Thanks for taking a look around our website. If you’re reading this then it’s clear that you’re interested in training at CVCF, but even further, you’re showing you are interested in what we do. It’s important for us to explain to you, as a past, present, or current client what we do, why, how, etc. As an athlete this is something you should know, and we feel is important for your experience and understanding. Think back to most of your exercise at a gym, did it have a specific purpose, did you know what the goals the fitness facility was trying to accomplish for you, likely not. We want all of our athletes at CVCF to have an understanding of what we do, how we do it, what our reasoning is, and for you as an athlete, to have a purpose for what you are doing at the gym.
Since opening CVCF in 2010 we’ve continued to evolve in a number of ways. As owners, coaches, and athletes we’ve been through a lot ourselves. We’ve been competitive CrossFit athletes, and we’ve also used it for our overall health and well being. We mountain bike, ski, snowboard, run, swim, climb, play club sports, train martial arts, chase our kids around, and participate in whatever life has to throw at us. We’ve worked through dedicated endurance programs, powerlifting, bodybuilding, olympic lifting, competitive CrossFit programs, and followed CrossFit.com programming, worked on speed and agility, and just about anything else you can think of that falls into the strength and conditioning world. Through our experience with our own training, as well as working with 100’s of athletes of all different shapes, sizes, abilities and ages, we’ve continued to change, grow, and develop what we do at CVCF.
What & Why
When you start training at CVCF you’re going to find there are 4 distinct plans that we run within each and everyone of our classes. Before we get into that, the first thing you should be asking yourself when joining any gym, is what am I joining for? We run 4 different plans of training at CVCF, first because it helps us provide a progression of movements and capacities that enables athletes to develop a proper strength and conditioning base with more basic movement patterns and build into more advanced ones. Secondly, not every person that trains at CVCF has the same goals, drive, desires, patience, etc. when it comes to learning and what they want out of their time at the gym.
So, as we look at our 4 training plans, we like to think of them falling into 2 main categories. 2 of them are exercise plans, while 2 are training plans. What’s the difference? Someone who is exercising is doing so for the health benefits, fun, and enjoyment without very specific goals except for they just want to be fitter and healthier. Training means you have specific goals, movements, and abilities you’d like to develop…while health, and fun are a part of this as well, they are just a piece of the puzzle.
When you come into CVCF for classes you’re going to see 4 training plans…
- “Move” – Base Exercise Plan
- “Power” – Experienced Exercise Plan
- “Sport” – Base Training Plan
- “Competition” – Advanced Training Plan
What lies at the base of all of our training plans is CrossFit and a fundamental belief in the idea behind CrossFit’s base definition, “Constantly Varied, Functional Movement, Performed at High Intensity.” However we don’t believe everyone needs or should be developing a Snatch, Pistol Squats or Handstand Walking, and we like to think of our training more of, “Mostly Varied, Typically Functional Movements, Generally Performed at High Intensity.” We don’t believe in always varying things (although it’s important to remember that part of variance is also doing items in a repetitive manner), we believe in some routine, we believe in things like linear periodization at certain points in one’s training, we believe in non-functional movements, regularly programming Physical Therapy and Bodybuilding type movements into our programming, and we don’t believe in going hard all the time, especially for athletes that are training 4-6 days/week.
When athletes join CVCF we see extremely wide ranges of experience and understanding of movements within the umbrella of Strength and Conditioning, everything from literally none, to extremely competent and experienced. In designing our training plan layouts we’ve worked to design a plan for each individual needs/desires, as well as creating a path that starts with fundamental movements patterns and a bias towards unilateral work with the “Move” plan and builds all the way up to the most advanced movements used in the Sport of Vermont CrossFit.
The breakdown below should give you an idea of what to expect in the training plans. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can never do enough of the basics and we actually require all of our new athletes, that haven’t been training at a previous CrossFit facility, to spend at least 8 weeks in our “Move” programming. After coaching everything from the sedentary coming of the couch, to elite level athletes, one thing always rings true, those who take their time, don’t rush, and really spend the time to properly learn movements are the athletes most successful from a movement competency, performance, and physical stature standpoint.
This program is designed as a baseline to start learning the fundamentals of what we would call a “Functional Strength and Conditioning” program. This plan is barbell free, with an emphasis on using Kettlebells, Dumbbells, Medballs, and other tools to learn basic movement patterns. There is also a large emphasis on uni-lateral work in this plan as we see most, if not all people have minor to major imbalances from one side of their body to the other. For athletes brand new to Strength and Conditioning, we recommend they spend their first 6 months training here, establishing a good base, and truly learning how to move properly. Many of our athletes have/will stay in this plan for all of their training depending on what their goals are along with what kind of commitment they’re willing to put into learning more advanced movements. In addition, this makes a great place to park yourself for 4-8 weeks as an off-season program if you are someone who trains CrossFit hard year round. We don’t prescribe loads for this programming as it’s a program that could be done by the beginner with 10lb Dumbbells on a given day, or an advanced athlete using the appropriate loading for their physical abilities. Most of the programming stimulus in the “Move” programming is geared towards higher volume, muscular endurance as we believe this helps lay a great foundation as well as getting more repetition in on all of your basic movement patterns to help facilitate quicker learning versus starting with lower reps and higher loading.
Our “Power” programming takes the “Move” programming and takes the next step in advancing one’s understanding of movements used in Strength and Conditioning as well as starting to focus on some more specific areas of training. In the Power programming we introduce the Barbell regularly in your classic slow lifts, Squat variations, Deadlift, Bench, etc. In addition we sprinkle in and bring the most basic variations of Olympic Lifting. By doing this athletes get an understanding of how Strength movements work, moving slowly, and Power movements work, moving fast. Our “Power” programming is designed as a well rounded Strength and Conditioning programing for the intermediate athlete (from a skill level), covering the majority of your beginner and intermediate movements used in Strength and Conditioning as well as CrossFit. This programming plan places more of an emphasis on strength than the “Move” programming, getting athletes comfortable with lifting heavy loads for small sets, 5-3-1 reps, for example, to work on strengthening the entire body and skeleton for more physically demanding efforts and an increased protection from injuries coming from other sports and activities. This program is great for the regular gym goer who has had proper instruction on basic movements, and creates a great blend of training a variety of capacities to develop a well rounded fit individual for everyday life, activities, and sports.
As you start moving to our “Sport” programming we are now looking at moving from an exercise plan to a training plan. What we mean by this is your training is performed with a specific intent. The “Move” and “Power” programming are designed as general training plans preparing people for everyday life and activities while keeping movements as simple and safe as possible. As you step to the “Sport” programming we now start to look at exercising for a specific intent, that intent being developing all of the baseline/standard movements used in CrossFit…i.e. you’re a CrossFit enthusiast that might participate in a competition casually, or participate in the Rx’d division of the Open. This training plan requires that much more time learning/practicing skills, and being mindful of checking your ego and taking the time to learn movements properly. CrossFit is unfortunately notoriously known for being “dangerous” which is ultimately decided by the end user. The movements included in the “Sport” programming are indeed more risky, because they require a higher level of skill and precision. Does that mean they’re dangerous, no, they just require a more in depth timeline of learning and practice, which if you’re willing to do, will leave you with the precision and know how to perform these movements properly, safely, and reap the benefits of the movements . For the individual who feels this can be learned and done in a few weeks time, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. If you’re jumping into this programming as something new to you, check your ego at the door, take the time to learn things properly. After 10 years of coaching athletes through these movements, 100% of the time we’ve seen the individuals with the most success are the ones who take it the slowest and are willing to take 1 step back before they take 2 steps forward.
Our “Competition” programming is merely just a step-up from our “Sport” programming. Loads increase, gymnastics movements get more difficult, the expectation of volume of work done in a given time increases. Otherwise it’s just a building block from our “Sport” programming.
Overall Program Design
As of Spring 2020 we’ve changed how we format our programming. Due to tight Covid restrictions we’ve put all of our programming on a running clock to make sure everyone is on the same page. In addition, after years of different variations of our “Competition” programming, we’ve formatted our “Competition” programming to coincide right with class as we’ve seen athletes have a greater benefit from training with others, versus working through your training in a perfect order by yourself. While we have many athletes who like to do a little more work after class, to truly be competitive in CrossFit one needs to spend considerably more than an hour/day. In the changing of our programming format what we’ve created is a daily block of “Accessory” work. This work essentially fills the gap from the class portion of our “Competition” programming to a full on program. We’ve focused on 5 main areas that we program for that we believe should be emphasized for additional training. Some of our athletes perform every single piece, while others who are more limited on time focus on maybe just a couple of pieces per day. By having all of these areas programmed everyday it allows athletes to pick the work in the areas they need the most work on, and not in the areas they don’t.
For those who follow our programming from outside our gym, please also be mindful, what you see is what works for us, is designed with our seasons/temperatures in mind, our space, our equipment, and designed, for each respective program, as a broad exercise/training program. If You’re someone who Snatches 300lbs but can’t do a Muscle-up, probably means you’d get more out of your time following a specifically designed program for you.
Our “Accessory” programming is broken into a handful of main areas. We program a host of accessory work each day that fits with the days training…this is generally designed for the athletes that follow our Sport/Comp programming who dedicate more time to their training and are looking for additional pieces for the given training day. We program this accessory work 5 days/week following the traditional CrossFit training schedule of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. We program accessory work into the following categories…
- Monostructural Conditioning (Run, Row, Bike, etc)
- Secondary Mixed Modality Conditioning (I.E. traditional CrossFit Conditioning)
- Weightlifting (Generally something with the barbell geared towards either Olympic or Power Lifting)
- Gymnastics (Training geared towards bodyweight based movements)
- Skill (Anything skill related to the Sport of CrossFit)
- Trunk (Movements that emphasize spinal stability and bracing)
- Accessory (Secondary movements used to help strengthen movement patterns we worked in a given day)
- Pre-Hab (Pre Warm-up work meant to help with longevity in your training)
When we look at additional work to round out what is regularly programmed in our classes, these categories address what we feel is most important for those looking to become more developed or competitive CrossFit athletes. Some of our athletes try to get all of the written work in, generally about 3-4 hours of training, while others focus on the base which is our classes, and then add in the pieces they feel are most necessary for their improvement as an athlete.
While a lot is written above, with a good bit of detail, we hope this info helps provide you all with a peak into our brains, and gives you a better understanding of what/why/how our programming is formatted.
If you ever have questions about our programming please don’t hesitate to reach out.