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How we prioritise, periodise and plan our CrossFit programming

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Recently we’ve received a lot of interest from members regarding our programming for CrossFit.

“Can you show us the plan?”

“What’s the focus for this cycle?”

“What day is squat day?”

These are things we hear on a day to day basis. By the end of this blog you will appreciate the basic guiding principles for creating training plans. I will also help you understand that what you’re doing over the next month is just a snapshot of a long-term plan to get you fitter.

Crafting a training plan can be both beautifully simple and complex at the same time. Strength & Conditioning is an art guided by science. Many coaches rely on templates for their athletes. These templates can be for specific capacities (e.g. a Russian Squat Cycle), session design (strength + metcon), weekly organisation (each week follows a similar pattern) and so on. Having structure around your training is necessary to see continued progress once you’re past the glorious “newbie” phase of training.

However, whilst following the same format every week or rotating between few templates every few months can ease the workload on coaches, it significantly impedes potential physical development. Doing the same workout format (strength then a short metcon) every day is not only ineffective over time, but it’s also BORING. Making matters worse, you could burn out or lose interest entirely.


At GW Performance, we apply our individual program design principles to the group setting. Whilst having a personal plan 100% tailored to you values, priorities and needs is the best way to get results, there’s no doubt our group programming elicits great results over the long run.


One of the basic principles is of program design the Three P’s:

  • Prioritise
  • Periodise
  • Plan

Prioritising is easily understood: what are the needs of the athlete? Across the year we prioritise elements of training based on our observations and assessments. Each phase prioritises one or more stimulus (e.g. absolute strength and aerobic capacity), movements (e.g. back squat and pull ups), skills (e.g. weightlifting and/or gymnastics) and so on. Those examples are relatively broad, such is the nature of group programming. Special note: the priorities are also periodised across the year in order to help “peak” for the CrossFit Open AND maintain a balanced fitness (never biasing to the point of specialising).

Periodising. Periodisation is the name given to a system where by specific training blocks are divided throughout the year. These blocks, phases or cycles usually aim to have specific outcomes. Phases are divided into macro, meso or micro cycles and usually lead into each other throughout the year to ultimately peak for optimal performance. The more specific the application of fitness, the more refined the periodisation of a training plan can be.

Planning. Intelligent training pays attention to movement frequency and redundancy; volume; intensity and more. Organising the training week is just as important for injury prevention as it is for improving performance. The workouts are programmed purposefully, not randomly, across the week.


We plan on an individual level too. Coaches work with athletes to plan their training based around lifestyle. How well do you respond to stress, day to day, in terms of rhythm and circadian rhythm? When can you fit in you training sessions given work and home-life? When are you most mentally acute? How do you best recover? Knowing the answers to these questions allows for greater intricacies of a program.


What’s coming up?

More fitness. The mission of CrossFit HQ was to expose participants to constantly varied training in order to evenly develop capacity across the board: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. We will do that in an organised way that will lead to greater fitness.


More specifically, during June we will test, train and re-test:

  • Overhead Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Floor Press
  • 2km Row
  • A few CrossFit benchmarks.


If you want to know more about programming or want to have a customised approach to your training, then please contact me here


See you in the gym

Coach Leigh

CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training

GW Performance

South Yarra