Gant's Hybrid programs
Several months ago, I had some conversations with Garrett Smith and a few others regarding the potential benefits of increased strength and gymnastics programming and shorter metcons sessions. I embarked on a 12-week project where I was going to do a mixture of gymnastics, Olympic lifting, and slow lifting with limited metabolic conditioning. All metcons were to be kept under 10 minutes, and most of them had a strength-biased. We suspected that 1) strength is the most important aspect of metcon, and 2) excessive metcon is unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.
Going into the project, I was a 33 year old trainee with a little over a year of CF. I was reasonably strong (total in the low 900s) and decently fit (upper quartile in most exercises in logsitall), but nothing special. I had enough ďtime in gradeĒ to test the program without having to worry about skewed results due to the novice effect. In other words, I was a pretty good lab rat.
It didnít take 12 weeks to see results. Within the first month I hit 7 PRs spread across several domains, strength, metcon, and mixed metcon (death by pullup). After 8 weeks, I had a cheat day because Murph came up. Despite only having run about 2.5 miles to date in 2008, and not having done anything over 10 minutes in two months, I ran my first sub-40 Murph. I ďcheatedĒ again two weeks later, setting a 2 round PR in Cindy although I had done very few pushups or air squats in the past weeks.
Over the course of the project, I ate mostly Paleo (I say mostly because I took substantial liberties with dairy, ice cream in particular). In Zone terms, I was probably consuming ~ 26 P, 12 C, 40-50 F. I didnít measure.
I unofficially ended the project last week with PRs in the CFT and deadlift. Over a 10.5 week training period (45 training sessions to be precise), I hit 21 PRs in strength, metcon, and mixed workouts. Several of those broke long-standing PRs. A couple of them broke PRs set during this project.
I am making no conclusions beyond what worked for me. And what worked for me was a blend of strength, power, and gymnastics training with short, intense, and usually heavy metcons. I didnít have to put up with sore joints like I did doing pure strength work, and I didnít have to deal with a fried CNS like I did doing pure CF. Itís a nice blend that kept me interested and focused every training session. I also recovered well (Saturday was an optional training day; I often skipped it, giving me a 4 day training week). Incidentally, I dropped body fat and increased my LBM over the last several months.
I am attaching my results below for those that are interested in this sort of thing. I will also post three templates for hybrid training programs. For more detailed information, look at my training log (linked below) started on March 17.
I will continue to train like this because it has been extremely effective for me. It might work for some of you, too.
PRs @ ~186 lbs BW:
107.5 kg (236#) power clean
110 kg (242#) split jerk
Death-by-pullup (19 rounds + 7 pullups)
100 kg (220#) hang power clean
305# bench press
120# weighted pullup
77.5 kg (170#) OHS
105 kg (231#) thruster
122.5 kg (269#) front squat
30 MU's (6:16)
Cindy (26 rds + 5 pulls)
82.5 kg (181#) snatch
125 kg (275#) front squat
1019# CrossFit Total
I will attach three hybrid programming templates (along with commentary) tomorrow (I owe several of you an email; give me another day).
That is awesome. Was this part of the Tabata Project you had going? I really like what you got done here. 1000 lb. CF total is most impressive to me, and there are a LOT of impressive feats on there. I'd love to see the templates and can't wait for you to post them. This would make a good article..
I've been exerimenting more with sand bags, kettle bells and gymnastics lately as that's what's available to me for another two days or so til I can move some Iron again. I'll have to implement something similar to see what's up.
You IF too don't you?
Are you saying the project is over, or are you continuing along this route?
Look forward to seeing the training templates.
Question: Am I correct in recalling that you also do some mountain bike riding? If yes, how did this program affect your riding?
Dr. G. The experiment is over because the question, in my mind, is settled. This is how I will train from now on. I just won't obsess over data collection.
Tom, I still fall a lot. I just don't get tired.
• These programs will increase static strength, explosive strength, and limit strength. This increase in strength will lead to substantial improvements in metabolic conditioning.
• Metcon should be short and intense. Keep it under 10 minutes (usually under 5). Keep it heavy, and keep it functional. Select workouts that require very little rest. Scale reps, rounds, or time before scaling weight! (This might be the most important bit you'll read on this). This is key to the neuroendocrine response we’re looking for.
• Use KB’s, tires, farming implements, stones, boat chains, and sledgehammers liberally. Sprint often (Tabatas, 100s, 200s, 400s). Full body exercises (cleans, thrusters, swings) are great. Use couplets and triplets. NO chipper workouts.
• The exercise order and selection promotes increases in strength and, if you eat for it, lean mass. Everything you do on this program packs a substantial neuroendocrine wallop. Pick your metcon exercises accordingly. You should be shaving twice a day on this program.
• Eat more protein. If you’re Zoning, increase protein intake by 2-4 blocks and fat by 8-16 blocks. Do not increase your carbs (I have accounted for them in the fat increase).
• Go heavy, go hard, or don’t go at all. The volume is low enough, and the metcons are short enough that your CNS should be stable throughout the program. If you need a day off, take it. Don’t tear your body down while it’s trying to build itself up.
• Eat lots of red meat. It’s just better. Consuming large quantities of blood-soaked animal tissue puts you in a better frame of mind to train like this. If you eat eggs, eat whole eggs.
• There are three programs.
• The 3/1 program. I designed one for people who like the 3/1 CF schedule. Personally, I think 6 workouts in 8 days is a bit much. But you wanted it, so here it is.
• The novice strength-biased program. This is a 3/1/2/1 schedule. I got used to training like this doing the PMenu WOD, and I like it. It’s also an intermediate programming scheme discussed in Practical Programming. I wrote this program because I train with a guy who doesn’t need to do as much OLY lifting as I do. The power versions of the OLY lifts are done. There is also an extra day of push presses or rack jerks. If you train on Saturday, just do a regular WOD (this can be a little longer). If you train with weights, keep it light and drill some OLY lifts.
• The intermediate/advanced strength-biased program. This is my personal program. Saturday is optional. This is where I drill OLY by doing assistance exercises (snatch balance, tall cleans, etc.) and get on the rings. Or I get in the canoe, go mountain biking, or play a little judo. Saturday is not a hard training day for me. So yeah, I pretty much train 4 out of 7 days.
• Do other stuff. It’s summer time. Walk, swim, play softball, ride a bike. Whatever. Don’t pass a bar, set of rings, or rock ledge without pulling yourself up on it.
• Substitute if you feel the need. I refuse to miss Murph or Filthy Fifty. If one of your favorite WOD comes up, do it.
• Deadlift every week. They’re good for your soul. Cool down with reverse hypers 2-4 times a week. They’re good for your deadlifts and thus good for you soul. Your back will thank you.
• 5 minutes a week of KB long-cycle clean & jerks has profound effects.
• Read Christopher Sommer’s article on front lever progressions (also has planche progressions).
• Read up on the Bulgarian method.
• Squat low for training. If you’re a guy, try to tea-bag the platform. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll be able to lift in a CFT when you only squat to regulation depth.
Sets, reps, and exercises (sets x reps)
• Welcome back to linear progression! We’re going to get stronger every week. Linear strength progression works a little differently in a program with gymnastics and metcon, so pay attention to what’s happening. I have borrowed heavily from Rippetoe, Everett, and Louie Simmons in designing this.
• OLY lifts should be 5-8 sets (or more) of singles or doubles. Look to Coach B. or the PMenu for additional programming ideas. You have to be careful with your loads and volume on this stuff. It can sneak up on you.
• The slow lifts should start with 3x5 (including dips and pull-ups). Drop to 3x3 after 6 weeks or whenever the volume becomes too much. You may also want to mix in some 5x3, 5x2 or 7x1. It’s your program! Eventually you’ll almost exclusively be doing either 1) med volume/high intensity or 2) low volume/stupid intensity!
• Only do one work set on the deadlift if you’re working with max numbers.
• Mix sets across with progressive loading. You can do 3x3 across one week and 5x3 progressive (working up to a 3RM). Do progressive loading at least once every third time for each lift.
• Work in some ME/DE days as necessary. We’re all about speed and power. I mix in plenty of box squatting so I can squat frequently. It helps your deadlift, too. Reverse hypers help everything.
• Deadlift every week (it’s worth repeating). If it tears you up like it does me, mix in some rack pulls and halting deadlifts. I love 3x6 snatch grip deadlifts off a 4” box.
• Substitute OLY lifts as needed. Play with the full and hang positions to optimize results. If you’re on the advanced program, do the full version at least once a week.
• Go fast, go heavy, and go hard. If you're doing sets across, increase it every time. Don't reset if you fail at 5, just drop to 3. If you're doing CF ME work (5 triples, 7 singles), go for a PR every time. Metcons are short, heavy, and functional. Don't rest.
I can't wait for the PMenu OL seminar this weekend, I'll definitely put more OL in my program once I feel even more solid in my form.
As my knee gets better hopefully I can add some more short metcons in a similar fashion as your programming (or Garrett's).
My last two Saturday metcons were WAAAY too long, around 30 minutes each. The "more is better" is an insidious creeper with metcon...must. not. let. it. in...chippers just kill me, as do metcons with total running of over a mile.
Funny thing, I really needed a break this last week due to feeling toasted. I need to listen to myself more and keep the metcons short (really short) and sweet.
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