Total!

Hey, friends!

I know a lot of you have been clamoring for the next cycle to be posted. Here’s the official lowdown for what we’ll be doing and what it has to do with the CrossFit Total to come (11.1-11.2)

In the larger and longer scheme of things the plan is to spend the next few months working on our raw strength numbers (Squat, Press, Deadlift) while simultaneously keeping more Advanced Gymnastics Skills and some Olympic Lifting in the mix.  Fall is the perfect time to do this!  During the later months of the year we will eventually switch over to a more Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics dominant program with more emphasis on more specific CrossFit conditioning (more skill-dominant metcons).

A very big piece of our strength work for the Fall will be the inclusion of this specific method of training.  We’ll talk about it in class for sure, but being familiar with it BEFORE you come to class will definitely improve your understanding and your approach to every rep!

Also, please note that starting next Monday, we will not be holding a 9am session during the week and we will also be slimming down our Friday hours a bit.  We need this time to provide our cleaning staff with a period of time to clean the gym a little better when you are NOT here. We apologize to those of you for whom this is an inconvenience!

Use the layout below to map out what the next few months of training (and especially the next 4 weeks) should look like for you based on a whole host of specific goals that most of you have asked about. If you have any questions at all – please don’t hesitate to ask:,

In Strength,




MONDAY: Front Squat Peak and Cluster.  Optional Rowing and Pull-up Strength Work Day.  We’ll be starting off the week with an emphasis on strength.  During this cycle we hope that all of you will get the chance to become familiar with the format, volume, and benefits of the Cluster, specifically with respect to improving the front squat.  The Cluster itself will take up a LOT of class time for the first two weeks (when tested with 12 people on staff, about 45 minutes) so in order to make the transition as smooth as possible we are ONLY doing this on Mondays and further rowing and pull-up options will also be posted. For more on the format of the cluster, see the format we are using here:



You will have 15 minutes to work up to a peak of 1 for the Front Squat.  This will be a peak that you reach very quickly for three main reasons: 1) to specifically complete work in the day that falls in line with your individual nervous system recovery, 2) to potentiate the work to come, and 3) getting to your peak in a shorter amount of time is a good expression of your capacity for power output. Warm-up sets will be set by percentage for most.


We’ll be using 90% of the peak that you reach on this day (whether it’s lower OR higher than you expected!) Every 20 seconds you will perform one rep at 90% until the rep becomes too sloppy or slow to complete well.  You can cap yourself but Coaches also reserve the right to do so. If you complete 7 total singles you will stop, and on any following clusters you will go up in weight by anywhere from 5-20lbs. If you complete less than 3 singles, you will drop down in weight by anywhere from 5-20lbs.  This attempt at singles every 20 seconds is called a cluster, and one attempt is equivalent to “a set”.

Keep in mind that taking a rep every 20 seconds means that you will have to be prepared to GO at 20 seconds.  You will have to un-rack the bar at about 15 seconds and then begin your set on the “SQUAT!” This means you will probably want to develop a system for stepping the bar out and putting it back in.

Lastly, if you are sharing your station, it’ll only be with one other athlete and you’ll be able to complete your whole cluster and then let your partner have a turn.  Partners in this case are very helpful: they can help you with timing and encourage you to commit to solid form. They can also help with set-up and breakdown.


After you’ve completed your clusters, you will move on to some extra volume work using 66% of your peak set. These sets operate as follows: beginning with 66% of your peak set you will complete 5 reps, re-rack the bar and then wait for 20 seconds.  You’ll complete 4 reps, then wait 20 seconds, then 3 reps, then wait 20 seconds, then 2 reps, then 20 seconds, and finally 1 rep.

Timing for setting up your squat should work just as above (un-rack 5 seconds BEFORE you have to squat, then squat on the “SQUAT!”) but you will need to use your partner (or some math) just a tad bit more – they can watch the clock for you to keep track of when you finish your set and when you are set to begin again even if you are busy un-racking and re-racking.


Week 1: A, B (1 sets), and C (2 sets)

Week 2: A, B (2 sets), and C (1 set)

Week 3: A, B (3 sets), and C (0 sets)

Week 4: A, B (1 set), and C (0 sets)

TUESDAY: Bench: 5, 3, 2, 1 followed by a drop set at 66% of your highest load for the day for max (VIRTUOUSLY COMPLETED) reps.  Conditioning WODs will be written to correct postural imbalances.  Benching before we do a press cycle = better pressing 

WEDNESDAY: Deadlift Dominant Conditioning Pieces. After two more strength-dominant days we’ll take a day to work on our longer-range metcon abilities.  Often, these will also be Benchmarks.

THURSDAY: Muscle-up and Handstand Push-up Skill Work. Gymnastics Dominant Conditioning.  The class will split into two and each section of the class will have to choose which of these two movements they would like to work on.  You may switch between the two movements week to week but it is recommended that you try to stay with one or the other where possible. The metcons for this day will involve translating these movements into more demanding metabolic situations: i.e., muscle-upping when your grip is tired, doing handstand push-ups when your shoulders are sapped, etc.

FRIDAY: Olympic Lifting Dominant Skill Work followed directly by Conditioning.  We’ll keep the snatch and the clean and jerk in rotation by completing these workouts every Friday. Just like Wednesday, often, these workouts will be Benchmarks.

SATURDAY: The last month for a while of Bring-A-Friend days!  During the month of September and October we’ve got a lot of Saturday events going on and a whole host of times set for Elements.  August is the month to bring your friends into the gym to try CrossFit!

SUNDAY: Record and Cassie are running a Strongman session at 9am every SundayConditioning will also be Strongman-dominant.  There will also be an extra squatting session on this day in the afternoon.  Keep in mind that if you are attending squatting on Sunday, it’ll behoove you to NOT Front Squat in the interest of making Monday as profitable for you as possible.


The month of September will be spent welcoming a lot of students back into our fold and, in turn, the big movements of the CrossFit Total.  For more about what the CrossFit Total is, see this article. We will keep the Cluster in the mix via the Press (on Tuesday) but we will back off a bit on volume in favor of speed and precision of the Back Squat and Deadlift.  What follows is a rough draft of how the week will break down.

The “Speed” format being used is this:

You will begin your lifting at 60% of your best tested lift and move up to 75% but no more than this depending on how your form and speed are progressing. The lifting will be a 10-minute long EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) set where each minute begins with a set of two reps and you can spend the remainder of the minute prepping for your next set.

Written out the format is: EMOM (10 minutes): 60% of 1RM x 2, 60% of 1RM x 2, 70% of 1RM x 2, 70% of 1RM x 2, 75% of 1RM x 2, 75% of 1RM x 2, then, the remaining four minutes are up to yours or a Coaches discretion load-wise but you may not go above 75%.

Reps should feel heavy, but like you can push against them with good form.  The 7th set or so should feel like it gets a little faster.  As noted, this entire effort will take 10 minutes, but with explanation, set-up, and breakdown, we are anticipating that it will take at least 20-25 minutes. This still leaves us time on these days for other work during a session so that’s our plan!

MONDAY: Speed Back Squats followed by Muscle-up Transition Work (this will be JUST the transition).  We anticipate good gains from this!

TUESDAY: Strict Press Cluster – coupled by Rowing Interval Work.

WEDNESDAY: Olympic Lifting Dominant Workouts of the Day (probably more snatching than cleaning, but no heavy cleans, to allow for progress in the squat).

THURSDAY: Speed Deadlifts followed by Handstand Push-up Work.

FRIDAY: Primal Fridays! We’re going to engage in 15-20 minutes of active mobility and stability resetting work and primal-movement-oriented conditioning.  The resetting portion will be actively led by the Coach so you won’t be able to crawl into a corner and hide when we say it’s time to lax ball your ”undisclosed chunk of fascia that ails you horrifically”.  We think this is going to be great day to come in and get fixed but the conditioning portions will be a lot of fun and corrective in nature – they’ll be a lot like this (just inside the gym!)

SATURDAY: Benchmark Workouts. These will be happening in one big 9am session but we will also continue to have the Competitor’s Developmental Session from 10-12pm followed by Oly Basics.

SUNDAY: During Sundays of this cycle Cassie and Record will be running an Overhead Squatting session.  The purpose of the strength work on this day is to specifically address Overhead Squatting endurance; as such, sets of 10 will be completed for a peak; this strength work will be followed by metcons that are carefully planned to be unrestrictive of strength gains during the week.


During the month of October, we’ll be very busy with a lot of fantastic events at CFCC.  The hookgrip Classic is on October 5th and 6thThe Liberty Box League is actively competing for an entire month.  And Dr. Perry Nickelston of Stop Chasing Pain is coming by to teach an invaluable seminar on his system of correcting and assessing pain. We are also ONE MONTH OUT from the CrossFit Total which will be held on Friday, November 1st and the morning of Saturday, November 2nd – it’s a big month!  The programming will be a little more densely lent toward strength, but there will be plenty of opportunity to maintain your conditioning and continue your work on other skills within CrossFit as well. The template is below!

MONDAY: Back Squat Cluster + accessory work

TUESDAY: Press Cluster + rowing interval work

WEDNESDAY: Snatch EMOM Work and a Running Dominant WOD

THURSDAY: Deadlift Cluster

FRIDAY: Continuation of Primal Fridays!

SATURDAY: Gymnastics Movements in the Workout of the Day

SUNDAY: Overhead Squats for Endurance Again

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