Breaking Up Your Sessions


I often get asked the question about whether or not the programming for Performance or Barbell should be broken into two sessions. My response is always the same. If you can break it into three then break it into three, but definitely two. The more sessions you break this work up into the better. Basically, you only have so much fuel in the tank and the longer the sessions run, the more likely it is that you run out of fuel. The more fuel you have the more precise your movement will be and the better quality of work you will obtain. With that in mind, another question arises. What part of my work should I do in the morning or in my first session and what part of my work should I be doing in my second?

Coming from a weightlifting background the standard answer is that the quick, fast, less intense work should happen in the morning. However, this is not always true for CrossFit or even some weightlifters. My answer to that question is to experiment. Experiment with which movement you are most prime for in your first session versus your second and work accordingly. Personally, I am most primed for lighter, faster movements as well as simple auxiliary movements in the morning. After many years of trying multiple different options it seems that works best for me. This allows me to lift heavy or squat heavy in the afternoons when I am really awake and my body is most primed for a heavy load.

However, I know many weightlifters who are most apt to squat in their first session and then perform the more technically precise movements later in the day. The exact scheduling is completely athlete specific. For the CrossFit athlete there are many combinations and multiple choices on how to break your sessions up. The only 100% true statement is that doing all of your work in one session is bad. Test and see if you are more apt for skill work or conditioning work or lifting in the first session and see if your other work will fits well in your second session. I know many athletes who have this broken down even to types of conditioning and energy systems they prefer to work at certain times in the day. Most athletes are benefited by long low intensity pieces completed early in the morning rather than later in the afternoon. Other athletes are more apt to complete conditioning pieces with precision in the afternoons after they’ve completed the lifting in the morning. There are a few solid truths when it comes to conditioning however, the one basic proponent you have to trust is that your body is different from everyone else’s. Manage your schedule to get the best results you can. Break your sessions up and do what you can when you are most apt to perform it well.

This should be pretty standard information for most however many athletes will not experiment with their sessions. Give it a shot, especially if you are in your off-season now, and mixup what you complete when you complete it and see if you do not get better results doing different movements at a different time of day. It may make all the difference in the #gainz you pull from your workouts.


One response to “Breaking Up Your Sessions

  1. So… Working a 10+ hour a day high stress job (with the addition of roughly 1.5 hour total of heavy traffic driving getting to and from work), then hopping into the entire Deep Performance WOD in a single session from 7:15pm to 9:00pm followed by eating and passing out from exhaustion, typically on the couch, shortly after hasn’t been a good idea? Well… I’m still seeing gains! Haha, yes, I know it’s not the best thing in the world but I learned several lessons after sustaining some injuries and dealing with some pretty severe overtraining issues about a year ago (I’m in my 20s, I should be invincible right?). Since I do this for fun and don’t compete I’ve learned to listen to my body and cut out portions of the workouts when needed. Still, thanks to your programming I’m still seeing improvement constantly. I guess I was a little shocked to see that the workouts were meant to be split up… My reality has been warped by the last 4 years of working a minimum of 10 hour days. I don’t know what it’s like to have enough time outside of work to have two sessions…

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