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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 01-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
Luis Fernandez
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not so constantly varied?

Has anyone experimented programming a limited number of WOD's to be cycled during a given time?
For example, choose 60 metcons to be done in a three month period and repeat this programming 4 times during a year, not necessarily in the same order.

I now this is not so constantly varied, but I like the idea of being able to compare my performance every time I workout, and not only every once in a while when doing benchmarks. Another benefit I see on this approach is that knowing your previous time/score for every workout gives you a target to aim for. To put it differently, while I like variety in the WOD's, I don't see the point in keeping time/score for a WOD I am going to do again who knows when.

I train for general fitness so I don't care too much for addressing all my weaknesses. I am following CFSB, and I am following the programming for an affiliate I like for the metcons.

Just wanted to know if other have experimented with this idea and if you can comment on how it worked for you.

Thanks
Luis Fernandez
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
Scott Alexander
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Re: not so constantly varied?

Luis,

I think that is a great idea, and one that I started to follow for a time. I built a spreadsheet that charted out the major movements I thought I needed to cover (cleans? yes. wall balls? no.) in order to be ready for life and then pulled workout from the Heroes and the Girls to make sure that I covered them. My timeframe was only 4 weeks instead of 8, but I think the principle holds true.

I read a quote recently that said that training randomly for events and training for random events are radically different. My training reflects that and it sounds like you want yours to, as well.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Scott
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:28 PM   #3
Phil Eich
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Re: not so constantly varied?

This sounds like it could head in the direction of a thread over at the Journal, basically "it depends on what your definition of 'constantly varied' is". I think if you're full of the kool-aid you would say that there is no reason to program a limited amount of WODs to track progress - the every once and a while benchmark WOD would take care of the tracking while the extreme variance would take care of the progress.

You could program the same 60 WODs and check them every cycle, or you could pick a few benchmark WODs and do those at the end of every cycle (this would allow you to continue to follow your affiliate's metcons and have the opportunity to more consistently check progress).

Also, if you decide to use your 60 WOD cycle:

I use John's CFFB framework for my programming - the consistency comes from a balance of basic physical movement throughout the training week. (check it out here WFS) This fits well into the CFSB approach (squat twice a week, limit the metcons to accommodate strength work). Something to think about as you program your WODs, both in the short term training week, as well as the 60 WOD cycle. A balanced body is a body able to perform at its best, resistant to injury.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:57 PM   #4
David Meverden
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Re: not so constantly varied?

I think from a fitness standpoint that could work very well. If chosen well sixty workouts could allow enough variety to tackle pretty much anything.

The only downside, I think, would be mental. I don't enjoy doing benchmarks because there it's always disappointing if you don't PR, and if you've been doing this a while (which I have) then a PR every single time you workout on every benchmark is not realistic. Benchmarks are also unpleasant because you know EXACTLY how much they will suck. If you've never done a workout before you can pretend like it won't suck that much. In your program you are making every day a benchmark. After 3 or 4 cycles that could get quite unpleasant.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:17 PM   #5
Mike Piper
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Re: not so constantly varied?

Maybe a happy medium between the two philosphies. 30 or so WODS that get cycled through interspersed with 30 or so other WOD's to keep you on your toes and fresh. Maybe 40/20?
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
Cam Birtwell
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Re: not so constantly varied?

Hey,

I employ a pretty rigid structure in my weekly training and repeat wods frequently ... as much as every two weeks ... to find indications of what is going on with my fitness.

For example, one of the wods I cycle frequently is rounds of 15 pullups and 15 wallballs (25lb ball). I started at 3 rounds and hit 3:24. Two weeks later I hit 2:57. Once I went under 1 min per round I extended to four rounds, which I did two weeks later at 4:14. I'll give it another push to get that under a minute a round then go to 5.

This makes sense to me because it is the essence of developing work capacity - holding power output over longer time domains...

Thoughts?

Cam
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:25 PM   #7
Robert Fabsik
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Re: not so constantly varied?

Overall this is about finding the proper balance. Doing the same thing over and over will get you only so far, then you have to find out new ways to go beyond. This applies to almost every physical skill.

Squatting 3 sets of 5 for 3 weeks will build your squat, but it won't do it forever. You either have to change the frequency, fix a weakpoint or change the intensity to go further. Same things with metcons. You could probably do Fran weekly for a while, but after some time without working other training variables you'll need to do something else to get better--what that something else often depends on the individual. For some it might be building more strength for Fran. For others it might be a better metcon capacity.

So currently what Cam suggests, makes a lot sense until you hit a ceiling. At that point, you have to do something different because you've taken that style as far as you can with your current capacities and something is limiting your ability to go farther and won't improve by doing the same WODs.

Now, is 60 workouts enough variance to build capacity and work weaknesses so you can keep advancing? I certainly think it is possible depending on how you chose the 60 workouts. Did you look at your strengths and weaknesses? Do you do things you don't like? Is there still an opportunity to build strength? Interesting question, wish there was a clear yes.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:53 AM   #8
Luis Fernandez
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Re: not so constantly varied?

Thanks all for the input. I am glad I asked. I got some answers and more questions, which is good. I think it's probably best to give it a try, see how it goes and make adjustments as needed.
Regards
Luis
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:29 PM   #9
Cam Birtwell
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Re: not so constantly varied?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
Overall this is about finding the proper balance. Doing the same thing over and over will get you only so far, then you have to find out new ways to go beyond. This applies to almost every physical skill.

Squatting 3 sets of 5 for 3 weeks will build your squat, but it won't do it forever. You either have to change the frequency, fix a weakpoint or change the intensity to go further. Same things with metcons. You could probably do Fran weekly for a while, but after some time without working other training variables you'll need to do something else to get better--what that something else often depends on the individual. For some it might be building more strength for Fran. For others it might be a better metcon capacity.

So currently what Cam suggests, makes a lot sense until you hit a ceiling. At that point, you have to do something different because you've taken that style as far as you can with your current capacities and something is limiting your ability to go farther and won't improve by doing the same WODs.

Now, is 60 workouts enough variance to build capacity and work weaknesses so you can keep advancing? I certainly think it is possible depending on how you chose the 60 workouts. Did you look at your strengths and weaknesses? Do you do things you don't like? Is there still an opportunity to build strength? Interesting question, wish there was a clear yes.
Good points all round Robert... definitely I agree it's all about balance! If all I was doing was that one benchmark workout then I'd expect staleness pretty quickly for sure. I come from a traditional S&C background where variety isn't as prevalent as it is in Crossfit... so I utilize both variety and consistency when designing programs and wods.

I do think there is a benefit to regularly repeating wods (at least short ones!) not necessarily as "tests" but more as monitoring what is happening within the program. I figure at minimum a two week interval should be put in between attempts at the same wod though to allow some fitness progress to happen.

Cam
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:03 AM   #10
Richard Macaulay
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Re: not so constantly varied?

I think variation is important but its been said many times before that to get good at something eg cleans, you need to be regularly cleaning the bar (as much for technique as getting strong on the lift).

Iv seen logs (wish I could remember where) were one cmpetitor used 5/3/1 for his strength work 4 days a week. After his strength work he had 2-3 diff wods he would cycle on each day (giving him a total of 8-12 diff wods he regularly used) to work on weaknesses/gymnastics/bench mark wods etc.
These often had movements in them that complemented the 5/3/1 strength work and acted almost as assistance work aswell.

Richard
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