Experienced Programming (September-December)

This programming post highlights some of the main skills or movements we will be focusing on for the next 12 weeks. It will also provide a few suggestions as to different ways you can approach these tests. Keep in mind that this is not an inclusive list of everything we are working on in class and warm ups. (The post would be far too long and boring to include that much detail!)

There are three  4-week cycles that make up the whole 12 week program. In each 4 week interval, you may notice overlapping movements or emphasis on a particular type of workout. For instance, you may see strict pull ups highlighted the first four weeks, kipping pull ups the second four weeks, and chest to bar pull ups the third four weeks. This doesn’t mean we will avoid the other two types of pull ups during those 4 week intervals. Just that you may see more frequency of a certain type of pull up at a specific time.

To be honest, you don’t need to concern yourself too much with these specifics, except for the fact that you are regularly working on improving your pull ups (or whatever movement) in a variety of ways.


While hitting the specific movement more frequently will help improve that skill, your main job is to figure out what is the weakest part of that movement or skill (i.e. strength, coordination, speed, endurance). This takes some self-reflection but will help you focus on prioritizing your weaknesses during class. If you are not sure what that is, then you should discuss this with your coach. They will be able to provide feedback on different ways you can approach a given workout. Often times, people think they “need a stronger core”, “need to bench press more”, “need to squat more”, “need to do more conditioning workouts” when the solution may actually be something entirely different.

For instance, if you are terrible at wall balls, a lot of people think, “OK, I need to do more wall balls. I’ll just do them everyday.” While there is a mental and conditioning aspect to wall balls, think about what the primary movements of the wall ball are…basically a front squat combined with a push press.

Having strong legs, the ability to front squat heavy, and not lean forward every time you catch the ball will make a huge difference in your ability to move fast. If you have a strong upright front squat and strong upper body, wall balls are going to be much easier for you. (Also, being taller helps, but we can’t help you with that!)

If you have a weak squat, poor mobility, and/or weak arms/shoulders it doesn’t matter how much conditioning you do….you will only marginally get better at a high volume workout like “Karen”. This should be an ah-ha moment for some people who think that to get better at CF conditioning workouts, they must prioritize long endurance workouts. Most people need to do the opposite – Get Stronger!


Here is what Experienced WODs will be testing this Fall…

1. 1 RM Snatch (Sunday 9/13 and Monday 9/14)

Goal is to improve Snatch as well as the Overhead Squat. Lighter technique work will be found in Part A’s before conditioning. Longer EMOMS as well as some days where you work up to higher weights in a given amount of time will help to build confidence pulling heavier off the floor. Snatch Pulls will be used to correct issues with pulling positions off the floor and the Muscle Snatch will be used to improve pulling strength and improve turnover speed.

2. Bear Complex (Wednesday 9/16 and Thursday 9/17)

The “Bear” Complex consists of 1 cycle of:
1 Deadlift – 1 Hang Power Clean – 1 Front Squat – 1 Jerk to Overhead – 1 Back Squat – 1 Jerk to Overhead

This Bear Complex will be a little bit different…while we want you to go as heavy as possible, we are still going to emphasize lifting technique. The “Bear” will continue to highlight the Front Squat work we just finished in the last cycle. Sometimes you will see variations of this complex in WODs, other times straight up Split Jerks or Front Squat 4×3 as a workout. People have requested more time working on Jerk technique, and we also plan to perform these movements in EMOMs and met-cons as people become more comfortable with the skill.

The skill of lowering the barbell to the Back Rack will be emphasized during most if not all classes involving this complex for safety reasons. NOTE: Anyone with neck or shoulder issues, or people that cannot lower the bar safely can do this sub for the Bear Complex: 1 Deadlift – 1 HPC – 2 Front Squats – 2 Jerks. Please talk to your Coach if you think this is a better option for you.

3. “Isabel” (Sunday 9/20 and Monday 9/21)

Using 70% of Part A, complete 30 Snatches (Power or Full) for time. Use up to 135/95, or coach’s discretion. So you can snatch heavy, but can you do that 30 times with good technique at a lighter weight? We want you to be competent at both of these skills – each require different types of effort from you, and our goal is to help you figure out how to move better and faster.


4A. Pull ups (Wednesday 9/23 and Thursday 9/24)
1 ME set of Strict Pull ups
1 ME Kipping Pull ups

If you are in Experienced WOD and do not have a strict pull up yet, this should be your primary focus for the next 12 weeks. Forget about kipping! If you need additional accessory work, please speak with your coach. Don’t worry if you can’t do a pull up, there will be a sub option for everyone!

If you have strict pull ups but need to work on your kipping, the best advice we can offer is to work on your kip swing, the hollow, and arch positions. This will be utilized in warm ups and in skill work. Working on your rhythm, timing, and mobility will pay off far greater dividends than just trying to do big sets of kipping pull ups or singles every time you come in.

NOTE: If you have issues holding onto the bar, then additional hanging work may be beneficial to your pull ups. If you can’t hang for 30 seconds in a hollow position, this is something you can easily do before class a few times per week. Just hop on the bar and hang. Your ability to do pull ups will obviously be limited by your ability to hold onto the bar, but people seem to forget about this basic factor.

4B. “Karen” (Wednesday 9/23 and Thursday 9/24)

This workout will be performed after your max effort pull up test. Cash outs and conditioning workouts will involve wall balls. This will not be our only squatting; every other week we will perform a high volume Back Squat day (i.e. work up to a heavy set of 12 reps, heaviest set of 18 reps, etc.)

As always, every time you post your comments to the CFNYC blog (the link is found under the Photo of the Day), you help us create better programming. We listen to all feedback and use people’s scores/times to shape the future programming. Whether you are in Experienced WODs consistently or you drop in for a single class that week, feel free to post your results to the blog!

(Beginner WOD Programming update to follow later this week.)