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

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Old 06-09-2011, 11:24 PM   #1
Mark Levy
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How to evaluate good programming?


I'm very interested in understanding if coaches/affiliates take a longer view (months, quarters, years) in terms of programming and if so, who are the "thought leaders" in developing programs that work. I know "work" could be somewhat subjective but in terms of crossfits definition of fitness..etc. I'm always trying to analyze not only my affiliate's weekly programming but others as well in trying to understand their thinking and logic.

My background is in music composition and computers so I'm always trying to determine if there are patterns that drive a successful or unsuccessful response and if so what are they and how can I identify them?

I've read the "Theoretical Template for Crossfit Programming" and would like any guidance to additional references in the "do's and don't" of crossfit programming.

I understand this might be a very broad topic. As i look at my local crossfit box's programming, I'm trying to understand what the logic is and expected results longer term? Do some of these affiliates just pull it out of the air or is there actual logic to it?..should it be just random/varied or comprehensive?

Who is getting their athletes there faster and why?..What sets apart someone like OPT and Joe's Local Crossfit.

Any guidence and pointers to this subject would be greatly appreicated.

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Old 06-09-2011, 11:40 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

I would say that the programming logic is likely to depend on the expected results, which in turn would depend on the goals of the particular client base. You wouldn't program a gym full of marathoners the same way you would a gym full of Games competitors.

So there is no one answer.

But I would say that being able to explain the goals and logic of his programming would be one thing to look for in evaluating a coach.

It doesn't necessarily matter what the plan is, but it's essential that the coach *have* a plan.

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Old 06-10-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
Aaron Gainer
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

You evaluate programming based on making progressions. Keep in mind every routine is subjective and needs to be modified based on that individual's strength and weaknesses.

I would always limit volume when introducing a program. You can always scale it up when it gets easy. In addition, learn to have a backoff week once in awhile. It could be a 10-20% reduction in intensity or volume. Sometimes a week off.

Regardless of what you do, remember to jot it down in a journal/composition book. Make little notes as to why a WOD was easy or hard(too much volume, not enough sleep or food, etc..). This helps you reflect and modify your programs to suit your needs.

Create enough stress for the body to adapt, but not so much that you get burnt out and frustrated.
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Last edited by Aaron Gainer : 06-10-2011 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #4
Eric Montgomery
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

Are people (who are beyond the novice level, preferably) making steady progress towards their individual goals while not getting injured or suffering from overuse injuries?

If so, then it's probably decent programming.

Nothing against novices obviously, but the reason I added in that qualifier is because pretty much any program can add 50lbs to a beginners 150lb squat or 200lb deadlift in a few months. Things start getting a bit more difficult (and as such, require intelligent programming) when you're trying to add 50lbs to a 350lb squat or 400lb deadlift.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:01 AM   #5
Dan Graziano
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

Def a box to box case when programming is involved. I have seen more than enough over training, too much volume, and no specific rhyme or reason programming from affiliate sites I checkout. I have bookmarked about 15 affiliates I always look at that seem to follow some type of strength periodization and various mesocycles. IMO this is the way to go.

Katherine, Aaron and Eric all make very good points. Eric specifically hit the nail on the head for me from experience in coaching hundreds of people. a "program'" works for novices. Specific programming is what is needed for eliteness for any strength athlete.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:13 AM   #6
Michael E Tancini
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

Like everyone else is saying, Programming is subjective. If gains are being made without injury, then the programing is likely beneficial. The best programming IMO is personalized to the individual. Programming for me, a senior in college and former college athlete with goals of competing in the games should not be the same as a 50 year old women who is doing crossfit simple to get back into shape.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:56 AM   #7
Andrew Bell
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

There are some REALLY good ones out there, and there are some REALLY bad ones out there. Basically there is no standardization of programming Q&A that comes with being an affiliate gym.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:04 PM   #8
Brendan McNamar
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Re: How to evaluate good programming?

My programing is based on my specific athlete population.

My folks need more strength. I don't have any young ex-football fire breather types. I have a bunch of women who want to lose weight, do their first pull-up unassisted and do push-ups from their toes. I program accordingly.

My second group is mobility challenged folks coming from other sports. They tend to have good cardio capacity but can't move through full range of motions to save their lives. For this group the weight training is more like active stretching. We focus on the movement.

I also run a primary/secondary workout schedual. I have three workouts a week which are the first priority to complete. If you do these three workouts each week you will be making balanced forward progress. Then we use the other days to add volume or make ups. This has been working well to insure our weight lifting gets done in an organized manner without missing anything.

Last we tend to go in cycles of 4 to 6 weeks. Keeps things fresh. Currently we are doing a month long Fitness/Nutrition Challenge. I have upper the met-con volume higher then usual. Clients are telling funny stories about going to bed at 7 PM on Friday night when they were suppose to go out. They are starting to understand what increased volume feels like. Of course the pounds are getting dropped as well.

July in Arizona is mighty hot for running outside. I expect we will do a CrossFit total early July and then again at the end of the month with lots of lifting activities inside in the AC in the middle. Lots of rowwing inside in place of running. It is possible to run outside but the times slow way down and it just isn't any fun. So it could be as simple as weather.

Lots of things effect programing. To elvaluate programing you need to know the athletes the program is for.

Most common short coming seems to be not enough organized strength training. Not a big issue here in AZ, most affiliates here have thier strength programs dailed in. Seems to be a general trend in the better affilates to get more organized on the strength training. There are very few Regional athletes that don't have a lot of strength and no one will make the Games without it.
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