Beginner Programming (September-December)

This programming post highlights some of the main skills or movements we will be focusing on for the next 12 weeks in Beginner WOD.  Keep in mind that this is not an inclusive list of everything we are working on in class and warm ups.

There are three 4-week cycles that make up the whole 12 week program just like Experienced WOD. However, there will only be one testing week starting Sunday 9/20 and Monday 9/21 and ending on Sunday 9/27 and Monday 9/28. We’ve designed the Beginner testing to be slightly shorter than the Experienced WOD testing due to the number of people who actually test in Beginner WOD.

Over the course of the 12 weeks, new people will start the Beginner WOD and will have missed the initial testing phase. While an intensive squat cycle has it’s purpose, it can also be very difficult for newer people who are joining the class and are learning how to squat. In this cycle, during each 4 week interval, you may notice that there are workouts that retest the initial movements but with a slight variation or twist. These WODs are intended not only to emphasize that skill or movement, but allow people who missed the initial testing to set a similar benchmark. It is also intended as a more regular check in for those who tested the first week and want to track their progress along the way.

We will still run a week of re-testing sometime in the first half of December to evaluate everyone’s progress, especially those who completed the initial testing starting next week.

Here is what Beginner WODs will be testing this Fall…


1A. 1 RM Overhead Squat (Sunday 9/20 and Monday 9/21)

The Overhead Squat is one of the most fundamental movements in CrossFit and takes most people a long time to become proficient with.  It is also a pre-requisite for safely performing the Snatch. We love the Overhead Squat because it requires coordination, balance, core strength and overall flexibility. It also allows coaches to quickly assess their athletes’ deficiencies in terms of mobility and organization.

While we want your mobility to improve so you can get into the bottom of your squat, we also have some members who struggle (a LOT) with stability. Often, due to hyper-mobility, these members have no tension or stability in their overhead squat to balance the load overhead properly. Our goal is to get everyone squatting in a safe and proficient manner by the end of this cycle or at least an improved version from where we started.

Not only will you see specific Overhead Squat training, but light repetition is key for developing an Overhead Squat (and squat in general). You will see that the weight does not need to be heavy to be effective in developing your squat, so working with PVC pipes and light bars as well as wall facing squats during most warm ups will be very beneficial. What will be key to remember is that while you may not see significant weights added to your Overhead Squat during the next 12 weeks, you should see qualitative improvements with your position and organization in the squat.


1B. ME Burpees for 3 minutes (Sunday 9/20 and Monday 9/21)

With every lifting component during our testing week, there will also be a conditioning component. Max Effort Burpees will test your overall conditioning as well as your ability to perform pushups. There will continue to be a focus on upper body pushing movements (push ups, plank holds, dips, ring support holds, handstand push ups, and handstand holds) in our workouts.



2. “Fight Gone Bad” (Wednesday 9/23 and Thursday 9/24)

Three rounds of:
Wall-ball, 20/14 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
Russian Kettlebell Swings, 24/16 kg (Reps)
Box Jump with Step Down, 20 inch box (Reps)
Push Press, 75/55 pounds (Reps)
Row (Calories)

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute.The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of “rotate”, the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point. Your score is your total reps (points).

This is a class CrossFit met-con that most BWOD athletes can perform close to RX’D or perhaps only need minor scaling.  All of the movements in Fight Gone Bad are seen regularly in CrossFit workouts and represent a variety of skills that people need to work on: box jumps, push press, Russian kettlebell swings, wall balls, and rowing. We will see variations of all these movements in regular met-cons, skill work, and variations on Fight Gone Bad.



3A. 3 RM Power Clean (Sunday 9/27 and Monday 9/28)

For your 3 RM Power Clean test, you will reset for every rep. While we are going to work on fundamental pulling positions for Olympic lifting (from the floor), we also want you to get used to cycling reps at a slightly heavier weight.  This is a skill that is often needed during the Open or high volume CrossFit workouts. If you are very new to CrossFit, you may want to work on a 3 RM Hang Power Clean.  Your coach will be able to offer you guidance on which movement is most suitable for your skill level.



3B. ME Double Unders for 2 minutes (Sunday 9/27 and Monday 9/28)

The goal with this test is that if you do not have a single Double Under that by the end of 12 weeks you will have one or at least be much closer to getting your first Double Under.  If you already have double unders, then your goal will be to learn how to increase your overall volume. The general standard for this 2 minutes test is completing 150 double unders.

Finally, from members’ feedback, we will be including more emphasis Overhead lifts (Press, Push Press, and Jerk) in Beginner WOD this cycle. BUT! please note that sometimes, Beginner WOD already has up to 3-4 exposures of Overhead movements in a week. It may be that the Overhead movement is part of a complex or in a conditioning piece. While the lift isn’t a max effort strength Part A, it will still be considered overhead and strength work.  Sometimes, people forget to evaluate the programming in a comprehensive manner (and their respective attendance), and it would not be safe to have members lifting overhead, heavy, every day of the week.

You will also be squatting regularly (both Front and Back Squat) in addition to your Overhead Squat work. However, we will not be doing a formal squat cycle. So it is very important for you to write down (or use BTWB) to track your squat weights each time you come into class. It’s also important not to skip the squat day in lieu of another conditioning day. We promise that if you want to see improvements in your body composition, your general fitness, your conditioning, your flexibility, your ability to sprint or run, etc. regular squatting is necessary in achieving your goals inside and outside of CrossFit.

Last, your coach says it all the time, but if you want to see improvements in your WODs and with your lifting you MUST write down what you do in class. Otherwise, you will likely not push yourself to do more than you did previously. Good results from CrossFit (and preventing injuries) are directly linked to logging and tracking your WOD results.

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 Beginner WODs consistently or you drop in for a single class that week, feel free to post your results to the blog!