Your Programme

22nd April 2018


CrossFit Nottingham has applied several programmes and programmers over the last 6 years, some internal and some external. There is a recent change of programmers back to myself (Head Coach, Andy Ward), as of April 1st.

For this reason I thought I would provide you with some information on the CFN programming going forward, allowing you to apply yourselves a little more to your training, and benefit from the knowledge.

Back in 2013 when CFN last went to Regionals, we had a somewhat unique way of programming, it feared and revered by CrossFit gyms up and down the country, and it worked. It built some great athletes, and incorporated everything that an athlete would need to reach the highest levels of fitness. And was scalable to accommodate the newcomer to fitness. Not that different from Greg Glassman’s original vision I know, but we did take a few turns along the way and separate our higher athletes from class programming. Well its going back, it was not broken so I’m really not sure we tried to fix it, caught up in the rat race of programing maybe, either way we are going back to basics.

The Program  

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays will be heavy loading with various durations, delivery methods and styles of WODs, one of these days may fall back to moderate loading if we have exhausted / covered all the main lifting moves with enough KGs lifted to improve strength.

Heavy loading is relative, and athletes should listen and follow the WOD brief carefully to ensure their body is getting the correct stimulation.

The WODs will retain the Rx and Comp theme, these are aimed at stimulating strength gains, and challenging the top level athletes within the gym. When I write the Comp WODs I think of the very best individual in the box at that specific workout, which may not be you!! But it may be you another day, so bend and flex to make the time caps… not the loads.

Wednesdays will be a deload – this always means nothing over 60 / 40Rx and 70/50comp… if your not hitting Rx or Comp loads regular then you must back off the loads during deload day, otherwise you will simply overload the central nervous system (CNS) and this is what we MUST avoid at all costs. If you are regularly hitting WODs at 50% of the comp/Rx loads then your deload day should mirror this scale also, 70kg becomes 35 / 40kg in order to fully deload.

Every 4th week will see a complete deload week, this is where we will recover from moving such loads around, and top up our shorter range metabolic conditioning, that’s not to say you wont be working metabolic pathways during the heavy days, but we need to adjust back to moving lighter loads faster.

Each week is pretty much self contained, that being it delivers everything within the week, all of your movements, all of your loading and all of your METCON, the latter requiring the 4th week deload to keep it at high levels. Occasionally there may be one or two movements either missing or low in numbers, this is acceptable and many movements transfer into others, that being said they will be picked up in the following weeks, to even out the month.

The program is a general one; this means it is not tailored to individuals, however by the fact that it covers everything, most bases are safe. I am also yet to see an “individual” program that does not need adjustment by an individual or external coach to the program author!


Competitive Athletes

I am aware that there are several athletes within the gym that follow their own external programs which serve them well, this information is not intended to bring them onto the CFN program, rather provide them with a broader understanding of our program methodology and programming in general, should they ever decide to hit the class WODs.

That being said I do believe performing the same workouts within competitive groups will add to performance considerably, and if we can all get over the fact that we WILL lose a few days a week, I reckon it could make us fitter, stronger, faster… which lets face it is the name of the game.

I have done the math on many programs on the market, when I say math, I mean calculated the tonnes lifted in the various lifts, numbers of body weight movements executed, kilometers run, rowed etc, and numbers and variation of WODs performed, I have calculated this over days and weeks. What I see a lot of is split sessions of lifting and WODs, either in a single session or over 2 sessions, and not a lot of moving load around in WODs. This can lead to some long sessions in the gym, sometimes… dare I say monotonous programming, and a lack of ability to move near maximal loads around under cardiovascular duress.

That’s not to say its wrong, in fact it may work better for some professional athletes who can hit split training, who can refuel and rest properly between multiple sessions. But lets face it that’s not the case for 99% of us.

I believe that the CFN program will move more / similar loads around in WODs than stand alone lifting (math done, see tables), incorporate all the gymnastics movements, and work all the metabolic pathways that our sport requires to be on point. It will also be done within the hour, as the lifting is done generally within WODs, which cuts down on time drastically.


The Maths

I have taken Monday 2nd April 2018 and Tuesday 3rd April 2018 WODs, and broken them down into separate modalities in places and made them look like some of the more familiar athlete programs we see today. We can see multiple observations by doing this.

1. The CFN WODs on a daily basis will almost always lift more total load than traditional lifting. Look at the loads you would have to move as a male and female to match the CFN WOD…. its not possible! Its not like we are a million miles away from the classic strength training rep schemes, we are still well within strength building territory.

EG 5 x 5 back squat at 100kg = 2500kg, I don’t program 125 front squats @ 20kg which also happen to equal 2500kg, this is not stimulating the muscle in a similar way

We may however complete 10 rounds of 10 reps @ 80kg which totals us at 8000kgs, still well with strength building ranges, only vastly more load.

2. You learn to lift near maximal loads within workouts, under fatigue. Does this then allow you to lift greater loads when not fatigued? Yes. Does segmenting your heavy loading train you for lifting under fatigue?

3. Time spent working is reduced, this means more time resting & refueling. If you were to hit the CFN program in its segmented form, it would take at least 1 ½  / 2 hours in the gym, still leaving you well under the tonnage lifted during the WOD hour. Does the 2 hr program make it better, or are you a more committed athlete?

So there you have the maths clearly laid out.

The main reason that I have done this is to halt as much additional work as possible, your CNS is on the limit, trust me.

The placebo effect in the current climate of longer duration training sessions CAN be that you need to do more than an hour, trust me with this program you don’t, and your body will not thank you for it. Take the following advice and understand that if you broke the work down into smaller chunks, as per the tables, you would be knocking on the door a 1 1/2 / 2 hrs of hard slog with less overall loads lifted.


My advice for athletes training to be the very best they can be is one of two approaches.


1. Hit 5 days straight, deloading in the middle. Over the weekend ideally resting. You can hit a row, run, AB, ski interval and if you feel you need to hit some movement work, E.G C2B, MUs, pistols AND you have not seen the numbers you need to in the WODs to bring these areas forward, add a few into your weekend, this should be 1 hr maximum and ideally Sunday morning.

2. Take Thursday as a rest day, then pick up Thursday and Fridays WODs on Friday and Saturday. You will be able to hit Fridays WODs on that day, then Thursdays on Saturday no problem.

3. Comp athletes will need to keep on top of a couple of movements that will rarely feature due to numbers in classes:

    • Row / ski distances – These can be picked up on your weekend interval
    • Rope climbs – once every 2/3 of weeks in the WODs, advise to increase rope climb volume a little 2 weeks out from a comp
    • Bench – Keep on top of heavy bench, you will horizontal press via push ups, but not much heavy load – Advise a 5 x 5 every 10 days


Weekend WODs are not part of the program as such, you need two full rest days each week, or at least 1 rest and the other a short interval / goats day if you are hitting 5 days of the CFN program.

I hope that is all good info, regardless of whether you hit the class WODs or not, it should give you a good idea of what’s going on the program

Any questions or comments please give me a shout, and either way enjoy your training!


Andy Ward

Head Coach


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