Fran isn’t CrossFit

Posted: September 21, 2013 by ollyoz in Uncategorized

After the title hopefully grabbed your attention, I’ll explain.

Something that I’ve been meaning to talk about for a long time reared its head this week and prompted me to finally write.

CrossFit isn’t “doing Fran”. CrossFit isn’t smashing back to back Hero WODs. You can’t do a set of 100 Tyre Flips for time and tell people that you “Do CrossFit”. What you’ve done are circuits of exercises, that’s all.

CrossFit is the principles and template behind the programme. CrossFit is the understanding of the guiding principle of, “Increased Capacity over Broad Time and Modal Domains” by utilising “Constantly Varied Functional Movements, Executed at High Intensity”.

Taking a few WODs from the mainsite and then making your own by throwing together random movements is, at worst, dangerous while at best will certainly miss out on specific facets of fitness. This is not CrossFit, it is random circuits with no defined outcome.

In order to meet all ten aspects of fitness, programming is actually pretty specific and well-templated.
By breaking down the types of exercises in to monostructural (running, swimming, rowing, cycling), gymnastics (handstands, ring work, kipping movements, etc) and weight lifting (olympic lifts, variations thereof, kettlebells and “strict” bodyweight work), we can couple it to the 3 primary metabolic pathways (creatine/phosphate / glycolytic and oxidative) in order to generate a programme that provides competence across all “time and modal domains”. This is why some WODs may be only 3 minutes long and all out lung-buster (Creatine/Phosphagen – “Power” pathway) while others may take 15-20mins (oxidative – Aerobic pathway). None of it is random.

As CF Keelhaul, we run a template that blends everything mentioned above over a 4 week rotation of 5-days on, 2-days off. This is more out of necessity than desire due to working hours and availability.
As mentioned above, we breakdown the movements in to Monostructural (M), Gymnastic (G) and Weightlifting (W). We then look at the timing with Short (S), Long (L) and Heavy (H).
Your ‘shorts’ will be the 21-15-9 or the Tabatas. The Long could be 5 RFT or a long Chipper. The Heavies are the couplets of big lifts for max or high percentages of your max.

So the template might look like:

Mon – S G
Tue – L GM
Wed – H GMW
Thu – S M
Fri – L MW

Mon – H MWG
Tue – S W
Wed – L WG
Thu – H WGM
Fri – S G

The emphasis of each workout is on the first modality on the list but this simple template ensures all modalities and metabolic pathways are attacked. You can quickly see, however, that after 9 days, you return to the beginning once more. At CF Keelhaul, we adjust the timing rotation in order to “spread the jam” over 4 weeks before a repeat.

Of course, just because the style of the workout repeats every 9 / 28 days it doesn’t mean that the workout itself does. By having an extensive list of movements in each modality list means that you are always, “Constantly Varied”.

Essentially, I want to just end by saying that just because you did Fran this morning and you fancy seeing what’s on the mainsite next Saturday, that doesn’t mean you ‘do CrossFit’. CrossFit comes from an understanding of what we are trying to achieve. It really does mean that you need to come along at least 3-4 days a week in order to meet the objectives of the programme too. One day a week ain’t gonna cut it.


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