Rep Schemes







CrossFit uses a wide variety of rep schemes.  All the way from dozens of reps to 1.  ‘Constantly varied’, remember.  The number of reps in a workout gives one a big clue as to what kind of weight is called for.  It also gives an idea what kind of workout the WOD is meant to be.  Now, all this sounds pretty simple and obvious.  And it is, but it also isn’t.

Most WODs with reps under 7 are meant to be heavy.  And as such, each round might need to be broken into sets of 2 or 3.  I hear “but I can’t do that weight for [x number of reps]” a lot.  That is the idea. Anything 12 and over is meant to be a weight that can probably be banged out in 1 or 2 sets.  Anything 3 reps and under should be the kind of heavy that forces one to reset before each attempt.  The kind of weight that one has to marshal all their will to lift.

CrossFit loves the admitedly strange rep scheme of 21, 15, 9.  You can see it in tons of workouts, not least the triumvirate of Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran.  This rep pattern comes with weight that usually can be moved easily enough that all the reps can be completed in 1 set as the rounds descend in size.

However, we can also take the same  21, 15, 9 and make a much heavier rep scheme out of it.  3(7), 3(5), 3(3). So, 3 sets of 7 reps the first round, 3 sets of 5 reps the 2nd round, and 3 sets of 3 reps the last round.  Using Fran as an example, instead of 95# thrusters and pullups, the heavier rep scheme might have 135# thrusters and muscle ups, or weighted pullups, or chest-to-bar pullups.  It’s evil, I know.

A good programmer puts a lot of thought into the rep scheme of a WOD, as it is as important as the movement itself.  More is not necessarily better, just as too heavy can bog down a workout.  As someone with blond curls once said, it has to be just right.

Thoughts?  Please post to Comments.


Work up to a heavy single in the deadlift.  Certainly a 1RM, try for a PR.


5 Rounds

100m Sprint

2 Deadlifts 8o% 1RM

This is a classic, old school CrossFit WOD. Go hard and heavy.  There is no time component to this WOD.

Post WOD completed and score to Comments.