Five Training Tips Used By The 2013 CrossFit Games Team Champs (and the baseline to find out if you’re good enough to consider using their training)

Rob MacDonald, the GymJones coach who designed the training used by Hack’s Pack (Ute CrossFit) to win the 2012 and 2013 CrossFit Games, just released the training template he created for the 2013 team. Although, the actual programming is behind the Gym Jones pay wall, the article describing the training was filled with info and tips for both the recreational and competitive CrossFit athlete as well as the baseline numbers an athlete is expected to have in order to use this programming. Here are the highlights:

pullupThe programming is an eight week cycle, composed of three weeks of hard work, a recovery/taper week, three weeks of hard work and then another recovery/taper week.

FuncThat Tip: If your gym doesn’t program it, consider adding a deload/recovery week every fourth or fifth week to your training. An easy way to do this is to just follow your gym’s standard programming but on the 4th week cut all the prescribed weights by 50%.

The program includes specific time for individuals to focus on areas they need to improve. According to MacDonald individualization “…is of the utmost importance. Even though all of the members of Hack’s Pack were extremely fit they all had their own unique blend of strengths and weaknesses.”

FuncThat Tip: If you dedicate time specifically to shoring up a weakness you will make dramatic improvements. If you only perform your gym’s posted workouts the rate at which you’ll improve will be extremely slow. Personally, just spending a few minutes before each workout working on a particular skill has had a great return on investment.

Time is specifically broken out for Olympic lifting technique and speed practice once a week. Ideally, the athlete would be working with a olympic lifting coach during this time. MacDonald makes it clear the goal of this time is not to go heavy but rather to improve efficiency.

FuncThat Tip: Olympic lifting continues it’s reign as the dominant exercise in CrossFit. Improve your clean, jerk, and snatch and you’ll improve at CrossFit.

MacDonald also takes time to emphasize the importance of recovery. He notes that adding more work will not necessarily improve your performance. “Too much work will lead to injury. There needs to be balance and more isn’t always better…If you don’t take the recovery seriously you will get hurt or burned out. Make it a priority.” MacDonald’s suggested recovery techniques:

  • Massage at least once per week.
  • Ice Baths after each hard workout
  • Recovery Walks throughout the day
  • 8-10 hours of sleep daily
  • Foam rolling daily

FuncThat Tip: Required massage AT LEAST once a week? I think I found my new coach.

At the end of the article MacDonald lays down ten baseline numbers to determine if an athlete is ready for his programming. From my perspective, most competitive athletes will find they have 90% of these numbers covered if not all of them. For the recreational CrossFitter this seem like great and achievable targets to shoot for.

Are you ready to train with Hack’s Pack?

Minimum Requirements:

2x Body Weight Deadlift
1.5x Body Weight Front Squat
1.25x Body Weight Clean
1x Body Weight Snatch
1.25x Body Weight Overhead Squat
2000m Row in 7:00
5000m Row in 18:30
1.5 mile Run in 9:00
5k Run in 22:00
10k Run in 50:00

You can find the original post at GymJones: Jun 04 and follow Rob MacDonald on twitter at @bobbymaximus.

By Phil

Phil is the media wizard behind the brilliant FuncThat. He discovered CrossFit in 2009 and has been hooked ever since. He eagerly awaits the day CrossFit adds weight and age classes to the Games since he's confident he could dominate the 125 pound, 38 year old male division (as long as double unders aren't included). You can follow Phil and FuncThat on pretty much every social media platform ever. Here's a summarized list: Google+, Twitter, Facebook. If you're looking for help setting up your affiliate's site or need a hand with your social media you can contact Phil at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *