Monday 170619 – The Method Behind the Madness: Programming at Potomac CrossFit


The Method Behind the Madness, Part I: Programming at Potomac CrossFit
By: Colin Farrell

“Increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” This was, and is, the revolutionary definition of fitness proposed by Coach Greg Glassman over 15 years ago. To put it simply, be able to do more work, and be able to do it quickly. Be able to go long, short, mid-distance, heavy or light, with equal ability; be as proficient at the deadlift as you are at running and climbing ropes.

We achieve this increased capacity by performing “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements.” We regularly engage in metabolic conditioning (“cardio”), gymnastics and bodyweight movements, in addition to weightlifting and throwing. We mix these as often as we can, in as many variations as we can, and with as many different objects and environments as we can.

The above definitions of fitness and how to achieve greater levels of it are almost universally accepted among CrossFit trainers and coaches. The devil, naturally, is in the details. Do we bias strength (“No one ever said, ‘I wish I wasn’t so strong’”)? Do we bias longer, lighter workouts that keep us moving constantly for 20+ minutes (“The average athlete needs to ‘work’ for more than 18 minutes every time they come in the gym”)? Do we do only strength or only a metcon, or do we do both each day?

If you travel much or spend time dropping in at other boxes, you will notice a massive range of answers to these questions, and many more. Many of the answers to these questions end up falling into the “six of one, a half-dozen of the other” category. In the end, if you’re doing some version of CrossFit, you’re going to get fitter.

Our philosophy is rooted in the fact that you, our athletes, deserve to have a great deal of CrossFit built into the one-hour you are able to spend with us each day. You are here to be coached and to learn movements, but we learn best by doing. Coaches can provide better instruction when they are able to see more repetitions so as to provide the most appropriate feedback. With that in mind, each day you attend a CrossFit Class at Potomac CrossFit, you will have 7 to 10 minutes of warming-up, 15 to 25 minutes of strength or skill work, anywhere between 6 and 20 minutes of a dedicated workout, as well as 5 minutes +/- of mobility work. We want to keep you moving as best as we can, ensuring we also provide the best feedback we can as coaches between repetitions, sets, and/or rounds and repetitions.

Before the conclusion of this blog post, let it be clear: we are always seeking to improve. Mike Giardina, a CrossFit Level 1 Seminar “Flower Master” once remarked that if it became scientific fact that shake weights and hoola-hoops brought about long term health and fitness, we would program it. At PCF we are constantly trying to find the program that will bring about a broad and inclusive fitness. This is not to be confused with implementing the latest fad or gimmick. Too many affiliates get sucked into programming for the CrossFit Games (Assault Bikes and Peg Boards, anybody?) or some such other fleeting and ephemeral trend in fitness. Potomac is coming up on its 10th anniversary–rarefied territory in the realm of CrossFit–and we are planning for 20 and 30 more years of providing the best gym experience in Arlington. That can only be achieved by implementing a fitness program that stands the test of time, as our community has, and altering it, adding to it, and building upon it responsibly.

Between Sunday and Saturday, Potomac athletes are exposed to four “strength” sets and two “skill” sets prior to the workout, with Saturdays typically being dedicated to a longer workout, such as a Hero workout or classic CrossFit benchmark, such as Fight Gone Bad or a Regionals workout.. In Part II of “Method Behind the Madness”, we will take a specific look behind the strength portion of each days’ programming.


RX’d Level II Level I

E2MO2M for 10 Minutes
Back Squat, 3 Reps


5 Rounds for Time:
12 Push-up
15 Kettlebell SDHP (70/53)

E2MO2M for 10 Minutes
Back Squat, 3 Reps


5 Rounds for Time:
12 Assisted Push-up
15 Kettlebell SDHP (53/35)

E2MO2M for 10 Minutes
Back Squat, 3 Reps


5 Rounds for Time:
12 Assisted Push-up
10 Kettlebell SDHP (53/35)

Aim for 80-85% on back squat and maintain or increase loading throughout.

Post loads and times to comments.

2 Responses to “Monday 170619 – The Method Behind the Madness: Programming at Potomac CrossFit”

  1. John F. June 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

    BSx3: 165, 175, 185, 185, 185
    Metcon: 6:56 L2+ (rx’d push-ups)

  2. Alex W June 19, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

    Back Squat:

    3:20 Rx