I’m a grad assistant strength coach at University of South Carolina, and I’m very interested in your programming.  I’ve been competing in CrossFit over the last year, and often design my own programs.  I’m curious about your programming for the Collegiate strength wod’s, and was hoping that you could explain your method to me.  One part that confuses me particularly is from May 3, and May 4.  Each day athletes were asked to find a 5RM in Squat, and then a 5RM in deadlift.  Given that the movements and musculature required are so similar (which is also stated by the folks at Westside), why have test them on back to back days?
I really like the programming, and your athletes are obviously getting strong as gorillas.  I’m just trying to learn as much as possible, and I’ve learned that it’s always important to ask “why?”

Brian D.
University of…
G.A. Strength Coach
NSCA-CSCS,USAW-Sports Performance


You are are referring to the Professional level and the simplest way I can explain it is, the program is based on a push/pull method. On May 3rd the strength portion of the program called for a 5 RM Squat and Press – both movements are pushes, with the Press being a vertical push. On May 4th the program called for a 5 RM Deadlift and Supine Ring Pull Ups, both movements are pulls with the Supine Ring Pull Ups being a horizontal pull. And the reason the program is asking for 5 RM’s on various movements is the professional level runs in 6 week cycles and at the of 1 week and week 4 we do 5 RM’s so we can take 90% of the 5 RM for the 5×5 volume sets on these movements during the cycle.

The Westside method groups training days into uppper/lower, however there is carry over between the upper/lower on all days with the addition of assistance work, GPP work and focusing on weaknesses. CrossFit Football trains the body as a whole and breaks movements into push/pull. Of course, like WSB there is carry over on many training days.

When playing football, I used by whole body on a daily basis. There was never a day when I only used my legs or just my arms. So I could never understand breaking up my training in body parts. I played with my body as a whole, so I should train my body as a whole. Football is a game of small struggles, the entire game I was either pushing someone off the ball, running to hit someone or digging my heels in the ground of not get pulled on my face. When I broke my training down it was just a series of pushes and pulls, so that translated in the training.

On a personal note, I have always liked to pull heavy weight, whether it be power cleans and snatches, heavy rows and shrugs or deadlifts; I just dig the feeling on pulling heavy weight. I think it stems from when I sized up opponents and other athletes I could always gauge their abilities and strength by what you can’t see in the mirror. A guy with a strong back, big traps, thick tris, hamstrings and butt was always strong and hard to beat. The guys that looked like a bodybuilders with chest, abs and big quads were never much concern. One of my coaches used to say “Look like Tarzan, play like Jane”. I remember watching a beast of a defensive lineman do reps with 500 lbs on the bench before practice and thinking this is going to be interesting. Sure to form he couldn’t play and wasn’t there the next day. Too much push…not enough pull.