Beginners Programming (May-July)

Since the Open, the general programming has reflected a slight de-load in overall intensity and volume in workouts to allow both the mind and body recover from the CrossFit Open. For some people, the Open involved testing the weekly workouts multiple times, giving each attempt their all.  For many Beginners, this may have been the first time they have really “tested” a CrossFit Open workout.

We have been ramping back up to testing 1 RMs again with the introduction of more frequent squatting.  While we don’t expect everyone to match or surpass their old 1 RM during our tests, we do want to give people a chance to grease the groove with their squats before we test our maxes and start the next cycle.

Notes from the 2015 CrossFit Open for Beginners

The Scaled Division offered the majority of our members the option to participate in the Open for most if not almost all of the workouts. In years past, the WODs, regardless of their design or movement order, prevented some people from participating at all.

During this year’s Open, we saw most Beginner members struggle with complex movements, which was to be expected. High rep overhead squats, chest to bar pull-ups, double unders, HSPU, muscle ups, and the weights prescribed in the workouts were generally too heavy for them to cycle efficiently.  Beginner WOD members did show they had an excellent base of conditioning, especially in workouts with a longer time domain (i.e. 15.3’s Scaled workout of wall balls and single unders).

Next 12 Week Programming Cycle for Beginners

The next cycle of Beginner Programming will continue to help members build a broad base of basic strength and CrossFit conditioning (i.e. CrossFit specific skills).  A focus on improving movement and mobility through our accessory work is mandatory to help Beginners progress towards more complex skills. This will be great for those of you that have a hard time expressing your strength because you have poor range of motion and flexibility and for those who are still learning these movements.

Testing Week for Beginners will be this next and last week of April:
Sunday 19th/Monday 20th – “Cindy” 20 minute AMRAP: 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats
Sunday 26th/Monday 27th: Back Squat 1 RM

Tuesday 28th: Press 5 RM
Wednesday 29th: Deadlift 3 RM



A. Back Squat Cycle 5×5 (Basic Linear Progression)
This Back Squat Cycle will be similar to the same basic linear progression we used last year with great success. The nice thing about this progression is that you can jump into the programming at any point (if you are a new member) and see benefit from doing 5×5 Back Squats with regularity.  Remember, our Sunday and Monday WODs repeat for Beginners, so you will generally see your squat exposure on one of those days.  We will label each squat exposure as 1, 2, 3 etc. to help you keep track of how much weight you are adding each week (anywhere from 5-10# total).

Your instructor will give you guidance in class about loading, but the goal with 5×5 is to add weight incrementally over a long period of time. Done correctly, you will absolutely see major gains in your 1 RM squat, as well as your overall general strength.

Click here for another article we wrote last summer about the Linear Squatting Progression which may address some of the questions you might have.


B. Priority Lifts: Strict Press and Deadlift (Press and Pull)
We’ll focus on building up pressing and pulling volume by performing larger sets of both strict press and deadlift. Not only do you get to grease the groove (practice the movements) more often, you will be able to recover from these higher volume, lower weights more easily.  The deadlift (along with a squat cycle) places significant stress on your CNS (central nervous system), so it’s important that we don’t throw too much at you all at once, or you won’t see the gains that we would expect.


C. Priority Gymnastics Movements: Pull ups and Push ups
You should be working towards an unassisted strict pull up or push up in this cycle if you currently do not have one.  If you are on a black band you should be working towards a green band. (Unsure how to scale pull ups in a WOD? Read more here.) There will be accessory work (as always) for your handstand, your kipping, and the more advanced gymnastics movements in class, but these two will be primary during this cycle.


D. But what about conditioning!?!
Have no fear. We never neglect conditioning – sometimes we bias it towards longer domains, other times shorter, but when we add it in it is for a specific purpose – not to fill up your class hour mindlessly. It could be to improve skill work, aid your overall recovery, fun, etc.

We will not be doing very high skill level conditioning workouts for a bit (for instance, EMOMS with complicated rep schemes for the Olympic lifts etc.). This summer is the perfect time for you to master and strengthen the BASICS: double unders, rowing, running, etc.

If you still aren’t getting your cardio fix, we recommend dropping into one of our popular weekly CFE classes. These are a great addition to your workouts, if you find your schedule has you missing out on the days we program more conditioning only WODs.

This programming cycle will finish at the end of July when we retest all of these benchmarks again in the beginning of August, dates TBA later in the summer.

WAIT! What if I miss all these testing dates????

You have a few options:

First, try to sign up for Open Gym in the following two weeks, and let the instructor on duty know that you are testing. They will give you recommendations on warming up and how to attempt your max lifts.  They’ll also be available to spot your back squat and watch your form.

Second, you can sign up for an eWOD the following week and test then. There will be similar testing schedule (post to follow), but with slightly different movements. For instance, when they test a Clean Deadlift, you can come in and test your 3 RM Deadlift (just let your instructor know before you get started).

Third, during the first 2-3 weeks, when those specific movements or lifts come up, make sure you test your max then and write it down (or even better post to the blog). You may be a week or two behind – it’s not a big deal.  You’ll still follow along in the same manner, your weights will just be lighter then someone who started two weeks before you with the same 1 or 3 RM.

P.S. Dying to know what’s going to happen in EWOD? Hold tight! Post to follow shortly…