The Right Stuff: Programming for the Masters Athlete
Written by Jean Thorson

Have you ever taken on more than you can chew and your body lets you know the next day? Can you train at the Rx competitor level for 1 day, but 3 days in a row is a different story? Is the way you feel on Wednesday completely different than the 25-year-old sitting next to you?

As a Masters athlete who has used Rx competitor programming to train with a gym’s Regionals team, I can recall that feeling of being exhausted come Wednesday and Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to tell you that age is just a number. But, I will also tell you that as a 43-year-old, doing daily doubles with the 25-35-year-olds, my body didn’t recover the same.

As we age, there are internal and external factors that need to be recognized when deciding on what program is right for us – health history, past injury report, career, family, nutrition, sleep quality, and time commitment to train. There is something to be said about volume and load in programming and knowing what the right amount is for you. Being aware of what your body can handle will help prevent injuries, illnesses and burnout. After all, isn’t our ultimate goal to have longevity in the sport of CrossFit and to be on that competition floor when we are 65+ doing amazing things or simply doing air squats and hanging from the monkey bars with our grandchildren?

Why did I change to Masters programming? I love this sport and what it has done for my fitness level and I don’t want to stop. For this reason, I took the advice of my good friend and the Fittest CrossFit Masters 45-49 athlete in the world Cheryl Brost and started following the Invictus Masters program 2 years ago. This is what she has to say about the programming:

“I have had the privilege to be a part of the Invictus family since early 2012. I have experienced many of the Invictus programming options available to an athlete…two plus years following an individualized tailored program, one year following the Competition programming, and the past three years the Invictus Masters program. I have never regretted the decision of switching to the Masters program. The two biggest differences I have seen between the programs is a more concerted time focused on mobility and less volume and/or load on the lifts without sacrificing strength. As we mature as athletes, I have found the biggest issue we face is our mobility and keeping our bodies as limber as they used to be. When we give up degrees of mobility, we give up strength and quality of movement. Every day in the Masters program, we are working on this, and it’s so important! The Invictus Masters program is all inclusive however – offering everything from the mobility I mentioned to gymnastics, strength, Olympic lifting, Strongman, metabolic conditioning, accessory work, running, and during the competition season, even mental training.”

The programming is designed for the 35+ year-old athlete who has a solid foundation in all commonly tested CrossFit movements with a goal to compete or simply work to be a more well-rounded athlete in the gym. It is developed by Nichole Kribs, and each week she incorporates a mix of gymnastics skills and drills, strength work, mobility work, conditioning and accessory work. It caters to the athlete who would like to fix asymmetries through the use of Strongman, improve overhead stability, mobility and strength, develop posterior chain endurance and work on positioning in the Olympic lifts. All of this along with an appropriate volume load so as to maximize recovery.


Start the clock, and…Dynamic Mobility, Activation and Warm-Up
– Band Assisted Hip Flexor Stretch x 45 seconds per side (add in 3-5 pulses)
– Band Assisted Perfect Stretch x 45 seconds per side

At the 5:00 mark, complete:
– T-Spine Opener x 5-8 pass throughs

At the 7:00 mark, complete:
– Honest Hip Cars x 2 reps per side

At the 10:00 mark, complete:
– Hurdle Over-Under Drill x 5 reps per side

Every 2 minutes, for 12 minutes, complete:
Front Squat + Jerk @ 75-80% of 1-RM Jerk

Four sets of:
Assault Bike x 30/25 calories
Deadlift x 15 reps (225/155 lbs)
Handstand Push-Ups x 10 reps
Rest 3 minutes

Four sets of:
Assault Bike x 25/20 calories
Deadlift x 15 reps (185/125 lbs)
Push-Press x 10 reps (95/65 lbs)
Rest 3 minutes

Three sets of:
Glute Ham Raises x 6 reps @ 3011
Rest 45 seconds
Strict Toes-to-Bar x 6 reps @ 3111
Rest 45 seconds

The Invictus Masters Program is designed for any Master (35+) looking to compete in the sport of fitness or simply work to be a more well-rounded athlete. If you’d like to learn more about Invictus Masters Online Program click here.

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May 6, 2023 12:19 am

Hey there, 35+ is much too young to be csllrd Masters. Many athletes start at this sge! Didn’t Sam Briggs start CF at 28?
Great post and the WODs for 55+ are realistc. I’m now 63 and like to work out them

Cheryl Brost
Cheryl Brost
March 22, 2018 9:28 am

Love this!! ?

Kendall Kimball
Kendall Kimball
March 22, 2018 8:35 am

Doing the Happy Dance! This is so exciting 🙂

Edward Becker
Edward Becker
March 22, 2018 12:42 am

Hi Jean, I can only agree!! VERY WISE programming and I enjoy all of it a lot! Very grateful for this. I’ve been with Invictus Masters Program for about two years now. I’ve taken a break after last years Open for about 6months but got back on in prep. for the Open 2018. One question though…when should one work on one’s individual/specific weaknessess? Or how do you it?

Edward Becker
Edward Becker
March 22, 2018 6:46 am

Hi Jean, Thx. Yes, I’m an online athlete and I was thinking on doing something similar to what you did. But to incorporate a strength cycle with all the existing strength stuff in the Masters Programming is going to be very difficult. Anyway…Nicole is gr8! I’ll contact her and I’m sure she’ll be able to help. Best of luck for your 18.5! Thruster, thrusters and thrusters….:-))

Nichole Kribs-DeHart
Nichole Kribs-DeHart
March 22, 2018 12:22 pm
Reply to  Edward Becker

Shot me over an email ( and I can give you some direction based on your schedule!

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