Steal This Foundations Template for Your CrossFit Affiliate

In January of 2014, we posted an article about the importance of having an introductory course at your affiliate before allowing inexperienced people jump into your group classes. Different gyms often call these programs Foundations, On-Ramp, or Elements. While the ethos of our argument behind having this program holds steady, we've since revised our Foundations template and want to provide you with our most current version as well as some of our goals coming into it. As always, the spirit of Inside the Affiliate is to be a free, open-source resource for the CrossFit community. If you like our template, steal it and make it better!

Before going into the details of the template, here is a quick recap of our overarching goals for the programming template: 

1. Through the six classes, expose participants to the all of the staples movements they'll be expected to be familiar with in group classes. This includes explaining every movement from top to bottom, providing scaling and modification options where appropriate and getting everyone's "starting weights" on all the barbell lifts. Then, people can go into group class familiar with the basic execution of each movement, knowing what loads they can start with and move on from.

2. Format the class such that it reflects the basic structure of a group class:

Dynamic range of motion (DROMS)
Standardized warmup-style couple or triplet
Focus lift or lifts

Similarly, we want to provide most of the common workout formats people will encounter in group class, which helps demystify our reviews of workouts at the whiteboard. (Common workout formats being time priority, task priority, every-minute-on-the-minute work, etc.) This makes the transition to group class a bit more seamless and less intimidating if it's an extension of their Foundations experience.

3. Program with as much redundancy as possible from class to class, such that people get multiple exposures to the most fundamental movements throughout the course. We do this by repeating movements from previous classes in the warm-up couplets and triplets. The more practice they get on these movements, the more prepared and confident they'll be for the group class environment.

4. Beyond the "how,” use Foundations as an opportunity to explain the "why" we do what we do, which helps encourage good training habits to optimize their success moving forward. Examples of this include discussing how to listen to your body, training with the long view of gradual improvement, how to approach a lifting segment, how to do pre-class movement prep, why we program the way we do, and providing access to other helpful resources for them to dig into.

Foundations Class 1

INTROS (5 min)

Here is where you break the ice, get everyone's names on the whiteboard, and set the tone for the course. These are the three points we start out with:

  • Foundations will prepare you for group classes by exposing you to the most relevant movements as well as introduce you to CFSBK’s basic training style.
  • At this point, participants should focus on moving as well as they can, listening to their bodies, and asking lots of questions.
  • If you have any orthopedic issues, Foundations is the time to communicate those to your coach so the appropriate modifications can be made.

Dynamic Range of Motion (DROMs) and Question of the Day (QOD)

We'll do some basic movement prep and go around the room and each person introduces themselves and says what got them into CrossFit.

Bracing Sequence and Hip Hinge

Before we teach any exercises, we review the bracing sequence and how to hip hinge. We consider these two the most fundamental movement patterns participants need to be aware of before starting anything as they apply to almost everything we do.

WARM-UP (5 min)
2-3 Rounds:
Air Squats
10 Ring Rows
10 AbMat Sit-Ups

First round on coaches count, 2nd and 3rd round DIY with coach making corrections.

BARBELL MOVEMENT: Deadlift (15-20 min)
Start with the empty barbell and teach a top down approach, which will reflect the hip hinge skill they just learned. From there move to adding some bumpers and pulling from the floor. Within the 20 minutes, work up to 2-3 sets of 5 reps at weight that each participant can handle. Coaches use their discretion about who to allow to go up and who to maintain at given weights. We also discuss the Valsalva maneuver and how to breathe.

SKILL MOVEMENT: Jump Rope (5 min)


Demonstrate and explain single-unders. Start with three to five :30 practice windows on the single-under, correcting where appropriate. From there demonstrate double-unders and give people a chance to give them a shot IF their single-under looks good.

METCON (10 min)
AMRAP 8:00
15 Double-Unders/8 Attempts/30 Single-Unders
15 Squats
15 Sit-Ups or 10 Ring Rows depending on available space and equipment

This is an opportunity to discuss how to scale double-unders when they come up in a workout. Explain the difference between when to go "Rx'd", when to use double-under attempts and when to stick with singles. Depending on how much time is left in class, we sometimes modify the length of the AMRAP.

Journaling Lecture - Discuss the importance of journaling, how having both quantitative and qualitative data is important for your long-term success.


Foundations Class 2

Rowing 101 (8 min)

Intro the rowing machine and the Catch > Drive > Finish and Recovery sequence. Do a set of 5-10 strokes on the coach’s count. Ideally, set up an erg perpendicular and in front of theirs. Perform 2-3 1:00 practice sets focusing on perfect positions

WARM-UP (8 min)
3 Rounds:
8 each side Reverse
8 Push-Ups
16 Strokes on erg

First round on coach’s count, 2nd and 3rd rounds DIY.

BARBELL MOVEMENT: High Bar Back Squat (15-20 min)

Intro the movement and perform 5-6 Total Sets. Start with an empty barbell and work up to at least 2x5 "work sets" across.

Discuss rack etiquette: Setting J-hooks for partners, knowing your warm-up set and work set weights, using the running clock (link) to manage your rest periods.

Kettlebell Swings (5 min)

SKILL MOVEMENT: Burpees (5 min)

METCON (5-10 min)
For Time:
10-8-6-4-2 Burpees
10 Kettlebell Swings
CAP: 10:00

Alternate between burpees and kettlebell swings, the burpees go down but the kettlebell swings stay at the same rep scheme.

Foundations Class 3

WARM-UP (8 min)
3 Rounds:
10 PVC
Overhead Squats
15/10 Strokes on Concept 2 or 130m Jog
15 Sit-Ups 

First round on coach’s count, 2nd and 3rd rounds DIY.

BARBELL MOVEMENTS: Press, Push Press, Push Jerk (15-20 min)
Press 5-5
Push Press 5-5
Push Jerk 5-5

Review the mechanics of the press, then perform 3 of 5 with the empty barbell. Repeat with the press and the push press before reviewing all three movements again. We sometimes don't go beyond the empty barbell given the amount needed to cover. If people are really struggling with the coordination or range-of-motions associated with the push jerk, we recommend they default to push presses when they come up in class until they becomes more comfortable with it.

SKILL MOVEMENT: Dumbbell Thruster (5 min)

METCON (10 min)
EMOM 10:00
Odd Minutes: 50 Single-Unders/20 Double-Unders or attempts/ (Cap at :45)
Even Minutes: 8 Dumbbell Thrusters, heavy-ish

Good Training Habits Lecture - Discuss the elements of good training habits (our version found here)


Foundations Class 4

WARM-UP (5 min)
3 rounds:
8e Reverse Lunges
8 Push-Ups (knees and/or elevated as appropriate)
Hollow Hold

First round on coaches count, 2nd and 3rd rounds DIY

BARBELL MOVEMENT: Front Squat (15 min)

Similar progression to that of the Back Squat

SKILL MOVEMENT: Banded Pull-Ups (5 min)

SKILL MOVEMENT: Jumping Pull-Ups (5 min)

(demo kipping pull-ups, say they can learn it later in group class)

Demonstrate the banded pull-ups and take everyone through 3 sets of 5, allowing them to figure out what is the appropriate band for them. Then show them jumping pull-ups as another modification. Set up boxes and do only a few reps since they'll most likely be doing them in the workout shortly. Demo a kipping pull-up and say how they'll work up to that after they get strict pull-ups.

METCON (8-12 min)
“Foundations Helen”
3 Rounds For Time of: (12:00 CAP)
Run 270m
21 Kettlebell Swings
6 Unassisted Pull-ups or 12 Jumping Pull-Ups

Foundations Class 5

WARM-UP (5-8 min)
Burgener Style Warm-Up with PVC, Led by coach

Hook Grip

BARBELL MOVEMENT: Snatch Grip Deadlift and Mig Hang Power Snatch (15-20 min)
Work up to medium triple of Snatch Grip Deadlift + Mid Hang Power snatch + Overhead Squat

Wall Ball (5 min)

SKILL MOVEMENT: Box Jump (5 min)

METCON (10 min)
9:00 AMRAP:
3-6-9-12-15-18-21… Reps
Wall Ball Shots
Box Jumps

Show how to use whiteboards and score a workout like this (total reps) 


Foundations Class 6

WARM-UP (5 min)
3 Rounds:
6 Barbell Front Squats
6 Barbell Push Presses
6 Ring Rows

First round on coaches count, 2nd and 3rd rounds DIY.

Clean Deadlift + Hang Power Clean (15 min)
Hook Grip, adjust grip for shoulder mobility in rack position

Mid Hang Deadlift x3-5
Mid Hang Muscle Clean x3-5
Mid Hang Power Clean x3-5
Mid Hang Power Clean x3x-5

*Add light bumpers, perform Deadlift + MH PC + PP and get ready for DT. 10 Minutes DIY to work up a bit above weight for the metcon

METCON (9-12 min)

Foundations “DT”
AMRAP 9-12:00
9 Deadlifts
6 Hang Power Cleans
3 Push Presses

We finish Foundations with this workout as it's a bit higher skill and something they might see in a group class. Since Foundations is all small groups (4-6) this is an opportunity for the coach to see them attempt a higher skill workout in the semi private coaching environment.

Exit Lecture - Discuss our membership options, what happens on "rest days," and where they can find information about the programming cycle

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Reader Comments (3)

Thanks for this!

August 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSam

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August 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Hey- do you have a blog where you talk about HOW you schedule your foundations class?

December 5, 2016 | Unregistered Commenternat

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