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Old 07-20-2011, 04:03 PM   #1
Kane Greene
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Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

I've always been intrigued by WestSide barbell and their methods used for Strength Training. I read everything I could find online by Louie, read his book, and checked out the journal articles about WestSide + CrossFit.

As an affiliate owner I spend a lot of time researching anything I can find on ways to improve programming for my clients. I always test things out on myself before attempting to make others do it. I decided to play around with some of the WestSide ideas mixed with CrossFit.

I'm a firm believer that Strength is the most important(and fun) aspect of fitness. I've always seen myself improve faster in everything else when I put a large emphasis on strength work, whether it be with a barbell or gymnastic movements.

I decided it was time I try to cycle some of Louie's methods into my training. I found they work, and they work extremely well. I'll use my squat and deadlift numbers for an example.

In the year leading up to my experiment I took my back squat from 355 to 370. My deadlift went from 385-405. My bodyweight is 170-175. Doing a ME Upper and Lower day once a week, and a DE upper and lower day once a week for NINE WEEKS my squat went from 370 to 405 and my deadlift went from 405 to 425. I jumped more in 9 weeks than I had in the previous year.

This is also with little to no impact on my conditioning. I kept my bodyweight pretty consistent between 170-175. I have been doing CrossFit for over 5 years, and really enjoy it, so losing my work capacity isn't really what I'm trying to do. (Fran - 2.57, Grace- 1.47, Isabel - 2.02, Helen - 8.06, Murph - 39.22, D.T. 8.30)

We offer a strength program in addition the WODs at my affiliate that run M, T, Th, and F. There are two separate levels (L1, L2). Our level 1 program is based off of a linear progression, almost identical to what you would see on CrossFit Football. Our level 2 program is going to switch to a WestSide based system after August 5th. I usually recommend you start with L1 for anywhere from 3-9 months depending on where you are starting from before switching to level 2.

Our program strength program was working very well before, but I think this will be better. I have 6 people that have been at my affiliate for 12-15 months who have followed our strength programming and all added a minimum of Squat +80lbs, deadlift +100lbs, bench +60lbs, Power Clean +65lbs(that includes women). Some gaining as much as 120lbs on squat and 150lbs on deadlift. I have a M/26/165lbs that started with a 300lb deadlift last July and just pulled 445 for an easy triple two week ago. I imagine he will be pulling 520-540 by spring for a single. I have a female at a bodyweight of 140 that now squats 250, deadlifts I believe 315, C&J 165. She started WAYYYY below that a year ago.

If you are a runner, you don't need to be scared of a strength program either. I had an experienced marathon runner follow our level 1 program this past winter. She missed little to no days of training. By experienced I mean 30 + sub 4hour marathons in more than 25 states. She coupled our program with half of the normal miles she uses to prepare for the run season. She started in the spring with a 7 mile race she had done the previous year, cutting a minute a mile off of her past time. She PR'd on her first marathon of the year as well. Last but not least she took her 5RM deadlift from 85lbs to 200lbs, and 3 x 5 squat from 65lbs to 155lbs at a bodyweight of about 110-112lbs. She also gained the ability to do about 5 STRICT pull ups and a 26" box jump. We found with the large amount of running in addition to the program though lead to a need to take some extra rest days from the strength programming from time to time. She did had to skip the Strength WOD(still completing the regular WOD) for an entire week probably once ever month to month and a half to allow adequate recovery and to keep making progress in her strength and endurance. For her taking time off of running was not even remotely an option to consider.

So let me get to the point. I don't post here much, but do lurk from time to time. I see a LOT of threads on here with people looking for ways to get stronger, most of those want to do so without stopping WODs, or something along those lines. I would like to invite you to try my programming starting on Friday -- August 5th.

The reason for August 5th is we will be doing a CrossFit Football Total. Which is Max Power Clean, Max Squat, Max Bench Press and Max Deadlift. This is a must because a lot of the program is going to be percentage based, and the goal isn't to work off of hypothetical maxes. Sometime between now and then you will need to find your max snatch, max press, and max weighted pull up because we'll be using those percentages as well.

I'm looking to see how our level 2 strength program post-August 5th will effect your strength and conditioning. If you are interested, you will need to do our Strength + workout of the day.

The workouts will be posted daily on (W/F/S). The Workout of the Day is listed first, and Strength underneath. You will need to do the Strength BEFORE the Workout of the Day. It will be M, T, Th, and F. The workouts on W and Sat are optional. They are really separate from the program and are longer WODs geared more towards aerobic capacity. The folks at my gym that follow the strength + wod take Wednesdays off, or come in and work on mobility. We do an hour of mobility work on Wednesday nights. Most end up doing Saturday to work on their endurance, it's optional though.

I'd really like you to give this a try. I'd really like to see what happens from a larger variety of people of different backgrounds and strength bases, that and hopefully I can help the community by offering a program that seems to be the answer for what a lot of you are looking for.

Chris Mason, once this starts I would be really really grateful if you would check on it from time to time and let me know what you think. I know you are a huge supporter of the WestSide methods, and I'd love some of your input if you are willing to give it.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them here. You can also shoot me an email at or give me a call at (907) 750 6074.

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Old 07-20-2011, 04:53 PM   #2
Paulo Santos
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

That's great. I've been doing the Conjugate CrossFit for a few months and it has worked for me. Just wondering why you didn't choose Conjugate CrossFit for your Level 1?
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
Kane Greene
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

I picked a linear progression for the level one for a variety of reasons.

Most of the clients I work with are not from an athletic background and don't even know what a barbell is. Around 60% walk through the door with the impression that a squat is either just bending the knees, our crouching down into a deep kneeling position with the heels about 6 inches off of the floor.

I find it easier to teach technique and proper execution of heavy lifts with the linear progression vs. max effort. From my experience most people have no idea what it feels like to do actual strength training, even those with a bodybuilding background. When forcing someone to add 5#'s to a squat every squat day it allows them to build into it. I think most confuse moderate or moderately heavy with HEAVY.

Usually about 2-3 weeks in they want to add an extra 20lbs instead of 5 because it is starting to sink in that the weight really isn't heavy, it's just moderate or moderately heavy. They realize the weight they are doing 5's with could really be a 10 or 15RM. All the while they don't realize they are developing the motor pattern required to do the lifts properly.

I usually like to encourage women to pursue strength training. Most women start out with extremely low levels of strength in relation to their bodyweight. It still blows my mind how women will come in with an appearance of being athletic, only for them to tell me that the 45lb bar is EXTREMELY HEAVY.

I would have a hard time selling isolation or single joint movements to a lot of gals when first arriving. I live in a strong running community, the idea of convincing a woman to do tricep pull downs or JM presses after maxing out on a form of bench press brings images of hormone induced women on the cover of bodybuilding magazines vs the idea of doing a heavy 3 x 5 press gives them the idea that putting something heavy on the shelf will be a lot easier. After sticking around for a while and seeing that heavy strength training produces the most phenomenal female physiques in their fellow CrossFitters, they are more open to the idea.

So in short, I find it easier to teach the lifts and develop a strong base in the squat, deadlift, press, bench, and power clean for a few months before moving onto a conjugate based program. They will still achieve a lot of strength gains, so it's not an issue of shorting them on the program. All of the people I listed with 100+ on their squats in a year spent between 3-5 months doing my level 1 program before advancing onto level 2.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:11 PM   #4
David Meverden
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

Sounds interesting. Some questions:

-It sounds like there is a WoD every strength day. Is this a conventional conditioning WoD? Most conjugate programs have at least ME days with no conditioning component. Is the WoD intended to function as assistance work?

-Do people do the strength and WoD in the same session, or is it ideally split up throughout the day?

-For your own gains have you measured your progress in any ways besides 1 RM? Are your 5 RM, 10 RM, grace time, or others measurements improving as well?

Thanks. I'll keep an eye on the program and may jump into the experiment in the future.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:24 PM   #5
Chris Mason
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

Kane, sounds really good. I will be happy to check it out. Just email me links at
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
Kane Greene
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th


There will always be Strenth and WOD. The WOD may not always be like a "normal" CrossFit WOD. I program the WOD around the Strength, so it always will support the Strength workout.

We rarely do Strength in a class setting. I have tried it and never liked it. The problem with it is it always seems like someone feels rushed, and someone is standing there bored. It'd be great if ALL new folks or all advanced showed up at the same time, but that's a pretty rare occasion. I'll just use 5 x 5 squat for example. You have a girl that's in week two of strength training, and a guy who has a 2 x bodyweight squat and then throw everyone in between. The girl with the 55lb 5 x 5 is going to blow through those sets with very minimal rest. The guy is going to need every last second of rest he can fit in to be able to complete the sets. So you are left with this guy feeling like a ********* for holding up everyone else, and the girl waiting around for 20 minute before we move on.

So my solution is to direct people to come early for Strength work. I base all of my class times around the WOD. If you want to come to my 5.15 class, I open at 4:30 so people will have time to warm up, do their work, and be ready to jump into the class. We still coach and help with anything they need, but it eliminates that awkwardness that always arises out of mixed level group strength training. That and it can be a lot to tackle right after joining the facility. I encourage people to start with either one or the other until their body adjusts.

Unfortunately I didn't do any named WODs or workouts at the beginning to repeat at the end. I know if I'm doing my strength and conditioning right, I'm improving. I just go by how I feel. I can usually look at a workout and guesstimate(with pretty good accuracy) what my time will be before I do it. It's fun to try sometimes. I remember someone came in talking about the 300 workout and how it was ridiculous. I told him I don't see how it could take longer than 16-17 minutes. My time was like 16.10 or something. I haven't done any of the girls in quite a while(fran- 2008). I don't ever really use weights that light. I don't think it's worth it for me to waste a training day on it. I know if I can do 135lb thrusters for 20+ consecutive reps, then I imagine if I were to do Fran that 95lbs would feel like a toothpick. I would say with little doubt that my Fran of 2.57 in 2008 would probably be closer to 2.15-2.25 just because the weight will be moving significantly faster and I didn't know how to do a butterfly kip then.

I just had surgery a week ago, so I have a ton of free time on my hands. haha. Usually I wouldn't spend this much time on a computer or forum.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:03 PM   #7
Michael Perolio
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

Sounds awesome!

Could you post just a week of training on here?
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:52 AM   #8
Alix James
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

Looks interesting Kane.

We ran some strength programming daily since we opened for the very same reasons you mentioned, whilst class sizes were small but as people started to need more time/different rep schemes etc it was more difficult to incorporate.

We are cycling 6 weeks of a more traditional CrossFit programming at the moment with a weekly skill to brush up peoples skill set and their work capacity and looking at ways to implement the strength in the future.

The idea of having people arrive 'early' and take some responsibility for their strength training under supervision is something I have thought about but have thought of several pitfalls to this in our situation. Interested to see how it worked out for you.

I had drawn up a plan for a 'group warmup + conditioning workout' to start at half past each hour and allow a before and after window for strength/mobility, always little nuances with populations etc that cause issues though.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:57 AM   #9
Kane Greene
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th


I read over your post again. I forgot to mention I did see an improvement in a 15RM squat. I did it as an accessory exercise on ME day. My previous best was 275, and I ended up getting 300 for 15 reps. So that was an improvement. I must say doing a 15RM back squat is about the most miserable thing in the world.

Also a workout I did that I was extremely impressed with was the CrossFit Football WOD "Religion" It is:

5 Rounds:
Max Reps Back Squat at bodyweight or you can scale up to 225(which I did)
7 Burpee Box Jumps, 20"

This is probably one of the most painful workouts. I did 44 reps with 225 the first round. Now I will say I don't think I made it past 11 reps on the following 4 rounds, lol. I think I was walking a little funny for about 5 days following. I wish I had done it pre-conjugate style strength cycle but I can say I with little doubt that I would have been about 15 reps shy of that had I done it before I played with this stuff.

You can also split the SWOD and WOD up if you'd like. I have a guy that's been with me for a little over a year. He's 50 years old, about 6'3", with the frame that you would expect from a marathon runner. He comes in to my lunchtime class and does the Strength Work coupled with some extra skill work, then comes back at my 7.15 class to do the WOD. He started with a 5RM deadlift of 205. He just pulled 335 for 3 reps 2 weeks ago. I love it when we get 20 something year old that's spent a ton of time on hypertrophy work and has the appearance of "Strong", only to get outlifted by a 50 year old that looks like he should be standing on the podium of an ultra marathon.


Yes it is very very hard to do group strength training with mixed groups. I've tried it multiple ways. I started with trying to do 2 days a week with strength work, followed by a short metcon.

That worked well but everyone would always ask me how I did on the workouts. I felt bad by saying I didn't do it and that I trained a little differently. I realized there were a lot of people that were willing to put in the extra work. I felt like I was shorting people on their training by having them do a program that I wasn't following myself.

I've always thought that if it's not good enough for me, then it's not fair to push it on others. If people are willing to put in the extra work and train hard, then I'm willing to give them a program to suit their needs.

Then I quickly realized it was a nightmare to try to have a real strength program and WOD in a 60 minute class. Some people were all about it, others are drawn to the appeal that you can warm up, learn a skill, cool down, and stretch in 45 minutes. They just don't have the time or don't want to put the time required to do it. That and some people were past their potential on the level 1 program, requiring a more complex method... which definitely doesn't fit into a 60 minute class. You can't forge elite fitness, or elite anything by working on it for 10-20 minutes a day.

That's when I arrived at the come early method. We've been doing it for quite a while and it works extremely well. I think one of the keys to doing it is to push people to work together. If there are 3 males following the level 1 or 2 program and they show up at the same time, we have them work together instead of all taking their own bars. It keeps that competitiveness, allows more eyes to be on the lifter, and builds stronger ties between members.

The other big plus is that you can work it to an individual clients goals. Depending on how many days they come a week, their fitness goals, etc.. we recommend certain strength days a week. Some people aren't going to come 4 days a week, or can't handle the volume of 4 SWODs and 4 WODs on top of it. So for some, they do 3 WODs with 2 of them having SWODs before hand. Some come 4 days and do 2 WODs and 2 SWODs, only doing one a day. We just explain that for our level one that Monday and Thursday are Push Days and Tuesday and Friday are Pull, and that there needs to be a balance between the two.

Something I've found to improve skills is monthly challenges. Every month we have some sort of challenge that is designed to improve one's ability in 30 days. Some examples have been double under challenge, and walking on hands. Usually after the warm up we will dedicate like 5-10 minutes to skill work. I usually pick something that everyone wants to do, but won't put the time in on their own to improve. It works really well.

If you would be interested in giving this a try with your members, every week I'll email you the SWOD/WOD plan so you'll know if you need to make any substitutions due to space, equipment, etc... That goes to any other affiliate owner that would be willing to give this cycle a try.

It will look like

Mon- Push
Tue- Pull
Wed - Rest or Mobility or Longer Conditioning WOD
Thur- Push
Fri- Pull
Sat- Rest or longer conditioning WOD

Mon- DE upper / WOD
Tues- ME L/ WOD
Wed- Rest or Mobility or longer conditioning WOD
Thur- ME upper/ WOD
Fri- DE Lower/ WOD
Sat- Rest or longer conditioning WOD

The WODs will accommodate both L1 and L2.


I won't be posting all of the workouts in advance on here. Just check the website, (W/F/S). I usually update it between 8-9 p.m. Alaskan Standard Time. We are four hours back from east coast. Someone already emailed and said they would be following a week behind to cover some of the issues mentioned.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:50 PM   #10
Ian Nigh
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Re: Try this Strength + CrossFit Programming... Starting on August 5th

I'd be happy to try the programming with a group at our affiliate, you can email me the weekly programs to ian (at) rockcreekcroosfit (dot) com
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