For the past four years, Tennessee Tech University has been using CrossFit to train many of its sports athletes. Chip Pugh, director of athletic performance, and Rich Froning Jr., assistant strength coach, turn CrossFit into a sports-specific training tool for their athletes. This series provides an overview of the workouts these coaches use in season and out of season to condition their athletes.
In Part 1, Pugh takes us on a tour of off-season CrossFit workouts for the football team. Banged up after hard spring practices, the team will use heavy strength training and then transition into their pre-season conditioning phase.
“CrossFit is perfect for that because we get a blend of all the things we want to do,” Pugh says.
Workouts are structured with a strength-emphasis primary lift and a speed emphasis, which includes mobility, flexibility and drills. After a dynamic warm-up, the athletes perform the primary lift, and between sets they work on explosive speed with drills like box jumps. Afterward, they are on to assistance work such as ring rows and speed and ankle-strength drills such as lateral jumps. Their final task is the “Red Zone,” or “Intensity Zone,” which is a CrossFit met-con the athletes complete together as a team.
“We take the football mindset, we take their time demands of their sport, and we take the principles of CrossFit, and we use that to help execute what we need for their conditioning level,” Pugh says.
Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 107 by Justin Judkins, published Feb. 17, 2010.