Tiered Programming Explanation

Over the course of the last 6 months or so, Frank, Sam and I have deliberated regularly about how to incorporate a programming system that best fits the unique requirements of each of our athletes. Our programming style has always been one if our biggest strengths – it has produced enviable results and a continuous improvement in skills and performance from our members.


However, as we’ve grown in size, the requirements of our membership base have become more varied and far reaching. We have a hugely varied demographic in our box from competitive athletes to those just looking to exercise with some regularity. The old adage of everyone’s needs differing by “degree, not kind” only holds partly true after the evolution of CrossFit over the last few years. As a coaching group we determined that our programming could be adapted to better meet the needs of a group of three “avatars” that we created. We created a profile for each of the following type of athletes:

1. Competition – those whose primary training consideration is the enhancement of their performance in the sport of CrossFit.

2. Performance – those whose primary training consideration is to improve their skills to the height of their potential and to constantly redefine the threshold of their conditioning.

3. Fitness – those whose primary training consideration is to learn and improve basic mechanics, perform these more consistently well and to add the appropriate intensity when ready.

The above descriptions provide a basic method of interpreting which profile best fits you as an athlete. Remember that this can change from day to day based on the movements and stimulus being challenged during class.


A few key rules to remember for each:

Competition – under no circumstances can these workouts be scaled; just because you CAN do the competition workout, doesn’t mean you SHOULD! Remember that the desired stimulus is what’s important, not grinding through a workout with no regard for quality of performance! We believe that for example, an athletes “Fran” time will improve with a measured approach that prepares the athlete best for the stimulus and time domain, not necessarily the weight. In other words, get comfortable feeling like crap in a 3 to 5 minute time domain using a sub maximal weight and get stronger during your strength sessions so that you can eventually use the prescribed weight.

Performance – you can scale if you are only scaling 25-30% of the workout. For example, if the workout contains KB Swings, Box Jumps and HSPU, but you struggle with HSPU, you can scale these. However if you needed to scale HSPU and KB Swings, you would be better served completing the Fitness workout. There is no “up scaling”. If you wish to challenge yourself further, try the Competition workout!

Fitness – this can be scaled as necessary. The important thing to remember here is the time domain. If the workout is designed to last 8 minutes, make sure that the workout will push you to work for this duration. This is the only level of the program that can be “up scaled” – discuss this with your Coach first and the final decision is at their discretion.

The goal of this new programming style is multi faceted, but here is a brief rundown of the long term objectives:

1. Improve adherence

2. Provide more tangible and logical lines of progression for athletes.

3. Enhanced performance.

4. Injury prevention.

5. An improved understanding of how and when to scale.

In summary, it’s really important to us that our athletes understand that we are not trying to limit them by their weaknesses. Quite the opposite in fact. Yes, we are probably going to provide a platform that more explicitly exposes where an athlete needs extra work, but this ties in well with our new “Success Program.”

Our “Success Program” is a free initiative that pairs every one of our members with a Success Coach. The Success Coach will be responsible for regular accountability check ins, goal setting sessions and baseline retesting. We also recommend the use of our Open Gym times and at least two private coaching sessions every year to help drill down on the limitations of each athlete.

So much more is coming including a dedicated Barbell Club with a program designed for those competing in Powerlifting and Weightlifting, an extended Fundamentals Program for all new members and a High Performance Program for the top 6 males & females from Carnage In Coburg this year! Thanks for being awesome and any questions are always welcome.