What’s Michael been up to in the gym

by Mike · 2 comments

For the past month I’ve been doing a little extra at the gym.  A few people have asked me what I’m up to, so I figured I would post a little update on the Crossfit Football programming that I’ve been doing for about one month.  The program was created by John Welbourn and Raphael Ruiz for athletes of all ages and all levels.

When I started doing Crossfit last summer, I was definitely out of shape and was just happy with any of the progress I could make to lose weight, get stronger, whatever.  Things seemed easy enough, I just showed up, worked hard and got stronger, faster, etc.  I kept a spreadsheet of all of my PRs and every day I was putting in a new entry.

But then I reached a point after a few months where I wasn’t getting stronger in my lifts.  My conditioning was still getting better but I was concerned about the plateaus.  It was around this time that Jason started doing a 5/3/1 class at the gym a couple nights a week.  I liked the idea of regularly performing the major lifts every week, but after one cycle thru the 5/3/1 program, the holidays came, a few weeks of vacation, and the 5/3/1 program went bye bye.  It was around this time that I started researching Crossfit Football.  As it states on their web site:

CrossFit Football is a strength and conditioning program designed for football players and participants in contact sports.

What I like about the program is it’s focus on strength, in addition to speed and conditioning.  To be more specific, I’m squatting (at least) twice per week.  I’m deadlifting every week, pressing every week, doing cleans every week.  And so far I am benefiting from that regularity.  I really wish I was doing a program like this when I was younger and playing hockey.

At the beginning of March, when I started the program, my 1 rep max back squat was 245 and I was doing sets of 5 at 215.  Four weeks later, I’m doing sets of 5 at 265.  I almost got 305×1 on Monday.  All my lifts have increased similarly.

Shoulder press from 115×5 to 130×5.

Deadlifts 275×5 to 315×5.  UPDATE: Just yesterday I DL’d 365×1.

Once my back recovers to a point where I can lift again, I’m going to be transitioning from the amateur  program to the collegiate program of Crossfit Football.  For those unfamiliar with Crossfit Football programming, there are three levels directed at three different levels of athletes.  The amateur level is designed for beginners and intermediates who can benefit from a four day per week linear progression program.  While the program works well for high school and college students, it also works well for full-time employed adults because of it’s schedule.

Lift Monday and Tuesday, take off Wednesday, lift Thursday and Friday, off weekends. Repeat.

That’s pretty simple.  I usually come into the gym on Saturdays as well.  Sometimes I just mobilize, a few times I’ve worked on speed or front squats.  Which leads me to the next level of Crossfit Football, Collegiate.  This is a more complex program, that involves working out 5-6 days per week and repeats every three weeks.  It’s designed for athletes that have plateaud on the linear progression (meaning they can no longer do all the prescribed reps while continuing to increase the weight every week.)

Now you may be wondering with all of this lifting, where are the metcon workouts?  They are here too.  Much like “regular” Crossfit workouts, Crossfit Football WODs are often couplets and triplets of moves like kettlebell swings, box jumps, squats, etc.  But you aren’t likely to see longer workout elements like running a mile, or rowing over 500m.  A lot of CFFB WODs contain sprints, which you won’t see that often in crossfit.  As I learned at the cert., if it doesn’t make you stronger or faster, you won’t find it in a Crossfit Football WOD.  Here is an example:

For time:

150 Push Ups

*Everytime you stop and rest with your chest on the ground this constitutes a penalty. If a penalty is counted, you must immediately sprint 40 yards. Once the penalty is completed continue with the push ups.

and also

Complete 5 rounds for time of:

3 Deadlifts 315 lbs
5 Handstand Push Ups
Sprint 50 meters

Now that my back is feeling better, I’ll be picking up again on Monday.  This post has gone on pretty long, and it could go a lot further.  Got any questions let me know at the gym or in the comments.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Miles April 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Where are you doing this?

Anonymous April 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Oh yeah, I totally forgot to include those details huh. I’ve been doing this at Crossfit Santa Clara. I’ve been timing things so that I can get all of the strength work done before the 5:30 class starts. Then I usually join the 5:30 class for warm ups, and depending on the WOD I may do the CFSC WOD or I may do the CF Football WOD.

Lately a lot of the WODs that Jason has been programming are CF Football compatible so I’ve just been going with those.

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