AMRAP? EMOM? MetCon? (How did CrossFit Programming Start?)

Katelyn Helms Vegvisir CrossFit Coach

If you belong to a CrossFit gym, you are part of the most efficient health and fitness programs in the world. 

Based off of simple principles in weightlifting, gymnastics, conditioning, and nutrition, you can break down the philosophy in 100 words:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. – Greg Glassman (Former CEO and Founder of CrossFit)

While all CrossFit gyms follow this basic philosophy, it can be applied in different ways depending on the beliefs in human capacity and what the most effective cycling routines are. In order to talk about programming in this series, we’ve gotta go over the basics of CrossFit programming, which means we’ve gotta start CrossFit Home Office programming!

The Basics Of CrossFit Programming:

When you check out, you will see a workout smack dab in the middle of the page. 

In CrossFit Home Office Programming, each day has 1 workout (W.O.D.= Workout Of the Day) and it can be any standalone or combination of gymnastic, weightlifting, and/or conditioning movements.

Gymnastics: Any movement that requires your to move your body through space. This can be anything from a pull-up to a box jump, as long as you are moving your body weight in full range of motion repetitions, you are doing a gymnastics movement. These movements can be broken down into bar, ring, and floor pieces as well. 

Weightlifting: The second you apply an external load to your body, you are performing a weightlifting movement. Deadlifts, Cleans, and even Wall Ball Shots are considered weightlifting movements. In CrossFit we will typically use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls to perform these movements. 

Conditioning: These are movements that involves high repetition movement that’s end result is elevating the heart rate for an extended period of time. These movements can be anything from jumping rope to going for distance on a rower! We also use running, skiing, and biking for these types of movements.

The day to day choices for workouts are predicated on the evenly covering the aforementioned big 3 types of movement as well as combining them into couplets (2 movements), triplets (3 movements), and chippers (4+ movements). Along with this the workouts need to be covering different time domains: sub 10 minutes, 10-20 minutes, and 20 minutes or more. These workouts are also gonna be split up into 3 different task domains:

AMRAP – “As Many Rounds (and Reps) as Possible”: In these workouts you are given a circuit and an amount of time that you’ll have to complete as many rounds of that circuit as possible. If you have to do a 6 minute AMRAP of 10 Kettlebell Swings and 5 Burpees, your score could be something like 4 Rounds + 9 Reps.

EMOM – “Every Minute On the Minute”: These are going to be task workouts. In a 10 Minute EMOM, your timer will beep every minute for 10 minutes. In the minute you’ll have a given task to complete like 5 calories of rowing. Once the task is completed, you can rest until the clock beeps again! 

FGB – “Fight Gone Bad”: Based off of the WOD Fight Gone Bad, this is an EMOM style workout mixed with an AMRAP. In a given workout you could have a 10 minute EMOM with 5 different stations: Wall Ball Shots, Bike Calories, Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, and a minute of rest. Your task is to complete as many reps as possible of each movement within the minute provided for that movement. Your score at the end would be the total reps that you have completed of all the movements.

For Time – The simplest MetCon form. You are given a task like “Helen,” 3 Rounds for Time: 400m Run, 21 Kettlebell Swings, 12 Pull-Ups. Once the clock starts, your workout doesn’t end until you complete all the reps of the workout in order or until you are capped. A “Time Cap” is a limit placed on the amount of time you have to complete a workout. For “Helen” you would see a 16 minute time cap. If you don’t finish the 3 rounds in that time, your score is the amount of reps completed. 

Also, when you look at a WOD, you’ll end up seeing at the bottom of a given WOD: Beginner, Scaled, and Rx. CrossFit movements are amazing in the fact that they are all infinitely scaleable. This means that you can modify any movement and any workout to meet someone at their ability level. In order to establish some common waypoints for their community, they will establish some common movements they would like athletes at these given levels to perform.

An example for this scaling might be seeing a movement like a pull-up in a workout. CrossFit would ask that Beginner athletes perform Ring Rows, Scaled Athletes perform jumping pull-ups, and Rx’d athletes perform the pull-ups as is. (Each CF gym handles this differently, including ours, but we all believe that movements can and should be scaled to meet an athletes needs). 

Applying All That Knowledge To A Program:

Nearly every coach who programs for their gym understands that we all have a central nervous system and it regulates our ability to bring intensity to a given workout. CrossFit Home Office, believes that we workout most efficiently when we follow a 3 day on and 1 day off routine for exercise. The basis for the 3 days is that if you were to watch a given group of athletes and asked them to perform a WOD every day for a week, you would see a significant drop off in performance after the 3rd day in a row of intense exercise. Since CrossFit is about applying intensity (once you have proper form) in order to see the best results, a loss of that intensity would demean any results you get from your exercises. 

When you put together all the lingo we talked about above and this dedication to preserving intensity, you’ll get a training week that looks like this on the Home Office Website:

3 RM Back Squat

20 Minute AMRAP:
5 Pull-Ups 
10 Push-Ups
15 Air Squats

3 Rounds For Time:
400m Run
25 Wall Ball Shots

Rest (Usually accompanied with a picture of a cute dog. Highly recommend checking these days out for a good hit of dopamine)

4 Sets:

500m Row
Rest 2:00

5 Rounds For Time:
12 Deadlifts
9 Hang Cleans
6 Jerks

18 Minute EMOM:
1) :30 Max Effort Muscle-Ups
2) :30 Max Effort Burpees

This programing week pulls from the words of “World Class Fitness in 100 Words” and the lingo that we talked about in our little glossary section.

Each day you would perform these workouts, you would be working a different energy pathway of you body. For instance when you do Friday’s WOD you’re gonna feel like you’re gonna feel your lungs fry from sprinting and Saturday you’re gonna feel overloaded from weightlifting with some pretty sore forearms. These different feelings are actually have unique effects on your metabolism, which gives us the term we use of these conditioning pieces, MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning)!

PHEW! That Was A Lot. Is There More?

CrossFit Home Office has been programming like this since the founder of CrossFit started doing these workouts in his garage. They have mastered this style of CF programming and if followed every day, it can be a quite effective fitness routine! Without this original routine, we wouldn’t be talking about CrossFit all the way in 2022!

In our next blog about programming, we are gonna talk about how this programming has adapted and evolved to meet the needs of every day athletes and some changes that make can make CrossFit style training even more effective!

fill out this form to get started >>

Take the first step towards getting the results that you want!