What Will 2024 Programming Look Like? | Shut Up & Scribble Ep. 12

Taylor Self (00:02):

We’re live, and I’ve got 30 seconds until I can swear officially. If you guys are in the comments, please let me know if my wifi is worth a ding-dong.

JR Howell (00:14):

It sounds fine,

Taylor Self (00:15):

Dude. Okay, sounds good. All right. What’s up everybody? So today the thumbnail would leave most of you to believe that we are going to go event by event. Sorry, one second. Through the CrossFit Games, through the 2023 CrossFit Games workouts. We’re not going to do

JR Howell (00:34):

That. Well, we potentially have a really big guess that we don’t even want to mention their name until we know that they’re going to come on. For sure. We should probably save that conversation where we can tussle with him a little bit.

Taylor Self (00:45):

Yeah, so we’re thinking about, we’re probably going to wait on that and I wouldn’t even, I’m not tussling with him. So

JR Howell (00:53):

I want to get in there. I want to dig a little bit.

Taylor Self (00:55):

You want to tussle? You want to tickle his arms? Okay. So we’re going to save that today. We’re going to talk about implications for training for the CrossFit open games, quarter finals semifinals based off of this year’s workouts, this year’s programming. So that’s what we’re going to talk a little bit about to start. Couple things. Crash Crucible 2023 coming up October 9th and 10th and 11th.

JR Howell (01:22):

No, October 13th, 14th, and 15th. Okay,

Taylor Self (01:26):


JR Howell (01:27):

Still looking for more partners and sponsors. If anyone’s interested in that, let me know. I’ll send you over the tier information, starting to release some of the competitors from the semifinals field, which has been pretty cool. Chloe Wilson was an addition just as of yesterday, so I wanted to go ahead and get her out there. It’s pretty cool. She’s, that’s pretty sick. Really, really high. Placing finisher from the semifinals field that’ll be here, but it’s pretty loaded. I’m really excited about the depth of the field especially, and a lot of really cool names on the qualifier that I didn’t even know knew about Crucible. That looks like they’re going to qualify pretty easily. Who, for the in person? I don’t want to talk about it yet, but come

Taylor Self (02:09):

On. Give me a name, bro.

JR Howell (02:13):

So do you remember the name Briana Evans.

Taylor Self (02:17):

Briana Evans, yeah. Didn’t she train out of Emily Bridgers? Emily Bridgers gym.

JR Howell (02:22):

Yeah. Very og. Yeah.

Taylor Self (02:24):

Wow. See, I know my, is it been? It’s been two and a half. I know my fucking shit, bro.

JR Howell (02:30):

Yeah, so she I know was coming back from recently having a child and I think maybe this is her first season after that. So I’m really excited to see her here in person, especially on some of the gymnastics dense workouts that are coming. It’s going to be really fun to watch her. And then Hal Fisher did the qualifier and I think someone told me he competed on a team this year. I didn’t remember seeing him in person live, so that makes sense. And yeah, based on his qualifier scores, I mean I’m really excited. I think he’s one that can come in and push for podium for sure.

Taylor Self (03:07):

That’s cool. I love that. Cool. Crash Crucible. Charlotte Classic, which is the event that I run at CrossFit. Charlotte. Charlotte, North Carolina is going on November 17th through 19th. Me and Brian friend are running that out of CrossFit. Charlotte with Andy Hendel, Spencer Hen’s dag, he’s my boss. So same thing, looking for event partners, sponsors, if you guys are interested in getting a good kick out of that event, sign up as well. We’ve got four divisions. Elite, which level of competition? Last year there were several semifinal athletes, not as deep as jr’s, field programming’s on point. There’s an RX division and a Master’s 40 plus division, and then a community division, which is pretty trimmed down if you’re looking to compete. Haven’t done it much or haven’t done it ever. Check it out.


Seven day free trial for self-made training program. If you guys want to try my program, that as well. And then lastly on shut up and scribble. We are going to be having guests on more frequently and we’ve been thinking about having a third edition potentially to the team. We won’t talk deeply about that, but we are looking for sponsors. So if you guys are interested in working with me and JR specifically reach out via the Instagram page, jr’s personal page, my personal page, whatever the case may be. But we’re about to take this shit to the moon, so all right, let’s get into it. What do you think? Where do we start? Open quarter.

JR Howell (04:37):

I think after 2022. It was interesting to hear people talk about the way that training should be prioritized based on Adrian’s programming at the games and how there seemed to be a little bit more emphasis on high skills, on new things, on execution based workouts where you may only be given one or two opportunities to separate yourself from the field, the bottleneck programming style where, hey, there’s an obvious crux of this workout and this is where everyone’s going to get to and there’s going to be a huge log jam and can you separate yourself from that bottleneck? It was really interesting to hear a lot of people in the space talk about it and how training was going to change. And then we go through the open, we go through quarterfinals, we go through semifinals. There’s a lot of things that we see, Hey, you need to be able to run fast and lift heavy when you’re tired.


We kind of see that trend from the games into quarterfinals, even in the open where you have the shuttle run workout into the max thruster. So everyone just thinks, oh, semifinals, you’re going to have to run and lift. And then what do they do at the games? They lift, they lift rested, and it just kind of pulls the rug out from underneath everybody. So you look back at 2022 and you look at the programming, I think there were eight or nine new movements to the games and everyone’s scrambling around, I got to get better at these wall facing handstand pushups deficit or not. So everyone works all year on ’em. He comes back, he tests everybody in quarterfinals tests, everyone in semifinals. So everyone kind of knows that they need to have that tool in their belt. And then we see some more things trickle out double under crossovers.


Everyone practices, they don’t show up again. We get singles and quarterfinals and that’s it, single under crossovers, but still people are practicing more with a rope for more than just double unders, which I think was the whole point. And it’s great and a lot of athletes are really good at ’em. Now will that stuff be revisited? Who knows? So we go through all these new things from 2022 and people are practicing, and this year we get the pirouette on top of the box to start essentially a scaled press to handstand into a pirouette. We can just call it that, right? We get that and we get the pullovers. And do you consider the P bar pirouette a new movement? If you do, there are only three movements that are new at the games,

Taylor Self (07:04):

Which were

JR Howell (07:05):

Just those. So you have that

Taylor Self (07:07):

Box pirouette, the P bar pirouette

JR Howell (07:10):

And the pullovers, which most people are going to think of that as a new movement. Yes, they were in the original obstacle course that Spencer won at Camp Pendleton. They had to do a pullover to start the race, but for reps, that’s the first time they’ve ever really come up in competition. So after all this new, it just kind of goes back to the same old stuff and we can get into the effect of Dave, was it more collaborative? Was it more of the past? I mean, I would argue that yeah, we did see some biases, but does that just mean everyone’s going to go back to being able to do three straight days of upper body pulling or does that mean that people are just going to go back to training volume, training intensity? How do you see that moving forward?

Taylor Self (08:03):

A couple of things. I think a lot. I think to start, I think a lot of the programming was 100% changed, and I think you share this belief too with Dave coming back when he came back, just everything games this year just didn’t really make sense, which is something that you’ve talked me through quite extensively when looking at the bigger picture of Boz the past year, open quarterfinals, semifinals, et cetera. Dave coming back in the program was just vastly different at the games. And we talked last week even down to the names of workouts,

JR Howell (08:41):

But is that, hey, you guys think you knew, but you really had no clue? Or do you think that there was clear progression, there was going to be things that were revisited? I heard through the rumor that the parallel bar pull was supposed to be double under crossovers and not weighted rope, double unders, but after the demo team messed with it, it was kind of decided that the double under crossover was just going to be what the workout was all about. I would push back and say, I don’t know if those athletes were as prepared to do big chunks of them as the games athletes were. Maybe that, yeah,

Taylor Self (09:20):

Those fuck no, dude.

JR Howell (09:23):

That was something that when it came out, I was like, P bar pirouette beautiful. This makes sense. There’s progression there.

Taylor Self (09:30):

Heavy rope. I was, yeah,

JR Howell (09:32):

Handover hand sled. They did it at semis. He’s just doubling down on it. This makes sense. Why is this Zeus Pro in here? This feels like it should be. This is where we come back and see on the final event of the games, the most polarizing movement from 2022. We get to see if you’ve been doing your homework and working on it, but it wasn’t there. So I do. There are a lot of things like that, right? The age groups did a freestanding handstand hold the teams did a ring support hold, the individuals did no static hold that just doesn’t like that sequence doesn’t make sense to me. Why would individuals not do it? So I would love to know were they just in a room going back and forth, I like this. Well, I don’t like this. Well let’s compromise. Or is it just No, this is all Boz. Dave was just there to kind of look over the

Taylor Self (10:21):

Flow. No, no shot. No shot. It’s all Boz no shot. Yeah, I don’t think in any sense of the world this is that Bos goes back to a rogue pro heavy rope. There’s no way. I don’t believe that for a second. I think that’s a hundred percent. Dave’s like, nah, we’re going to do heavy rope. When I think that scaling the reps down or bringing the reps down on the crossover and keeping the crossover double under and there would’ve been a way cooler and way more effective. And also I initially hated the crossover and then I learned to do them and then I like it. So I think that would’ve been better in terms of how to train. It did not seem to me that many athletes made massive changes in their training regimen based off of last year heading into this year. And what I mean by that is it’s something that my coach pointed out to me, but there didn’t, A lot of people just looked tired on the first couple of days of competition and there were events where you thought that people should be smashing and going really hard and it just seemed like that wasn’t the case and it got me thinking about training volume and you have this when it’s only boss programming or it’s only boss writing the program, it’s a little bit of an easier pill to swallow and kind of leap to take to commit to maybe a little bit less volume with the addition of Dave back and this fucking three day straight of upper body pulling, it’s a little more risky because in the past it seems like Dave is this bludgeon you to death on certain muscle groups and Baz is more articulate with what he’s testing, where and when and how and the volume and less concerned about beating people up.


And I think Dave kind of takes the road of, oh, it’s the games, they’ll be fine. But think about three events a day, right? Ride pick chipper and then what was the Friday night event? I can’t remember.

JR Howell (12:26):


Taylor Self (12:27):

Skills, right? That’s not a lot of volume. Same thing for day two, dude,

JR Howell (12:33):

I think that bike set people up on day one, but even on day two and day three, the turnaround from the 40 minute

Taylor Self (12:41):

For sure,

JR Howell (12:41):

Us effort to the pig chipper, just that amount of recovery, it just looked like people weren’t able to recover from

Taylor Self (12:48):

What it looked like is think about a long training session like somebody’s doing a day, two, three hour sessions or a four hour and a two hour session, you’re hitting pieces back to back with not a lot of recovery in between them. And because of that, think about games training somebody’s eight to 10 pieces a day a lot and the recovery between those to hit them at max intensity is minimal. You are for sure sacrificing intensity for the sake of volume. And that’s so relative because when you’re a games athlete to your passerby or standard CrossFitter, that intensity still looks obscene and outrageous. But compared to what a games athlete can perform three pieces separately a day, like if a games athlete went into games training, doing three pieces a day with a couple hours in between or just saying, I’m going to do three pieces back to back to back, but I’m not going to do anything else and I’m going to hit them at max intensity, I wonder if that’s a better approach to training for the games rather than massive amounts of volume eight to 10 pieces a day. I’m not saying you only do three pieces, three separate evolutions. You have some strength, some skill work, some practice, but do you need five workouts when you’re sacrificing volume for intensity? I just say that because on some of these events it looked like some people didn’t. They lacked a bit of intensity.

JR Howell (14:13):

Do you think that there’s been a shift in the competitive landscape that you have to be so volume adapted that it’s swung too far that direction? And maybe people keep that mindset too late in the season where like, Hey, up until two or three weeks before semis, the focus has to shift. We need to peak for semis. Even if you’re probably going to qualify, then you can start at the beginning, ramp back up again for another cycle leading up to the games. Do you think maybe some camps ramp up de-load, ramp up, de-load, ramp up de-load more so than other training camps that just kind of slowly ramp and then they get to their peak volume and then they just deload right before the games? It would be a good question for someone like you that programs for several really high level athletes leaning up to the games, and I know you’re learning this too, did it seem to you like people were overtrained coming in or under condition coming in?

Taylor Self (15:25):

I think it’s an odd combination of both where it’s not that athletes are going in beat up, but athletes are going in at a volume that’s so high that they’ve sacrificed intensity to train at that volume and they get in the competition and they’re not accustomed to hitting the blackout intensity or go to failure intensity, recover, repeat that intensity. They’re more accustomed to 80% intensity, recover 80% intensity, recover 80% intensity, et cetera, et cetera. I 100% percent think that Dave’s method of programming and style of programming has 100% driven the training methodology for games athletes over the past couple of years. And a perfect example is Atalanta, when you know the guy programming the CrossFit games is bound to do something like fucking that you kind of have to be ready to handle an insane amount of work, but then you go back to last year and what Boz programmed, it was like, whoa, this is totally different, totally different. So I don’t know. It’s an interesting thought.

JR Howell (16:33):

You think it’s good that everyone’s scratching their head now because they were expecting to get a little bit of rhythm and get a little bit more of the same. Hey, year one had four interval workouts, year two had two or three interval workouts. There were still some new stuff that came out. There was some evolution of some new things, but then now there isn’t. And do you think it’s actually better that everyone’s wondering where it’s going and there isn’t much predictability and do you think it would be better as a trickle down to the community to have that cohesiveness? I mean, look, we got Dave programming main site right now. They’re going to be programmers on main site. There have been a lot of talk about how do we make sure that the message we’re sending to the community matches what the top tier of the sport is doing as far as priorities? Should they be mirroring each other? Should there be any cohesiveness between game season programming and what we expect our affiliates to be doing? And that’s a whole nother podcast. Yeah, a

Taylor Self (17:37):

Whole nother podcast. Yeah. It’s tough for me to say. I do think this, someone commented whatever aerials does works. I know for a fact that, well, I know from what she has said in the past that it seems, my perception is that she trains at a bit lower volume than a lot of those top females do, and I would imagine gets pretty raging intensity. I think when you’re an athlete at that level and you don’t have the opportunity to train at a really high volume when you do train, you fucking smack it. I think, and I’ve experienced that in my own life and how right now I just want to go to the gym and murder myself in every piece that I do. And I think to a degree that is far more important than eight to 10 pieces a day and running yourself into the dirt for a 12 event weekend.


If it’s going back to 2017 and there’s 15 events and it’s 500 squatting repetitions, being accustomed to high volume is beneficial. If it’s last year, being accustomed to super high volume is maybe not as beneficial as being able to hit things at an extreme intensity and with really good execution and have really high skills. But I think that carried over to this year as well where there were some muscle groups that were taxed way more than others, but for the most part the volume was not out of control. There were some quick turnarounds, but it’s three events a day. I mean, remember that. Yeah, there are some quick turnarounds for sure, but three events a day that is

JR Howell (19:06):

So point you’re getting at is that two or three weeks out from the games, doing a bunch of zone two work, four or five days a week is probably not the best place to allocate your time versus coming in, hitting something really hard, recovering, going to sit around two or three hours later, come back, warm up again, again, and actually simulating what you’re going to feel if anything, maybe only doing two a day as you get closer and closer to it

Taylor Self (19:33):

And a lot of skill practice. I think there’s a lot of balance, agility, proprioceptive work that athletes could probably be doing to set themselves up for success on an event like inverted bedley, which I think is clear with Bos at the helm, we’re going to continue to see things like that challenge athletes. Yeah, I just don’t see, I don’t know. I just think there’s been maybe potentially a bit of an overcorrection and the volume department, and we’ve only got 214 live viewers. Hopefully this show doesn’t get that many views, but I don’t expect many of the competitors watch this to begin with. Maybe a handful, but the handful that do watch more than happy to help for my own personally driven and jealous reasons.

JR Howell (20:20):

Well, if there’s some things that you look at where you can say, Hey, this does kind of fit. This does still kind of flow. If you look at the season, look at the open, right? We had the repeat of 14.4 that had a chunk of 40 wall balls, and then we have the quarterfinals where there’s really not any squat volume, and then we have the semifinals that have the 40 overhead squats and the squat cleans in Linda, so there’s still a fair amount of squatting there. Not a ton, but still a fair amount.

Taylor Self (20:50):

Single leg squats as well.

JR Howell (20:52):

But then at the games, once again, there was a lot of legs and I’ll push back and we can go at it with people who think there wasn’t any legs in the games

Taylor Self (21:02):

Was yeah, there for sure.

JR Howell (21:06):

It was presented in a way that most people aren’t. Well, yeah, they didn’t do Murph and they didn’t do a squat, clean pyramid ladder and then they didn’t do this and they didn’t do this, but there was still that chunk of a hundred wall balls. There was still the thrusters on the last workout, there was sled, there was a lot of carries. They had the sandbag squat, which was super high intensity for those 50 reps. So yeah, it might not be some of the lower body volume beatdowns that we’re used to seeing at the games, but in total, I do think that there was a lot of squatting.

Taylor Self (21:42):

A lot of squatting or a lot of legs. You’re talking about the season as a whole or the games,

JR Howell (21:46):

A lot of legs. Definitely not a lot of squatting in the season, but at the games, the squatting was still there.

Taylor Self (21:51):

It was still there, but again, like you said, you have the bike event, the sled and alpaca, the a hundred wall balls, ski bag, teabag, plenty of legs for sure,

JR Howell (22:02):

Still had to run the five K hard

Taylor Self (22:07):

And I like that a lot of different ways they tested legs. But again, I think to me the major, the big question mark is how are these athletes getting prepared going into competition, and is it to your benefit to train at a volume that has been pushed on that community, the CrossFit games athlete community by some of the best, is that necessary and is that sustainable? Is that beneficial even? And

JR Howell (22:42):

Let’s be clear, I would say every coach out there that’s coaching high level athletes, games level athletes or multiple ones, whether they’re following blog programming or do it individualized, they’re smart and they approach the season in cycles and they’re cycles where they’re base building and there are cycles where they’re working on just power lifting. And then there are cycles where they get into weightlifting and they’re probably doing skill work year round. There’s some development that needs to be done where they’re just doing the skill and only that skill to build capacity. And then as the season goes on, they’re layering and interference, whether it be with machines or whether it be with weightlifting movements or whatever. There are progressions and I’m sure that they’re all using it. My biggest question is, as a coach, how do you know when’s the right time? How do you know when the right time is?


That probably depends on the level of athlete you’re coaching. If you have an athlete that it’s easier for them to make the games and the biggest risk for them sometimes is just getting out of quarterfinals, then you have to prioritize that way. If you have an athlete that you know is going to make the games, then are you just okay with a fourth or a fifth or a sixth place finish at semis because the bigger picture is performance at the games. Someone like you, if John came to you and you were like, you know what Taylor? I know that you’re built for the games. You can swim, you can run, you adapt well to new things. We’re going to take a risk and I just want you fit enough to make the games. If we ramp you up too early and we peak you for semis, then I don’t know if we’re going to be able to ramp back down and then go through another whole training block. Would you just say, okay, that’s a huge risk, or would you just say, no, I have to be at my fittest at semifinals next year?

Taylor Self (24:28):

I think that’s an even different conversation than the one I was initially leading us into. I don’t think you can take anything for granted at semifinals, and I don’t know that John would ever come to me and say that I don’t think would think it’s far more likely that that would be some sort of hubris that I would push on him and he would be like, no, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You just never know what’s going to show up for semifinals, and if you get caught with your fucking dick in your hand, that’s not a good place to be. So I don’t think that’s worth it.


I don’t think at the level we are at in the sport, especially with the depth of field and the strength of field in some of these North America semifinals and regions, that is a card you can afford to play in most cases. I don’t know if Justin and there can’t play that this year. I think overall people are kind of scratching their heads at his performance, both at semifinals and at the games. I think people were probably thinking at semifinals that that’s exactly what he was doing, and then he comes out and performs the way he did at the games and it’s like, well, was that what he was doing? Because he’s not winning the games. So I don’t think you can bank on qualifying regardless of how fit you are to just train through semifinals. I do think that my main point is not every athlete needs to train eight hours a day leading into the games. There are some that do and great, but there are also athletes who I know for a fact that don’t train anywhere near that much that we’re on the podium this year. So the question being what is the right recipe for success? I also think the sport is so young that that is still being created and might continue to evolve for the next several years. And it’s also very challenging to feel like you nail that recipe down when the programming is changing and the style of programming is changing from year to year. It’s the hardest sport to prepare for because you have to be prepared for everything.

JR Howell (26:49):

Saw Colton in the comments. It’d be interesting to know how he approaches the season not knowing some things that we’re all wondering right now, is there going to be some kind of pro card system? Are there going to be more opportunities to earn points for your worldwide ranking? Is it only going to be open quarter semis? But someone like Colton who at this point we all expect him to make the games, does he still prioritize his season and his weakness work so that at semifinals when there’s only six or seven workouts, he makes sure that there’s no stone left unturned? Or is he so confident with the progression of some of the things that he used to consider a weakness that now he’s like, I’m only worried about the games. That’s all I’m worried about.

Taylor Self (27:32):

I don’t think he approaches semifinals like that. I would be shocked if he did. I wouldn’t approach it like that, and I don’t think most of the top athletes approach it like that. I think he’s training and fighting tooth and nail at semifinals, just like I think he did at the games. I think what’s impressive for him is it seemed like he went through quite a bit of adversity in the off season with some medical stuff and with injury and at semifinals.

JR Howell (27:54):

He said he was super sick

Taylor Self (27:56):

And at semifinals super sick and pulled out an incredible finish at the games. And I think Colton is a great example of how mental the sport is and how much a lot of athletes take that for granted in terms of it’s not just a physical beast, especially at the games, but semifinals as well and how calm and collected you need to be. Yeah, a lot of questions for me going into this year.

JR Howell (28:26):

Yeah, so let’s unpack that a little bit. It’s a lot of speculation now, but if they move away from open two weeks later, quarters, whatever, a month later, semis, and they’re still using the worldwide ranking system, they’re still allocating spots based on how many are in the top 100 in the world. They’re doing all that stuff. Maybe they make some small tweaks, but essentially you’re still looking at somewhere between nine and 12 spots out of each North America region. You’re still looking at a lot coming out of Europe. All that stuff is kind of the same.


Do you think there’s going to be other point earning opportunities where they take this circuit of competitions, water Palooza, Dubai Rogue, all this stuff, they say, Hey, if you go here and you finish in the top 10, you can accumulate this number of points. If you go to a tier two competition, that’s like beach brawl, monster games, crash crucible, Charlotte Classic, and you compete there, there’s an opportunity for you to get this amount of points and then at the end of everything, we’re just going to take all the points you’ve earned and that’s going to be how you get through the games. Do you see that happening or is it just being, Nope, semifinals is the only way you can qualify? Do you see those other competitions being ways that you can get into semifinals? So you can do quarterfinals and get in, or you can do these out of season.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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