What to Know When You Start Regular Classes at CrossFit Charlottesville

So, you probably just finished Essentials or a few hours of private training and you’re wondering what’s next.  The good news is not much changes from what you’ve been doing.

Class Structure

Our regular class schedule and programming is built to make you as fit as possible. We do a variety of functional movements in different formats.  You should come in 10 minutes early to work on the things you know you need to stretch or improve.  Other than that, we guide you through the whole gamut of things that need to be addressed in order to effectively complete the WOD (workout of the day).  The best way to understand how we run classes is based on a regular class structure:

Warmup (5 Minutes) – We work to increase heart rate, warm our bodies and prepare for the workout. Typically this would be rowing or running.

Mobility and Skill Work (10 to 15 Minutes) – We work on active and dynamic stretching movements. Static stretching weakens you and can be dangerous before weightlifting movements. We do a lot of mobility drills for tight shoulder and hips. Depending on what’s next, we will incorporate skill work for the upcoming things.

Strength Movement (10 Minutes) – We will typically spend about 10 minutes on a slow lift (deadlift, shoulder press, squat) or fast lift (clean and jerk, snatch) to build strength and comfort with these movements so the skills transfer over into your regular life.  These lifts are very important to building a fully functional athlete.

Short Metabolic Workout (5 to 10 Minutes) – On days when we do a strength movement, we’ll keep our “met-con” short. Don’t let the name deceive you. A “met-con” is just a fancy way to say you keep moving consistently through the entire workout.  The weight shouldn’t slow you down too much.

Recovery (5 Minutes) – We’ll spend a bit of time on stretching tight muscle groups or going through a few movements to work our body in other ways.


The workouts look pretty intense compared to Essentials, but don’t worry. We will scale the weights, the reps and the times to your abilities. Our intention is to help give you some guided structure with our Level 1 and Level 2 daily workouts, and ultimately the trainers are there to guide you with their knowledge and experience.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a movement, we can scale to movements which are easier to execute.  Remember, our gym is about your personal best, not about unhealthy competition. Everyone was once where you were.

Getting Better, Recording Times

Avoiding your weaknesses is probably the worst thing you can do to yourself in the gym. If you want to get better, you have to do the things you dislike the most. There aren’t any shortcuts. Just trust me.

Recording times on the website is also very important. It gives everyone a benchmark and a record of your performance in the gym.  Just click comments and write down your name and how you performed. It takes 5 seconds and we want to see you recording new Personal Records (PRs) when you repeat a workout. Please do it.

Eat Right

Nutrition is important, probably more important than what you do in the gym. Take advantage of the articles we’ve written and don’t be afraid to ask our trainers if you have any questions.

Make Friends

Our people make our gym an enjoyable experience. We have a gym rule that says if you don’t know someone’s name in the gym, every single person has to do 20 burpees. Introduce yourself. Some people have been known to bite, but that’s only about 10% of the time (bonus: no one is rabid).

Rest & Recovery

Your body doesn’t get better because you workout; it gets better because you recover. You also will never get better if you don’t get over the wall. Everyone is a little different, but shooting for 3 days on and then one day off is a good starting strategy.  If you get sore, remember that’s normal in the beginning and you have to get your body used to that before you can make gains.


How do we design our workouts? While On-Ramp is structured to continually build your skillset, our regular classes seem a lot more random.  Think of our gym programming as a combination of the following:

  1. Traditional CrossFit: CrossFit encompasses so many things, it’s hard to really get a good grasp on what this means. For the sake of comparison, our gym is mainly CrossFit when compared to CrossFit.com workouts. We constantly vary functional movements and execute them at high intensity.
  2. Strength-Bias: We’ve recognized that most people do extremely well with a strength-bias environment that’s included with traditional CrossFit-style programming.  We do barbell lifts (deadlift, squat, press, clean, jerk, snatch) two to three times per week in rep schemes like 5 sets of 5 or 5 sets of 3.  We want most people to be lifting at about 80% of their max most of the time. Without a doubt, improving in these areas will benefit your CrossFit workouts and your overall fitness immensely.
  3. Skill-Targeting Periodization: On top of these other philosophies, we also spend about 8 to 12 weeks targeting various skills like gymnastics, oly lifting, explosive power, etc. We allot additional time to building these skills during these periods and work with various progressions.

So, how do combine these things and come up with the workouts you do? It’s the secret sauce that makes our programming part black-box, part best practices and part we have no idea what will happen. That’s part of the fun with CrossFit. We’ve built excel models to randomize workouts, we’ve programmed them over one too many beers and we’ve pulled them from the best and the brightest.  We can debate programming cycles for endless hours, but at the end of the day we want to increase your ability to do work, more quickly.  If our programming isn’t doing that (and you are giving it 100%), then we are failing and you should leave our gym immediately.

Any other questions or things to address about starting regular classes?

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