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View Full Version : How would you train an athlete to win the CF games?


Isaia Souza
10-19-2008, 04:36 PM
Alright hypothetical question: How would you train a young, highly motived athlete who has nothing but free time in which to eat, train and sleep to win next years Crossfit Games?

I'll throw out some basic (kind of random) stats for him:

M/16/5'8/137
Deadlift 265
Squat 225
Snatch 135
C&J 155
40+ Kipping pullups
5k 18ish minutes

Obviously strength is going to need a lot of work if next years games are going to be similar to this last one (those clean and jerks were nasty). But assuming diet and sleep (dialed in Paleo and 9-10 hours of sleep a night) are solid, how would you go about programing his training? M.E.B.B. comes to mind along Gants hybrid program but I'm curious to see what programs you'd choose along with what exercises you would put emphasis on.

Thanks in advance for the replies,

Isaia

*note
I'm not asking about the odds of the trainee actually winning (slim to none if you ask me, unless all the beasts decide to stay home that is ^^) , just how you would train him.

**EDIT**

I realize now that my post could be taken as a little arrogant. I didn't mean to say that I thought I could train for a year and come in and win the games. The amount of time and effort put in by the previous winners is tremendous and I would never purposefully disrespect that or the athletes. I was just looking for some thoughts on a basic outline for training someone who would like to get to a level of fitness where it would be possible for him to compete in the games. If you read my post and didn't think it was disrespectful that's wonderful but I'd still prefer that I leave this section in just in case.

George Mounce
10-19-2008, 05:14 PM
We really would need to see the new games format to answer you in the best possible manner (if it has been released, I apologize, couldn't find it on the site). My guess is it is held by CrossFit HQ, therefore it will have CrossFit style events. My other guess is they won't be so standard at all next year.

You'd need to qualify, so you'd need to know what the qualification requirements are.

Goals are the key, so is realism. 16 is too young to win. :( Set goals now, first being to gain about 25 pounds of muscle. Milk is your friend.

You need to eat a ton, train really hard. Sounds like you have the motivation. There is no set way to train. MEBB or Gant's would be great paths for you to adventure down. At this point you have the running down, but the strength is a weakness. Work on it, work on all weaknesses. In a few years you could dominate. Who knows?!

Garrett Smith
10-19-2008, 05:22 PM
I'd say the hypothetical person would need to about double their max numbers in all of their quick & slow lifts before they even bothered training metcon.

I helped Josh Everett this last year with his nutrition/supplementation and some general guidelines to his training (given based on how he was feeling, the recommendation was almost always LESS metcon). He seemed to do allright...

Isaia Souza
10-19-2008, 05:31 PM
We really would need to see the new games format to answer you in the best possible manner (if it has been released, I apologize, couldn't find it on the site). My guess is it is held by CrossFit HQ, therefore it will have CrossFit style events. My other guess is they won't be so standard at all next year.

You'd need to qualify, so you'd need to know what the qualification requirements are.

Goals are the key, so is realism. 16 is too young to win. :( Set goals now, first being to gain about 25 pounds of muscle. Milk is your friend.

You need to eat a ton, train really hard. Sounds like you have the motivation. There is no set way to train. MEBB or Gant's would be great paths for you to adventure down. At this point you have the running down, but the strength is a weakness. Work on it, work on all weaknesses. In a few years you could dominate. Who knows?!

Thanks for the reply =]

Actually winning isn't at all a big issue for me, training to win was more my goal (if that makes sense?) It more for motivational purposes then anything else.

I actually just finished up a month or so of the PM program and am currently in the midst of my first run at some MEBBing so I'll see where thats takes me and probably either stay with the BB or go back to PM so I can nail that body weight snatch =]

Again thanks for the response,

Isaia

Isaia Souza
10-19-2008, 05:36 PM
I'd say the hypothetical person would need to about double their max numbers in all of their quick & slow lifts before they even bothered training metcon.

I helped Josh Everett this last year with his nutrition/supplementation and some general guidelines to his training (given based on how he was feeling, the recommendation was almost always LESS metcon). He seemed to do allright...


Yeah I agree that "hypothetical person" has gotta get his lift numbers up =]

Eh Josh did alright... I'm joking I'm joking =]. Josh Everett is actually a big fitness hero of mine and the reason I started Oly lifting.

Thanks for the reply Garret,

Isaia

Steven Low
10-19-2008, 06:25 PM
MEBB/hybrid. Possibly 2 a days with strength / metcon workouts.

Basically, need to get strength up to high levels and then beast out the metcon from there. Work a lot with the Oly lifts especially.. they'll give you the most bang for the buck as they are high skill. Explosive exercise translates pretty well to strength while not necessarily vice versa.

Garrett Smith
10-19-2008, 06:26 PM
I was joking too, if the internet didn't convey my sarcasm well enough...

Josh is a beast, and his willingness to back off as needed (instead of the too common 100%+ all-the-time ethos) is what is keeping him in the running in CF sport. That's a sign of a very smart athlete.

Alex Bond
10-19-2008, 11:18 PM
I would argue that it is pretty much impossible to compete at a high level in the CF games at 137 lbs unless you are a total freak like Speal. The lifts are just at too high of a percentage of body weight. So the question to me is, is it possible for a 137 lb 16 year old to gain 30+ lbs of muscle in a year?

And like others have said, compared to strength, metcon is easy-come, easy-go. The lifts are pretty good considering body weight, so pretty much, in my opinion, every thing needs to be bigger.

Blair Lowe
10-20-2008, 12:12 AM
Considering some of the best performing athletes were former lifters/bodybuilders, something to think about and definitely want to lift.

Numbers sound good. Some more size would probably be helpful but some young guys simply haven't filled out yet.

Either SS+GOMAD and then do a modified CF with heavy lifts/oly lifting. Only about 6 months left till qualifiers.

Ken Urakawa
10-20-2008, 10:11 AM
I totally mis-read the numbers the first time through--saw 225# Snatch @ 135#. Just about sprayed my keyboard...

I'd go along with a lot of what everyone else has been saying. Bigger lifts almost always = faster times (eventually). Since you have some time, I would spend the next several months concentrating on increasing strength, with fairly minimal MetCon. The last 2-3 months will give you plenty of time to concentrate on that aspect of it.

josh everett
10-20-2008, 12:40 PM
I would argue that it is pretty much impossible to compete at a high level in the CF games at 137 lbs unless you are a total freak like Speal. The lifts are just at too high of a percentage of body weight. So the question to me is, is it possible for a 137 lb 16 year old to gain 30+ lbs of muscle in a year?

And like others have said, compared to strength, metcon is easy-come, easy-go. The lifts are pretty good considering body weight, so pretty much, in my opinion, every thing needs to be bigger.

At that age i gained 25lbs in 3-4 months. 5 meals a day... mostly crap but tons of calories and all machine based training except for back squats. i did not have the training knowledge or nutritional knowledge at the time to do things better but i had a ton of desire and work ethic.

Gant Grimes
10-20-2008, 02:07 PM
Alright hypothetical question: How would you train a young, highly motived athlete who has nothing but free time in which to eat, train and sleep to win next years Crossfit Games?

I'll throw out some basic (kind of random) stats for him:

M/16/5'8/137
Deadlift 265
Squat 225
Snatch 135
C&J 155
40+ Kipping pullups
5k 18ish minutes

Teach him to lift and how to eat. Put a ball in his hands and tell him do something with it. Get him moving across water and land, two feet or two wheels, it doesn't matter. Punch, kick, jump, wrestle, tumble. Anything.

IMO, you should train for a sport at some point. Even if it's not your thing, if you want to be an athlete, you need to do as an athlete does, and that's train for a sport.

Isaia Souza
10-20-2008, 03:13 PM
Thanks for all the replies.

OK I think I'm pretty much going to be doing MEBB with a lot of Oly lifting with light to no metcon and eating a ton of food to get those 25-30 pounds on me. My parents are considering buying me 3-4 months worth of milk for Christmas so I will most likely be drink a GOMAD as well.

Correct me if I'm wrong but SS with the GOMAD would probably add the weight faster then my Oly-lifting based BB program right? Would anyone second Blair's suggestion of SS then Crossfit/Oly lifting? I am still a novice lifter so maybe the BB is overkill at this point.

Teach him to lift and how to eat. Put a ball in his hands and tell him do something with it. Get him moving across water and land, two feet or two wheels, it doesn't matter. Punch, kick, jump, wrestle, tumble. Anything.

IMO, you should train for a sport at some point. Even if it's not your thing, if you want to be an athlete, you need to do as an athlete does, and that's train for a sport.

Well MMA has been my primary sport thus far and I've had a couple of amateur fights but I've found myself leaning more towards doing Crossfit and fitness in general as my sport. I think its probably because I'm too pretty to get punched in the face on a regular basis =]

Isaia

p.s. if my post is kind of rambly I apologize. I just woke up and am still a little sleepy >.>

Derek Weaver
10-20-2008, 09:41 PM
CF as Sport is fine. You'll get a lot of other replies to the contrary, but I think that's CF's main strength. They give all of us washed up meat heads and former athletes something to compete in.

Yes, you should do something more along the lines of SS before a MEBB cycle if you ask me. Put on 20 lbs, Squat 300, Deadlift 400, Press BW and change and you'll be set to attack whatever you need.

Lay the strength base first, then move along to other higher skill stuff.

Just my opinion. And have fun. I'm learning right now, that if you're not having fun, none of it matters.

Timothy Holmes
10-21-2008, 03:51 AM
Well MMA has been my primary sport thus far and I've had a couple of amateur fights but I've found myself leaning more towards doing Crossfit and fitness in general as my sport. I think its probably because I'm too pretty to get punched in the face on a regular basis =]

Taking up a sport that develops athletic ability (body awareness, skill wise) would be beneficial, I think. Maybe gymnastics? In the early stages of becoming an athlete you need to learn how to run, jump, swim, throw, climb then you can specialize (into sport crossfit). Yeah, what Derek said, you need a base. Does your time in MMA fit the profile?

Crossfit as your sport just seems like the "easy" option.

Peter Dell'Orto
10-21-2008, 01:30 PM
Well MMA has been my primary sport thus far and I've had a couple of amateur fights but I've found myself leaning more towards doing Crossfit and fitness in general as my sport. I think its probably because I'm too pretty to get punched in the face on a regular basis =]

One of my MMA buddies gave up MMA because his job wasn't too accepting of black eyes, broken noses, etc. He needed to put on a professional appearance at all times. So he started to compete exclusively in submission wrestling and then added BJJ matches, too. Seemed like a good compromise, and you're not any more likely to get a busted face than you would playing basketball or some other sport.

I'm just saying. You can pick CF as your sport, of course, but it's not like "I'm tired of getting punched" means you need to drop martial arts entirely. Grappling practice makes for good metcon substitute in a strength-heavy/power-centric lifting regime. Plus if you are aiming for the CF games, you'll get to continue getting experience in the peaking-for-an-event area so critical to competition without the worry of traumatic facial contact. :D

Steven Low
10-21-2008, 08:45 PM
Regardless if you do some pure SS work or something along those lines... you NEED the oly even if it's just mostly skill work. Need to reiterate that.

I would also strongly suggest TONS of prehab work as you'll be going full bore for more or less the 9 or so months before the next one. In all likelyhood you won't be competitive (top 25) until maybe 2-3 years from now though, heh.

Ben Moskowitz
10-21-2008, 11:23 PM
The alternative viewpoint to those offered above is of course that of Jeff Martin, whereby one gets better at CrossFit by doing CrossFit. Nonetheless, Connor has been training fairly strength-heavy I believe, as that was a weak point. Mostly I'd just like to point out that he's probably a great resource for the situation the hypothetical athlete faces.

Isaia Souza
10-22-2008, 01:07 AM
Regardless if you do some pure SS work or something along those lines... you NEED the oly even if it's just mostly skill work. Need to reiterate that.

I would also strongly suggest TONS of prehab work as you'll be going full bore for more or less the 9 or so months before the next one. In all likelyhood you won't be competitive (top 25) until maybe 2-3 years from now though, heh.

OK got it. Keep the oly in if I do SS.

Excuse me if this is an obvious question but, what is prehab? Resting/stretching sore/injured body parts?

I'd actually be pretty stoaked with being in the top 25 in 2-3 years =]

Blair Lowe
10-22-2008, 01:25 AM
Prehab is more preventative conditioning. Building up necessary ROM and flexibility in certain areas.

For instance, developing shoulder flexibility for olympic lifting and snatching. Developing wrist strength and flexibility for handstands and cleans. Developing base knee, hip, and ankle flexibility for good squatting ( pistols ). Targeting any tight areas or joints out of alignment.

David Gutierrez
10-22-2008, 10:37 AM
Isaia,

Check out Performance Menu issue #44. Greg Everett's article "Training for the CrossFit Games" might give you some ideas. Have fun.

Isaia Souza
10-31-2008, 02:40 PM
Hey everyone, thanks again for the help. I've been doing SS for the last week or so and have already gained 10 pounds and I feel strong as an ox =]

How much of that do you think is muscle? Or rather how much muscle could you possibly gain in a short period like that? I'm sure that a good amount of the weight is fat and water but I'm actually noticeably bigger around my shoulder area and legs.

Thanks,

Isaia

Garrett Smith
11-01-2008, 07:00 AM
I'd guess that maybe 2-3 pounds are solid muscle gain (in a week). Maybe 5 at the most. As for the rest, who knows.

Could be:
Fat gain
Water retention
Reduction in bowel movements (I hope you understand that one...)
Rebound weight gain because you were semi-starving yourself previously

Emily Mattes
11-01-2008, 02:43 PM
I thought it wasn't physiologically possible to gain more than 3-4lbs of muscle a month?

Steven Low
11-01-2008, 03:25 PM
I thought it wasn't physiologically possible to gain more than 3-4lbs of muscle a month?
Myth.

Depends on genetics, current bodyweight, stimulus on the muscles, hormones, etc.

Those who have "good" genetics (maybe less myostatin for example), very light 6'0" 120 lbs, are squatting and DLing extremely heavy and having a high T/GH output, etc. are going to have a very strong adaptation to lifting heavy weights.

Derek Weaver
11-02-2008, 10:41 AM
Of course that whole diminishing returns thing is also at play with the assumption/assertion by some who say 3-4 lbs./month is the maximum amount of muscle that can be gained.

Like Steven said, a grossly untrained or undertrained athlete who doesn't eat enough will pack it on at an astounding rate... especially a 16 year old one. Somone who's plugged away for years, has a diverse training background etc. will fight for every inch, pound and rep.