Program Less, Train More

There’s a fine line between improving with the volume and complexity of your training and trying to outsmart CrossFit.


I see where this is going. Everyone and their mother is training CrossFit, yet not everyone and their mother gets to compete in the Games. Four years ago, it looked like the major difference between competitors and those who didn’t make the cut was a combination of experience and guts.

Games competitors were all the CrossFit originals. They had time under their belts. Secondly, those that were on top of podiums were crazy. They would … wait for it … train two WODs a day! Shocking!

Well, as a much larger net for talent has been cast and a larger population has had time to get some experience in the sport, it’s only part of the natural progression of things to figure out what the best ways to improve fitness are, inside of the confines of CrossFit.

Enter: Programming

Our natural tendency was to look at programming. If everyone else is just doing the workout of the day, one could conceivably get an edge by training differently. Along the way we’ve seen the rise of personal coaches within the ranks of the nation’s best. Dusty Hyland has led Val Voboril, Lindsey Valenzuela and Ruth Horrell to marked fitness gains. In addition, a slew of Games athletes call Brian Mackenzie and Doug Katona from CrossFit Endurance coach, while it seems the Outlaw Way has an entire population of raving fans.

Plus, even some intermediate-level students are doing two-a-days and strength progressions. Things that were considered insane four years ago are now commonplace for a much larger population than just the tip of the spear.

I’d like to wave a flag of caution to this trend, however. And, this warning comes, in part, from my own personal experience, which is that there’s a fine line between improving with the volume and complexity of your training and trying to outsmart CrossFit. Constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity isn’t broken, so don’t try to fix it. I found myself trying to EMOM, skill-work and percentage my way to fitness shortcuts. It wasn’t until I couldn’t remember the last time I did a CrossFit workout with a group of people that I realized I might be overthinking things.

Though in today’s day and age, doing the workout of the day three days on and one day off won’t get you on the competition floor come July, there is something to be said for the efficacy of the essence of CrossFit.