Basic Understanding of Weight Prescriptions and Getting More from Your Workouts

This post is intended to layout some ideas and guidelines for how you can better assess and interpret workouts written for our gym, or even others.  The reasoning behind this is so that you can have a better understanding of why you are doing something and what responses you should be getting/feeling from those sessions.


During most days at Crossfit Ulster, we are working with percentages of lifts and effort.  This training method is there to ensure there is a safe, progressive training and that you are receiving complete energy system training.  Our workouts rarely have a prescribed weights, i.e.-95# for men, 65# for women.  For TESTING purposes, it is a different story.  If you are looking to see where a client stands currently, assign a specific weight.  A month or two later when they repeat that test, use the same weight.  For training however, if you are always prescribing one weight for a workout for an entire class, it will not work. You could potentially have a class of 12 people doing completely different things.  Below are examples of two clients, some of their metrics and a workout.  Try and imagine what feeling or dose response each would have when they were finished.


Client 1:  (male, Crossfitting for 2 years)

Deadlift 1 RM-300#

Max Pull Ups-42

400m Run-1:05


Client 2: (male, Crossfitting for 6 months)


Max Pull Ups-12

400m Run-1:30




5 Rounds:

12 Deadlifts@155#

15 Pull Ups

400m Run

Client 1: 10:16

Client 2: 19:58


Just looking at the Deadlift numbers should be an immediate flag.  Client 1 would be using about 50% of his 1 RM vs. Client 2 using 75%.  Same advantage goes for the pull ups and the run.  Looking at the overall feeling of the workout, Client 1 is going to have an aerobic power workout(ouch) vs. Client 2 having a slower type of grinder.


A great way to practice identifying this is to use yourself in various workout scenarios with various weights. You can even scan different workout sites and use theirs.  How would scenario A feel vs. scenario B?  Would you move slower and struggle with every rep or would you have constant movement throughout because all the lifts and percentages were within the limits of your current fitness capabilities?  How do you feel immediately following the workout?  Tight quads and nauseas hoping you can keep it together or breathing a little heavy, but recovering nicely?  You can see how having a generic weight for each workout does not work for everyone.  There needs to be a little more individuality when assigning weights in order to ensure the group as a whole is getting the right effect from the training.


After running a week long assessment for our clients we determined what the group needed to improve on as a whole.  Below you will see the template we are running off of.  The idea behind this is to make it easier to stay on track towards a goal. Every week, this template is used during our 12 week cycle with minor tweaks being made in response to things we are seeing with our members. If we have the information we gathered during our test week and know the end goal, we can layout each workout to target specific areas of weakness in order to ensure our goal is successful.


Testing Results/Weekly Workouts

First off, we want to say congratulations to all of our members for crushing last week’s testing. We had over 100 PR’s last week on various workouts and movements. This is amazing and shows that you are heading in the right direction. So let us explain a little on why we have testing weeks, which will hopefully give you all a better understanding on the training cycle that is starting tomorrow and that will last 12 weeks. There are things that we aim to accomplish everyday at the gym. Three main ones are, safety, progression and fun. We try and make this happen through careful planning, not random movement selection. In order to plan, you need to know where you currently stand, so we test. We don’t test everyday because we don’t feel there is longevity in this method. Our training uses not only percentages of lifts, but also percentages of effort. This is why you sometimes here, “this is a 20 minute workout, don’t go all out, you need to be moving at a pace that allows for continuous motion throughout” or “try and hold all your Rows to 90% effort.” Now that we have spent the last week gathering information, we now have a better idea about where the training needs to go. So what did we find out?

One of the test we did was a 1 RM Backsquat, rest 10 minutes, followed by a one time Backsquat AMRAP@85% of your 1 RM with a tempo of 30X0, no long rest period at the top. Typically, people with a more developed nervous system will score in the lower rep ranges,1-3, and people that lack the ability to really dive deep down and push themselves will score in the higher rep ranges. We had 95% of people get 5 or more reps on this test. This helps us determine what kind of squatting reps and sets schemes to use to bring up those 1 RM’s. This will also be of assistance when it comes to raising those vertical jump numbers and the Power Clean 1 RM. There will be a considerable amount more Olympic lifting, as well, mainly in the for of technique work.

For the Close Grip Bench 1 RM test, we had a decent amount of PR’s, but these numbers were a little low across the board when compared to other scores. During this cycle, we are going to implement some more accessory work on both the upper and lower body to add a little variety and hopefully bring some of the strength pieces together.

We tested the 500m Row and everyone’s favorite 15 minute AMRAP of 15 KBS, 15 Burpees. This was to determine some of the shorter end power and a longer aerobic effort. With a little added strength, row times will increase, but the real challenge is to get stronger and also add some capacity to the 15 minute AMRAP. We will be using various short, explosive time frames with longer rest periods and longer efforts that will hopefully help up that aerobic power output.

Another determining factor in the next 12 week cycle came from looking at the group as a whole. We asked, “what is the reason the majority of our members come here and what do they need?” Function. They are more concerned with feeling better, moving correctly and simply increasing overall health. We will be giving out extra work for the individuals that are looking for a little more. These people will be determined by your coaches.

Below is the template that we will be following for the next 6 weeks, then we will hit a small testing session, tweak anything we need to, and then go into the second 6 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, we will test, then have a deload week. We are releasing a week at a time so you have to opportunity to coordinate your schedule with the days you need the most work on. The week goes from Monday-Saturday, Sunday is a rest day. If you know your current 1 RM’s in any of the lifts with percentages attached, try and figure it out ahead of time, this will help things run smoother. Underneath each workout are notes giving intentions and goals for each day.

Week 1 of 12


A-Backsquat 10, 8, 6, 4; Rest 2:00 (add weight per set)
B-Medium Grip Bench Press 6-8 reps x 3 sets; Rest 2:00
C1-Barbell Tricep Extensions 12-15 reps; Rest 1:00
C2-One Arm KB Row 12-15 reps/arm x 3 sets; Rest 1:00 x 3 sets
D- 5 minute AMRAP
5 Strict Push Ups (not hand release)
5 Strict Toes 2 Bar

A- Add per set on Backsquat
B- Add per set on Bench
D- This is intended for perfect form, more muscle fatigue than high heart rate


A-Hang Power Snatch 50% x 3 reps, 60% x 3 reps, 70% x 3 reps, 75% x 2 reps/2
B-Clean and Jerk 50% x 3 reps, 60% x 3 reps, 70% x 3 reps, 75% x 2 reps/2
C-5 sets @85%
15 Push Press(light and fast)
15 Burpees
*Rest 3:00

A-Full pause at top of knee for Snatch
B-Full squat clean/split jerk
C-Target time for each round is 1:00 each


A-Power Clean 1.1.1 x 9 sets; Rest 1:30 3 sets @60%, 3 sets @70%, 3 sets @75%
B-OHS 3, 3, 3, 3; Rest 1:30 (use racks)
C-10 minute AMRAP @90% aerobic effort
Row 250m
15 Wallball
*Rest 5 minutes
D-10 minute AMRAP @90% aerobic effort
20 Box Jump Step Down
40m Farmers Carry (1 KB per hand)

B-Add per set on OHS
C/D-constant movement at 90% aerobic effort, uncomfortable but sustainable, no resting


A-Front Rack Split Squat 8-10 reps/leg x 3 sets; Rest 2:00 b/t legs
B1- Standing Press 5, 5, 4, 3, 10; Rest 1:30
B2- Strict Supinated Pull Up 5, 5, 4, 3, 10; Rest 1:30
C-For time:
5 Rounds
5 Wall Walks/10 Inch Worms
:60 FLR
20 Walking Lunges
:60 Wall Sit @90 degrees

A-Add per set for split squats
B-Add per set on Press, drop weight for last set and push yourself
C-More skill/muscle fatigue based than high aerobic


A-Power Clean x 1, Hang Squat Clean x 1, Push Jerk x 1 x 5 sets; Rest 1:30 All sets @ 70%
B-Snatch Grip Deadlift 3, 3, 3, 3, 3; Rest 1:30
C-3 sets @ 85%
12 KBS (moderate)
10 Squat Jumps
200m Run
*Rest 6:00

A-Bar does not touch the ground during the complex
B-Work on maintaining arch in back during deadlift, work up to at least 100% of max Snatch, more technique than fatigue
C-Target time per round is 2:00 each, if you need all the rest use it, if feeling somewhat recovered, practice double unders for a couple minutes each round


A-Aerobic event lasting 20+ minutes

Class Information

Starting tomorrow, we will be conducting testing for the entire week. We are looking to gather certain metrics that will be used for the next few months. From these numbers, a program will be created for the group AND you will also be given extra work depending on areas that are lacking. After next week, we will be going into a 12 week training cycle based on the information collected.

We currently are posting the workout the day of. Starting next week, we will post the night before. This should allow you to prioritize the days you show up based on what we have programmed and things you need to work on. Along with the workout, notes will be posted that will help you better understand what the intentions are of each training session, i.e.-strength session vs. 3 minutes ALL-OUT! vs. 20 minutes of continuous effort @75%. This will help choose the appropriate weight/movement to allow you to get the proper response from the workout. In class, we will go over this more, so you will have an understanding of why feeling crushed after every workout is NOT the correct training method and how this style of poor programming lacks longevity. Please, don’t hesitate to ask questions!

September 5, 2013

Workout Of The Day

Crossfit class:

A- Backsquat 5, 5, 5; Rest 2 minutes (add weight per set)
B- Frontsquat 3, 3, 3; Rest 2 minutes (add weight per set)
C- For time:
30 Front Rack Walking Lunges
15 Toes 2 Bar
30 Vertical Jump/Wall Touches (15L/15R, target should be 10-12″ above max reach)
15 Toes 2 Bar
30 Front Rack Walking Lunges

C2E class:

A- Press Variation Practice
B- 16 minute AMRAP
20 Step Ups alternating
20m Bear Crawl
:30 Front Leaning Rest

September 4th, 2013

Workout Of The Day

A- Power Clean x 1, Hang Squat Clean x 1 x 7 sets
B- 5 sets @90%
8 KBS (heavy)
100m Run
*Rest is walk back
C- 5 sets @90%
8 Burpees
100m Row
*Rest 1:30

August 3, 2013

Workout Of The Day

Crossfit class:

A- Standing Press 4-5 reps @30X1 x 5 sets; Rest 2:00

B- 12 minute AMRAP
5 Wall Walks/Inch worms
5 Box Jumps-higher than normal
5 Pistols/leg

C- Partner Farmer’s Carry 400m for time

C2E class:

A- Squat Variation Practice

B- 15 minute AMRAP
10 Push Ups
100m Run
10 Jumping Switch Lunges
100m Run

C- Sit Ups :30/:30 x 4

Labor Day – September 2nd

We will be closed on Labor Day.  Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend – we will see you Tuesday.

August 27, 2013

Workout Of The Day

Crossfit class:

A- Standing Press x 2, Push Press x 2, Split Jerk x 2
For this complex, start at 50% of your 1 RM Standing Press. Complete all six reps in a row. Continue adding 5# per set. Once failing at the Standing Press, keep adding, but only complete Push Press and Split Jerks. Same goes for Push Press, once failing, continue adding, but only complete Split Jerks. This should end on a very tough set of 2 for the Split Jerk
B-4 sets:
15 Wallball
1:30 Row @90%
*Rest 2:00


A- Squat Technique work (use medball and kettlebells)
B- 4 Rounds:
200m Run
15 Box Jumps
15 Sit Ups

August 26, 2013

Workout Of The Day

Today’s Workout

A) Power Clean x 1, Squat Clean x 1, Split Jerk x 2 – Rest 1:30 – 5 Sets

B) Back Squat 3-4 Reps – Rest 2:00 – 4 Sets

C) 5 Rounds:
15 KB Swings
20 Reverse Lunges

August 25, 2013

Open Gym 9am – 11am