Pam and I started CrossFit in the Spring of 2006. In the Summer of ’06, we both earned our Level1 certification and opened the 1st CrossFit affiliate in the Houston area and the 4th CrossFit affiliate in Texas, CrossFit Champions.
These days, just about anyone that opens a CrossFit affiliate has been a member of another affiliate for a good couple years. Combine that with CrossFit’s current popularity and the abundant amount of material online regarding programming workouts and templates and what not, its now not as hard to figure out good programming for your gym.
Back when we started, that was NOT the case. Since Pam and I started the 1st affiliate in the Houston area, we were not members of another CrossFit before hand. We had no experience programming for CrossFit and did our best to learn as we go. However, what we did have was a lifetime of fitness and exercise and weight training, as well as years of coaching and instructing in various disciplines, as well as (and perhaps most important) an abundant amount of common sense!
While we certainly had our share of “oops” workouts, I can honestly say that in 7 years of running CrossFit Champions, our coaching never injured a client.
One of the best CrossFit Journal articles we ever found was Issue 6 – February 2003 – A Theoretical Template For CrossFit’s Programming. We used this issue as a guide and found our groove with programming. Any time we found our programming getting to specific in one area or another, we often came back to this guide.
Specifically, we found the 3-days on, 1-day off template the best (even though we programmed for 5-days per week).
Our Best CrossFit Programming
Before I elaborate further, let me clarify something. This was programming for general, inclusive fitness for every day folks. This was not programming for high school or college athletes, mma fighters, or CrossFit Games-bound athletes, all of which need more specialized training.
This was a guide we used for the general population, our clientele, to get the most broad fitness results using the broadest (without getting ridiculous) range of modalities and time domains.
Our best programming – We tweaked the template so that the 3-day rotation that starts with W repeated every other. In other words, assuming a M-F schedule, with S and S off:
On the W days, we rotated through lifts in this order: Squats (Back Squats, Front Squats, Overhead Squats), Overheads (Press or Push Press), Pulls (Deadlifts, Power Cleans), Olympic Lifts (Snatches, Clean & Jerks)…in heavy formats – 5×5, 5×3, 7×2, 5-4-3-2-1, etc, depending on the lift.
Once we mapped that out for weeks, we would fill in the other workout formats incorporating complimentary movement patterns and intensity levels and time domains and etc.
We’ve helped dozens of budding affiliate owners over the years and this is often a path I would set them on to get a taste for general programming before making specific changes, or biased programming, for specific cases or specific populations.