The strategy behind our IN.THE.TRENCHES. programming

Gepubliceerd op 19 augustus 2020 om 16:59



Our program is structured in a way that weaknesses inside functional physical aspects of CrossFit get more attention. You hear a lot of people saying that: you should spend a lot of time on your weaknesses and less time on your strengths. So we made that the key focus of our program, we structure everything around weaknesses and we do this via the use of different pathways. For example:


If we have two individuals, whereas one of those two individuals can do 10 strict pull-ups and 10 kipping pull-ups (subject A) and one of those two can do 10 strict pull-ups and 30 kipping pull-ups (subject B). We would categorize subject A in the ¨dynamic gymnastics weakness¨ pathway and subject B in the ¨strict gymnastics weakness¨.


Then the gymnastics parts of the individual’s workout (which are on Tuesday and Saturday) are built to spend more time on the aspect that they are less good at. For example, Subject B would get a gymnastics piece like:


Strict pull-up

6 sets @90% of max effort set


Push up

5 sets @90% of the max-effort set


every 30 seconds X 7

1-4 bar- muscle up


Subject A would get a gymnastics piece like:


every 30 seconds X 7

1-4 bar- muscle up


Butterfly pull up

6 sets @90% of the max-effort set


Push up

5 sets @90% of max effot set

The difference lies in the ratio of strict to kipping, subject A has 2 kipping exercises and subject B has 2 strict exercises. This makes it functional for the athlete performing the program because, no matter how efficient subject B would get with their movement, they will always be hindered by their strict gymnastics abilities.


CrossFit specific gymnastic imbalance


For CrossFit, it is good to be able to do more kipping than strict. You should be able to do more kipping, if we know that, in comparison, you can do less kipping than strict, so the number of kipping reps is not a lot higher then the number of strict reps you are able to perform, we give you more dynamic/kipping style training. So you adapt to kipping movements and get more efficient at them. Then a few months later we test again, now if we see it has completely shifted, you would get more strict work compared to kipping. So as the individual progresses and potentially builds new imbalances, the program changes with it. So the goal of the program is always to make you train the physical aspects that you don´t excel at (yet).


Now that we know that an individual has to improve their kipping exercises, we want them to structurally train this in a balanced fashion. We want individuals to have rhythm and consistency, not occasionally train gymnastics, and expect big changes. Also, we don´t want constant variance either. So we program the conditioning, oly, muscle endurance, powerlifting, and more all in a balanced fashion. So instead of needing to collect and match different programs to fix imbalances, one can just have all of the weaknesses being trained at the same time, with the right workout splits.


We recently added two gymnastics pathways: basic strict gymnastics and basic kipping gymnastics. We noticed the gap was too big for some individuals and their program was a bit too challenging as they were not able to perform the basics properly.


So every workout is intentional, the aspect being trained is noted in the program so you know what the intent is. Every energy system is trained and every part of functional fitness is being improved in the most efficient way, that is; always focussing on the weakest link in the chain. We believe and have seen through the years that individuals are much more likely to do difficult training if they know why they do it. CrossFit is such a broad sport with a big variety of exercises and aspects to be trained, to have a little guidance as to what aspect is a bigger priority than another can be really helpful.

Conditioning imbalances

Some individuals are better at longer workouts and some individuals are better at shorter ones. Through the assessment, we notice a preference towards one of the two. Inside the program, you would still do the one that you are good at, but double down on the one that you are less good at.


For instance, if you excel at the longer, cyclical type workouts, then your cyclical workouts would consist of shorter intervals. If you are better at shorter cyclical workouts, then training would be oriented around longer intervals. 


The same principle applies to mix modal (mixed exercises), if you perform better at the longed mixed modal workouts then you will get shorter intervals and vice versa 

Resistance training imbalances


Resistance training consists of 3 pathways: Olympic weightlifting deficit, powerlifting/absolute strength deficit, muscle endurance deficit.


We use structural balance principles to determine where the imbalance lies. For muscle endurance, we don´t use structural balance principles. We want individuals to hit a specific number of reps to ensure individuals know how to move lower loads efficiently and effectively before going on to heavier weights.


Again, every aspect is being trained. So if you would have a muscle endurance deficit, you would have 2 pieces that aim to increase capacity in muscle endurance, 1 piece to increase absolute strength/powerlifting and 1 piece to increase Olympic weightlifting.

Anaerobic work


For anaerobic imbalances it´s simple, we compare alactic to lactic capacity. So short vs longer anaerobic capacity. We want to see a drop off in power output, if there is no drop in output, the focus would be to increase the power output in the first few seconds so we can notice a drop. If there was to big of a drop we would focus on being able to keep output higher for longer.




The warm up, the cooldown, the accesory work and the active recovery/rest days are all 100% the same with every individual. Other aspects could also be the same with individuals, this makes it one of the first programs that is really individualized but also offers individuals to still train with eachother. Some things will be the same, some things will be completely different.

David Scharff

CrossFit coach and athlete

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