Kriger Training Co-Founder Joakim Rygh on Intensity and Programming

September 20, 2023 by
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A new European programming camp is on the rise, and besides their star-studded roster, a novel ethos is helping them differentiate themselves. 

Kriger Training–meaning warrior in Norwegian–was founded by eight-time CrossFit Games athlete Kristen Holte and her coach Joakim Rygh as she was concluding her tenure as a competitive athlete. The long-time pair knew they had something special with Holte’s training and they decided to share it with the world.

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So, what makes Kriger different from the other programming options on the market?

  • The competition programming track features significantly lower volume than others.
  • The trademark CrossFit intensity–rolling on the floor, sweat angels, and the occasional visit from Pukie the Clown–isn’t mandated on a day-to-day basis. 
  • For affiliate programming, health, learning new skills, and good movement patterns are at the center of focus. Also, specific parts of the elite programming is available as accessory work for regular athletes so they have the option of dipping their toe into some extra work. 

Rygh says he knows that this alternative method makes them stick out, but to him, that’s a good thing. 

  • “The biggest reason we do intensity less often is that we really believe in intensity.” Rygh said. “If it feels really hard day by day, you’ll never be able to reach that intensity.”

Also, he says that when athletes come from other programming to Kriger, it takes an acclimation period to get used to the lower volume of intensity. If an athlete is used to selling their soul daily and equating it to success, the mindset shift can be tough, Rygh said. 

  • Rygh: “Sometimes (athletes) want to sweat and want to be really tired after every day because it’s the easy way to do it. You feel like, ‘okay, I’m the hardest worker in the room so I’ll get the best stuff’ but we rather believe in ‘I’m the smartest worker.’”

In an effort to make competition more successful for the regular gym-goer or someone just starting to compete, the team created an event called “Kriger League” alongside one of their sponsors, ATA Training Equipment. Tracking well with Kriger’s reputation as taking the less beaten path, the format of the competition is generally new to the space. 

  • For the first 10 days of September, October, November, and December, athletes will compete in a single workout inside their affiliate. 
  • After the four months of competition, finalists will compete in-person in Norway. 

Rygh says that the reasoning behind making the competition this way is to increase accessibility. 

  • “We find sometimes that it’s easy to compete as an elite, but a lot harder in the beginning,” Rygh said. “The goal is to help athletes compete – not only at the highest level but everyone that wants to compete, we want to help.”

Learn more about the Kriger League or Kriger Training now.

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