With the transition into the new programming structure, we’ve received some feedback asking for some additional insight into how we develop our programming. This post is the first of many intended to do just that – give our community members some insight into the method behind our madness! Ready? Here goes:

Some Background on Periodization.

One of the ways CrossFit TT is different from other affiliates involves how we program our workouts. Unlike some other affiliates, we periodize our training. What’s this mean? Effectively, our training is broken down into a series of 6-8 week long cycles called micro-cycles. Each ‘cycle’, we prioritize a specific energy system, and incorporate strength and conditioning work that’s directed towards a specific objective (muscular endurance, speed, power, hypertrophy, etc.). Towards the end of the cycle, we’ll ‘Test’ our performance with a benchmark W.O.D. that stresses the systems / strength objectives we’ve been working on/towards. Upon completing a Micro-cycle, we’ll have a transition week before beginning a new 6-8 week cycle. Four micro-cycles comprise a Macro-cycle. A Macro-cycle tends to culminate with a specific event or series of events – marathoners end their macrocycles with the race they want to peak for. We’ll typically go through two macro-cycles a year – we’ll end one in March/April, and the other around August / September.

Where We’re At.

This week has both the Performance and RTG programming tracks transitioning between two training micro-cycles. Accordingly, we’ll be doing some testing – last week, we had a Benchmark W.O.D.; this week, we’re taking some time in class to find our 1-Rep Max for several of the Olympic Lifts. PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ATTEND CLASSES WHERE WE’RE TESTING THESE LIFTS. We want all of you to see how much progress you’ve made over the course of the last few months – it’s pretty damn impressive!!!

What Next.

Beginning next week (10/14), we’ll be starting a new 6-8 week micro-cycle of training. Without going into too much detail, this cycle will introduce more workouts that replicate the intensities of a”Test” environment. Note that we said intensities – not movements. We”ll get you ready for the movements you’ll need for our next benchmark “Test”, but we won’t use these movements exclusively when we work at test-intensity. Unlike the last cycle which saw a workout with “Test” level intensities every 10-12 days, this cycle you can expect to see high-level intensity work a bit more frequently (every 7-8 days). These won’t all be “test” efforts, but they’ll be pretty darned hard. We’ll also be incorporating more specific strength work this micro-cycle. You may have noticed that the last cycle focused heavily on skill development. We broke down complex movements like the Snatch, Clean, Jerk, and even the Back Squat – into smaller, more digestable pieces so that we could understand and master the movements before adding tons of weight. This next cycle, we’ll use these new skills with much heavier loads in order to further develop absolute strength. Concerned that you’ll get HUGE with this change? Don’t be. Remember – we’re lifting for STRENGTH (force generation) – not hypertrophy (size). Is it possible that you’ll get bigger? Yes. But not in a freakish body-builder type way. Unless of course that’s what you’re going for, in which case, we can adjust the programming.

Why’s this important to me if I don’t compete/plan on competing?

This doesn’t mean that we are revising all of our programming, and targeting it towards CrossFit competition. HARDLY! The fact is that all of us need to both increase and adjust the stresses we use to achieve levels of fitness on a fairly regular basis in order to ensure that we don’t it plateaus (look for another post on this soon). If you’re the type of person who doesn’t compete in any way, shape, or form, and who comes to CrossFit TT because you love our community, want to stay in shape, and enjoy doing so with us, this approach is still relevant. Our mission at CrossFit TT is to make elite fitness accessible. Periodozation is one example of how we fulfill that mission – we take the principles elite athletes use, and apply them to all of us who are just trying to get in (or stay-in) shape!

What should I do with this change in cycles?

You don’t HAVE to do anything. If you’re perfectly content with your journey here thus far, and don’t want to change anything up, then don’t! Everything is staying the same – we’re just giving you a peek behind the curtain with this post. On the other hand, if you feel like your training is getting a bit stale, and you want to shake things up a bit, this training cycle presents you with the opportunity to re-invigorate your passion for elite fitness. Here are a few things we recommend you do:

  1. Attend class this week to test your 1 rep-max lifts. This is a great way to get fired-up!!! We’re testing on Thursday and Friday this week – make every effort to attend, or contact Meghan and Tyler to see if there’s a time you can make up these lifts.
  2. Set a goal for yourself. Want to participate in the Open? Getting ready for a Ski-Trip? Considering an adventure race? Put your goal on paper, and ask yourself what gaps you have with your current training that would prepare you for the event. Again, feel free to schedule 1-on-1 time with your coaches to help you evaluate your proficiency assessment.
  3. Track your workouts. It sounds crazy, but the simple task of keeping a record of your workouts is a great way to get re-invigorated.

That’s all for now. As always, feel free to contact us with any and all questions!

– Your CFTT Coaches.