10×2 Back Squats @ 65% – rest 45 sec.


3 Rope Climbs 15?
10 Hang Squat Cleans 155/95lbs
50 Double?Unders
2 Rope Climbs 15?
8 Hang Squat Cleans 155/95lbs
40 Double?Unders
1 Rope Climbs 15?
6 Hang Squat Cleans 155/95lbs
30 Double?Unders
For time.

Note:  Substitute rope climbs with modified rope climb or pull-ups.


Dan S. and Mike G.IMG_8117



Tomorrow I'll Be Perfect

I apologize for the title of this post.  It comes from the autobiography of former pro-baseball player, Dave Stieb.  The book has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but the premise of the post made me think of the title.

 It's human nature to think that there is something better that we can add to what we are doing to improve ourselves.  Sometimes we may feel as though we're missing something–some secret element.  It's a good thing to want to improve your standing or performance so I don't wish for this to be misinterpreted.  I'm speaking specifically about strength and conditioning programming. 

I've been Crossfitting for over 5 years now and coaching for nearly as long.  It's inevitable that an athlete will research the vast WHAT-ELSE-IS OUT-THERE.  That research is soon followed by I-THINK-I'LL-TRY-THIS-PROGRAM and BAM, the wheels are set in motion.  I'm going to tread lightly because this is the same thinking that often motivates regular gym rats to try (and like!) CrossFit.

In looking for the Holy Grail of Strength and Conditioning or at least something that will give an edge over other CrossFitters, some will venture off to add a strength training element to their existing CrossFit training.  We have no problem with this and when done correctly it can be a good thing.

One of the few criticisms of following the main CrossFit.com site is there isn't enough strength training or that the metcons overshadow the strength training.  One of the best definitions for "Met-Con" comes from CrossFit elite athlete, Chris Spealler, "It stands for metabolic conditioning which is a form of training whose
purpose is to improve the body’s efficiency at storing and delivering of
energy for activity.  These workouts have the dual benefit of improving
both strength and aerobic capacity.  In fact, while the workouts are
absolutely nothing like standard aerobic training they can
confer aerobic benefits that rival those of the best traditional
programs.  The majority of CrossFit training would qualify as
( One of CrossFit’s Finest – An Interview with Chris Spealler, Chris Mason's WannaBeBig)  The "MetCon" is the bread and butter of CrossFit.  It's largely what makes CrossFit different and better and more functional than other forms of working out.

For the athletes with a need for further strength training there are several popular programs: Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength, Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 and Westside's Conjugate Method are probably the most popular.  For strength programs that include traditional CrossFit or metcons there is Brand X CrossFit's Strength Bias(check out this free CrossFit Journal article as well) and Rudy Nielsen's Outlaw CrossFit.  For an emphasis on Olympic Lifting there is Mike Burgener's programming and Catalyst Athletics.  For athletes in "power" sports such as football, rugby and lacrosse that want CrossFit that can be worked in to their sport training there is CrossFit Football.

As many of you know we chose Outlaw CrossFit for our programming.  The reasons are few and simple: Outlaw isn't main site, but it's still very much CrossFit with its emphasis on being strong, excelling in metcons and its emphasis on sound movement/body control.  Outlaw incorporates regular pre-conditioning workout strength or Olympic Lift training and Rudy Nielsen has incorporated some of the principles of Westside's Conjugate Method.  It doesn't hurt that Nielsen is coaching some of the top names in CrossFit competition. 

What of the other programs you ask?

In my most humble opinion they are all excellent and every one of them will work provided you don't sabotage them with your better plan.  The folks who founded the methodologies listed above did so after years of experience as well as trial and error.  They have been tested and proved.  If you have been CrossFitting for only a few years and have no other background in strength and conditioning, powerlifting or olympic lifting you do not know better than the people who came up with the above listed programs.

We're all for those looking to improve, but what will work against you or slow your progress is believing that it is necessary to jump from one particular program to another before allowing the process of one to have a chance.  For most, the workout of the day and time spent on strengthening your particular weakness will more than suffice.

For those looking to compete in CrossFit events mastering movement is one of the, if not most important, goals you should have.  Proper standards of movement in the push-up, squat, pull-up, burpee and kettlebell swing have been in all the competitions.  The difficult body control movements are always included as well: handstand push-ups, muscle-ups, double unders and rope climbs.  These are movements you have to spend time on that aren't found in most "strength" programs.

Strength programs aren't magic or filled with "secrets".  They merely emphasize one aspect of training over others with a slow but steady progression in the weight that's being lifted.  When deciding whether or not a strength program is good for you NOW or which one is ideal you need to answer the following:

1) What are my goals for training?

2) What are my weaknesses?

3) Am I making the most of my time and training now?

4) Am I really paying attention to my times, PRs and progress in workouts?

5) Is the current programming lacking for me in some area?

6) How much time do I spend working on the things I am not good at or don't like?

7) Am I making proper decisions in terms of nutrition, mobility and recovery?

If you've defined your goals, work on your weaknesses on a regular basis, are meticulous with your progress tracking, regularly engage in the pre-conditioning workout strength training, eat properly and get adequate sleep and still feel the need to engage in a "strength" program let's give it a shot.  If you're unsure about anything on this list then perhaps you should stick to our already outstanding program.

Comments and questions are strongly encouraged.


4 Responses

  1. Pat

    George you are a cruel cruel man. Its the holidays, end of the semester and Im getting yelled at for playing barbies wrong. I dont have any time to think about an encouraged comment. However I think I can make a two minute rambling stream of consciousness that will not make any sense.
    Athletes want to believe that there are absolutes, particularly with programming. They think there are right and wrong answers. As Dave Tate said, programming is just your best bet. Whosever doing it will take all the information available to them, and all their experience and take their best guess as to what will work for whoever they are programing for. (I have no idea how to spell programing so sometimes i use different numbers of m’s) As older athletes come to understand that, they feel the need to suppliment their programing.
    This is like shoving a hand grenade in the sphincter of your programing and pulling the pin. Often times this suplimentation is dont by an athlete who doesnt understand what their training goals really are and they will use something that is working for someone else and is contradictory to their program.
    However, i think that the real reason that supplimentation of programming is dangerous is because it goes against belief. Belief will cure even the most disastorous programing. An athlete needs to believe that the program they are on is a magic one written specifically for him penned on unicorn skin in pixie dust and jesus juice (shout out michael jackson). If an athlete starts to seriously doubt the program, they will get diminishing results. I have literally seen this happen in the gym and in sports. I have seen athletes flourish under coaches who are awful, with terrible training programs just because they believed their training was the best. If you believe you’re getting better you probably are, the mind is your strongest asset.
    In the end find someone smarter than you and do what they say. Sean and I have a friend that always gets mad at what the GPS says and tries to prove that his way is better. We always end up lost when he drives. Let the machine do its job.
    Find a smart trainer and let them do their job.
    Smart trainers-
    George De(cant spell his last name either)
    Louie Simmons
    Rudy Nielson
    Mike Burgener
    Greg Everret
    find one and let them do their job

  2. Kobe Bryant

    Also I feel the root of this problem is an athletes inability to set specific goals. To properly program you must be driving at specific goals. Working out to have a more explosive step one day, then training to become leaner the next, then deciding you want to have more muscle ups will lead you to achieving nothing very quickly. If you have no goals and just want to be a little better at life, crossfit. That’s what it is, gpp.
    Also three hours ago a Russian Olympian told me that drug free anyone could throw the hammer 70 meters. Since this is top two in our country I asked what he meant by adequate training. Without flinching he said every day for ten years. He wasn’t kidding.

  3. George

    You know I always love your appearances here on the Spartan Performance show and thanks for the kind words!
    Your message on “belief” was spot on and not something we here about often enough. The mental aspect of our physical training and competing is HUGE but seldom mentioned in our community. Committing to training and believing in the training and believing in yourself is most influential combination to determine excellent performance.
    The top competitors I know and ones I’ve read about it aren’t at the the top because of a secret, special program, special supplement or special diet. They are there because they are willing to work harder, persevere better, push discomfort or pain to the side and remain resilient. All these characteristics come from the mind.
    Your Russian Olympian friend seems to be correct and echoes the assertion put forth by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers: The Story Of Success.

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