What does a CrossFit class consist of?

Each of our CrossFit Group Classes in an hour long is usually comprised of a warm-up, strength or skill work, metabolic conditioning and a cool down.  All classes during the day do some variation of the WOD, or workout of the day.

What is the WOD?

WOD stands for workout of the day.  The workout of the day is posted on our website HERE around 7:30PM the evening before the workout.  Many members do not wish to know the workout in advance but if you want to plan your week, you can check the website the night before.  We also post a weekly preview of the upcoming week’s workouts on Sunday evening HERE, along with a video update from the head coach, which includes upcoming events, news, and programming or training tips.  You can also go the Members sidebar and click on Programming.

What’s the best way to approach the workout?

Each part of each workout we program has a purpose. Sometimes we are looking to improve technique, sometimes it’s about getting stronger, and sometimes it’s just about working hard and grinding through the work. Either way, we believe that it’s important to understand the why behind each workout. When you log into Zen Planner on your phone app or on the CFW website, you will see notes for the workout of the day. In these notes, you will see that each workout is marked as either Practice, Training, or Testing. This label tells you the purpose of the workout and how to approach it. Practice workouts are set up so that technique takes priority over load or intensity. These workouts usually don’t have a time component or a score. So you will want to take your time, focus on technique, and keep the weights much lighter. Testing workouts are a means to track your progress over time. This could mean testing strength on a specific lift, or it might mean timing a benchmark workout. In this case, you will want to strategize the workout in order to get the best possible score. It might mean pushing the limits of your comfort zone. Training workouts make up the majority of our programming. They are about getting the work done. These are the workouts that build on each other over time to prepare you for testing. In these workouts, technique is always a priority, but your coaches will help you modify to get the most beneficial adaptation.

How do I modify the workout of the day for my needs?

You will notice that we post a Fitness WOD, a Health WOD and a Performance WOD.  Each of these workouts can be completed as part of our regular mixed level CrossFit Group classes and choosing the most appropriate programming stream can allow you to get faster results or stay healthier in the long term.

“Fitness” – This is our basic program, followed by most of our members.  As the name implies, these workouts are designed to promote and enhance your general physical fitness. During a “Fitness” workout, participants are exposed to a wide variety of movements with a focus on proper mechanics. The “Fitness” workouts are great for beginners because they focus on movement quality, but the “Fitness” workouts are not just for beginners. Like all of our workout options, these workouts are scalable and can be made as difficult as one could imagine.  The “Fitness” workout is perfect for the individual looking to be strong and lean for the long-haul.  Our fitness workouts are part of our mixed level group classes and can be done any day of the week, any combination of days with adequate rest will yield great results, however wee recommend taking several rest days throughout the week and adding at least 1 mobility class per week.

“Strength – As the name implies, these workouts are designed to increase strength. These workouts are generally lower impact than Fitness workouts and do not contain timed or competitive components. As such, they are often more appropriate for members recovering from illness or injury while maintaining fitness.  During a “Strength” workout, participants are exposed to a wide variety of movements with a focus on proper mechanics, but the modifications are designed to reduce inflammation and promote long term health and recovery. The “Strength” workouts are great for beginners because they focus on movement quality, but they can be used by any level of athlete wanting to focus on strength or stay away from higher impact exercises. This program is also ideal for overweight individuals and older adults.  Our Strength workouts are part of our mixed level group classes and can be done any day of the week.  We recommend adding at least 1 mobility class per week.

“Performance” – These workouts include a greater degree of intensity and complexity. You’ll be exposed to the best that the world of strength and conditioning has to offer – gymnastics, Olympic lifting, plyometrics, sprinting, etc…. No gimmicks, just proven methods for getting individuals strong, fast and fit. Your coach will provide you with the tools to reach new strength levels and push yourself beyond what you thought was achievable.  Performance athletes will often train with heavier weights and more advanced gymnastics movements.  We recommend that you attempt the Performance workouts only if you can do ALL the movements programmed in these workouts.   Contact us to see if you meet the requirements to take part in this programming stream.

Which days should I come in?

Your first priority is to show up regularly.  You probably have a busy schedule and any combination of days will get you results.  If, however, you have the luxury of choosing which days of the week to workout, consider planning based on your goals, strengths and weaknesses.  The majority of our our members are fall into one of these major groups:

1) Stronger athletes wanting to work on gymnastics and bodyweight exercises,  particularly upper body work such as pushups, pullups, handstand pushups, pressing and dips.  We’ll call this group Gymnastics or Relative Strength bias (the idea being to improve strength to bodyweight ratio).

2) Smaller athletes wanting to get stronger overall, which we can call Absolute  Strength or Functional Strength bias (the idea being to improve overall poundage lifted and overall power output).

3) Athletes wanting to work on endurance for longer efforts such as marathons or triathlons, or anyone looking to increase cardio-vascular health. We’ll call this group Endurance.

4) Balanced athletes wanting to work on all aspects of their fitness equally.  We’ll call this group Balanced.

We’ve put together a proposed training schedule for each group so that you can plan your workouts accordingly.  Keep in mind that you’ll get a good mix of all aspects of fitness if you keep coming regularly, but if you really want to hone in on a particular goal, this is a great way to commit to it.

1) Relative Strength/Gymnastics: Rest on Mondays and Thursdays.  You can choose any combination of days that includes Tuesday and Friday.

2) Absolute/Functional Strength: Rest on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Choose any combination of days that includes Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

3) Endurance: Rest on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  Choose any combination of days that includes Wednesdays and Sundays.

4) Balanced: If doing Performance programming 5 days per week, rest on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  If coming 3 times per week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday are both excellent combinations.

How to read the WOD

Here are some common abreviations and terminology we use in our programming.

Rx’d: You will see this on the whiteboard beside athletes’ scores.  This means ‘As prescribed’, meaning that the workout is completed without any modiciations to the movements, reps or loads. You may also see ‘Rx+’, this means that the score is for the Performance version of the workout.

AMRAP: This stands for ‘As many rounds and reps as possible’.  Usually this will be prescribed within a given time frame. If a time frame is not given, it is in one continuous, unbroken set. For example ‘Cindy’ is 20 minute AMRAP of 5 pull ups + 10 push ups + 15 squats.  Each time through that sequence of exercises is one round. Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can. Or, AMRAP pull-ups would be the number of pull-ups you could complete in one set without resting or coming off the bar.

 5 x 5 vs. 5-5-5-5-5: 5 x 5 mean 5 sets of 5 reps at the same weight.  We prescribe this when we want to get a certain amount of volume at a heavy weight, knowing that for our next workout we will ask you to increase the weight.   5-5-5-5-5 means build to a heavy set of 5.  We prescribe this when we want you to start with a lighter set of 5 and build up the weight as you progress through the sets.

Cluster sets (2.2.2) x 5: Cluster sets can be thought of as mini sets within a set. In the above prescribed exercise, the period represents a 10 second rest. The athlete would complete 2 reps, rest 10 seconds, do 2 more reps, rest 10 seconds, and complete 2 more reps. That is one cluster set. They would then rest as prescribed  and repeat until they have completed that pattern 5 times. This is an excellent method for increasing the volume of heavy lifting possible within a workout.

Unbroken: Complete this set without stopping to rest part way through. For example, 10 unbroken pull ups would be 10 in a row without coming off the bar. It is better to rest prior to beginning the set in order to ensure the set is continuous than to stop midway through the set.

Tempo 30X1: This refers to the tempo in with the lift is completed. The first number always refers to the length of time it should take to lower the weight. The second number refers to how much pause there is at the bottom. The third number is the speed at which the weight is lifted. If an X appears as the third digit the athlete should attempt to explode up, or lift very quickly. The last number refers to the pause at the top (between reps).  Read more about this HERE.

% Percentages: We use percentages for weight training as well as conditioning.  When used in weight training we are refering to percentage of 1 rep max, in other words making recommendations on the weight you should use for a workout based on the maximum you can lift for one rep in that particular exercise.   If you do not know your 1RM, you can estimate based on perceived effort.  For conditioning we will often recommend something like 5 rounds of rowing or running at 85% effort with specific rest between efforts.  In this case, the expectation is that you pace the rounds such that they all take the same amount of time. They should not be continuously slower and slower. You are being asked to show accuracy in your intensity of running or rowing effort. This will be much easier on a rower, as it gives second by second feedback.

Additional Recommended Reading

Tough Love: The programming edition – A blog post about hormones, programming, over-training, skill work and the difference between training and testing.

All about tempo training – A blog post about why we program tempo work and how slowing down your lifts can make you better and stronger.

Conquer your fitness fears – Life is too short to procrastinate…

Want Pullups? – Everyone wants to be good at pullups.  Here’s how to get there.