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In Fitness Programming, “Constantly Varied” does not mean “Random”

I get asked from time to time how I come up with our workouts.  I passed the programming of our  1,000th WoD maybe a month ago, and you guys have no idea how I agonize over programming.  I wish it was as easy as just copying CrossFit main site programming and I’d be done with it.  Unfortunately, those WoDs don’t always fit our needs.  Kelly’s seen me wrestle with creating WoDs, it’s not pretty.  I try to stay to a classic CrossFit model, one NoRandomProgrammingthat doesn’t bias towards any of the 10 components of fitness as we define them, but I do think that Olympic lifts, strength, and flexibility are more effective than some of the others.  So here’s what I’m thinking about while programming:

  1. Strength Cycles – I lay these out in 4 month chunks and we’ll have testing weeks 3 times a year so you can note your progress.  I put these on the calendar first and this is what we do normally between the group warm up and the normal WoD.  I call this the Strength WoD.
  2. For a given month, I usually theme it (e.g.  Let’s increase our deadlifts or increase our Fran Times).  So, you may get more work on certain systems as I let other systems “rest” a little more.  For instance, in month’s past, we’d done more cleans/power cleans than you normally feel you get, I heard.  That’s purposeful.  The majority of the box had better deadlift numbers (PRs) and hadn’t really done a deadlift during the month!  They were able to PR because you were unknowingly working on your 1st pull strength.  I also take into consideration when the The Open is going to hit.  More strength later part of the year, more metabolic conditioning running up to the Open, b/c that’s mainly what they test.
  3. I take into consideration the following when programming:  body systems being worked (posterior, anterior, abs, shoulders, chest, Lats, etc…), Energy Pathways (Phosphagenic, Glycolitic, and Oxidative),  mix in loads (light, medium, heavy days), total number of reps for the day (low, medium, high) which can effect Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness 2 days later, along with scheduling benchmark WoDs evenly dispersed throughout the week (so everyone gets a shot at them) and mixing in proper doses of metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, and weight lifting movements by themselves or in combination.  I also try to vary rep schemes to keep things interesting and make you think.  The more honest you are with yourself on a given day, normally the better you’ll do.  It’s a slightly cumbersome process, but it gets the job done.  In this way, I try to ensure you’re not sore “every” day (if you are, I’m doing something wrong), and especially not on key days like benchmarks or Open WoDs.  There are a couple of others things I’m throwing in to make things special around here, but I’m not going to divulge my secret sauce.

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