Constantly Varied Functional Movement High Intensity
— CrossFit’s Definition of programming

Program Director Liz Carrier shares her thoughts behind Raincity Athletics group class workout programming, and what aspects do and don’t align with the CrossFit methodology.


This article is also an expansion of Why Raincity Athletics is no Longer a CrossFit Affiliate.

One of the reasons we decided not to re-affiliate here at Raincity Athletics was our emerging re-interpretation of the tagline above, let’s break it down together:

First, “constantly varied”.
Sounds great, right?

Always doing new stuff. The problem with this model is that it gets harder and harder to progress a certain movement (aka set a personal record (PR) on your back squat or clean) when you don’t have a set progression in place. The more experienced you get as an athlete, the more you actually need a plan in order to get from where you are to a new lifetime PR.

So, we want “structured, but not boring” here at Raincity.

Second, “functional movement”.

Originally, Crossfit used that part of their slogan to promote free weight (aka barbell and dumbbell and kettlebell) movements rather than machines. Obviously, we believe that! But, in an effort to promote “functional” movements, Crossfit eschewed bodybuilding-style training and other free weight exercises that involve smaller muscle groups rather than big, multi-joint movements (think deadlift and back squat). But in fact, when applied properly, those movements can be very functional too!

If you want healthy shoulders, you will probably need to work those little muscles in the back of your shoulders (face pulls, rear delt raises, etc).

If you don’t have a strict pull-up and want to get one, you will probably need to do some biceps curls and lat pulldowns.

So, here at Raincity Athletics, we believe in Functional Movements, just in a broader sense than most Crossfit affiliates.

Finally, “high intensity”

We believe in relative intensity. Basically, you shouldn’t go 100% all the time. Sometimes, maybe it’s your third day in a row, maybe you’re really sore from the “almost Karen” on Monday, but your body is letting you know that 100% is not there, and that’s fine; do the workout, move well, hit 80-85% for that day and focus on consistent efficient movement.

Sometimes, you want to try a heavier weight or higher skill movement than usual in the WOD (let’s say chest to bar instead of regular pull-ups). Do that! That’s why we break all our class programs down into 5 different levels (and not just Rx & Scaled). So if there’s a higher level you want to try that day, try it; but you’ll have to dial intensity back a little in order to move well. So, again, think intensity relative to the athlete, their program, and their ability… not 100% all out all the time.

This brings us to our much less flashy slogan:

Structured, but not boring, functional movements executed at a relative intensity
— Raincity Athletics much less sexy definition of programming


See our programming in action



A note from Raincity Athletics owner Simon Damborg (aka Thor)


Our programming moved away from the standard CrossFit model years ago… but when Liz Carrier joined our team we shifted much farther away.

As someone who had been doing ‘balls to the wall’ style CrossFit for almost 10 years, it was a hard thing for me to swallow. But as I looked around at the athletes I had trained with, and the athletes in our gym, and as I myself aged (I was ~20 when I competed in CrossFit) I realized that even though our new style didn’t seem as ‘fun’ - it provided a progressive longevity that will allow our athletes to continue to progress and train for their entire lives.

Now, it’s an honor to work side by side with Liz in writing our programs - she brings her vast knowledge of programming to the table, and I bring a little bit of the ‘let’s mess them up a bit too’ and together we write programs that provide a variety of butt kickings, mental grinds, but most importantly a linear progression that will provide longevity to you and your training.

CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. Raincity Athletics’s uses of the CrossFit® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and Raincity Athletics is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.