*My Thoughts on Games Programming*

I have been recently discussing the programming for the CrossFit Games thru the Online Qualifiers, the Regionals, and the Games out in Los Angeles. People who know me, know I love the programming aspect of being a trainer and a coach. I follow and talk to OPT, Dutch Lowy, Coach B, Coach Rutherford, Rippetoe, and so on. I have known to become somewhat of nuisance with my on going questions and quest to become a better programmer and perfect my game. My overall goal as an affiliate owner inside my gym is to make the safest, most productive way to train my people in functional movements to make them better movers, and overall injury free. I put this into effect by implementing movements, patterns, and cycles to ensure my people are getting the best training and hitting every weakness they come across. As a gym owner, you must review your clients and look at them as a whole group. Every gym has their firebreathers, but the bulk of your clients are going to be average day people who are just looking to get back into shape. You must collect data, analyze that data, and come up with a program that will adhere to everyone’s needs. Your goal as an affiliate owner should not be to kill your clients and come up with brutally long metabolic conditioning workouts that push them to the edge of injury. Your programming should be layed out with a purpose and you should have the answers to why you are doing this for the day.

At Vagabond CrossFit, we are currently in a cycle where we are concentrating on 3 lifts with a 3 week cycle, working towards sets across for our strength program. We revolve the strength movements around a 3 week basis to ensure we are not burning out the Central Nervous System. It has been shown if you perform a singular lift for more than 3 weeks at max intensity your Central Nervous System will shut down after 3 weeks and you will see no gains. You also have to put in perspective, we are CrossFitting and putting a high demand on the CNS as is. So, why would you push the limits anymore, than what you are already doing.

Within that programming of performing 3 lifts for 3 weeks with revolving the movements, we concentrate on skill based work two days a week based around olympic lifting, gymnastics, and agility and coordination movements. I find if you practice your skill movements two days a week with no clock, no pressure, you will evolve as a fitter athlete and perform the movements much safer during your metabolic conditioning workouts. The old saying of Practice Makes Perfect is evident in truth and in put into practice! I program our skill work into our warm-up, where we concentrate on a certain movement as a warm-up. We have seen great success with this model and I continue to use it throughout our programming.

Metabolic Conditioning Workouts are a deceiving part of CrossFit Programming. I believe some get to fancy, and forget CrossFit was based off performing simple movements at high intensity for a short period of time. I see way to much of long dragged out workouts that seem not to better their athletes, but in the long run can be detrimental to their peoples’ health and well being. The greatest resort of movements revolve around the basic principles are monstructural movements, couplets, and triplets. Keep your programming simple and do not try to re-invent the wheel. Look at the best programmers in the world in the CrossFit Community from Ben(CrossFit New England), Jason(CrossFit Milford), Ricky(CrossFit Omaha), Coach Rut(CrossFit Kansas City) and they all concentrate on couplets, triplets, and skill work. They know what their clients need, by endless research and data and paying attention to what their gym as a whole needs to work on to better themselves as physical human beings.

Dutch Lowy, who was once a CrossFitter, and now a national hopeful for Olympic Lifting, talks about the importance of implementing couplets and triplets into your daily programming. Keep the workouts short and intense and you will see results. Anyone can make a brutally, long workout and break down their athletes, in terms called the “Any Asshole Workout.” Look at what works and what does not! Be open minded to learning from others and do not have an eago. Having an eago in this game will inevitablely lead to failure and some worst case happenings of injuring your clients for the long haul. Be smart. Be productive. Be intelligent. Be Open Minded. and for God Sake Be a Trainer.

Our programming for metabolic conditioning workouts stay in the range from 5 minutes to 12 minutes and in some manner add a rest time in between rounds or sets to ensure you are keeping your work capacity at a rate of high intensity and ensuring you are getting the most out of your workout. Every two weeks or so we will hit a longer metabolic conditioning workout in the 20 minute range to hit the oxidative state in our metabolic engines. However, if you begin to see a trend of seeing your clients in the 20 or plus minute range on a weekly basis, re evaulate your programming and see what you have to change. You might have to use scaling more for your begininer athletes to ensure they are getting what they deserve, A GOOD HEALTHY WORKOUT!

Next Topics to Come:
A. How to Scale and How to Do it, Sunday, March 20th, 2011
B. How I would program the CrossFit Games, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011