Maximizing Your CrossFit Potential: Training Strategies for Competition Success

Event Prep Cycle

The absolute main difference you will see in an event prep cycle is that there are more workouts or conditioning pieces that look and feel like event style workouts. I know this sounds obvious but what does that really mean? If you have been following the sport of Crossfit for a while you should understand that there are major differences between the Crossfit Open, Quarterfinals, online qualifiers, and in-person competitions. Below we’re going to highlight some of the major differences between regular training and event preparation and how our training program incorporates these elements to make sure you are more prepared to compete!

Weekly volume is adjusted to simulate the fatigue and demands of 2-3 day competition.

Anybody who has signed up for and completed the Open knows the demands and intensities of Open workouts can be incredibly high, in fact these may be some of the hardest workouts you do all year, but the demands of competing at an in-person event that lasts 2-3 days can be cumulatively so much higher. It is not uncommon for the overall amount of repetitions performed over the course of a 3 day event like semi-finals to t total an entire week’s worth of training. When you add that with the fact that this is normally condensed into a short time period with less than adequate rest between workouts, you start to understand why training for this volume is necessary. A good event prep cycle should factor this in and get you accustomed to a large amount of volume in short time frames and this is exactly what our event prep is designed to do.

Different Implementations and Equipment

The limitations of online events and qualifiers become extremely evident the more you compete. Even though Crossfit has added new movements and expanded their equipment list somewhat, they are still limited because the ultimate goal is to be inclusive and allow the maximum number of people to compete. As you get to in-person competitions these limitations are gone and you truly have to prepare for the unknown. A run of any distance could show up in the programming, there could be sandbags, pegboards, or yoke carries. The possibilities become much more varied and any good event prep should prepare you for this by including plenty of odd objects, like sandbags, d-balls, yokes, carries, etc.. Our programming team has worked as program directors for large International Crossfit competitions like Wodapalooza and Granite Games and because of this experience, our Event prep cycle can provide a good preparation for any event you sign up for.

Bikes, Ski Ergs, Runners in Training

If you’ve been training Crossfit at any level, I’m sure you’ve used cardio machines or ergs in plenty of workouts, so these shouldn’t be new to you. However, the way in which these modalities are programmed leading up to an event should somewhat change. It is common to hear people talk about “building an engine” in Crossfit and when they do, they are usually referring to doing more aerobic work on machines. Now, we are big believers in maintaining some aerobic capacity work in training year-round, but that should be a very small amount of the total time you spend on these machines. Research shows that aerobic fitness can be maintained for a large amount of time with very minimal doses of aerobic training, so it should not comprise the bulk of your training right now. As you prepare for events, it’s important to become more efficient at producing high power outputs on these machines as well as using them to improve localized endurance so you don’t “blow up” during workouts. Pairing rowing workouts with other grip intensive movements often in training is a specific example of how you can use ergs for this.

More practice with unconventional time domains and modalities.

In-person events are where it’s possible to see much longer and much shorter time domains in workouts or tests. While most Open workouts will live in a 7-15:00 minute time frame it’s very common to see In-person events have sprint workouts that can be sub 3:00 minutes and truly be tests of your anaerobic system. On the other hand, we’ve seen in-person events with workouts that are 30+ minutes. It’s important to consider this in training and make sure you’re prepared for both.

Battery Work

Most training programs do a good job of training your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, but when preparing for an event or in-person competition we believe extra focus needs to be placed on training your CP (Creatine Phosphate) energy system or what we call “Battery” training. The CP energy system is responsible for short bursts of high-intensity activity, such as performing snatches or cleans repeatedly, or really doing anything that requires repeated high energy outputs in really short bursts. This is something that needs to be trained frequently leading up to events and not something that can just be addressed by getting stronger. We all know the feeling of having to do multiple heavy clean and jerks in a workout and feeling like we have nothing left to keep pulling with. Battery work in our event prep cycle is designed, not only to get you stronger, but to make you more repeatable with heavier weights.

Sport Specific Gymnastic Focus

Leading up to an event, your training should become much more “specific” or honed in to what you know you will see; this is especially true with gymnastics. Now, we can’t know for sure what Crossfit will throw at us at Semifinals or what an in-person event director will come up with, but we know there are higher skill gymnastics we don’t necessarily practice year round that should be emphasized leading up to events like these. Things like high repetition ring muscle-ups, paralette work, handstand ramps, and so on. Over the last 10 years we’ve seen a wide range of high skill gymnastics in competitions and it’s important these things get some practice when preparing for events, and that’s exactly what our event prep cycle.