Hi Johnnie,

I am just starting to follow the CrossFit Football strength workouts. I am not sure where to start as far as weight is concerned. Where do you suggest I start? Do I just guesstimate with the weight each day? For instance today is 5 RM for DL, should I just try to find my 5 RM?

Thank you!


Evel Knievel 1967

Lets get some things clear.

RM = Rep Max

A rep maximum (RM) in weight training is the maximum amount of weight on can lift for a given number of repetitions on THAT day during THAT workout. If the workout calls for a 5 rep maximum in the squat, that means 5 squat reps at the heaviest weight possible. If you can only do 4 reps, then you went too heavy and now know your 4 RM. If you can do 6 reps, then you did not go heavy enough.

PR = Personal Record

A personal record is your heaviest weight ever lifted in an exercise or the heaviest weight lifted for multiple reps in an exercise. This would include the one time when squatting, Jupiter and Venus were aligned, the girl pictured below asks to work in and you hit a number that was 20 lbs higher than ever before. You might be able to hit that number again but only if Melia shows up. That is your personal record or PR.

Evel Knieval #2

CrossFit Football asks you to set new PRs just 4-7 times a year, but we do ask you to test rep maximums a few times a week. This allows you to train at your daily maximum. Where people get in trouble is expecting to set a PR every time they do a rep max. This only happens with amateurs in the amateur window.

When starting the CrossFit Football program, I want you to think about Evel Knievel.

Evel Knievel was a daredevil motorcycle rider who did over 75 ramp-to-ramp jumps between 1965-1980. In 1974 he tried to jump the Snake River in a steam-powered rocket. The guy broke 433 bones during his career.

He was once quoted as saying, “Bones heal, pain is temporary, and chicks dig scars…”

He was asked what the difference was between making a jump and not making a jump. He said the take off. If he had enough ramp on his approach and got up to the speed the rest was in God’s hands.

The biggest mistake when starting CrossFit Football is not giving yourself enough ramp to the get up to speed. Basically, letting ego get in the way and starting too heavy. I want you to start 20-40 lbs below what you think you can do. Since you are adding 10 lbs a week on the squat and the deadlift and 5 lbs on the bench and the press, it will only take 4-6 weeks for it to start getting heavy.

Get that groundwork laid and build up speed as you approach the ramp and prepare for the biggest jump of your lift. You are going to need as much speed as humanly possible to carry you over the 14-20 weeks we call the amateur window.

The Amateur window is this short period of time, 14-20 weeks, when someone new to weight training, with little to no adaptation, will make gains like they own a Mexican pharmacy. Mix 8-10 glasses of whole milk with the Power Athlete diet and 20-30 lbs of lean body mass will accompany these gains.

Remember Evel Kneivel only cared about making his jump; just like CFFB he only cared about results. He didn’t care how fast he was going or the length of the ramp, only how far he flew in the air and if he landed. I don’t care how long it takes you to get up to speed, how hard the fight was during the training, only that you got stronger. The length of ramp needed and top speed are completely dependent on how far you needed to fly.