THE FUNDAMENTALS OF OUR PROGRAMMING
In his best-selling book, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi, author David Maraniss explains what happened when Lombardi walked into training camp in the summer of 1961.
“He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”
Lombardi was coaching a group of three dozen professional athletes who, just months prior, had come within minutes of winning the biggest prize their sport could offer. And yet, he started from the very beginning.
Lombardi’s methodical coverage of the fundamentals continued throughout training camp. Each player reviewed how to block and tackle. They opened up the playbook and started from page one. At some point, Max McGee, the Packers’ Pro Bowl wide receiver, joked, “Uh, Coach, could you slow down a little? You’re going too fast for us.” Lombardi reportedly cracked a smile, but continued his obsession with the basics all the same. His team would become the best in the league at the tasks everyone else took for granted. Six months later, the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 37-0 to win the NFL Championship.
Lombardi’s focus on the importance of the fundamentals of the game is a lesson for us all. I hope this blog post will help each of you reacquaint yourselves with the fundamentals of CrossFit. Taking the time to clarify, reset and refine our focus is critical to your success.
It is my sincere hope that our members will take the time to read this post. The concepts are simple yet critically important for getting the MOST out of the programming here at CrossFit and allow you to achieve the best possible results safely.
General CrossFit programming or General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is developed with a hierarchy of principles known as “The Theoretical Development of an Athlete”. These principles focus on five building blocks, in order of importance to achieve the best results for health & fitness over a lifetime.
The base of the pyramid below is built with good Nutrition. There isn’t a program out there that can be successful without the foundation of good NUTRITION. You can spend hours and hours in the gym training, but poor Nutrition will trump any efforts made toward achieving optimal results. Next, our primary focus must be on our CONDITIONING. Conditioning is the essential building block that must come before specialized activity like gymnastics, weight training and finally skill development.
Primary focus on these two things will bring incredible results in all areas of our general health and fitness. This is the sweet spot for most of us here at CrossFit110. This is the programming that fits into our lives, makes us fitter and happier and delivers amazing results! How much emphasis we put on the higher layers of our pyramid, depends upon where you are in your fitness journey and the goals you have as an athlete.
THE PROGRAMMING TEMPLATE
Constantly Varied. Functional Movement. Executed at High Intensity.
Do you want to be just all-around generally fit? Doing the Workout of the Day programmed by the box is perfect for those of you who answered YES. In order to achieve the best results and obtain optimal health and fitness for our members, we seek to program our WODs in the “Sweet Spot” for optimal conditioning. So what does this “Sweet Spot” consist of?
What couplets do is create a sense of rest by targeting one area or one group of muscles for the first movement, then ‘resting’ them by utilizing a different group of muscles for the second movement. If we take Fran as an example, your legs will be shot from all those thrusters—it would make little sense to then go into goblet squats, especially when the workout is designed to be done as quickly as possible. Instead, your legs get a ‘break’ while your upper body does the work during the pull-ups, then the sequence repeats until the three rounds are complete. Couplets remove the interval period entirely while still allowing you to perform sets of two different movements at a high intensity.
A triplet is similar in design to the couplet, but naturally the inclusion of a third movement allows for more variety, movement patterns and a broader range of fitness. Of course, it’s a little trickier to split up the push-pull as can be done in a couplet, but triplets allow you to play around with more cardiovascular-intensive movements like running and double-unders. Helen is a good example of a triplet, combining running, kettlebell swings and pull-ups.
CLASSIC COUPLETS & TRIPLETS
6-15 MINUTE RANGE:
6 minutes is long enough for that “gut check” or to provide adequate volume to elicit a physical response. Alternatively, when we program WODs over 15 minutes we are “unintentionally yet purposefully” diminishing power output. Programming WODs that sit in this sweet spot provide the most optimal training stimulus.
Named workouts like “FRAN/GRACE/DIANE/JACKIE” – or – a “BENCHMARK” that Sam programs and then repeats again later are the only way to track and monitor your progress. Furthermore, benchmark workouts always elicit more intensity than other workouts because people want to do better and feel a sense of competition with the other members.
1-2 times/week we want to go heavy (not necessarily 1 rep max but a HEAVY stimulus – could be slow lift or fast lift).
TO SCALE OR “RX”?
For the high-level CrossFit athlete, RX’ing a WOD is usually a foregone conclusion. Conversely, a CrossFit newbie will scale a workout down to ensure that they can actually perform the movements and do the work. But what about the athlete ‘in the middle’? The individual who has a good chunk of CrossFit experience under their belt, but is not at the level where they know when it is appropriate to scale back and when they should try to RX a Workout of the Day. Essentially, it comes down to a few key factors:
INTENSITY & PURPOSE:
One could argue that the intensity with which you can perform the workout as it’s intended is the determining factor for when to scale or when to RX. Far too often people get hung up about the idea of going RX as the goal of the workout, when that’s simply not the case. Remember when you used to spend an hour at the globo gym, waiting for a certain machine to be available or trudging along on the treadmill for the majority of time? Compare that to a brutal 12-minute WOD at the box. Which was more effective? The same concept applies within CrossFit. You are expected to push yourself to your limits to achieve a score that you can always improve upon.
Let’s take the infamous “Fran” as an example. Everyone wants to test themselves with Fran by doing it as prescribed—21/15/9 reps for time of thrusters and pull-ups at 95lbs for the guys, 65lbs for the gals. The best CrossFitters in the world can do this workout in around 2 minutes. The purpose of the workout is to be a sprint, to achieve that metcon burn that will leave you on the ground, gasping for air. As such, you need to choose a weight that is appropriate. There is no point in going RX with Fran if you are going to be spending just as much time resting as you are working. Doing Fran with an RX weight is a great accomplishment, but if you’re taking 15 minutes or longer to do it then you’ve missed the point of the workout—you’ve lowered the intensity, and you certainly won’t be on the floor at the end of it.
On the other hand, you may be flying through the workout in 3 minutes with a scaled weight, and though it may be tough, it’s not quite challenging enough. Yet you feel that moving up to RX would slow you down considerably and add 5 minutes to your time—you know who you are. Well, there’s only one way to find out! I assure you, if you’re only 10 pounds away from the RX weight, that’s not going to happen—you’d be surprised at the time you will achieve.
The other crucial issue to take into consideration when debating between RX and scaled is safety. You may have hit a muscle-up or two in practice, but if the workout calls for 10 each round, is it really smart to try and keep throwing yourself up on to those rings? Should you really be throwing that kettlebell over your head repeatedly if you can only do a few reps at good form? Sometimes, it’s natural for an athlete’s form to break down in a workout as they start to fatigue. We all have that competitive drive to do our best, but at what risk? Moving heavy weight inefficiently and inconsistently for repeated reps just to say you did RX is asking for trouble.
Scaling movements will make you move better and stay injury free. I believe we all know that doing a movement with good form is better than executing a movement with poor form. Yet many of us feel that modifying a movement to ensure better range of motion or standards of motion is sub-par. The fundamentals tell us that scaling and modifying to ensure form and technique are correct is essential to YOUR success!
COMPETITOR PROGRAMMING VS. GENERAL FITNESS “GPP”
GENERAL PROGRAMMING GOAL:
As CrossFit affiliate owners, the goal of our general programming is to produce health & fitness results over time and across many domains (Endurance, Power, Strength, Flexibility etc.) In other words, we want you to be fitter and healthier 5, 10, 15 ….30 years from now then you are today. We aim to deliver the BEST programming for the member who has an hour 3 to 5 days a week and wants to great results, wants to be healthier, feel more energized, and fit their workout into a busy life.
General programming is for you if you can answer “YES” to these kinds of questions:
I want to look better in my bikini at the beach. I want to have a six pack. I want to lose weight. I want to gain more lean muscle. I want to get stronger. I want to lower my cholesterol. I want to workout more often and get in a good routine I can stick with. I want to rock some great arms for the strapless dress at my friends wedding. I want to crush my next Spartan Race. I want to compete and do well in a local CrossFit competition.
Our WOD programming is aimed at the “Sweet Spot” as defined above. Primarily eloquently programmed conditioning workouts that meet the goals of most of our members.
COMPETITOR PROGRAMMING GOAL:
Competitor programming is an ENTIRELY different programming protocol. These individuals need to peak their performance in a very short time – such as for the CrossFit Open Games or Regionals. This programming has a strength bias – meaning these athletes need more time under the barbell, working on strength and Olympic lifting and must gain skill and proficiency in movements found in The Sport of CrossFit, rather than movements that are transferable to other activities. To highlight this, If you want to be a male who wants a shot to go and do well at the CrossFit Regionals next year you need:
The reason for highlighting these differences is to push each athlete here at CrossFit to define and understand their individual goals. For those of you who identify with the general programming goal, just keep doing the WODs with the members of the gym, focusing on your Nutrition and striving to execute every workout with intensity. If you do this – I guarantee you will get you AMAZING results. Safely and Rapidly.
For those of you who want to compete in the Sport of CrossFit – do it!!! We encourage you, we will guide you and we will support you. We don’t care what level you are at physically today. We can help you achieve your goal if you are willing to do the work. There is no prerequisite to want to compete for CrossFit110. We simply ask that you understand what is required of you now and in the future, understand the time commitment and the risks and make your goals known.
Every member of this gym should understand these concepts and define their personal goal for being here. Then each of you should do the hard work, be consistent, strive to learn and grow. Don’t be complacent. Learn from your struggle. Believe in yourself. Be a contributing member of this community. Listen to your coaches and let us do what we do best. CrossFit.
The Crossfit Method
Il crossfit mira a massimizzare la preparazione fisica generale ed aumentare la cd “work capacity” di:
- sistemi energetici
- potenza in relazione al peso corporeo
Attraverso modalità di allenamento del weight lifting, metcon e gymanstic
cosi da ottenere competenza per i movimenti quotidiani e per qualsiasi performance atletico-sportiva
- Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance– The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
- Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
- Strength– The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
- Flexibility– the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
- Power– The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
- Speed– The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
- Coordination– The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
- Agility– The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
- Balance– The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
- Accuracy– The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.