Programming: Leveled Classes, Specialized Class Recommendations, and This Week!

Here’s a simple breakdown of some changes we are making in the programming for this cycle leading up to the CrossFit Total.  Please especially note the CFCC End-of-the-Open Partay and Open Forum taking place on THIS Friday, 730-9pm (you can sign up on Mindbody to attend).



Basic Goals for this Cycle:  prep for the CrossFit Total (Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11th) without sacrificing conditioning proficiency and density of class time.


Mobility/Flexibility/Corrective Exercise – begin experimenting with a plan for corrective exercise class formatting. I think that this will take MORE shape in the cycles to come during the summer – but I’d like to begin thinking about it now.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, we are working on a more comprehensive “Shoulder Love-y” class option that’s built for members who have deficits in a number of areas: backs, shoulder mobility, hip issues. What this means for this cycle is that where possible I’ll be asking for some volunteers from all of you to create a template for this program in the cycles to come. You’ll hear more about it soon!


Specialized Class Recommendations: how to use the specialized classes while preparing for the CrossFit Total.


If you are working at Level 2 or above for Squatting classes, you can overhead squat, front squat or back squat, but keep your intensity a little lower than usual.  In the first two weeks of this cycle you can peak for some singles, but in the following two weeks keep to triples for either lift.


A great complement to your training for this cycle and a way to maintain your oly skills in what will otherwise be a much more power-lifting (Back Squat, Deadlift, Press) dominant cycle.  You can pretty much keep all of this up during the entirety of this cycle as you’d like.  Just watch your overall training volume (I’m looking at you, Paige ;)) – too much of a really good thing can definitely tax your ability to express your best on CrossFit Total Day. Keep to a one-day-of-the-week rest day at least and remember that if that’s your format, your training days should be one-a-days, not THREE two-a-days in a row. Cool? Cool.


Do as you will (or as Tim muses), just do it all keeping in mind that in the final week before the Total you will need to remember that Strongman training often taxes the lower back and grip more than any of our other specialized classes.  Your lower back and grip have more to do with your deadlift than any other lift in the total.


Still very helpful and will allow newer members to be exposed to variations of lifts that they will not find in our current programming.  Foundations is on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays and the basic lifts will go as follows:

Sunday: Double Under and Box Jump practice with Cassie and Record.

Monday: Front Squat and Push-up review.

Tuesday: Dumbbell Press and Overhead Squat review

Friday: Deadlift review and Hang Power Clean practice.


This is a great complement to this month’s cycle and will allow you to maintain your skill work on things like kipping, handstand variations, and ring work. I would definitely maintain attendance if this class is often in your rotation keeping all your skill work fast in the final week so you don’t end up ripping, taxing your grip too much, or fatiguing your upper body too much for the press.

The gymnastics cycle for this month will be:

TUESDAY: Kipping and Front Lever Practice (again, this is a little grip-dominant) expect it to affect your Deadlift on Wednesday a bit.
THURSDAY: Muscle-Ups and Handstand Push-ups
SATURDAY: Handstand Walking and Ring Work (Skin-the-Cats, Dips, Push-ups, Muscle-ups).


A great way to keep an eye on your conditioning levels while you are going through the Open.  In addition to this, keep in mind that if you haven’t been to a running class at CFCC and you are training to run for a race of any kind you are a missing out on a HUGE part of what makes CFCC great!  Definitely make it your goal to get to at least one of these classes during the cycle if you’ve never been: it’ll pretty much blow your mind.


Especially for beginners, this is a great way to get in some extra upper body volume.  For both beginners AND intermediates who are looking to excel at the press specifically though, this class will definitely take some creative recovery.  Ice your shoulders directly after class and be sure to “always go to CROGA if you go to BEACH SEASON” or, alternatively, be very aware of any tightness you feel in correspondence with the volume introduced in Beach Season and try to mitigate this by stretching and mobilizing on your own (a series of great options is available here: Also, think about maybe skipping the week directly before the Total.


As always, a good way to do some active recovery, gain a little flexibility in the right places, and reset your mind for the week.


Conditioning – should only be thought of as assistance work and mostly “mono-structural” in nature, for better strength gains and ease of formatting during this cycle. This does not mean conditioning will be an after thought during this cycle.  In fact, Thursday and Friday during this cycle will be entirely devoted to longer conditioning pieces.


Timeliness and General Class Efficiency –

1) The coaches will discuss our progress or downfalls with this at Coaches Meetings during the entirety of our programming and will be doing their best to improve upon classroom organization during the whole of this cycle.

2) Every day will have room set-up and breakdown requirements.  We will be asking members to follow these set-up plans to allow for safer, more organized training environment.  This means you will have a designated spot to burpee, or row, or do your double unders along with everyone else so that everyone know right at the start where their equipment is, and how/when best to share it if that is a necessity.

3) Leveled classes (through experimentation during this cycle) will allow us to make good use of time for those who need the most attention without sacrificing the efforts and advancement of those who have worked hard to deserve a certain degree of training independence.

Picture 2

Leveled classes – This is a new way mode of splitting up the classes by virtue of performance and nothing else (seniority at CFCC will have absolutely no bearing on which Level you end up in on any given day).  The gist of this change in this cycle of programming is that in ONE class time, depending on your current proficiency for a lift you will be placed in slightly different programming with slightly varying levels of independence according to your abilities.  If it works well, we will continue this kind of split going forward obviously with any edits that become clearly necessary.

-Specific coaches will be assigned to certain levels on selected days.

-Strength levels as goals will be released (see below) to demark levels.

-We will host a post-open after party (woohoo!) and general gym meeting for the giving of Open awards and introduction in person of these performance goals and leveled training.  Any questions about programming will be discussed in an Open Forum and notes from this meeting will be taken for the rest of the gym to see.  The date set for this meeting/partay is THIS Friday, 4/19/13 after the last evening class, so 730-9pm.  You can sign up to attend on Mindbody!

HOW LEVELS WILL WORK OVER THE CYCLE: a little perspective.

This week beginners (Level 1) will do 5 x 5 to master the movements on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Next week they will complete triples, and then in the following week doubles, and then back down to triples in the week directly prior to the Total.  Keep in mind, that this Total will be more of a very useful Benchmark than an opportunity to gain tremendous amounts of strength in less than 4 weeks – although I’m sure a little bit of that will happen to for some.

Most in the Level 2 category are people that will not do much to gain strength throughout this time (that’s been happening since the last Total J) but they will have the opportunity to gain some “muscle memory” for movements they haven’t done in a while. The goal with this level is to allow them to get in enough volume during the first two weeks of the cycle, and then to prep them to express the strength they’ve gained over the last 4 or 5 months by priming them for the day of the Total.

Those in the Level 3 category are more than likely members of the JV and Advanced Training Teams from the last year of CFCC’s competitive CrossFit season. For these folks I am anticipating a higher overall volume of training outside of regular Workout of the Day classes (attendance at Oly classes, for example) and as such, I am trying to use the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday format as prep for a better CrossFit Total come a month from now.  This means more work for speed, and heavier assistance lifts along with accessory work that allows for continued skill apprehension.  My advice to those of you who are on the JV/Advanced Squad is to delegate your Oly time to Thursday/Friday/Saturday/and Sunday during the cycle as much as possible.  Other than that, just have fun!  You all have worked SO hard in the last few months – you deserve a cycle of feeling great and a chance to form some goals for next year. J

The trick with this type of programming though, is that some people will be in the Level 1 category for some things, and in the Level 2 or 3 category for others – this is based strictly on previously displayed numbers. Below are some guidelines and scenarios to help with figuring out how this will take shape.



Level 1: Baseline

Level 2: (Male) Bodyweight Back Squat x 5. (Female) Bodyweight Back Squat x 1.

Level 3: (Male) 2x Bodyweight Back Squat x 1. (Female) 1 ½ x Bodyweight Back Squat x 1.

*If you have Front Squat numbers as a reference these are also ok.


Level 1: Baseline

Level 2: (Male) 1 ½ x Bodyweight x 3. (Female) Bodyweight Deadlift x 3.

Level 3: (Male) 2x Bodyweight x 3. (Female) 1 ½ x Bodyweight Deadlift x 3


Level 1: Baseline

Level 2: (Male) 70% of Bodyweight x 1. (Female) 50% of Bodyweight x 1.

Level 3: (Male) 80% of Bodyweight x 1. (Female) 70% of Bodyweight x 1.

As an example, I could be a very good squatter but not a great deadlifter if I had been at CFCC for the last 4 or so months. Maybe, as a 185lb. male I have a bodyweight x 5 back squat putting me in Level 2 for the Back Squat, but I don’t even know how much I deadlift or I press for lack of having been at CFCC long enough to find that out.  In this case, I would rank as a Level 2-er on the squatting day, but at Level 1 for the Deadlift and the Press.  If in the middle of the next four weeks your proficiency clearly changes, you can move up in a level for any movement.  Let’s say that in the first week of the Deadlift I very easily find that I can 275lbs. for 5 reps. This, being about 1.5 x BW for me would allow me to move into the Level 2 category for the Deadlift in the following week.

As a secondary example, it may also be the case that as an experienced member of CFCC, I may not just have a huge deficit in my strength levels for the Press.  Let’s say that I am a 135lb. female (with very long legs and a short torso probably J) who is a Level 2 on the Back Squat (I Back Squat my bodyweight once), Level 3 on the Deadlift (I’ve deadlifted 205lbs. for 3), and I can only press 65lbs. (which is just under 50% for the press).  In this case, I would be in the Level 1 category for the Pressing day until I can demonstrate (maybe even within the cycle) that I can press just a little more.

This Week’s Layout:



Level 1: 5 x 5
Level 2: Light Peak of 1

Level 3: Light Peak of 1, Clusters.



Level 1: 5 x 5

Level 2: Light Peak of 1, Clusters.

Level 3: Light Peak of 1, Handstand Push-up Practice.



Level 1: 5 x 5

Level 2: 5 x 5, Clusters.

Level 3: Power Clean, up to a light peak in 15 minutes. Followed by deadlift singles EMOM for 5 minutes at 80-85% of best deadlift for speed off the floor.


PULL-UP + longer metcon

Level 1: 6 x 3

Level 2: Work up to a peak of 3 within 12 minutes, then, kipping pull-up practice.

Level 3: Work up to a peak of 3 within 12 minutes, then, muscle-up practice.


WILD CARD: This week, Turkish Get Ups.

Leave A Comment

Crossfit Journal Logo   OPEX On Journey CrossFit Kids FMS Certified

© 2017 Crossfit Center City | 1229 Chestnut Street, Basement, Philadelphia PA 19107 | 267.909.8210 |
Website Design by Sayra Lopez