Reality Check: “A Day With The Champ”

After reading through the comments directed at the above photo on The CrossFit Games page, it became apparent that there is a disconnect between peoples perceptions of Rich’s training relative to the actual work at hand.
That being said, let us break it down and analyze it…

To start, what is written as “7 workouts” (I’m not counting roller hockey) can easily be broken into two distinct parts (which could be done in an AM/ PM split).

A. Bench Press; heavy triples
B. 20 Minute AMRAP:
21 Bench Press (135#)
21 L-Pullup
C. Hang Squat Clean; heavy triples
D. 11 Minute EMOM:
5 TnG Power Snatch 155lb

Now to analyze it. First i’d like to point out that “heavy triples”, makes no mention of volume. So this can either be working to a heavy triple, or volume. Either way we will classify this is ATP-CP work.
So to start the session we have UB Press CP (straight forward).
The next piece, though it may appear like a “metcon”, would most likely be classified as ATP-CP Battery (if your unfamiliar with the term search it on our site and you’ll find an article explaining it in detail). Another way to think of this would be “grunt work”.
The third piece is one again ATP-CP based, though the focus is on the hang squat clean this time (straight forward again).
Now for the fourth piece we have ATP-CP battery once again.
One thing i’d like to point out is the volume/weight. Though this may seem like a tough piece of work, in reality its only about 50% of his max snatch (i.e.- sub maximal & Sustainable.) Before you jump down my throat and claim that 55 reps @75% is not sub maximal take this fact into account.
We have numerous athletes who can perform more than 30 power cleans @90% of their max in 8 minutes (we aren’t talking beginners either. Think males with PCs approaching or over 300lbs).

Knowing what rich is capable of, and seeing as he has a well developed CP-Battery and aerobic base it becomes apparent that the majority of this workout is not only sub maximal (key word here), but the volume isn’t as high as the picture leads you to believe (ie- they call this four ‘‘workouts’’ instead of one session with an A/B/C/D component). (as a reference I and many of my athletes perform this type of volume in our AM sessions on a daily basis. Now factor in that Rich is clearly genetically gifted, trains for a living etc. Does his workload still seem as absurd for what its worth?)

Now for the PM session:

500m x6 sets
50-40-30-20-10 GHD Situps
25-20-15-10-5 HSPU
5 Rounds:
20 KBS (88#)
30 Burpee

This entire session can be summarized in one word. AEROBIC. Without going into the details and minutia of program design, I will simply make the point out that I’ve designed plenty of sessions resembling this one. While I wouldn’t structure it in the same manner, I do see the intent behind this and can see it for what its worth.

So the take away points are…
What may be high volume for you, may not be for someone else. This is why taking the dose response for the individual into account is so important.
What is even more important is noticing that what may be intense for you, may not be for someone else (ie- Rich).
This point is critical when looking at Games athletes and elites. From the outside it appears they are doing tons of intense work (which leads people to follow their lead). While in reality they are doing sub maximal and sustainable work where the volume is relative to what they can tolerate.

Feel free to discuss, ask questions, make a comment etc below

P.S- More to come on this topic soon. We currently have a PDF in the pipeline where we break down/analyze data we acquired from a myriad of regional/ games level competitors and create applicable guidelines for you based on that information.