Case Study: CrossFit Semifinal Athlete

26 Jan


This case study was written by Sam Smith to provide insight into the process of coaching his client Nelli to compete in the CrossFit Semifinals.

Metrics:

  • Female
  • 28 years old
  • 5’6’’
  • 150 pounds
  • Europe

Goals:

  • Finish in the Top 15 in a 2022 CrossFit Semifinal
  • Place herself in a position to be able to qualify for the CrossFit Games
  • Continued ascent towards physical potential

Priorities in Training:

  • She’s faster than she is strong; needs continued upticks in absolute strength both in the upper and lower body
  • Continued development of advanced strict gymnastics (IE – LLRC, Deficit HSPU, HSW Ramp, Pegboard, etc.)
  • Continued improvement in bending pattern; absolute strength and strength endurance
  • Develop capacity through muscle endurance 

Periodization/Training Overview:

After the Semifinal, she had 2 full weeks off. This was followed with 2 weeks of “reloading” to get her body and mind back into training.

Overview of training for the second half of the year:

July 12th – 31st - 3 Week Build 1

August 2nd – 21st - 3 Week Build 2

September 6th – 12th - 1 Week Mild Deload (drop in volume; more bodybuilding-based work)

September 13th – October 10th - 4 Week Int 1 (Leading into Finnish IF3 National Championships)

October 15-17th – IF3 events

October 18-21st - 4 Day Deload

October 22-23rd – Mild Training

October 25th – November 21st – Int 2/Pre-Comp (Leading into IF3 World Championships)

November 26th - 28th – IF3 World Championships

November 29th - December 5th – Deload Week

December 6th - January 2nd – Build 1

*Once December begins, every 4 weeks she’ll have 3-4 days easy/off; this will be sequenced with her menstrual cycle

January 3rd – January 30th – Int 1

January 30th – February 20th – Int 2

February 21st – March 20th – 5 Week Pre-Comp (Open -> Quarterfinals)

March 21-27th – Taper Week

March 28-30th – Easier Days

March 31st – 3rd – 2022 CrossFit Quarterfinals

Our first initial training cycle centered around building a more robust aerobic system. We placed a heavy focus on building towards a 10-minute max calorie echo bike test and a 5000m Row Time Trial. We saw 2 great PRs in both tests (137 calories and 19:46, 1:58.6 average, respectively). Additionally, more structured based strength training and postural endurance work to ensure her frame is continually getting stronger and more robust season after season. We used heavy “DT” as a litmus for bending strength endurance at the tail end of the cycle which resulted in a time of 9:05, which is very fast in general, and for her.

Below I outline this initial cycle of training, followed by the outline of our current cycle which is leading into the IF3 Finnish National Championships in mid-October.

6 Week Cycle: Build 1 and 2

Build 1 – Weeks 1-3 – Central Focus: Volume and Tension

Build 2 – Week 4-6 – Central Focus: Pushing and Load

Monday

AM- Long Rowing (High / Low)

Breathing Prep

+

5 sets:

2 min Row @ 2:00/500m

1 min Row @ 2:08/500m

+

5 min rest/walk

+

5 sets:

1:30 min Row @ 1:54/500m

1:30 min Row @ 2:08/500m

PM- SN (Moderate %) + CN (Moderate %) + Front Squat (Clusters) + Bending (Str End -> ME)

Dynamic Warm Up Drills

+

  1. 2 Squat Snatch + 2 Low Hang Squat Snatch x 6 sets – rest 90 sec – 2 @ 55, 57.5, 60kg – reset b/t snatches
  2. 2 Squat Clean + 2 Low Hang Squat Clean + 2 Split Jerks x 6 sets – rest 90 sec – 2 @ 65, 70, 75kg – reset b/t cleans
  3. Front Squat; 5.5.5 x 3 sets – rest fully – rest 10-20 sec b/t 5’s – tough sets!

+

4 sets:

9 Double KB Deadlift @ 32kg/hand – vertical shins

-rest 15 sec-

15 GHD Hip Extensions – fast

-rest 15 sec-

21 Cal Ski @ 80% - damper 5

-rest 90 sec- 

Tuesday

AM- Running (Long/EZ)

Running Prep Drills

+

35-45 min Run – nice and smooth – Heart Rate below 150 beats per minute entire time

PM- Gym Skills (TGU/HSW/L Sit/DH2I) + BP/Pull Up (Clusters; Sets -> Int) + Press/Pull (Hyp) + Grip/Core

CARs specific to session

+

A.3 rounds, not for time:

4 Alt KB TGU

2 Strict T2B

10 sec L Sit Hang from Bar

2 Strict T2B

+

B1. Bench Press; 5.5.5 x 4 sets – rest 90 sec

B2. Strict Pull Up; 4.3.2.1 x 4 sets – rest 90 sec – weighted

C1. DB French Press @ 2110; 10 tough reps – rest 60 sec

C2. Supinated Grip Ring Row @ 2110; 10 tough reps – rest 60 sec

+

For Time:

2 min HS Hold Against Wall

100m FW @ 32kg/hand

2 min Ring FLR

100m FW @ 32kg/hand

2 min HS Hold Against Wall

Wednesday

AM- Long AB (High/Low)

Breathing Prep

+

5 sets:

2 min EB @ 61 RPM

1 min EB @ 51 RPM

+

5 min rest/walk

+

5 sets:

1:30 min EB @ 64 RPM

1:30 min EB @ 51 RPM

PM- Sn Tech/Cycling + Cn Tech/Cycling + Bending (Clusters; Sets -> Int) + GM (Moderate) + Mixed Lower (Str End -> ME Sets)

A.1 Muscle Snatch + 1 High Hang Squat Snatch + 1 Snatch Balance @ 35-45kg every minutes x 5 minutes

  1. 1 Power Snatch + 2 Hang Squat Snatch + 1 OHS @ 50-55kg every minute x 5 minutes
  2. 1 Muscle Clean + 1 High Hang Squat Clean Thruster + Split Jerk @ 50-55kg every minute x 5 minutes
  3. 1 Power Clean + 2 Hang Squat Cleans + 3 S2O @ 60-65kg every minute x 5 minutes
  4. Deadlift @ 11X1; 5.5.5 x 3 sets – rest as needed – double overhand hook grip
  5. Seated Good Morning @ 2110; 12-15 reps x 3 sets – rest 90 sec

+

5 sets:

10 Double KB Front Rack Walking Lunges @ 24kg/hand

-rest 15 sec-

15 OHS @ 35kg

-rest 15 sec-

20 Alt Jumping Lunges @ bodyweight

-rest 90-120 sec-

Thursday

Active Recovery; 45-60 min

Friday

AM- Run/Ski Long (High / Low)

Breathing Prep

+

5 sets:

2 min Ski @ 75%

1 min Run @ 50%

+

5 min rest/walk

+

5 sets:

1:30 min Ski @ 90%

1:30 min Run @ 50%

PM- Sn Complex (Varied) + Cn Complex (Varied) + BS (Str End) + Hinging (ACC) + Core/PChain

  1. Pause Squat Snatch x 3 – Build to a tough set in less than 15 min – pause above the knee on all reps
  2. Power Clean x 3 + Jerk x 1 – Build to a tough set in less than 15 min – reset b/t power cleans
  3. Back Squat @ 00X1; 10-10-10 – rest 2 min – fast reps here
  4. Snatch Grip RDL @ 2110; 8-10 reps x 4 sets – rest 90 sec – straps preferred

+

4 sets:

15 GHDSU

-rest 15 sec-

15 Russian KBS @ 32kg

-rest 15 sec-

15 GHDSU

-rest 15 sec-

15 KBS @ 24kg

-rest 1-2 min-

Saturday

Upper CP (Gym Based) + 20/15/10 (IE; Mixed Sets)

Scap Specific Prep

+

A1. Strict HSPU to Deficit @ 30X0; 2.2.2 – rest 60 sec

A2. Strict Neutral Grip Pull Up @ 11X2; 2.2.2 – rest 90 sec

+

20 min AMRAP @ 75%/Moderate:

30 Cal EB

9 RA DB OH Walking Lunges @ 15kg

30 Wtd DU’s

9 LA DB OH Walking Lunges @ 15kg

+

5 min rest

+

15 min AMRAP @ 85%/Tough:

21 Cal Row

15 Pull Ups

9 Hang Power Snatch @ 35kg

+

5 min rest

+

10 min AMRAP @ 90%/Hard:

15 S2O @ 35kg

15m HSW

15 Cal Ski

Sunday

Swimming 

4 Week Cycle: Intensification 1 - Finnish IF3 Championships (Oct 15-17th)

  • Specific Preparation for IF3 Tests: Endurance, Strength, Power, Mixed Modal, Bodyweight, Skill
  • Continued push on absolute strength

Monday

AM- Aer Power Sets (M/G/W)

3 rounds:

21 Cal Row

15 Cal EB

9 Cal Ski

1st round – 60%

2nd round – 75%

3rd round – 90%

+

2 sets @ 85-90%:

5 min clock:

1000m Row

*in remaining time:

Bar Facing Burpees

-rest 3 min-

5 min clock:

1000m Row

*in remaining time:

Alt DB PS @ 22.5kg

-rest 3 min-

5 min clock:

1000m Row

*in remaining time:

EB Cals

-rest 3 min-

PM-

Sn (High %) + Cn (High %) + GM (Int) + Sn/Cn Squatting End FT (Mixed)

  1. 1 Squat Snatch every 60 sec x 15 reps - 5 @ 75, 5 @ 77.5, 5 @ 80kg - solid reps here, no misses
  2. 1 Squat Clean and Split Jerk every 75 sec x 15 reps - 5 @ 85, 5 @ 90, 5 @ 95kg - solid reps here
  3. Sumo Good Mornings @ 30X1; 6-6-6-6 - rest 2 min - all tough sets, PERFECT form! - this is strength work

+

For Time @ high effort:

5 Squat Snatch @ 65kg

3 LLRC to 15'

5 OHS @ 65kg

6 RC to 15' w/ legs

5 Squat Snatch @ 65kg

9 RMU

5 OHS @ 65kg

12 BMU

Tuesday

AM- Running Repeats (Incremental Work)

Running Prep

+

Every 7 min x 5 sets @ 85-90%:

1000m Run @ 4:20-4:25 pace

PM-

Gym Skill Practice -> FT + Gym/BB EMOMs -> FT

3 rounds - skill work:

3 Burpee Pull Overs

1/arm KB TGU - tough-ish

3 Strict T2B

HSW over Ramp – practice

+

Rest as needed

+

EMOM x 10 minutes @ high effort:

2 RMU

4 Strict HSPU

6 KBS @ 24kg

+

5 min rest

+

EMOM x 10 minutes w/ 14# vest on @ high effort:

1 RC to 15' w/ legs

5 Push Ups

10 Air Squats

+

5 min rest

+

EMOM x 10 minutes @ high effort:

6 C2B

4 Burpees to Bar

20 Wtd DU's

+

Powell Raise; @ 20X0; 12 tough reps / arm x 3 sets - rest 60 sec

Wednesday 

AM- Aer Power Sets (M/G/W)

  1. 3 rounds @ increasing pace:

200m Run

15 Cal Row

9 Cal C2 Bike

1st round - 60%

2nd round - 75%

3rd round - 90%

+

  1. 2 sets @ 85-90%:

5 min clock:

2000m EB

*in remaining time:

DU's

-rest 3 min-

5 min clock:

2000m C2 Bike

*in remaining time:

HSW for distance

-rest 3 min-

5 min clock:

1000m Ski Erg

*in remaining time:

Sandbag over Shoulder @ 45kg

-rest 3 min-

PM- FS (Int Sets) + Speed Bending + LP -> LE

  1. Prep Work
  2. Front Squat; Build to a tough 5 for the day in less than 15 min - no fails
  3. 3 Fast Deadlifts @ 100kg every min x 12 minutes - reset b/t reps - double overhand hook grip
  4. 2 sets:

60 sec EB @ 95%/Hard

-rest 3-5 min-

60 sec Row @ 95%/Hard

-rest 3-5 min-

*Record cals on EB and ave RPM

*Record meters and ave split for Rower

+

10-15 min – flush the legs

Thursday

Active Recovery – 45-60 min blood flow + mobility work 

Friday

AM- EZ Aer (Flush Based)

  1. 40-60 min EZ:

2 min C2 Bike

1 min Walking Lunges

1 min Single Unders

1 min Plank

2 min Row

1 min Air Squats

1 min Bear Crawl

1 min Ski Erg

PM- Sn/Cn Int (Alternating) + FS (Back Off Sets; Low Vol) + SL (Reps -> FT) + Cn/Sn Squatting End FT (Mixed)

  1. Snatch Balance x 1 + OHS x 3 - Build to a tough set in less than 15 min - take from rack
  2. Front Squat; 5 reps @ 90% of tough set from Wednesday x 3-5 sets - rest 2-4 min b/t - only go past 3 sets if speed and strength are maintained
  3. For Time:

5 Squat Cleans @ 80kg

5 Strict RMU

5 Hang Squat Cleans @ 80kg

5 Strict RMU

5 Squat Cleans @ 80kg

5 Strict RMU

5 Hang Squat Cleans @ 80kg

5 Strict RMU

Saturday

Upper CP + 5 min (Mixed Repeats) -> MM Tests

  1. 3 rounds – skill practice:

1/arm KB TGU - moderately tough

HSW over Ramp - practice

3 L Sit Pull Ups

Triple Under Practice - 15-30 sec worth

B1. Close Grip Board Bench Press @ 22X1; 4-6 tough reps x 5 sets - rest 60 sec

B2. Pendlay Row @ 11X1; 4-6 tough reps x 5 sets - rest 2 min

  1. 2 sets @ 85-90%:

5 min AMRAP:

9 Thrusters @ 35kg

7 BJO @ 20"

5 C2B

-rest 3 min-

5 min AMRAP:

12 Cal Ski

9 Kipping HSPU

6 Power Snatch @ 35kg

-rest 3 min-

5 min AMRAP:

50 DU's

10 OH Walking Lunges @ 35kg

5 Bar Facing Burpees

-rest 3 min-

*same output on second set

Sunday

Swimming

Warm Up: 

3 down and backs - kickboard + thigh floatie if needed;  Slow pace

+

1 max breath hold swim

2 min - breathing technique (long inhale through nose, hard quick exhale through mouth, fast rate)

30 sec - regular mouth breathing

1 max breath hold swim

3 min - breathing technique

1 max breath hold swim

(you will be going at a steady rate, this is not for distance, conserve all the energy you have)

+

Freestyle Stroke

Base Swim:

A1. 5-7 laps; (down and back; 50m = 1 lap)

(cruising pace)  x 1

 rest 1:1

A2. 5-7 laps; (down and back; 50m = 1 lap)

(cruising pace)  x 1

- play with breathe rates

- find what feels good for you

- report the best breathing rate for you

(500-700m total volume)

If you’re an athlete preparing for an event, then there’s no better way to achieve success than with an individualized training program. Click the button below to learn more about working with a Crafted coach.

Photo by Minna Penkkimäki

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