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Block insights (Competitor), November 5th - December 30th 2018 (WK45-52/2018)
Block insights (Competitor), November 5th - December 30th 2018 (WK45-52/2018)

Insights into programming, progressions and differences between the streams in the training block.

Jami Tikkanen avatar
Written by Jami Tikkanen
Updated over a week ago

This training block runs for 8-weeks. You will have 5 training sessions / week. Depending on your needs, you can choose from three (3) different optional sessions to add into your week:

  • Running (Engine stream)

  • Strongman (Strength stream)

  • Gymnastics (all streams)

There is a deload (reduction in volume + intensity and additional recovery day) on weeks 4 and 8 to allow you to recover, adapt and be ready to make the most out of your training. There is a weekly active recovery session on Sundays (so you don't need to build it up yourself via our active recovery page).

As we are about 16-weeks away from the Open, our overall focus is on giving you a solid foundation to build the Open peak on. Each of the streams help you approach your prep from a different angle:

Choosing which stream to follow

  • Remember that each of the streams has all the components to be a complete program.

  • We recommend you spend most of your training blocks focused on Engine or Strength and do a block of SPP every 2-3 blocks, not more often than that. This will allow you to make progress long term and keep your body healthy.

  • Choose engine - If you need to improve your conditioning as top priority to be ready for the Open or an upcoming competition

  • Choose strength - If you need to improve your strength as top priority to be ready for the Open or an upcoming competition

  • Choose SPP - If you are getting close to an important competition or if you enjoy doing more competition style workouts, choose this option.

The next section offers a short overview of the aims and progressions for strength, weightlifting, conditioning and skill work in this block, as well as what you should focus on to make the most out of your training.


Depending on the stream, 3 (Engine/SPP) or 4 (Strength) sessions/wk have a strength component. 


  • Squats (Engine/SPP) - Mondays: 5x5s to 5x3s (back squat), building towards a heavy double (H2) at the end of the block. Thursdays: 1st 4-weeks, alternating front squat and back squat on heavy 3s and 4s followed by an AMAP set. 2nd 4-weeks, overhead squat progression, moving from light to heavier 3s over the weeks.

  • Squats (Strength) - Similar to others but with an additional squat day (Saturday) which allows us to continue with the front squats while introducing the overhead squat on WK5 like in the other streams.

  • Ring muscle ups - Strict ring muscle ups for 4-weeks, followed by kipping, in supersets with the back squat on Mondays. Additional assistance work on Thursdays (Engine/SPP) or Saturdays (Strength).

  • Deadlifts - Heavy 3s and 5s, higher repetition sets and few variations (deficit DL and DL from blocks) in EMOM format. 

  • Lunges - Reverse, back rack and front rack walking lunges in the 6-8 rep/side range for 2-weeks each.

  • Pressing (Engine) - Bench press, seated strict press, dips, strict press for 2-weeks each.

  • Pressing (SPP) - Bench press, seated strict press, dips and push press for 2-weeks each.

  • Pressing (Strength) - Bench press (5x5s to 5x3s, building towards a heavy double (H2) at the end of the block. Strict press (3-weeks) and push press (3-weeks).

  • Horizontal pull (Strength) - Alternating 2-weeks at a time of single arm DB row and prone incline DB row in 6 - 10 rep range.

  • Strongman circuits (Engine/SPP) - On Fridays to introduce various movement challenges.

Key focus points

  • Prioritise good movement always over the weight. Poor reps with heavy form don't mean much, increase injury risk and have to be unlearned later at high cost.

  • On the squats, you can either use the same % across OR increase weight (within % range) on each set. Remember that work sets should feel hard.


Some progressions are % based while others use AHAFA and RIR for progression and to individualise the prescription. 

  • AMAP - As Many As Possible, aim for max repetitions

  • AHAFA - As Heavy As Possible

  • 2 RIR - 2 reps "in reserve", this is a way to individualise your training and to make sure your work sets are hard enough to stimulate progress (other variations you'll find are 1-2 RIR and 1 RIR).


1st 4-weeks: Two (2) sessions/wk with a weightlifting component.
2nd 4-weeks: Three (3) sessions/wk with a weightlifting component.


  • Clean and jerk/Snatch - Singles, doubles and triples starting @ 70% and building up. We'll alternate between classic lifts and various hang complexes. The main intent is to develop consistency and speed under the bar.

  • Barbell cycling - Practice cycling reps on snatch, clean, and jerk. Strength stream will start with some heavier cycling early in the block and all streams will have this mixed in throughout the block.

Key focus points

  • Always prioritise good form in these sessions. To lift heavy, you must have good mechanics. By all means, go as heavy as you can (within the ranges) as long as you're lifting well. Sloppy reps with poor form will have to be unlearned later at great cost.

  • The above is especially true with barbell cycling as errors will be magnified under fatigue and stress in the workouts.

  • Do a good technique warm up in each session to improve your technique and to prime you for success in the session (video links in blog posts).


  • SPP/Metcon sessions - Get exposure to competition style workouts. Opportunity to challenge your current capacity and practice your approach to competition events.

  • Interval sessions - Weekly sport specific (SPP) intervals, focus on repeatability of the effort. You will learn about pacing and develop your awareness of sustainable and unsustainable intensity. 1 to 2-sessions / week (depending on stream).


  • SPP + monostructural intervals - These sessions combine high intensity SPP pieces with monostructural work (AB, row, run etc.) to develop your ability to recover while still putting in work. On 1st 4-weeks on engine stream only then on all streams on the 2nd half of the block.

  • SPP intervals - 6 to 3-minute intervals focused on repeatable efforts. On all streams on the 1st 4-weeks and on engine stream only on the 2nd half of the block.

  • Engine only - A mix of HIT and long monostructural conditioning to develop your aerobic system.

  • Running (Engine - optional) - Our running progression in this training block is aimed at developing your 5km TT (Time Trial) speed. A 5km TT is in the 16 to 24-minute duration. Training for this distance allows us to work on both aerobic power and endurance. This will translate to more fatigue resistance and higher power output in longer workouts while also building a base that we can refine early next year as we move towards the CF Games Open

Key focus points

  • SPP/Metcon sessions - Use these to challenge yourself. Look at the workout ahead of time and make a plan how you should best approach it. Warm up well and execute your plan to the best of your ability. Reflect back on the workout afterwards, identify what went well, what could have improved and how will you do it.

  • Interval sessions - As we are focused on developing your ability to sustain and repeat your effort, the training must reflect that = When you're doing the interval work we want you to work at a hard pace that is repeatable for you. (Crashing and burning in the intervals would be failing to follow the program properly.) 

  • SPP + monostructural sessions - You might find these quite challenging (especially when trying to return to nose breathing), this is normal. Adjust the pace on the AB (or row/run) according to your ability.

  • Running (Engine - optional) - Warm up well and pay attention to surface you're running on (ideally NOT concrete).


  • Movement micro-doses (MMDs) - Exposure to variety of movement skills. Develop the basic mechanics of common competition movement and build capacity in them. We'll work on the foundations for the Open peak work that is coming in the next block. Frequency of sessions depends on the stream.

  • Optional weekly gymnastics - Aimed at building solid foundations for sports specific gymnastics capacity and general movement competency.


  • We will progressively build your capacity to do bigger sets in common competition movements. This is partially expressed in the skill sessions but strength sessions will also contribute to your capacity here.

  • Tempo work and isometrics for the 1st 4-weeks to build a base then more focus on higher repetition capacity.

Key focus points

  • Remember that practise makes permanent, not perfect. The basic currency of your training is a repetition. Therefore the quality of your training is determined by the quality of your repetitions. Make every session a new opportunity to perfect your repetitions and you will be successful. 

  • For guidance, follow the principles for deliberate practice found in each skill session.

  • Be strict with the tempo 2020 on the 1st 4-weeks. The aim is to keep the muscles and other tissues under tension for the whole duration of the set.


Hope you found this article helpful!

Let us know if you have any questions about this training block and we'll update the article with additional information.

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