CFSA Programming – 08 07 20

From the Blog

CFSA Programming – 08 07 20


Programming; this is by no means the only aspect to focus on in fitness, yet it does play an integral part in every person’s development towards their individual goals. Ideally, we create enough novelty and variation to keep it enjoyable, while also including vital compound elements (strength & conditioning) to see progression through a phase and lifetime.

As most of you may know already, the post lockdown programming here at CrossFit St Albans will be changing. Our Head of Programming, Coach Tristan, is moving into a speciality role that will give our members even greater benefits. Tristan will be launching exciting workshops, breakout classes and one-to-one sessions that focus on developing skills, improving mobility and movement quality and honing specific movement patterns (please contact him for more details). He, in turn, will be passing the baton of programming to the minds of other great coaches we have at CFSA, so that we work, collaboratively, to create the most comprehensive and effective training for you all. I’m happy to announce that I have been tasked with the role of writing your strength cycles going forward, and with the help of the other coaches, we feel we have produced a great plan for you.


So, where does this all start? 

Firstly, we need to look at the “bigger picture”. Designing month by month is useful as you can make small adjustments through cycles to produce the best response for our members. But we need an over-arching plan to guide us through the whole year.  As a collective, we have always been interested in the CrossFit Open competition and found a large base of members enjoy this event yearly. It’s also a great way to re-assess fitness levels and have some FUN.  Of course, this year has been different, with Covid-19 lockdown and two Open contests, one in the beginning of the year and one towards the end. This is going to change how the end of this year looks compared to next year.

Besides these factors, we feel we have built a great comprehensive plan and are excited to share the journey with you.


Our Return to the Box – Post Lockdown

When we first come out of hibernation and back to gym life, we want you to enjoy it!  We will be building muscle with a cycle of hypertrophy, and getting familiar with certain movements again.  There will be exercises to challenge your structural balance and strengthen your core, but mostly, expect to have some fun; barbells, kettlebells, pull ups and bar work; hopefully all the good stuff you have missed throughout lockdown.

During this time, Tristan will be rolling out his additional timetable of workshops and breakout classes, focussing on mobility for hips, squat mechanics and skills like pull ups, handstands and overhead strength and positioning.

Starting post Open, the programme will be as follows:



This is always a tricky time of year, with school holidays, parties and Christmas. Training can take a back burner. With this in mind, December is all about variation and strength balance. So, whether you make it in once or three times a week, there will be loads of variation, progressions and enough solid work that will make you feel well rounded (not literally!) and full of energy through this festive season.


January – February

The start of our year; and time to begin the build. Here we will find lots of trunk work to create a strong and stable base and prepare you for the year of hard work to come. You will also see a large focus on hypertrophy training, this will involve all muscle groups and help to strengthen individual muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. During this time, we will look to iron out any imbalances before we ramp up training.


March – Mid May

Absolute strength; time to get STRONG! Simple, this will come in small cycles over a 10-12 week period to improve overall strength. Expect to lift lower volume with more challenging loads as you progress through this phase of training. We’ll also be building better movement patterns in all the lifts.


Mid May – June

Strength speed and development of force; lighter loads, done quicker. While maintaining the strength we have built upon over the last phase, we will start to add more speed focus elements. For example: power cleans. In the start of this phase we will be going through how to absorb force correctly, before we progress into expressing it greater.


July – August

Speed Strength; as we get closer to the Open, we will ramp up speed work. Here, we focus on quicker contraction at even lighter loads, while maintaining the strength throughout. Be prepared to see more anaerobic workouts in your conditioning, in the form of bike sprints and jump work. In this phase, you’ll get to express what you have learned over the last two phases, building upon the strength we have and utilising this more.



Maintenance of skills, strength and preparation for the 5 weeks of the upcoming Open.

All the good work from the last few months will continue through this month.


October – November

Open Season; time to reap the rewards of the hard work throughout the year.

Fear not, if you’re not participating in the Open, the programme will still be progressive for you, with the right amounts of strength, skill and aerobic work to keep you fit into the latter parts of the year.


So, we hope you are as excited about this year ahead of training as we are! As stated before, this is the “bigger picture” and the beauty of our collaboration, as well as data we study from the scores and statistics you put into Wodify at the end of your classes, will help us to make any adaptations we need to, along the way, to ensure we are maximising your strength, skill and fitness gains.

And don’t worry if the Open is not for you.  There will be enough quality strength and conditioning through the entire year to support your individual goals. Please know that as coaches we seek to create individuality from this blanket program, so that you meet your personal goals. Get to know your coaches if you don’t already, we are here to help YOU!

If you have any questions or would like a finer snapshot of this, please do reach out.


Coach Ben Brewer