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CrossFit Athlete?

CrossFit Athlete?

Here’s How to Program all Training for Success

CrossFit games are one of the most complex, multi-dimensional, multi-disciplined sports that are enjoyed by a huge number of people. The sport combines strength, specific skills, endurance, technique, all performed under time constraints. This makes CrossFit the ideal sport for programming under the Hybrid Methodology.
It is vital in CrossFit to manage energy levels and operate just under one’s threshold.

 Given the emphasis is on both strength and endurance training, as well as incorporating multiple skills and movements to compliment the sport, it is crucial to program correctly to prevent detrimental burnouts. CrossFit has many training priorities, to include:



  • Performance whilst in a fatigued state – the athlete needs to ensure that training incorporates some consolidation of fatiguing stimuli, so concentrating on workout volume.
  • Strength – endurance training – the athlete needs to ensure that they are performing reps at 70-80% of maximal load.
  • Sports specific skills – complex movements, such as gymnastic or weightlifting skills, should be performed regularly.
  • Pacing focus – as mentioned earlier, the athlete should perform just under their fatigue threshold. The only way to do this is to ensure that training programs involve pacing methods throughout workouts.
  • Aerobic training – aerobic training is often under rated, but is actually vital in conditioning the athlete so they don’t deteriorate.
  • Mental preparation training – the athlete should incorporate a variety of Workouts Of The Day (WODS) into their training program to prepare for random competition requirements. They also need to be able to channel frustrations and failures, so that the feelings don’t effect the whole WOD. It is highly liked that an athlete may encounter a few moves of failure or poor technique. Mental preparation for such moves is vital for an athlete’s progress within the sport.


Once these training priorities have been completely analysed for the individual, a program design can then be constructed. Due to the functional fitness levels required of an athlete, it can be difficult to distinguish parameters initially, such as strength tests and aerobic fitness tests, to enable a progressive design to be implemented, as it is not these factors that necessarily associated with optimal competitive performance. It is more effective to provide practiced efficiency protocols and repetitive performance training drills at a high percentage of maximum intensity.
The successful CrossFit athlete is strong, but has the ability to work close to ‘burnout’, with excellent strength – endurance capabilities.

The role of strength training in CrossFit should be addressed. The athlete will be required to perform a repetitive load WOD and so needs to be prepared physically for this. In CrossFit, the reps will need to be performed over the given time set in place. So whilst it is vital to program the strength elements to ensure that maximal loads can be lifted, it is equally important that the competitor can lift that load over the given time period. Failure to do so could mean poor performance or incompletion of the whole WOD, which can be devastating for the competitor. This is where the strength – endurance training protocols are crucial. In other words, lessen the maximal load so not concentrating on power. For example, an individual may be able to squat 180kg but be unable to rep out during a competition, whereas the individual with a squat of 120kg, but focusing on technique and endurance, will be able to outperform the heavier lifter in that given category.


Maximal effort training can still be used in program design, but only in pre-season training. Speed strength work should never be programmed into a hybrid CrossFit protocol as additional force or momentum is not a skill required in the games. Due to the endurance capacity of CrossFit games and given that it has timed components, it is vital to train aerobic capacities to sustain energy levels for a long competitive day.


The positive adaptations of aerobic training can translate to every component required in CrossFit and performing low intensity options will ensure that metabolic cost is relatively low with minimal stresses on the body. It is important to understand the demands of CrossFit before designing your program and using the advice above will be a useful guide in helping you structure yourself for optimal results.


For more information, Contact me at [email protected] @OJayPT if you have any questions!      

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