I’ve eliminated the dumb numbering system (no, I wasn’t an English major) and am feeling that the Doctrine page will be completed soon. Thank you all for giving me an excuse to finally put my thoughts (and iPhone-filling amount of notes) together in tangible form. This is a huge undertaking and a labor of love.


(Cleaned it up for “the kids”—sorry.)


I’ve always been a numbers guy. I’ve also got a pretty severe case of ADD. At one point, when I was a freshman in high school, I had a Rainman level knowledge of every NBA player’s stats for about a 3- or 4-season range. But… I couldn’t finish simple geometry homework or pay attention for more than 3 minutes while sitting in class. Bottom line: if you present me with something I give a shit about, I will obsess on it until I learn every minute detail.

When I first started writing WODs with a competition slant, I didn’t really have a system in mind. I just knew they should be things that HQ would program, and they should be hard. We had also been experimenting with some super-heavy metcons as a sort of a response to the 2008 Games WODs; especially the final heavy/squat Grace (which I got cockpunched by). I had just written King-Kong, even though that was sort of an aberration, and things like Transformers were starting to appear. I was also spending a huge amount of time talking training with my buddy Steve (last name withheld—yes, he does that kind of stuff) who was a former high-level powerlifter and was as big of a training nerd as I was. Steve had a sort of philosophy already established, which was “whatever is good to do, is good to overdo.” The first CF WOD Steve ever did was “Fran.” He didn’t know how to kip and had never done a thruster. His time was 3:06, with strict full ROM pullups, and he ran 2 miles afterward so he could “get some sweat.”

Steve gave me his full volume of training books to read one day when I was at his house. This included, you guessed it, the Westside Barbell Book of Methods. I had been a sort of Westside lurker for years and kept my distance because I considered myself to be an “athletic trainer” (read: smart guy) not a “meathead powerlifter” (read: dumb guy with a belt). When I started reading the Methods I realized how absolutely fucking genius it was (again—I’m a numbers guy), and I immediately started obsessing. I tried to program everything around Pripelin’s Chart and began to think about ways to employ Dynamic Effort principles into WODs without going crazy with bands and chains. We also started a tradition of “Max Effort Mondays,” which has become an absolute staple of our gym. Basically, I sort of fell into programming based on the Limited Conjugate method.

In the three plus years since I started programming for competitive CF athletes, I’ve basically maintained as much of what I learned from Westside Methods as I could. I’ve also added some Bulgarian Weightlifting Method, some traditional and non-traditional periodization waves focused on lactate threshold and volume tolerance, some Wendler style linear percentage work, a little Poliquin tempo training, and topped it all off with a metric shit ton of all versions of my personal favorite movement—the barbell Squat.

Let me also add, when it comes to the straight work capacity development part of this program, there will never be a more appropriate tool than the CrossFit.com-style metcon. These will be the bread and butter of the operation as we move further and further into the season. I dare you to show me something worse (in a good way) than “Fran,” “Helen,” or any other evil couplet/triplet that is just the right amount of work to not give you an excuse to stop but makes you question why the fuck you’ve done this to yourself. I am not and will not EVER try to reinvent the metcon wheel. It is impossible to do. A 5- 10-minute metcon designed well enough to not create any need for the athlete to rest is the most beautiful thing in the training world. I am merely trying to build athletes who will be prepared to move swiftly and with economy during whatever combination HQ throws into that 10-minute beauty.

When you plug the Limited Conjugate into all aspects of programming, you can begin to design daily WODs that will build to a bigger goal. The goal here is to be prepared for CrossFit competitions and CrossFit Games season. I would use the exact same design and template no matter what I was trying to prepare an athlete for, depending upon the demands of their season. The loading and volume of the program will change as we move closer to the season, then back to the off-season. A few weeks ago Brandon (Phillips) said to me, “It’s the off-season. We should only be doing enough metcon to keep us hungry.” I couldn’t agree more. Here are the basics of what we’re doing right now:

From 4 weeks after the Games until 4 weeks before the Open begins: This is when we build. If you’re worried about losing your “wind” because of a local competition, then you have your priorities wrong. I’ve moderated volume to ensure that strength/power/skill building will not be stunted. We’re working on the highest level (that we will need) of gymnastics skills as frequently as possible and are practicing to attain a virtuoso level with the Olympic lifts (for overall athletic development). Add in some good old-fashioned CrossFit.com-style ass-kickery, some traditional S&C Barbell and Bodyweight movements for overall strength gains, and govern it with a Limited Conjugate method that does a perfect job of keeping everything in order.

The Open through 4 weeks before Regionals: To be continued…

WOD 111213:


1) Take 15 minutes to work up to a heavy Power Clean.

Notes: Keep going up until form breaks (feet jumping wide, elbows low in catch) or you miss twice because of load.

2a) 4X2 1 Hi-Hang Clean (squat) + 1 Clean (squat) @ 85% of above – rest 10 sec ONLY. (T&G reps)
2b) 4×5 1&1/4 Front Squats – heaviest possible, rest 2 minutes. VIDEO DEMO

Notes: You should have a bar loaded and waiting.


15 minute AMRAP of:

ME/UB Muscle-Ups
ME/UB Double-Unders

Notes: Begin this piece with a ME set of Muscle-Ups. When you fail (yes, go to complete failure) perform a max set of UB Double-Unders. Do not rush back to the rings. Take enough time to get your breathing under control and allow your forearms to flush. The goal is 5-7 total sets. If you do not have multiple UB Muscle-Ups do a difficult but fast number of them (until failure), then move to DU. Do not count a set of Double-Unders that is less than 30 UB.


5X5 TGU (ea. arm) – no rest, keep alternating

Mike Poppa – PR @ 295# – horrible forward jump, missing extension by 10-15 degrees, but so dreamy.