CrossFit for Performance: Part 1

By Chip Pugh and Rich Froning Jr.

Video Article

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.

11min 45sec

Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 107 by Justin Judkins, published Feb. 17, 2010.



19 Comments on “CrossFit for Performance: Part 1”


wrote …

That is a really good video.
Fantastic to see a box explaining in detail how they handle their programming and for one that handles athletes of that calibre to do it is just wonderful.

More of these please.

And of course it's really great to see how CF can be used as GPP for a sports team.


wrote …

Great Video. I cannot wait to see more. I work at a high school w/ another trainer and we train about 50 athletes currently in a multitude of sports and have found that crossfit provides great results for the athletes in those different sports and also for the ones in multiple sports. I like the breakdown of the programming.


wrote …

I second the previous post. Working in high school athletics, I have found that crossfit is the perfect fit for training adolescent athletes. Thank you for the break down of your workouts. I would love to see a week or month block of WODs. Thanks again!


wrote …

Great video! Please post more of the same. I am a professional athlete that uses Crossfit as my strength/conditioning. Im always looking for ways to fine tune my programming to find the perfect balance between my sport and CF.


wrote …

very cool video!


wrote …

This is excellent, but looks a whole lot like something else:


wrote …

Awesome video. Im another HS coach working with athletes in several sports as well as programming the football conditioning regimen. I have a CF Football cert but I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to sneak a peak at other coaches and hear about their philosophy and programming. Keep it coming.


replied to comment from Kyle McAlarney

Wow, Kyle Mcalarney doing crossfit! You had a hell of a career at Notre Dame. I'm a Tar Heel fan, and the shooting performance you had at the Maui Classic against UNC was flat out amazing!


replied to comment from Matt Link

Thanks Matt. Just trying to make a career playing, and crossfit has helped tremendously. I appreciate the support! And I love CF.


wrote …

I am jealous that I didnt have Crossfit during my high school years.


replied to comment from Matt Hill

I'm with Matt Hill on this. Where was this when I was in high school?

Makes me consider getting teaching certification so I can be a HS coach and get this type of training going in my area.


wrote …

Great video! Great to see CF spreading to more colleges! Hopefully these kids will not feel the need to take PEDs to complete at the next level...Just do CrossFit!


wrote …

I'm with @Donna. I even did my Crossfit Football cert guessed it: Tennessee Tech. Mr. Welbourn covers the performance end of Crossfit for athletes very well with his instructors at the Football cert. They cover topics such as all-out sprinting ONLY during WODs, rather than the "jog-run-shuffles" that some crossfitters call sprints. If you can't sprint all-out, you wait a few seconds. The point being that you gain more as an athlete from the rest/max-speed work then if you just grinded through at 50% speed the whole way. Made perfect sense to me.


wrote …

Thanks for the good comments, guys. Feel free to contact us with any questions. We would love to help in any way.


wrote …

Chip, would you recommend your CrossFit Cookeville programme for a rugby player in off season?


wrote …

Struan - If you mean our workouts for our affiliate - no. But the programs we will be showing on these videos would be great for rugby. We plan to show you differences we use for soccer and basketball here at TTU - those should help too.


Mike Reid wrote …

Once again great insight and explanations.


David Claiborne wrote …

Great video, but I fail to see how that is CF. That is a typical S&C workout in the college level with extra work capacity added in.

A great program that yield great results, but without the randomness of the workouts or at least the work capacity aspect of it, it is not CF.


wrote …

@david A college football player cannot do strictly crossfit as their training. what Coach Pugh highlights is the aspect of crossfit used in their programming aka the "red Zone". Also the warm ups "part of the bergener warmup" is used by many crossfitters. They do not train strictly crossfit but the crossfit element of their program is unique to this school. I havent seen many other schools doing 100 burpees for time.

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