Programming. We hear this word tossed around all the time at the gym; “Man, the programming
is a little lacking”, “Dude, sweet programming, Caleb. You are the best ever!” (that has never
been uttered, btw). Well, if you aren’t down with the lingo, it may sound like we are all executing
some pretty rad functions in DOS or having a deep web cyber party, monster energy included.
However, programming is just a catchy word describing what you, as a faithful member of
CrossFit Ktown, are coming in and doing day in and day out. So, I want to spend a little time
talking about three things: 1) why a program, 2) how to program and 3) our current program.
First, lets talk about why we program. In simple speak, we program our training because it
works. It works for a coach to hear, know, and see our participants, and all their strengths and
weaknesses, and devise a plan to make them better. It works because we program with a goal
in mind, and any time you have a goal in mind, you know where you are going and a program
helps to map that out. We also write out a program because we have found that “random”
doesn’t always work so well. Take the Olympic lifts, for example. These lifts are highly skilled
movements. Skill comes with practice; therefore, we “program” the Olympic lifts often, whether
they be in small rep increments with heavier weight, or with lighter weights and higher reps. We
know that Oly lifting is skills-based and we want you to be highly skilled. We program consistent
strength work because a house is only as strong as its foundation. Musculoskeletal strength
and integrity are that foundation for human movement. We also program based on time of year.
Now that CrossFit has a “season,” we write our programming to optimize our level of training
volume, intensity, and focus. I fully realize that we are not all CrossFit games hopefuls, but with
such developments as the CrossFit Games Open, and even regularly scheduled local and
regional competitions that many of you compete in, we now have the opportunity to build you
out to be a well oiled machine, primed and ready for various valleys, plateaus, and peaks of a
training year. So, there you have a very brief explanation of why we program at Ktown. Now
we can look at how we program.
We tend to choose a template method of programming. Since CrossFit is defined as “increased
work capacity across broad times and modal domains,” we always have a lot of ground to cover.
If you are not intentional about how this ground will be covered, day to day workouts can leave
you lost and unproductive. A template marks the territory, so to speak. It allows us to balance
and optimize your training response on any given week, and over multiple weeks of any given
training cycle. A training cycle is simply a 6-12 week phase with typically 1-3 goals built in. So,
some cycles will have a strength emphasis, others may have a gymnastics emphasis, while
others may simply be a broad and inclusive – more “CrossFit-y” – cycle. Each and every cycle
or phase is intended to elicit a specific response. So, if you are doing a crap-ton of squats, it is
pretty reasonable to assume that you are on a squat cycle. A good template will also include a
strategic balance between intensity, volume, and rest/recovery. This is imperative in providing
each and every one of you the opportunity to not only work hard, but recover even harder. You
see, training breaks you down, but rest and recovery build you back up again. So, for every
bout of extended hard work, we also want to provide bouts of good and adequate restoration.
Okay, we have looked at the why and the how. Let’s take a look at the what.
What are we currently doing with our programming. As I mentioned above, we now have the
luxury of treating you all like an athlete with a season. Therefore, you are technically in your
preseason. Since January 1, and truthfully even before then, we have been programming you
as a preseason athlete, with the Open marking the beginning of your season. We have taken
the time to really ramp up some last minute strength development with a great deal of squat
volume, and some intentional heavy lifting in the realm of the Olympic based movements. You
may have also noticed some more “bodybuilding” type movements lately. This serves as a
secondary means of strength development, while improving some musculature balance
between the upper and lower body, as well as the functions of pushing and pulling. Again, we
have a target, but that target involves a balanced and nuanced aiming sequence. You may
have also noticed that the intensity of the weeks has moved in waves. A wave is a fantastic
way to ramp up intensity, yet not burn you out. We use a wave to increase, slightly decrease,
then increase yet again. All of this is being done to prime and ready you for the suckfest of
workouts known as the CrossFit Games Open. We will keep this pace up until one week out then we
deload for a week. Then we kill it. During the Open, you will see the cycle change a little bit.
We have put the hard work in on the front end, and we will switch over to a maintenance phase
throughout these next five weeks. We will mix up squatting protocols between back, front and
overhead, but not push the envelope too far. Mondays or Tuesdays will be our burner days, so
as to allow adequate rest before the Open workout, yet maintain all that conditioning we have
worked so hard for. The middle of the week will be a good balance between skilled movements,
recovery, and baseline cardiovascular development. All of this is done in hopes of providing you
with an excellent five weeks of Open competition.
I want to wrap all of this discussion up with a few things. First, we as coaches are not infallible.
If you have question, comments or curse words, please come see me. Second, we love specific
input. We may not always use it, but your input is valued. After all, you are the heart and soul of
Ktown. Third, we work hard on providing you with sound programming, and we expect you to
work hard on following it. Ultimately, you choose what to do with the workout that is posted
each day. My recommendation is to always give 100% effort relative to the task at hand. I look
forward to sweating and hurting with you over these next weeks.