CrossFit Games Programming

CrossFit Love programming is grouped by athlete performance level. 

  1. Level 1 programming is designed for beginner to intermediate CrossFit athletes. Typically, these athletes have less than 6 months to a year of experience in CrossFit and no weightlifting background.
  2. Level 2 programming is designed for CrossFit athletes who have above average strength numbers in all major lifts, a medium to high level of conditioning, and competency in all gymnastic movements.
  3. Level 3 programming is for CrossFit Regionals and CrossFit Games competitors. It is individualized, increased volume programming constructed to an individual’s own Games training schedules, deficiencies, and specific needs.

For more information and to see where you fit, consult with

How the Level 2 Programming Works:
Max Effort Lifts (ME): lifting a maximal load against a maximal resistance.

We have two powerlifting days during each week for Level 2 athletes. Currently, Monday is lower body and Thursday is upper body. The max effort method is a cut above all other common methods for a several reasons. Foremost, the max effort method will produce the greatest strength gains. It improves intermuscular and intramuscular coordination, because the body will have adapt to the varied stimulus placed upon it. While it is not uncommon to suffer fatigue, high blood pressure at rest, and anxiety from using this method,  it is the most popular among top athletes and lifters.

All the lifts used are derivatives of the classical power lifting moves. At first, our adaptation is quite mild – using different stances, height pulls, bar positioning, seated versus standing,  etc. Then, when your lifts become considered elite standard performance numbers, we will start to implement specialty bars, then we will follow various band and chain methods.

Just a few examples:

  • Deadlift -> Sumo Deadlift, Rack Pulls (Various Pin Heights), Good Mornings
  • Squat -> Front, Overhead, Box (above and below parallel), Zercher
  • Press -> Push, Push Jerk, Military, Seated
  • Bench Press -> Close grip, Wide Grip, Fat Bar, Floor Press
Level 3 athletes enjoy an increase in resistance through the addition of bands and chain, specifically designed to attack their needs and goals.

We keep their rep range under 25 per week to enable the central nervous system to recover. The lifts percentages are then calculated by using the time tested Prilepin chart, which is based on the studyof weigtlifters: 18 lifts at 70%, 15 lifts at 80%, and 7 lifts at 90%. See Prilepin’s Table Below:

Olympic Lifting (Oly) - Olympic Weightlifting is a large portion of CrossFit Love programming.
  • Feet are flat – it is important that the feet remain flat on the ground as long as possible – this facilitates force transmission.
  • Hips are higher than the knees.
  • Knees are over and in front of the bar.
  • Shoulders are over and in front of the bar.
  • Arms are straight – elbows rotated out and the wrist somewhat flexed – if the elbows are turned out, by internal rotation, during the pull it is much more difficult to flex the elbow – thus the bar remains closer to the body. Flexing the wrist or attempting to flex the wrist during the pull also aids in keeping the bar closer and it makes it harder to externally rotate the elbow.
  • The head is in a neutral or slightly raised position.
If you understand the above, at least we have a starting place. It is important to note that  Olympic lifting is based on one scientific principle – power output.  And guess what else? The “Sport of Fitness”. Learning to clean and jerk and snatch efficiently and effectively will be crucial to your success. We Olympic lift four days a week.

Westside Barbell methods use the dynamic effort exercises to focus on the development of explosive and acceleration strength. We do the same, but instead of using a dynamic effort variation of a classical lift, we use Olympic Lifting. Again, we take a quantitative approach to this by using specific percentages. 85% of a one-rep max is used at the most, so we try to keep it to 65% to 85% in three-week waves. The practice of the snatch and clean and jerk lifts improves rate of force development, builds flexibility/mobility, and allows for an increased level of coordination. Force development is speed strength. Westside Barbell’s dynamic effort movements are sport-specific to powerlifting, and we use CrossFit sport-specific techniques.

Metabolic Conditioning (MC): CrossFitters usually LOVE MC too much for their own good. It's the "WOD" part of the programming, and usually leaves you wanting to be a puddle on the floor. And of course, we do not just pass out on the floor at CrossFit Love; we suggest that you walk it off and cool down.

If you perform long, grueling, intense metcons on a day to day basis, you will typically suffer from burn out or from an injury at some point. Long grueling intense metcons cause fatigue, and when fatigued sets in, technique breaks down. When technique breaks down, you become inefficient, your performance suffers, and you’re more prone to injury. Balance is key.

Skill > Intensity > Volume

  Two of concepts we preach when we prescribe our metcons.
  1. Are you being efficient?
  2. Are you constantly taking breaks in the middle of a WOD?

Think about it – if you are not moving, or moving slowly, you’re not being conditioned to the desired intensity and therefore not getting the full potential benefits of the WOD. If your skills are slowing you down, you should be practicing outside of the WOD and using scaled weight in the WOD. That’s the beauty of CrossFit – universal scalability. That is also why your training weights should be prescribed FOR YOU, not for everyone else in the gym, and not based on some silly number you found on a website. “I did an Rx’d Fran! And it only took me 12 minutes!” Fran, one of the classic CrossFit benchmark WODs, should only take 5-6 minutes, maximum. If you’re not close to that general time frame, you should scale the WOD to get the full metabolic conditioning benefit.

From Head Coach Joe Petrusky: I have been associated with CrossFit for over 5 years. With LOTS AND LOTS of testing, I came to the realization that high intensity and efficient exercise can not be typically sustained for over a 12 minute duration. If you become inefficient in your movement patterns, you will use more energy than someone who is efficient. Now after stating that, I realize that there are workouts over 12 minutes in CrossFit competitions. To address that, we prescribe one longer duration WOD to fill the need of those energy systems demands on a regular basis. If you’re hitting intense WODs around 6 to 12 minutes in length, and hitting them HARD and EFFICIENTLY, it will carry over to the longer duration WODs.

Gymnastics (Gymn) CrossFit wods demand a high level of gymnastics.

Learning L-Sits, hand stand variations, kipping pullups and ring work can be time consuming, but taking time to learn how to do everything efficiently is essential. The key is to LEARN the skill before you dare try to do it in a metcon. This is why there are different levels at CrossFit Love. Learning basic lifts like the squat and deadlift don’t take long, but it takes some athletes weeks, even months, to learn and gain the strength to preform high rep kipping HSPUs and Muscle-ups.

If you demonstrate efficiency on more challenging movements, we will allow you to use the movement in the WOD. Otherwise, we give you the highest level of progression in the WOD or a scaled version of each movement. And each three week wave typically has variation of a few different movements in Level 2, but each 3 week training wave for the Level 1 has a strong concentration on two specific movements. You teach handstand pushups once, for example, then move on to another skill for several weeks before coming back to them.

Accessory Work (AC) - We include accessory work for our athletes.

The main goals of AC is to increase muscle, strengthen the posterior chain, midline stabilization, and grip work. We can build volume on AC work as total skill development and intensity builds.

The current three week Level 2 wave template:

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Sat
ME Upper C&J Emphasis Snatch Emphasis ME Lower Clean & Jerk Emphasis Snatch Emphasis
AC upper C&J Emphasis Snatch Emphasis AC lower Skill Snatch Emphasis
MC           single or couplet
1-5 mins
Complementary to the ME work —
AC midline
MC           triplet
9-12 minutes
Complementary to the DE work —
AC grip
Sprints (Under 12:00)               —                    AC
1 or 2 movements
6 – 12 mins
Complementary to the ME work —
AC posterior
Heavy Prowler (Under 6:00 Duration)       —
AC grip
triplet +
1 – 5 mins       —
AC posterior
Questions? Send a note to 

Leave a Comment