MIkko in Finland - Mainsite Programming

November 23, 2009 8:00 PM

Posted in Competitors »
14 Comments » on this entry

09Games_MikkoDogOpenBox.jpgMikko Salo is opening an affiliate. From the new box he speaks about his plans for programming. "We will probably follow one cycle behind main site because it's great programming and it's enough for 99 percent of the people."

He recognizes that top Games competitors may need to supplement with additional workouts in order to win the CrossFit Games. However, all too often he sees people attempt too much right out of the gate. "We have seen guys, like in our firehouse, that get hungrier and hungrier and they want to do more than just the workout of the day. They'll make it like three or four days for maybe three cycles and then they burn out."

Mikko is going to be careful to indoctrinate clients slowly to allow proper adaptation.

Mikko on Programming video (also seen on the main site) ... [wmv] [mov]

14 comments on this entry.

1. kris kepler wrote...

November 24, 2009 9:17 PM

Mikko is the real deal! You want to be ELITE, it takes more then what you are doing! 2010 Games are going to be ridiculous!

2. Tyler Parsons wrote...

November 24, 2009 11:24 PM

99% percent of the people don't want to compete at the CROSSFIT GAMES! How bout you guys make a separate site like crossfit football and hell call it games preparation or whatever. Then there won't be any of this non sense about programming or anything else. A lot, of these problems are easy to solve guys. Come on now. I LOVE Crossfit and this week has been really disheartening to me. Just keepin it 100.

3. Greg Keoc wrote...

November 24, 2009 11:47 PM

Hilarious timing to post this. Sounds like some elements are worried about the success of derivatives (MEBB, OPT, CFB etc) which are taking off. What happened to open source, you know, taking what elements rise to the top.

4. popeye wrote...

November 25, 2009 1:10 AM

Hey that's my dog Kaden!!!

5. ALEXIS wrote...

November 25, 2009 1:57 PM

I think the amount of training depends on the athlete, mikko can withstand high volume and perform at their best, others less volume is good because not recovering so well, not growing the whole year has to have a high volume, perhaps if few months ago before the games and then cut the burden of training to get cool games, I think periodization is more feasible and advisable, my two cents, from Spain ...

(excuse my English is very bad, sorry)


6. Greg/M2 wrote...

November 25, 2009 5:19 PM

I read that Mikko's workout was: 5K-7k Intense Mountain Trail Runs in the Morning, WOD at 4PM, followed by an intense O-Lifting workout 5-6 days a week. Can anyone confirm this? Also, I was standing next to Mikko when Tony B. asked him what his diet was like, specifically asking him if he followed the Zone, and Mikko said he ate good, but not strict Zone.

7. murtle wrote...

November 26, 2009 1:22 AM

@ Greg/M2 - here is the link to Mikko's training, and the quotation. http://games2009.crossfit.com/competitors/mikko-salos-training.html

"Hello! I have done functional training with high intensity my entire life (which is like15 years now). Nowadays, I train 4 to 6 days in a row, and then I take a rest day.

My basic training day starts with running or rowing 30-45 min with high intensity (interval training) in the mornings. In the evenings, I do some kind of strength training (different squats, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, all major lifts), with sets of 5x3, 5x5, or 5x10.

After the strength training, I usually do two different metcon workouts with 5-10 minute rest in between. For these, I use broad time domains from 1 minute to 30 minutes. I also try to use big weights and my body mass in the metcons. I always hammer the metcons with full intensity."

8. Brad replied to comment from murtle...

November 26, 2009 8:39 AM

Yea, that training doesn't sound like a mainsite wod.
I think that anyone looking to get into better shape is going to see great results with main site programming. They will start scaled and eventually build capacity to be able to do as prescribed. Then they will have to try to lower their times as rxd. These people are not competing in the games mind you so it is more than enough.

Take a guy like OPT, his training is way harder than mainsite and his results is that he is putting many competitiors into the games as top level guys. Fran for a guy like OPT or Speal is not testing them at their level. They need more and you see it in their training logs. It is not a bad thing, but if you are going to say that the daily wod represents training for the elite of the elite then that is flawed as OPT, Speal, Miko, and Jason K aren't doing mainsite wods to get to the games.

9. sevan wrote...

November 26, 2009 9:26 AM

Hi Brad,

I was in Finland filming with Mikko for 8 days recently. There have been a few videos from this visit but a longer video of 20+ minutes is coming shortly - which includes Mikko re-creating the 2008 CrossFit Games (great stuff).

I could be wrong, and it did appear that Mikko's training is always evolving but this is my understanding from filming with Mikko.

For 2 years he followed main-site daily. I think he said he was a couple days behind. More recently he does not follow main-site in order but does complete every WOD that appears on main-site at some point in his training.

Does that mean he follows main-site ? I don't know. But if I understood correctly, he does all the workouts posted sometime within a week. I also got the impression that he is 5 on - 1 off, because "that is what his body tells him".

I could be wrong - but this is my understanding.

Also - Mikko for the most part does not keep a journal and seemed to be flexible in his workouts, as long as he gets to go hard several times a day.

He also has a physically demanding job as a forum firefighter, water rescue diver in a large 10 truck firehouse. He insists on working out on all work shifts to be an example for his colleagues, even if it is a rest day. It is unbelievable how much he moves around in a day.
Actually, I would not believe it if I did not witness a week of his life.

Doing Fran or Deadlift Burpee WOD is only a "short met-con" for Mikko. So he has time to do main-site and more :)

I also believe that OPT did main-site WODS and posted his times for a long time.

And I agree that a few animals are supplementing their workouts with additional training besides one daily WOD.

I think Mikko also said, that other people he has seen go beyond 1 daily wod have only been able to sustain that schedule for 3-5 days, before they realize that they are not ready for that type of load (then take 3-7 days off to recover).

After the 2008 Games many "elite" athletes were wrecked. We filmed with Mikko the day before he re-created the 2008 Games and the day after. He went crazy hard 3+ workouts both days. plus work, plus water rescue dicing in freezing waters. Like I said it was unbelievable. The 2008 Games was just another day for him. After the second workout, his Dad called and asked him to move an entire house full of furniture. Mikko was gone for 3+ hours, moved al the furniture, then came back and did the third WOD!

When did he eat ?

I asked him if he was sore... he said "NO". But he said he was sore after the 2009 games though.

I hope this helps - and this is only my understanding from talking with him and his training partner Juha - I could be wrong or misunderstood.

Kinda scary to post these days, the sharks are out :)

I am racing to get the video completed and I am eager to share.


10. Latham Fell wrote...

November 27, 2009 5:04 AM

Professional sports and the Olympics are the exclusive domain of the genetically gifted. No amount of work, and no type of programming, will allow anyone without these gifts to compete at that level.

As the Crossfit Games become more popular, they will inevitably attract athletes with world-class genetic gifts. I think Mikko is the first one of these.

11. Jesse wrote...

November 27, 2009 6:43 AM

I think he's a genetic hybrid of "The Ultimate Warrior" and Wolverine. He wasn't sore at the '09 Games, he was joking.

12. brad wrote...

November 27, 2009 10:05 PM


I would have never known what Mikko does for training except for your article on here.
My basic training day starts with running or rowing 30-45 min with high intensity (interval training) in the mornings. In the evenings, I do some kind of strength training (different squats, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, all major lifts), with sets of 5x3, 5x5, or 5x10.

"After the strength training, I usually do two different metcon workouts with 5-10 minute rest in between. For these, I use broad time domains from 1 minute to 30 minutes. I also try to use big weights and my body mass in the metcons. I always hammer the metcons with full intensity.

I believe that my ability to train so much and with so hard intensity is because I have created a careful foundation of physical capacity starting at very young age. When I started doing CrossFit, I followed the main site workouts strictly. But nowadays I want more volume than the main site provides. So I do a bit more for training days."

I am not questioning the fact that he probably excels in the main site wods. I think Speal, Jason K, Josh E, and James Fitzgerald all did main site a few years back. Check out http://optimumperformancetraining.blogspot.com/. This is how James is training his athletes now. He may throw in a Fran or Cindy on occassion but I haven't seen them. James is sending several of his athletes to the games and I think they are following his programming and not the main site.

I personally still do main site and I do mix in some OPT.
I hope that helps.

Brad :)

13. brad wrote...

November 27, 2009 10:31 PM


Not trying to overstate what was said before but even in your entry on Jason Khalipa here was his workout per your article.

"Jason writes about his training for the Games:
My training consisted of CrossFit.com workouts once a day up until about 4 months prior to the CrossFit Games 2010. At about 4 months out Austin (CrossFit Unlimited) put together a training program that I used up until the Games. The program consisted primarily of CrossFit type workouts in conjunction with heavy Olympic lifting and hill runs. I trained 6 days a week but made sure to listen to my body if I needed a rest day.

Typically I trained twice a day, however the last few weeks before the Games I stepped it up to 3 times and sometimes even 4 times a day. However each of these workouts were different, some focused on strength while others worked on my recovery time or endurance.

Contrary to what many people may think, and I don't blame them either, I did in fact train hill runs twice a week every week for 12 weeks leading up to the Games. The hill runs ranged from short and intense interval training to long distance 5-7 mile runs. In the weeks leading up to the Games my training was:

5 weeks out, 4 times a day
4 weeks out, 3 times a day
3 weeks out, 2 times a day
2 weeks out, 1 time a day
1 week out, active rest

And I always try to practice what I suck at."

With him finishing pretty good the past two years I would say that he felt like just main site alone may get him to the games but to finish in the top 10 or so he needed more work.


14. sevan wrote...

November 28, 2009 12:57 AM

Hi Brad,

Well said,

I think we are in the same page :)