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Theoretical Template for CrossFit's Programming by Greg Glassman - CrossFit Journal
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Coach Greg Glassman provides detailed charts for a 12-day cycle of CrossFit workouts and explains the reasoning behind the theoretical template of CrossFit programming.

At first glance the theoretical template seems to be offering a routine or regimen. This may seem at odds with our contention that workouts need considerable variance or unpredictability, if not randomness, to best mimic the unforeseeable challenges of combat, sport, and survival. We’ve often said, “What your regimen needs is to not become routine.” But the model we offer allows for wide variance of mode, exercise, metabolic pathway, rest, intensity, sets, reps, etc.

In the broadest view we see a three-day-on, one-day- off pattern. We’ve found that this allows for a relatively higher volume of high-intensity work than the many others that we’ve experimented with. The workouts are composed of three distinct modalities: metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, and weightlifting.

Metabolic conditioning (MetCon) encompasses activities commonly referred to as “cardio.” Gymnastics refer to our bodyweight exercises. Gymnastics greatly improve body control and enhance neurological components like coordination, balance, agility, and accuracy while improving functional upper body capacity and trunk strength. Weightlifting refers to control of external objects. The aim of weightlifting is primarily to increase strength, power, and hip/leg capacity. We have found the Olympic lifts and power lifting most effective to this end.

Our experience in the gym and the feedback from our athletes following the WOD have demonstrated that the mix of one, two, and three element workouts are crushing in their impact and unrivaled in bodily response. Typically our most effective workouts, like art, are remarkable in composition, symmetry, balance, theme, and character.

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6 Comments on “Theoretical Template for CrossFit's Programming”


wrote …

Thank you very much!


wrote …

This may have been the most confusing and the most useful tool I've created.

This is not how we produce the WOD, but it will produce workouts indistinguishable from those produces by or more intuitive process. Only the pattern of multiple workouts reveals the use of an algorithm.

Ideally the template would be used as training wheels to get an athlete or trainer to learn to program.


AndrewBueno wrote …

Thanks Coach

This might've been the one thing I've been trying to figure out the most in the year I've been with CrossFit

Very smart. Very right.


Ike wrote …

I'll second AndrewBueno's comment. I've been wondering about this since I started, plus looking for a way to explain it to others. Thanks!


wrote …

Great article, very helpful!

Where would you put burpees? metabolic? gymnastic?
What about a farmers walk? I think there are quite a few moves that could come into multiple categories? Just made me wonder.


wrote …

This article quite literally blew my mind with it's simplistic approach to programming. As with many effective solutions, the genius lies in the simple, straight-forward approach. The article may be 8 years old now but it's just as pertinent as ever!

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