We choose to train a template of CrossFit called Max Effort Black Box (MEBB) here at CrossFit Orlando. There are several reasons for our choice in this template and I will address those reasons as well as some questions that have come along during our tenure as your coaches.

MEBB was created by Coach Micheal Rutherford from CrossFit Kansas City because he noticed that while CrossFit WoDs did develop strength, it took some time to develop optimal strength.

A perfect example of this was when I was running an affiliate out of my garage, I had (and still do) a client that was great at bodyweight WoDs, but sorely lacking in the strength department. When he first came to me he could barely Overhead Squat a PVC pipe and had a low 200# Deadlift. Lori actually brought MEBB to my attention and what I saw was that trainers from other affiliates claimed to have impressive times/lifts while their clients were still struggling to Rx many WoDs. This was exactly my problem and I jumped on it.

After four months of MEBB Joel went from an OHS of 20# to doing 125 for a double, 215# Deadlift to 320# for a single, 5 minutes off of his “Fran”, 7 off of “Angie”, and several other impressive achievements. Bottom line, he was getting stronger and faster by lifting for a Max Effort (ME) for a specified number of reps prior to the metcon.


Joel shortly after PR’ing on the deadlift at 300#


So that’s the “why” to our MEBB training approach, now for the “how”.

You may notice a rep schemes of “5-5-5-3-3-3”, “1-1-1-1-1-1-1”, or “2-2-2-2” and get a little confused by this. Let’s look at the first scheme, the idea is that when lifting, the lifter has 3 attempts at getting a ME lift for 5 reps and then 3 attempts at getting a ME lift for 3 reps. For the 7 singles, it’s the same principle. Look at it from the standpoint of a weightlifting/powerlifting competition where you warm up prior to lifting and then get 3 attempts to lift. Try to determine an “opening weight” while warming up and after the warm up go for the ME. Note that the warm up does not count in that rep scheme. Always warm up prior to lifting.

The idea is to give your ME for that lift for the specified number of reps. We are not trying to set a PR (Personal Record) everyday, but we find that tends to happen, but not always.

When a beginner comes to MEBB we need to be careful to not overload them so we will work to a moderately heavy weight (about 65%-85%) for several weeks as the beginner will respond to reps better than weights. Take advantage of these few weeks to learn proper form and safety. This will be beneficial when it comes time for going for an all out max.