CrossFit Thunder – 6 & 6 Week Hybrid Program for Squat / Bench / Press / Deadlift / 2k Row (CF) / General Conditioning / High Rep Barbell Work ie. “Grace” or "Isabel"
Program Core Elements: Conjugate Method/Olympic Lifting/MetCon Accessory/Extra Lift Volume/ Rowing intervals / Energy System Balance
The intent of this write up is to be as transparent as possible and to give those who want to plan out their training weeks for their specific goals the opportunity to do so. If you’re someone who just wants to come in, sweat, and go home, that’s awesome, just keep on keeping on.
The general basis for this program is to attempt to improve all aspects of fitness at the same time rather than isolating a particular movement or series of tested variables as we have done in the past. This program was developed in chunks and the progressions listed are non-linear and heavily varied. This is not to say that this program is random. It has a distinct pattern bi-weekly.
This program is split into chunks of Lifting, Engine Work, and MetCon work. The engine work and MetCon work can be further looked at under the lens of energy system training. I will first cover the lifting chunk.
I personally feel the lifting chunk of the program is one of the most essential. Getting stronger feels good, is functional, and will provide the most benefit in day to day life. I don’t want to give a notion that I’m a sole believer in “Strength is King”, but I definitely believe it is an essential piece to fitness. The strength work in this program is based primarily off of of Westside Barbell’s “Conjugate Method”. To be brief if you don’t know of Westside it is referred to as the strongest gym in the world. The conjugate method centers around 4 training days, 2 Max Effort (ME) days and 2 Dynamic Effort (DE) days. There are both Lower and Upper body days each week and accessory work is completed using the Repetition Method, similar to traditional body building with a twist.
For this program I have taken the elements of the conjugate method and molded them for CrossFit training. On Mondays we will have a “Max Effort Lower” day, but without the bands, chains, specialized bars, and with a finite amount of time to lift. The lifts will rotate weekly but will generally be on a 2 week rotation of lower body pull, lower body push and will stay away from true 1RMs in the deadlift and back squat. Instead we will do variations such as varied grip deadlifts, 3RM, and 5RMs. Wednesday will be our “Max Effort Upper” day, for upper body movements we will use bench and press variations, here we will find true 1RM’s more often due to less weight being lifted in these lifts in relation to squat and deadlift. Along with the heavy work on ME days there will also usually be added repetition work on these days as I believe that the limited volume from heavy singles isn’t enough on its own to drive growth and adaptation for non-professional lifters.
Along with the ME days, the CrossFit track will have a DE day on Thursdays. This day will focus on Olympic Weightlifting and accessory movements for the Olympic lifts such as overhead squat, snatch pulls, and clean pulls. As far as using the repetition method for accessory work most of the accessory work in this program will be done within metcons and will be for time. The only exception to this is that on Monday’s we will have some optional accessory that can be performed after the metcon, this accessory will generally target the hamstrings, low back, or core.
The straight conditioning work of this program applies only to the CrossFit track, the GPP track will get all of their conditioning in the form of MetCons. Conditioning work will be once a week on Thursday’s and will appear as rowing intervals with the occasional opportunity to sub in bike or running work. The intent of this conditioning is to build a bigger aerobic base and to get more comfortable in longer steady state pieces. I opted to mainly use rowing due to the larger impact that running has on joints and recovery and the limited number of bikes.
The MetCon format for both the CrossFit and GPP track will generally be the same. Monday will have a workout in the 4-8 minute range, it will be high intensity and is intended to be an all-out sprint. Tuesday will be 20 minutes plus, generally attempting to be over 30 minutes unless you have an exceptional engine. Wednesday will be in the 8-15-minute range. Thursday is a day where the tracks split, GPP will always have a long chipper intended to take over 20 minutes and CrossFit will have rowing intervals. Friday will alternate between the length of MetCon but will almost always be over 10 minutes and under 25 minutes of work. Generally, expect barbell or kettlebell work on Monday and Friday. Odd object (sandbag, dumbbell, etc.) and high fatigue movements (devil press, burpee box jump, rope climb, etc.) on Tuesday. Higher skill gymnastics on Wednesday. A lower body bias in the chippers for GPP on Thursday's. More competition style workouts or comp prep for CF on Friday's, and a random more fun style workout for GPP. Friday will also have a "mini-open time" to work on skills or make up missed lifts.
Overall, the goal of this program is to become better all around and just generally healthier. For the purpose of having definitive evidence of progress we recently had the opportunity to perform several tests that will be retested at the conclusion of this program. The tests are as follows; 1RM Strict Press (July 16th), 1RM Back Squat (July 20th), 2000m Row (July 23rd) , “Grace” (July 27th), 1RM Bench Press (August 12th), and 1RM Overhead Squat (August 13th).