I am the Owner of Nansemond CrossFit out in VA and was looking through the last month of programming to get a good idea about the CFFB program. We have been using scaled workouts, but most of our people really need to get stronger more than anything, so we are going to switch to your programming for a couple of months and see what happens. We work with some local HS Volleyball players and I am excited to get them back after the season and put them on the program.

My question is about gymnastics as part of your SWOD. I saw lots of pullups, a pretty good number of dips and GHD situps, and HSPU once, but was wondering if you had considered other movements. I was specifically thinking about handstand work, front and back levers, pistols, and planche progressions. Have you tried and discarded them, or given them some thought and gone other directions?

Two things made me wonder about this, the first is Gregg Glassman and other coaches have mentioned that gymnasts tend to learn other sports better than other athletes, and I recently started working on a free-standing hand stand and it has highlighted a weakness in upper body and OH strength. I spent about a minute total time in a handstand and my upper back was talking to me the next day.

Thanks in advance for the programming. We are excited to see how it turns out.

Brian Ross


How many 300 lbs gymnasts do you know? Maybe a 225 lbs gymnast? Or the reverse, how many top-level gymnasts have played in the NFL?

The reason we do not put complex or more technical gymnastics movements in CrossFit Football, is because we are not gymnasts. We do however, use basic bodyweight strength movements like handstand push ups, pull ups, dips, and the occasional skin the cat, as assistance work in the program.

The muscle up is a staple in CrossFit main site programming. I won’t program muscle ups because I feel the risk versus reward is too high for power athletes. One slip off the rings and an athlete can tear a shoulder or pectoral muscle and be out of commission for months. In a sport like football, an off-season injury can be devastating.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a “specialist” as one who specializes in a particular occupation, practice, or branch of learning. To play professional football, or any high level sport for that matter, you have to be a specialist. You have to dedicate yourself to be the best at your given task, many times at the expense of other things.

When I played, I couldn’t have cared less if I had the stamina to walk a 5k, as long as I could run forty yards in 4.9 seconds. For the last few years of my career, the range of motion in my right shoulder had gone down significantly. It never bothered me because I could still bench over 500 lbs. I surely could not have walked on my hands, let alone do a free standing handstand, but if I punched you I would have caved your chest.

What is more important, the ability to walk on your hands or knock a defender on his ass with a punch? I would take the punch over the circus trick.

In CF circles, words like specialist and hypertrophy are dirty words. CrossFit Football, however, made it’s bones on myofibrillar hypertrophy, alactic power and short capacity. The program was never designed for the generalist, but the specialist. Check the tag line, “Forging Powerful Athletes”.

Many of you are entering the S&C world and at some point may be approached to train athletes that get paid. I caution you to look at everything you do with a risk vs reward mindset. Yes, seeing a 250 lbs linebacker do a muscle up is inspiring. Watching him slip off the ring, tear a rotator cuff and kiss his upcoming season good bye is heartbreaking.

*I have said countless times, if you are training for the CrossFit Games you need to be able to do muscle ups. You will need to be able to perform basic body weight movements. You should put those into your programming in the form of skill development.