A Case Study: Examining Strength and Physiological Variable Changes over an ECP Training Year

Michael B. Phillips, Auguste Jean-Paul Barfield, Jake Alexander Lockert


Objective: To document change in performance and hormone levels over the course of a one year training cycle in a professional CrossFit® athlete. The current study is the first to document changes resulting from a one-year training cycle in an extreme conditioning program.

Design: Case control study.

Setting: Data were collected following 3 periodized mesocycles across a one-year macrocycle in a clinical lab setting.

Participant: A 28-year old male professional CrossFit® athlete.

Interventions: Three distinct extreme conditioning mesocycles including preparation, first transition, and competition.

Main Outcome Measures: Percent change in performance (i.e., aerobic capacity, hand grip strength, body composition, vertical jump and 1-RM deadlift, back squat, shoulder press, snatch, clean and jerk) and blood hormone levels (i.e., cortisol, insulin, testosterone, and human growth hormone) across training cycles. The relationship between motor fitness and blood hormone levels across the training year.

Results: Performance variables increased between 1 to 20% during preparation, remained stable during maintenance, and actually decreased slightly during the competition cycle. Insulin and testosterone decreased during preparation with increases in cortisol, testosterone, and human growth hormone demonstrated during the competition cycle. Insulin and testosterone were strongly related to muscular strength and aerobic capacity, respectively across the macrocycle.

Conclusions: Muscular strength and power increases across the macrocycle were consistent with periodized resistance training programs for elite athletes although there were fitness declines across the competition microcycle.

Key Words: Extreme Conditioning Programs; High Intensity Interval Training; Periodization; Training Cycles; CrossFit®

List of Abbreviations

DL (Dead Lift), BS (Back Squat), SP (Shoulder Press), CJ (Clean & Jerk), VO2 Max (Volume of Oxygen Consumption), BC (Body Composition), ECP (Extreme Conditioning Programs), HGH (Human Growth Hormone), BMI (Body Mass Index), PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire), HIT (High Intensity Training), HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).


Extreme Conditioning Programs, High Intensity Interval Training, Periodization, Training Cycles, CrossFit®

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12922/jshp.v4i3.84


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