For the first several months of Crossfit, I simply followed the workouts laid out on the Crossfit mainsite. After that, noticing slow progress on my squat & deadlift, I did a MEBB style routine for a few months. This included two days a week dedicated towards pure strength/power workouts and three days a week towards purely metcon. Although the MEBB routine worked pretty well, I felt that a more integrated approach would be even more effective. Inspired by the Gant Grimes Hybrid Program, the recently released Crossfit Strength Bias (CFSB) article and the Crossfit Football website, I present my Crossfit Strength/Power Hybrid. As the name implies, the goal is to tweak the standard Crossfit routine towards producing more strength & power without sacrificing any metcon abilities. This routine is *heavily *based on the aforementioned sources (ie, this is nothing new) and is very much in an experimental stage, but I felt that laying it out in this official manner would be a good way to organize myself.

The Routine

Each day consists of three components: a strength/power exercise, a metcon, and some skill work.


  • Deadlift (1x5 or 1x3)
  • Metcon (20 min max)
  • Planche (tuck, 1 min total hold)


Rest day


  • Snatch (5x3 or 7x2 or 7x1)
  • Metcon (20 min max)
  • Pistols (3x5, each leg)


  • Squats (1x20) and OH Press (3x5 or 5x3 or 3x3)
  • Metcon (10 min max)
  • Front or Back Lever (1 min total hold)


  • Clean (5x3 or 7x2 or 7x1)
  • Metcon (20 min max)
  • L-sit (1 min total hold)


Rest day


  • Squat (3x5 or 5x3 or 3x3) and Bench Press (3x5 or 5x3 or 3x3)
  • Metcon (10 min max)
  • Handstand (1 min total hold)


Each workout includes three main components (strength/power, metcon and skill) plus a warm-up (dynamic stretches) and a cool down (static stretches). The warm-up, cool down and skill work should take 10 minutes each. The strength/power and metcon components should generally take less than 20 minutes each, plus a 10 minute break in between. That adds up to 80 minutes total. If workouts are taking longer than this, something is wrong.

Strength/power workouts should typically use ascending sets instead of sets across. The goal is to hit a new PR (1RM, 2RM, 3RM, 5RM or 20RM) on the final set of each exercise each week. It’s also a good idea to zig-zag rep schemes when you stall. For example, if you were doing a 3x5 on squats and got stuck, switch to a 5x3. When you get stuck again, try a 3x3. When you get stuck once more, go back to 3x5 and start the cycle all over again. Also, when doing strength/power workouts, it’s ok to do variations or similar exercises instead. For example, the power snatch and OH squat can be done instead of the full snatch and the power clean or clean & jerk can be done instead of the clean. The only exception to the zig zag rule and substitution rule is Wednesday’s workout: 20 rep squats. These should always be done just as written: a single work set of 20 reps of back squats. I’d suggest starting with a light weight the first week (not your 10RM as is sometimes recommended) and adding 5-10lbs every week after that. It’ll get nightmarishly hard pretty quickly, but the benefits are huge.

Metcons should be kept short, always under ~20 minutes. A slightly longer workout once a week (especially right before a rest day) is ok. Although the Crossfit mainsite should still be the primary source of metcons, make frequent use of workouts from Crossfit Football and the Hybrid Program Heavy Metcons thread as they are typically shorter & heavier. Crossfit Football is especially useful as their workouts frequently include sprinting, something mainsite Crossfit oddly lacks.

The skill portion is primarily there to develop whatever skills you are weak in. In my case, these are primarily gymnastics moves, but almost anything you struggle with is fair game: double-unders, POSE technique, muscle-ups, extra o-lift practice, etc. If the skill work is actually holding back your fitness (ie, preventing you from doing workouts), you will want to move it before the metcon so you are fresh when doing it. For me, the gymnastics work is just for fun and non-essential, so I place it at the end.

Some Words on Recovery

The biggest challenge with this routine will be recovery. Doing so much heavy lifting on top of normal Crossfit workouts will seriously tax your body and push your CNS to its limits. That’s why the routine uses ascending sets (to keep volume low), is 5 days a week (rather than 3 on, 1 off), and why metcons need to be kept short. Moreover, getting sufficient sleep (8 hours minimum per night) and eating a good diet (plenty of calories and protein) are essential. Despite all that, if you are really pushing yourself, you are still likely to slowly see overtraining symptoms. To deal with these, I’d suggest the following for reducing workout volume:

  1. If you’re really fried after a metcon, it’s ok to skip the skill work: when you’re that tired, you probably won’t get much out of it anyway.
  2. In general, I’ve found that the o-lifts (snatch, clean) and upper body power lifts (OH and bench press) don’t impact my recovery too much. However, squats and especially deadlifts almost always do. Skipping 20 rep squats one week or deadlifts another week can go a surprisingly long way to helping you recover.
  3. Every 3-4 weeks, skip an entire workout and every 8-12 weeks, skip 2-3 workouts in a row. With a routine of this sort, you’re often working right at the edge of overtraining, so when you come back from this extra rest, you’ll often find yourself a whole lot stronger.

My Results Thus Far

Since starting this Strenth/Power hybrid in April (~4 months), I’ve seen the following improvements:

  1. Deadlift (5rm): +40lbs
  2. Squat (5rm): +30lbs
  3. Squat (20rm): +60lbs
  4. OH Press (3rm): +15lbs
  5. Bench Press (3rm): +10lbs
  6. Clean (1rm): +20lbs
  7. Snatch (1rm): +30lbs

I also set PR’s on every metcon workout that was a repeat, including Fran, Barbara, 800m run, 1 mile run, 5k run, Tabata Something Else, Elizabeth, Helen, FGB, Murph, Michael, Cindy and many others. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. If I can keep this up, I’ll hopefully be checking off many of my 2009 goals real soon.