How Do We Program CrossFit At Cultivar Health?

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By Alex Hopson

The CrossFit Methodology

If you have done CrossFit for a while, you will have heard a lot of talk around programming. CrossFit is a methodology, and unlike other styles of functional fitness, each affiliate is free to program however they see fit.

CrossFit is a deliberate attempt to optimise physical competence in each of 10 fitness domains. Those domains are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy." -CrossFit Methodology - Level 1 Training Guide.

Cultivar Health Programming

At Cultivar Health, we are big believers in keeping it simple (do not be fooled; simple does not mean easy). We will lift on strength days throughout the entire session, we will hit couplets with the utmost intensity; triplets and chippers will primarily be a bit longer and less skill heavy so that we can move efficiently for longer.

The Olympic Lifts are the best way to build coordination, power, speed, strength and even flexibility (they are also our personal favourite) so you will always see plenty of this each week.

Gymnastics training develops agility, balance, accuracy, flexibility and maximises body strength-to-weight ratio, so this domain heavily benefits the beginner all the way through to the most experienced member.

We will bike, run, and row in order to develop our cardiovascular endurance and stamina for short, middle, and long distances and utilising varied time domains.

Here is an example of a three day program at Cultivar Health:

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Day 1 – Gymnastics & body weight.

Day 2 – Weightlifting & cardio. Moderately heavy.

Day 3 – A combination of weightlifting, cardio, & gymnastics. Light.

Every single session has a purpose and intended stimulus which is addressed before the class in our brief. The movements are also demonstrated and modification options are given so that everyone hits the same intended stimulus for that session.

What about a plan?

We always have a four to eight week focus on specific pieces we would like members to improve upon. There is A LOT to be good at, but we want members to take the time to improve on certain pieces and build on them rather than throw everything at you all of the time. That gets you nowhere fast.

In general, each week you’ll see at least 4 different gymnastics, weightlifting, and conditioning movements. These will be mixed and matched in all different variations of sets, reps, loads, etc. Constantly varied to keep your body adapting and improving but never random. 

But how can you know that it is working?

Test. Retest.

Simplicity is key.

For example, we test a lift and/or a workout (1RM front squat or “Fran”) at the start of a six-week cycle.

We work on it in different forms, in different time domains, under different loads and with different stressors for six weeks.

We then test at the end of the six-week cycle.

We know it is working because we have followed this protocol for years, AND because we test it ourselves. We review members across the board to ensure the majority receive a benefit, and then we shift onto the next pieces that need improvement. Generally, we focus on two gymnastics movements and two lifts at a time, and we ALWAYS work on cardiovascular endurance.

We post all programming on our website here. Once you have had a look through, please feel free to contact us to find out more.

Ellie Bowden