Programming Philosophy

Photo Credit – Wendy Callendar

I thought it would be beneficial to share with our membership some insight on how CrossFit programming is done.  You may not be a Games/Regionals competitor, but it is important to have a bit an understanding of the program that our Zone members follow so you can understand the process and why certain things are done when they are. Our programming here at CFZ is tailored for our members to peak for the Open and get ready for Regionals.

This article by HyperFit USA explains in detail about the Games season:


Programming: “Begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen Covey

The CrossFit Games define a season for fitness training. Each July the CrossFit Games seek to identify the fittest, most broadly capable humans on the planet. Athletes must be ready for anything—maintain pace in a multi hour event, win a sprint, excel at gymnastics, and crush weightlifting—many times in the same event. Athletes must be ready to reach and eclipse personal records in all time and modal domains. Athletes need to be able to adapt to challenges that they have not specifically prepared for. The Games expose weaknesses in the athlete and in their preparation.

The Journey – Why train for The Games?

Training to participate in the Games is a process. Programming must lead to developing high work capacity in all areas of the 10 General Physical Skills (Jim Cawley/Bruce Evans). The training cycle should systematically broaden and deepen the athlete’s capacity and strength. Each year the athletes competing are stronger and faster, and therefore the ability to apply specialized games skills is of increasing importance. The journey of training for The Games is a path that brings the athlete to work beyond their physical and mental limitations. Prioritizing training to realize maximum physical potential and expand mental strength, allowing the athlete to truly compete, is a worthy endeavor for anyone – including those who may never compete in The Games. The process of training for The Games teaches people about themselves.

The Games Process:

The Open – The high school athletics of CrossFit. The Open involves 25,000+ athletes worldwide. The workouts tend to be simple, easy to judge, easy to score, and most people should be able complete most of the workouts as prescribed. Stepping back from competition, if an athlete is able to complete the entire Open as prescribed they have developed an exceptional level of fitness. Regardless if that person moves on to the next level, they have already reached a better level of fitness than the vast majority of people on the planet.  The very best of this group will move on to the next level.  In high school athletics there are many people who participate but few who go on to compete in college athletics. This division is similar in the CrossFit season—of the 25,000+ competitors, there are only about 60 men and 60 women who go on to each of 18 Regionals worldwide.  A reasonable goal for most people who train for CrossFit is to do the open as prescribed.  Similarly, The Open is crucial to master’s athletes as it establishes who qualifies for The Games.

The Regionals – The NCAA of CrossFit. About 8% of the people who do The Open move on to the regionals, and less than 1% of people who participate in The Open make it to the games. Most everyone can participate in the Open, but The Open filters out the vast majority of people. The regionals are the next level of the selection process.  The regionals seek to establish people who are in serious contention for the title of “the fittest person on the planet.” The margins of error are tighter, the judging standards are more rigorous, and the loading (much, for some) heavier. The best, most broadly capable people will move on to The Games. Three men and women from each region will move on.

The Games – The Pros. The neck of the CrossFit funnel, bringing together the top 60 men and 60 women worldwide. The Games athletes truly need to be capable of PR’ing their Fran, Helen, Snatch, Clean, Jerk, Murph, Isabel, Triathlon, Sprint, sled push, and also be able to adapt to unknown combinations of movements and loading. The programming necessary to succeed at the games level needs to support and develop greater capacity.


What if I am not every wanting to be competitive?

A very small percentage of our membership trains to be competitive out of the gym, but our goal is to get you at that 80 percentile of all exercises, workouts, sports and life tasks.  This is called “GPP”  General Physical Preparedness.  The programming is random, but there is a method to the madness.


Crossfit by its nature is difficult to program for.  We must expose our members to a huge amount of skills while at the same time building strength and conditioning.  You may see that throughout the year certain aspects are emphasized more than others but the overall goal is always there, to increase your level of fitness and range of skills all while participating within a supporting, caring community



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