Michael Smith - Best ways to create CrossFit programs

Michael Smith - Best ways to create CrossFit programs


What is important when programming CrossFit?

In my opinion, the first thing you need to focus on when programming CrossFit for the General population is to NOT OVERTRAIN specific muscle groups/joints

For example, – If you have seen a program with thrusters Monday, front squats Tuesday, kettlebell lunges Wednesday, and overhead squats on a Friday. This means the person is doing knee hinging exercises multiple times a week and end up overworking that specific joint, increasing the risk of fatigue and injury.

This happens all too often in CrossFit programming as a lot of the programming out there is off the cuff random.

A good CrossFit program will have a specific day set out to get the most out of each area:

  • Hip Hinge
  • Knee Hinge
  • Press
  • Pull

Of course, you’ll always blend in other exercises in mixed metcons but not to the extent where the volume is too great.

Next on the list is the technique of the movements. We all want the huge PB’s and those gymnastics tekkers. But if that means sacrificing form to do so then we are doing CrossFit for the wrong reasons.

A program with a focus on technique and strict strength should come first and the PB’s and kipping ring muscle ups will come.

Lastly, It’s all about having regressions and scaled options available to give the broad range of athletes a guide to reaching the stimulus and goal of each workout.

For example, if the workout is:

7 Rounds for time:

8 Thrusters at 50kg/30kg

8 C2B

Make sure there is a lighter Barbell/Dumbell option and Ring Row/ Banded Pull Up alternative available for beginners who have just started, to help them feel like they got the most out of their workout.

What Quality Programs are out there?

It all depends on the goals and whether it’s specific to getting better at general areas or more along the lines of competing in CrossFit as a sport?

There are tons of specific weightlifting programs to improve the Olympic lifts and getting stronger, such as:

And specific Programs to improve Gymnastics with all different levels available, such as:

But from a competitive perspective, you have to look for something based on your level. Some programs are specific to national level athletes/Recreational, in terms of competing in your local country/box/intermediate.

And then there are programs for elite-level athletes trying to get to the Games/Sanctionals etc.

My own program EVOLVE is to take intermediate to Rx Level Athletes and make them a competitor within their country etc.

My Coach on the other hand (Neil Laverty) has programmed for me for more than 4 years with the goal of competing at the games.

You must put it all into perspective and be realistic based on your lifestyle and many other factors.

- Michael Smith