PDA

View Full Version : Review of Plandomization


Dave Van Skike
05-05-2009, 11:33 AM
Nice.

A quick observation along the lines of great minds etc... I was reminded of a great quotes from Wendler,



"Have a goal and a have a plan. That's it."

"All training boils down a balance of strength, conditioning and mobilty"

"Fuck Programs. Be true to your strength"

Garrett Smith
05-05-2009, 11:37 AM
I thought it was great.

Goals + plans = getting somewhere concrete.

The whole "increasing work capacity..." thing is almost starting to eerily sound analagous to "getting in better shape". There is no concrete goal in either.

Kevin Perry
05-05-2009, 12:29 PM
Have to agree, it was a great article and consistent with what a person should be doing: laying down a concrete goal and attacking it. i.e. specializing

Garrett Smith
05-05-2009, 01:06 PM
Kevin,
I'd like to add something to your thought, based on what I'm doing in my own training.

Multiple goals are something many of us here have. Multiple goals are fine, IMO, as long as there is a unified approach in achieving them.

Being that I do gymnastics strength training, OL, and now am dabbling in PL, I wouldn't say I was ever "specializing". I do have a unified approach that combines them and increases or reduces them in overall training as necessary to achieve short-term goals (ie. adding bench before a PL meet for example, while reducing something else). Of course, there are long-term goals in all of them as well.

Rafe Kelley
05-05-2009, 01:59 PM
Loved the quote about the strongest and weakest part of crossfit. Thats exactly how I have felt working with crossfits.

I still think a templated strength program is still the most important tool for an athlete.

Kevin Perry
05-05-2009, 07:54 PM
Kevin,
I'd like to add something to your thought, based on what I'm doing in my own training.

Multiple goals are something many of us here have. Multiple goals are fine, IMO, as long as there is a unified approach in achieving them.

Being that I do gymnastics strength training, OL, and now am dabbling in PL, I wouldn't say I was ever "specializing". I do have a unified approach that combines them and increases or reduces them in overall training as necessary to achieve short-term goals (ie. adding bench before a PL meet for example, while reducing something else). Of course, there are long-term goals in all of them as well.

You are creating goals that are achievable though, and in some way complement each other. I don't think the average crossfitter understands that exactly. At least the cert I went to made that pretty clear...

George Mounce
05-06-2009, 04:46 AM
At least the cert I went to made that pretty clear...

That you could have bought a bunch of gym equipment for your goals instead? :p

Craig Loizides
05-06-2009, 08:44 AM
I loved this quote:
"Being prepared for any random task is not the same thing as preparing randomly for any task."

Garrett,
I don't think there's anything wrong with having a goal of increased work capacity. But even if the goal is across broad time and modal domains there can be a better approach than constantly varied workouts.

Oliver Gould
05-06-2009, 09:24 AM
But the mainsite WOD IS following a carefully designed plan, know and recognizable only to coach Glassman and Lauren! This was a great article, and a well thought-out, reasonably gentle critique of CF as it is generally practiced and trained. The main WOD is really just an intermediate's version of the novice "everything works" approach, it works by piling on so much volume and intensity that you can't help but adapt if you don't get crushed first.

I still think a templated strength program is still the most important tool for an athlete.

In my limited experience, this is pure gold.

Robert McBee
05-06-2009, 12:30 PM
I agree that any Crossfit Coach/Trainer that just pulls things out of the hopper 100% of the time and calls it programming is short-changing their clients. The same applies if they aren't constantly trying to better themselves by every available avenue - practical experience, continuing ed., multidisciplinary interaction with other coaches and materials etc. etc. etc...

Having conceded that though, I observe there is some broad ass generalizing here relating to what Crossfit programming is actually going on in the 1000+ affiliates. Its easy to cherry-pick either way to make ones point. Do some suck? I'm sure they do as more and more folks jump on the bandwagon and aren't really dedicated to the craft. Some may also suck because they just lack experience. Don't judge 'em too harshly by the present snapshot of where they are on the developmental curve. Hell, I'm in this relatively early stage myself but work hard daily to improve.

Conversely, is there some good programming going on? The fitness exhibited at the recent CF Games qualifiers provides some compelling evidence. Can that programming get better? Of course. I don't know anyone who would dispute that. Maybe you guys do but I've been fortunate enough not to run in to those intractable a-holes. Everyone I have met seems genuinely dedicated to learning more and getting better. Crossfit as an organization just doesn't strike me as resting on its laurels in any area.

If we want to generalize then I'll say that the worst about Crossfit is still infinitely better than the programming at the chain gyms.

Gant Grimes
05-06-2009, 12:44 PM
If we want to generalize then I'll say that the worst about Crossfit is still infinitely better than the programming at the chain gyms.

Let's not go that far. The programming at chain gyms is an insurance-friendly, low risk way to shed a few pounds and "shape up" provided you don't eat crap. The worst of CF leaves you with an overuse injury or in the hospital with rhabdo.

You are correct in that CF programming can generally help a person along the path of "increasing blah blah blah." You will adapt to whatever time and modal domain in which you are working. The trick is to do it efficiently. You can do a half-ass smattering of random exercises and post some pretty decent times after 2-3 years. Or you can follow a good program and get there a lot faster. Justin Laseck, the guy at my gym, has his CF class kicking ass after only a few months. He's done this with a smart, focused program of strength lifting and smart metcons. Other trainers take a lot longer (or just never get there).

"Increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domains" is a nice tagline once you figure out what the hell it really means. But at some point you ask yourself, are all time and modal domains important? Personally, I'm just going to work on the cool ones. Let the other guys work on the sucky ones.

Oliver Gould
05-06-2009, 01:14 PM
The real problem (and the one at the heart of this article, if it's read as a critique of CF) is that CF doesn't distinguish effectively between its followers. All that crap about "we scale load and intensity, we don't scale workouts" is just that, crap. The people who thrive on metcon rich, 100%-go-for-months-on-end CF tend to get really, really fit, but they are a particular segment of the training population. One of the things I'm most interested in is what separates the people who make a smooth progression from a 20:00 minute Fran to a 3:00 Fran from those who stall out along the way. Many CF coaches will tell you that those who stall are just not trying hard enough, eating well enough, etc, which is both wrong (in many cases) and totally demoralizing for an athlete who is committed but failing to progress. The common traits I see in people who make a smooth progression is that they are 1) Either current or former athletes, and 2) Are pretty strong by CF standards. This isn't new info, its exactly what programs like Strength Bias are designed to deal with. It's also notable that the more structured versions of CF have become very popular, very quickly, especially with people who take their performance seriously.

There are tons of trainers out there who know how to get an athletic person in better shape, and how to produce beneficial change in a complete novice. The problem comes in bridging the gap, which is what a great many people want from CF. They want to go from a weekend-warrior to a true athlete, and that's where real coaching skill is required, where structure and planning plays a huge role, and where the majority of CF trainers I've encountered are seriously deficient.

This isn't meant to sound overly critical of CF, I agree that there are a lot of good things about it, and some awesome gyms out there, but I'm pretty frustrated with the system as a whole and it probably comes out in my posts. For the record, I'm CF certified (which is pretty meaningless), and I did it for 2 years, including working as a trainer.

Emily Mattes
05-06-2009, 01:22 PM
I thought the article was great, it nicely, clearly crystallized many of the training-related issues I've had with Crossfit.

However, the best counter I've heard to it--which is not so much a counter to the argument as an explanation for why it doesn't matter--is that many people do Crossfit just because they like it. They don't want a planned program, they don't want structure, they like that the workouts feel "random" and it's exciting and challenging for them to be in the gym day after day. Like the gym-goer who's addicted to Zumba or BodyPump, it's not the best program, but it's the one that keeps them coming back.

I think it is important we don't underestimate that factor. My guess is a lot of people who start Crossfitting who are seriously into performance will end up transitioning away from it or doing some sort of hybrid as they learn more about athletics and fitness and programming in general. For the rest, the Tons O' Metcons plan is just what appeals.

Derek Weaver
05-06-2009, 01:49 PM
I thought that the article was a good wake up call for what CF is supposed to be. It seems that too many people get into CF and look at "Rhabdo" and "Pukie" and just think that working out has to be a non stop suckfest. It's not the case and looking at programming over a year I think there is a clear approach on the mainsite.

The Theoretical Template article seems to get ignored far too often and this was hopefully a nice wakeup call.

Same with Dutch's article.

Dave Van Skike
05-06-2009, 02:47 PM
If we want to generalize then I'll say that the worst about Crossfit is still infinitely better than the programming at the chain gyms.

FTR...this is not a CF bash.

I think it's more like natural selection...some people do poorly with the randomized balls out approach....partly from poor instruction, partly becuase they have never done anything athletic and they're (form a physiological point of view)total idiots.

Others who know their body well figure that shit out quickly. I have a couple good friends, (one exy oly lifter, one PL'er) who have done really well stomping people's mudholes and the local CF affiliate maybe once a week and then doing their own thing the rest of the time.and yet, there are about a dozen others I know who've been shucked out pretty hard with the random approach becuase they didn't know how to scale themselves and the system didn't do it for them...

Nearly everyday I go to a commercial gym at lunch where I see quite a few people making really good progress doing a mix of heavy compound lifts, a little non retarded cardio, sporadically doing circuits with KB's, box jumps and ropework and then maybe some yoga. Their programming seems to work pretty well.

Brian DeGennaro
05-06-2009, 08:25 PM
This is going to be shorter than I want it to be because I have a lack of time at the moment.

Has anyone noticed that the CF programming on the main site gets progressively more complex over the years? For example, take a look back to 2003, when most of the workouts were singlets, couplets, and triplets, no more, no less. They were also rather simple and low volume as:

"Friday 030523
Complete 7 rounds of:

Barbell Thrusters 3 reps
5 Pull-ups"

And now we have the monstrous chippers such as DT and Eva. Does anyone ever think that CF's programming is just progressing as much as a regular athlete's training progresses? From the simpler, lower volume type training up to the more complex, more taxing, higher volume? If one were following the mainsite WOD from the very start, do you think that he or she would be a fantastic CFer?

sollo rick
05-06-2009, 09:28 PM
do you think that change is from fitness
or marketing?

Garrett Smith
05-06-2009, 09:46 PM
If one were following the mainsite WOD from the very start, do you think that he or she would be a fantastic CFer?

Possibly, if they hadn't burned out badly and/or multiple times
I see way too many people qualifying for the CF Games who have been CFing less than 2 years (way too many under even a year) to think that CF programming, as mainpage Rx'd, builds athletes--it simply reveals them. Unless they have a head for recovery and/or they are extremely tolerant of the training, they all too often become harshly overtrained.

Actually, one of the biggest issues with "random" training is that it is next to impossible to judge one's training volume and relative intensity. If one isn't setting PRs on various workouts, are they better? Was it a bad day? Who knows? If standard workouts are done on a regular basis, is it "random" anymore?

In any other strength sport, gauging one's output is so much easier. This makes long-term planning easier and more productive as well.

Sara Fleming
05-07-2009, 04:41 AM
I loved the article.

I love the theory of Crossfit, but I believe strongly in periodization and in practice, I think that Crossfit needs to be applied to the needs of the individual and most individuals don't really know "what" they need. Hence the large number of post about "Am I overtraining" and "What should I be eating because I'm exhausted/fat/something else" and "My insert-body-part-here hurts all the time".

I train at a Crossfit affiliate, but am not yet Crossfit certified (am going to a cert in June) so maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but I do feel that having a focus specified for the individual's needs and then having a plan designed to get them there based on their individual assessment (as opposed to the functional blitzkrieg) is safer and more psychologically motivating.

I start all of my trainees out with a foundational training period with circuits based on basic barbell and bodyweight lifts. I save the power training and complex moves until I know they can handle it which is about three weeks in. This period takes about six weeks and by then, I know they have the basic strength and conditioning to really handle the hard core workouts and I let them try out their chops on the filthy fifty. They have all done great with a little bit of scaling. I don't even start training them to do Olympic lifts until the end of this period and when I do, they usually pick it up reasonably well in one or two sessions (beginner level, ie not smacking themselves in the chin with the bar:D ).

But, I still find a great deal of value in maintaining a strength maintenance day once a week where I challenge them on limit strength in a 5x5 type of format. Without it, I will see failure to progress in certain movements, lifts, and body composition. Or I'll have clients start to complain of chronic soreness. Personally, I do one strength day a week, one day of O-lifting, and one day of metcon and it works great for me. But, everyone is different. My tiny little gymnastic and power-lifter types seem to do great with just Crossfit.

BTW, My trainees are mostly all middle-aged women and mothers of small children. We all need a little more help getting started on such a high-intensity program. And, by approaching Crossfit this way, my dropout rate has been very low, even among my previous non-exercisers or professed exercise-haters, because as Emily stated, Crossfit is fun.

Anyway, all that to say, great article. I agree wholeheartedly.

Garrett Smith
05-07-2009, 06:01 AM
Nice work, Sara. Sounds like a solid plan you have there.

As for the noobs making the Games, from the CFJ itself (http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/05/crossfit-radio-episode-64-090504.tpl)...
Hillari Eaton is part of a growing trend: people relatively new to CrossFit taking top honors at Regional Qualifiers for The CrossFit Games.[...]Hillari concluded by confessing her dietary dirty secret: she just loves ice cream sandwiches.
Or is she Gant's protege?!?

Peter Dell'Orto
05-07-2009, 06:45 AM
(. . . ) but I do feel that having a focus specified for the individual's needs and then having a plan designed to get them there based on their individual assessment (as opposed to the functional blitzkrieg) is safer and more psychologically motivating.

I think that's really well said, and in my opinion spot-on. Even if you've all got the same goals, not everyone is going to have the same needs. You can't make everyone take the same road at the same speed and expect get to the same results. I think you've got the right approach, and one I'd want if I came to a Crossfit gym looking for training.

Honestly, if I'm paying for training from an affiliate or any other gym, why would I pay to get the same thing as everyone else at all times? Same reps, same weight, same rest times, etc. If I'm going to go to a gym and pay for training, not just gym access, I'm going to expect them to train a unique and specific me, not just a generic everyme. :D

Peter Dell'Orto
05-07-2009, 06:56 AM
"Friday 030523
Complete 7 rounds of:

Barbell Thrusters 3 reps
5 Pull-ups"

I wonder if that would even make it as a warmup these days? It's a mere 21 thrusters and 35 pullups, without a cool name attached to give it a cachet.

Interesting to see how it's changed. If it is planned upticks in volume, then the "Jump in and scale if you have to" and "Just do the WOD" approaches are seriously flawed...you can't come years into a program and scale or just-do-it to catch up. Imagine joining a 4-year Olympic lifting program a year in. What would that accomplish? You need to start where the others started, yet new trainees are encouraged to learn to scale on their own and jump in. For that reason alone I think it's just escalation of exercise demands based on perceived toughness. "You thought Fran was bad? Try JT! Not good enough, well, suck on this new one..."

Still a lot of value in the workouts, but I think you really need a plan that fits the people you feed into it, not people who happen to fit into the plan. I think that's what Garrett means by revealing athletes rather than creating them.

Garrett Smith
05-07-2009, 07:12 AM
Peter,
I mean it more along the lines of other things, like:

"Sports don't build character, they reveal it."
and
"Long metcons don't build mental toughness, they reveal it."

As others have said, including the article, smart programming (in anything) will get better and faster results than a one-size-fits-all mainpage WOD.

Jon Brody
05-07-2009, 10:08 AM
Interesting pt.'s....the actual programming merits aside, the CF gyms themselves are really alluring -- at least to me...bumper plates, rings, etc. in an environment where the proverbial "blood, sweat, tears" isn't frowned upon....

I'm liking the freedom and exploration that goes along w/ charting your own personal course, but the "environment" of CF is tough to duplicate, and I think it's very conducive towards a very consistent level of high effort/intensity. Quite possibly this very same effort and intensity can end up as a double-edged sword when following a straightline CF program. I'd honestly be as apt to pay the monthly dues to simply use the CF facility "carte blanche".

Dave Van Skike
05-07-2009, 10:25 AM
CF gyms themselves are really alluring -- at least to me...bumper plates, rings, etc. in an environment where the proverbial "blood, sweat, tears" isn't frowned upon....

I'm liking the freedom and exploration that goes along w/ charting your own personal course, but the "environment" of CF is tough to duplicate


It's incredibly easy to duplicate.

PL garage gyms have existed like this for decades. I suspect Oly is the same way. Of the few gymnastic academys and boxing gyms I've been in, pretty much the same thing. The building is a place to get the thing done, in many you don't know who owns what..stuff has just been collected over the years. (except for CD's, you put your name on that shit)

Near me there are two other very serious crews of guys training SM, one group in a warehouse another in some dudes yard. Highland Games folks meet on rainy saturady mornings at local high schools...

It's the People, not the "program" or the space.

Garrett Smith
05-07-2009, 10:57 AM
Interesting pt.'s....the actual programming merits aside, the CF gyms themselves are really alluring -- at least to me...bumper plates, rings, etc. in an environment where the proverbial "blood, sweat, tears" isn't frowned upon....

I'm liking the freedom and exploration that goes along w/ charting your own personal course, but the "environment" of CF is tough to duplicate, and I think it's very conducive towards a very consistent level of high effort/intensity. Quite possibly this very same effort and intensity can end up as a double-edged sword when following a straightline CF program. I'd honestly be as apt to pay the monthly dues to simply use the CF facility "carte blanche".
I totally agree with the last part.

I've liked having training partners around more lately (I have one buddy who I OL with, one who does gymnastic strength training with me), and I find that I can train harder with them. That being said, I do also like not having training partners at times...it makes it easier to "go easy" when I feel like I need to.

An "open gym" at a facility that had typical CF equipment would be fun, for those well-educated in the movements and programming of their interested goals to be trusted on their own. I'd judge that there aren't enough of those types of folks around to keep any gym open, hence the class format.

I'd love to set up an industrial space gym with the basics for OL, PL, and basic gymnastics strength training and make it an "open" gym...but for now, my garage and the gymnastics gym will have to do...and I'm fine with that.

Peter Dell'Orto
05-07-2009, 05:45 PM
It's the People, not the "program" or the space.

Yeah.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's easy to create such an atmosphere; you can't just set up and have one. But it's not that uncommon.

I've trained for the past 8 months or so in a really hardcore gym with a great atmosphere. I pretty much did the "show up, STFU, and train" thing for months before I started to feel like I was proving myself. I couldn't help but get better because the place was always filled with other athletes giving it their best. Nobody sandbagging a workout, ever. My MMA gym is pretty much the same - if you don't work hard, you really won't stick around because you'll be the only one. :p

So like Dave said, that's not unique to CF. I hope that it's common to CF gyms, though. I think a lot of the elements of CF I like contribute to this - the hard workouts, the drive for continued demonstrations of progress (time, reps, weight, or rounds). That might make it easier to foster such an atmosphere. I've only been to one and everyone seemed to be really dedicated, but I wasn't there long enough to get infected by the drive because I was just a short-stay drop-in...so my experience is really limited there.

Peter Dell'Orto
05-07-2009, 05:51 PM
Peter,
I mean it more along the lines of other things, like:

"Sports don't build character, they reveal it."
and
"Long metcons don't build mental toughness, they reveal it."

Ah, okay. I was confused by the reference to relative newbies making the later rounds of CF Games selection. Figured that meant the CF process was selecting out the pre-disposed rather than generating monsters out of the ranks.

Garrett Smith
05-07-2009, 07:55 PM
Figured that meant the CF process was selecting out the pre-disposed rather than generating monsters out of the ranks.
That's exactly what I meant. The best CFers were already good athletes before they ever got there.

Jacob Rowell
05-07-2009, 08:39 PM
I read the article, and thought it was great, and this is from an affiliate owner.

I've been incorporating elements of periodization in our training for some time. We'll sometimes break the programming down into 2 month or so blocks, assign some goals to the cycle, and have at it.

This past winter, we incorporated a higher frequency of lifting, along with relatively shorter metcons. Moving into the spring/summer, we're getting into longer metcons, and more skill-based work.

These cycles aren't particularly rigid, and we'll still throw a wrench in the mix every once in awhile with a much longer or shorter workout than expected, etc.. but we are noticing that though we've been around a few years now, gym records are being set not only in the lifts, but now that we're shifting into a little less lifting and more metcons, in many of the CrossFit benchmark WODs as well as frequently repeated gym workouts.

So yeah, I buy that long term planning has it's place, even though to the casual observer it might still be too "highly varied". When I do private programming, strength programming is much more detailed even if it does include a great deal of CF. In a group class setting, it just isn't practical - people come at different frequencies on different days. To make up for that, we shift the training towards the current goals at the time, and it has worked well so far.

Craig Loizides
05-08-2009, 07:04 AM
This is going to be shorter than I want it to be because I have a lack of time at the moment.

Has anyone noticed that the CF programming on the main site gets progressively more complex over the years? For example, take a look back to 2003, when most of the workouts were singlets, couplets, and triplets, no more, no less. They were also rather simple and low volume as:

"Friday 030523
Complete 7 rounds of:

Barbell Thrusters 3 reps
5 Pull-ups"

And now we have the monstrous chippers such as DT and Eva. Does anyone ever think that CF's programming is just progressing as much as a regular athlete's training progresses? From the simpler, lower volume type training up to the more complex, more taxing, higher volume? If one were following the mainsite WOD from the very start, do you think that he or she would be a fantastic CFer?

I'm not sure I agree. From July 2003:
030720
Weighted walking lunge/push-press for 400 meters.

Four lunge steps, alternating legs, followed by 5 reps of push-press repeated through 400 meters. Rack and press from back, front, or alternate at will. Rest when and where needed but clock keeps running.

Divide load carried (pounds) by time to completion (seconds) and post to comments.


030712
Inman Mile

From the U.S. All-Round Weightlifting Association, USAWA: “The lifter will have loaded onto his/her shoulders a weight equal to 150% of bodyweight. The lifter will then carry the weight a distance of one mile. Gait is optional. Resting is allowed, but neither the lifter nor the weight may be supported. Records will be kept in both pounds and time. Should the weight be touched by any aide once the lift has begun, the event is terminated. The lifter may be handed refreshments during the lift.”


If you go back to the old site you get some real interesting workouts. 2 of the first 10 were:
010217
Rope climb and do push-ups non-stop for 30 minutes. The objective here is to climb and push until you can do neither. Thoroughly exhaust both functions within 30 minutes.

Find a swimming hole/pool and pound out 15 fast laps!!


010219
Row 4000 meters @ a 2 min 500 meter pace
Within the next 16 mins hang clean 50% of your body weight 21 times

Row 2000 meters @ a 2 min 500 meter pace
Within the next 8 mins hang clean 50% of your body weight 18 times

Row 1000 meters @ a 2min 500 meter pace
Within the next 4 mins hang clean 50% of your body weight 15 times

Row 500 meters @ a 2 min 500 meter pace
Within the next 2 mins hang clean 50% of your body weight 12 times

Brian Stone
05-08-2009, 08:20 AM
Re: the "evolution" of the mainpage WOD's over time that was alluded to earlier, I think it's just attributed to trial and error and discovering what is and is not effective (from the CF perspective). I think the programming early on was a lot more "random" and more method and strategy has been worked into the system with time, perspective, and education.

Oliver Gould
05-08-2009, 09:12 AM
But, I still find a great deal of value in maintaining a strength maintenance day once a week where I challenge them on limit strength in a 5x5 type of format. Without it, I will see failure to progress in certain movements, lifts, and body composition. Or I'll have clients start to complain of chronic soreness. Personally, I do one strength day a week, one day of O-lifting, and one day of metcon and it works great for me. But, everyone is different. My tiny little gymnastic and power-lifter types seem to do great with just Crossfit.

Sara, I had a similar experience with adding a strength day. I found that by dropping another metcon day for strength, I saw even more progress. And then I dropped the metcon day in between the strength days because I wasn't recovering, and saw yet MORE progress. Etc, etc. Just some food for thought. Sounds like you have a more open-minded, effective approach than a lot of "certified coaches" running affiliates, so props for that.

Dave Van Skike
05-08-2009, 11:45 AM
I found that by never picking up a metcon day, I experienced even fewer problems and was able to have "strength days" all week.

Garrett Smith
05-08-2009, 01:08 PM
+1 to DVS--LOL. I also find that no metcons has greatly improved my strength pursuits.

FYI, there are some striking examples in Coach Sommer's book about his non-metcon-training gymnasts kicking a$$ in "metcon"-type stuff with none of that type of training whatsoever.

Ken Urakawa
05-08-2009, 03:56 PM
[QUOTE=Craig Loizides;56718]I'm not sure I agree. From July 2003:
030720
Weighted walking lunge/push-press for 400 meters.

Four lunge steps, alternating legs, followed by 5 reps of push-press repeated through 400 meters. Rack and press from back, front, or alternate at will. Rest when and where needed but clock keeps running.

Divide load carried (pounds) by time to completion (seconds) and post to comments.



GG used that workout as an example of the 'Black Box' approach to early CF programming--sometimes you put something in and it comes out pure gold, other times not so much. He tells a pretty entertaining story about Amundson and someone else trying to finish that workout.


FWIW, I'm a huge fun of approaching CF with a periodized overview. We've been doing that here for a couple of years, almost on a seasonal basis: lots of basic strength work through the first part of the year, throwing in more of an OL emphasis into spring, hitting MetCon pretty hard (and enjoying the weather) through spring break, and then hiding inside picking up heavy shit all summer when it's 120 degrees. Once it cools off a bit, back outside for a little more MetCon, survive the holidays while trying to maintain as much as possible, and get ready to do it again.

There's a little more effort put in than that, but that's pretty much the template. Seems to have been working for us.

Andrew Wilson
05-08-2009, 05:37 PM
Has someone written a formula for work capacity or "increase work capacity over broad time and modal domain"?




Watching that ASEP videos on the main site makes sense of the program though. My thoughts on CF is that it's goal is to obviously increase work capacity, not necessarily strength or endurance or flexibility or power or speed, but rather the capacity to do them. I think that's what throws people off.

So if you have weak strength your work capacity will only go so far, yet if you have great strength your work capacity will be greater than the first person with weak strength, which is what I believe some of the posters were referring to (new athletes performing better in the Games compared to experienced CF monsters).

I believe the CF-ization will only increase strength, endurance, power etc only to a certain point where it needs to adapt to increase work capacity, which means the results in these areas are more like by products. The ability to do more work faster is the main, premiere objective, so I figure that's where Coach plans & measures (lbs*f) CF, aka periodizes. Not necessarily strength & such.

Emily Mattes
05-08-2009, 06:25 PM
An "open gym" at a facility that had typical CF equipment would be fun, for those well-educated in the movements and programming of their interested goals to be trusted on their own. I'd judge that there aren't enough of those types of folks around to keep any gym open, hence the class format.

I'd love to set up an industrial space gym with the basics for OL, PL, and basic gymnastics strength training and make it an "open" gym...but for now, my garage and the gymnastics gym will have to do...and I'm fine with that.

Off-topic from the "Plandomization" article, but I would kill to live in an area with a gym like this. Not all of us have access to garages or backyards where we can set up our own hardcore gym. I think there's a lot of market potential, especially in the wake of the spread of Crossfit affiliates--people who want the Crossfit atmosphere but not the Crossfit prices ($180/month?!).

It's been brought up a couple of times in the Crossfit forums, but affiliates swear up and down that an "open gym" option would never work . . . Though I think there is some bias there.

Alan O'Donnell
05-08-2009, 07:29 PM
I basically use Crossfit Boston as an open gym - I go to a few classes now and then, usually the strength WODs, but normally just come in outside of class times and mess around with my own programming. I intensely dislike long metcons, and most of my goals revolve around developing freaky strength and/or gymnastic ability - basically I'd much rather be able to do a beautiful front lever or dunk than have a nasty Fran time, that's just me. Between reading the performance menu forums and talking with CFB's awesome trainers, I've got pretty much everything I need to make sure I'm doing useful stuff.

And yes, getting to play around every day in a CF gym is sooooo fun :)

I'd be curious to see how a fully open CF gym would work... tbh I think it would be tough to run. I mean, I'm a pretty athletic guy, but when I first walked in the door at CFB a year ago I had no clue how to do anything - I'd never done any serious weight training before and aside from some leg strength/agility from having played a lot of soccer, I was weak as hell. I really needed the classroom environment to stay afloat the first few months... so I think an open CF gym, in particular a minimally expensive one, would have trouble keeping new clients. A badass place like CFB is pretty damn intimidating when you aren't already a badass!

Emily Mattes
05-08-2009, 07:48 PM
My understanding is Balance Gym (http://ww.balancegym.com/) in DC is one such type of gym.

A friend of mine was planning with the idea of opening a "performance" focused gym. It would have open gym policy, like a global-gym, but also a Crossfit class options, options for basic barbell and Olympic lifting instruction, personal training, and all of that. Think like a normal gym, but the personal training involves complex lifts instead of Bosu ball squats, the fitness classes are Crossfit and kettlebell stuff instead of BodyPump, and introductory classes involve basic barbell lift instruction.

I think the start-up costs would be much less then most global gyms, given the cost of lifting machines. Biggest problem would be marketing and insurance. If you were good enough trainer you could set up a combine program for high-school athletes as well and draw in additional revenue and publicity that way.

glennpendlay
05-08-2009, 08:18 PM
Rippetoe has what amounts to an open gym CF type gym... squat racks, free weight equipment, some OL equipment, rope for climbing, pegboard for climbing, rings, KB's, dynamax balls, C2 roweres... everything you would need for CF. open 6am till midnight or later, all for I think $25 or $35 a month. In his own words, it is "not economically viable".

He now has a trainer who runs classes. Hopefully that will go over well, but having trained at his gym for about 10 years, I can say that people were never beating down the door to join. and it was a GOOD gym, whether you were an OLer, CFer, or any other type of athlete.

By contrast... One of the other gyms in town is run by Carla Nichols, rips old trainer. She runs more of a personal training studio type thing, but has a good OL setup, good squat racks and free weight equipment, rings, dynamax balls, C2 rowers, etc. Suitable for CF but maybe not as ideal as rips place, and much smaller than Rips place. She is covered up in clients, in fact her biggest obstacle to date has been the inability to hire enough trainers to handle the client load she is getting. A llot of Rips gym members or ex-gym members come over there and use it as an "open gym" to grab a workout now and then, but other than that, its all personal training.

To me it seems as though classes/personal training is where the money is.

Garrett Smith
05-08-2009, 09:29 PM
To me it seems as though classes/personal training is where the money is.
Definitely. An "open" (serious, many would tend to say hardcore) gym that can pay its bills would likely be considered successful by many who have experience in that area.

If I lived in Rip's gym area, I'd definitely pay more than $25-35/month for access to all that gear--especially without someone trying to tell me what to do or influence my training.

Justin McCallon
05-09-2009, 12:39 AM
I liked the article a lot.

That said, CrossFit definitely does periodize, although some uninformed advocates may not realize this (hence, they start talking about not having a plan).
There is an element of randomness, though. Basically, as is my understanding, they have a fixed amount of metcons, strength work, gynamistics, bodyweight stuff, etc each microcycle. So, they take that work, and throw it all together randomly. Apparently there are benefits to this. (I don't know what, but would be interested in knowing -- I'm not sarcastically knocking this).

Also, one of the big points in the article is something I've been harping on for years now. The main-site for CrossFit follows Ordinary Concurrent Periodization. This is trash. Everett clearly supports Long Conjugate Sequence Periodization. This is simply a whole lot better.
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/resistance_training.htm

Steven Low
05-09-2009, 02:39 AM
The biggest problem with people that are "newer" to anything is they don't really have any goals.

Once people actually get some goals, they generally start using things for their own needs and start "specializing" to an extent. This is good.

Of course, there's always going to be people who see "CF as sport" now and believe that mainpage programming is the best... although we shall see as the CF games get more competitive.

Garrett Smith
05-09-2009, 07:25 AM
Justin,
Please share with the uninformed how you know that CF is periodized and follows some sort of plan.

If the answer is, "because someone said so in a seminar" that won't work for me. No one else can really see this periodization (well, except you, maybe?). CF doesn't follow the "Theoretical Template" that they themselves wrote up, so secretive programming models seem unlikely. Besides, they give away the program for free, so sharing the large generalities of how it is arrived at would be easily shared, even in the CFJ for a fee.

Justin McCallon
05-09-2009, 09:49 AM
Just to be clear, I guess my post was a little ambiguous, but I was referring to "uninformed advocates" as the people Everett was referring to in his article.

I don't know exactly how CF periodizes (the way I explained was how I assumed they did it), but it definitely does. It's hard to see it through the randomization.
You see a heavy deadlift almost every month, and you likewise see deadlifts in a metcon pretty much once a month. I've never seen 3 max deadlifts in a row. There is definitely planning done.

Andrew Wilson
05-09-2009, 10:11 AM
Justin,
Please share with the uninformed how you know that CF is periodized and follows some sort of plan.

If the answer is, "because someone said so in a seminar" that won't work for me. No one else can really see this periodization (well, except you, maybe?). CF doesn't follow the "Theoretical Template" that they themselves wrote up, so secretive programming models seem unlikely. Besides, they give away the program for free, so sharing the large generalities of how it is arrived at would be easily shared, even in the CFJ for a fee.

Garrett, don't they periodize it with the lbs*ft per workout?
I noticed this a few months ago, going through the years of months

Garrett Smith
05-10-2009, 07:12 AM
Garrett, don't they periodize it with the lbs*ft per workout?
I noticed this a few months ago, going through the years of months
From what I understand, one can't do that with running, due to the miniscule amount of vertical displacement.

Are you actually tallying this up, or is someone else, or is it simply hoping someone is actually doing this?

Please point out when the "down" or "easy" cycles are in a workout plan that encourages giving 100% effort all the time.

Justin McCallon
05-10-2009, 10:23 AM
You can periodize without having "down" cycles...
And actually, save maybe taking 3-4 days off every 4 months or so, I don't think there's any need given their very broad plan. i.e. if you're overtraining one area, there's so many other areas that you can focus on.

Even though I think other approaches may be as good or slightly better, setting up the workouts to allow someone to give 100% intensity at all times is very reasonable imo. Theoretically, you gain the most from an individual workout when intensity is the highest. So, why not always keep it high?

Oly lifters can't do this, because they are training for a very limited number of movements. CF athletes can train lactate threshold intensely one day, then strength, then muscle endurance, then cardio endurance, then power, etc.

Dave Van Skike
05-10-2009, 10:56 AM
Even though I think other approaches may be as good or slightly better, setting up the workouts to allow someone to give 100% intensity at all times is very reasonable imo. Theoretically, you gain the most from an individual workout when intensity is the highest. So, why not always keep it high?



no. it's not reasonable. in fact it's not even possible, and it's by no means preferable even if it was possible. the alternative of mixing moderate, light and occasionally super high efforts in some sort of deliberate manner works so much better that it's staggering....

Allen Yeh
05-10-2009, 11:10 AM
You can periodize without having "down" cycles...
And actually, save maybe taking 3-4 days off every 4 months or so, I don't think there's any need given their very broad plan. i.e. if you're overtraining one area, there's so many other areas that you can focus on.

Even though I think other approaches may be as good or slightly better, setting up the workouts to allow someone to give 100% intensity at all times is very reasonable imo. Theoretically, you gain the most from an individual workout when intensity is the highest. So, why not always keep it high?

Oly lifters can't do this, because they are training for a very limited number of movements. CF athletes can train lactate threshold intensely one day, then strength, then muscle endurance, then cardio endurance, then power, etc.

How do you periodize without down cycles? You're right there are so many areas to focus on so if you focus on 15 things at any given month in the end how many things will be improved by the end?

So how would you setup workouts that allow people to go 100% intensity at all times? I know individual recovery varies but how would you go about setting up a plan that allows a person to go 100% intensity 26/30 days of a month? It seems to me going 100% at all times would be asking to crash and burn or injury eventually. Do any athletes go 100% at all times? I'm not just talking Oly but any sport, sprinters don't sprint at 100% intensity every single day of the week, do they? What about football? If in between games the workouts they did were ball busting sessions all the time plus practices would they be able to recover?

Justin McCallon
05-10-2009, 11:37 AM
As the article illustrates, periodization = having a plan. Your plan can be reasonable, and still involve having no down cycles.

I think Oly lifters find this more appalling than powerlifters. For example, WSB does ME work at 100% intensity every week, but it just rotates the ME lift. 4 days a week you are training at 100% intensity on the WSB method, which has been shown to be highly effective. i.e. you are training DE lower at 100% intensity one day, DE upper once, ME lower once, ME upper once. 4 days a week at 100% intensity.

I'm defining intensity in the colloquial way and not the sport-science way. I hope that wasn't confusing. Intensity = effort, basically. So, you can have 100% intensity when training @ 60% of your 1rm. You just need to do multiple reps, or have extremely high effort (DE work).

So, I think westside barbell works as a legitimate model. Another legitimate model is CrossFit Football. Every workout you do (unless you are following the advanced template) is at 100% intensity, and I think the system is good.

Short answer to 'how do you periodize without down cycles:' You focus on one area (i.e. oly lifts) until you almost overtrain. Then, you switch to focus on a different area until you almost overtrain (i.e. endurance-based cardio), and then you switch again. (This is the mesocycle answer; the theory is a little bit different for the microcycle answer I guess, but I think you get the picture)

You're right there are so many areas to focus on so if you focus on 15 things at any given month in the end how many things will be improved by the end?
I do agree with you on this point.


Let me explain the theoretical backings for my statement, though:
You have 15 things that you ultimately want to improve at once. The total amount of work you can do each microcycle, however, is limited -- you can only do so much without overtraining.

That in mind, the more varied your work, the more total work you can do. For example, you can't spend 10 hours/week squatting. You can probably only spend about 4 hours max (you guys know more about the actual # on this one than me!). But, you can spend 12 hours a week working out if you keep things varied -- i.e. 2 hours endurance work, 6 hours strength work, 3 hours interval training/metcon, 1 hour working on power, and training all different muscle groups.
My first example might seem unfair since I am using only one movement and not strength work in general, but I think it is commonly accepted that the more varied the work you do, the more overall training you can do -- all 90%+ 1rm strength work for hours on end, even if it's through varied exercises, is going to wear out your CNS.

Additionally, imo (and I think this is relatively widely accepted) the most efficient way to improve anything in one workout is to have maximal intensity (defined colloquially). That can mean that if your max bench is 300 lbs, you are doing a 300lb bench, or a 260x5 bench, or a 245x5x5. Anything less than 100% intensity may still improve the ability, but not with as much efficiency. For example: If you deadlift once every 10 days, you can deadlift with 100% intensity and (made up numbers) your deadlift may improve 5 pounds/week. If you add a second session in there, during that session you'll have to reduce the intensity, but it will help you improve another 2 lbs/w. With a third session, you can improve another 1lb/w. So, 3x/microcycle = maximum improvement on deadlift. But, that is 300% of the work for 160% of the improvement. And, instead of deadlifting, your time could be spent overhead pressing 1x/week.

I think the idea that you should focus on certain abilities while doing just enough to maintain others is absolutely sound. The next question, however, is how broad should the focus be? I think there's 2 parts to this answer (think supply/demand type graph). You want the focus to be as narrow as possible. You want to be able to exert 100% intensity at all times. The theoretical intersection of these 2 points defines how narrow you should keep things.

I hope that makes sense. And I accept that there are opposing views that make sense here. (One point would be that you can spend more time in the gym/on the track when your intensity is under 100%)

Dave Van Skike
05-10-2009, 11:55 AM
100% focus and intent, is not 100% intensity. The max effort work for instance is not a max max, but a no psych up, training max, which is significantly different.

what people call "westside" and what happens there are significantly different I suspect. I'm not in Ohio with Louie so I have no idea what they are really doing. If you follow the logs of any of the current westside guys or any of the supertraining guys, you see a lot of planned deloads. some people with a lot of experience and self control can intuitively deload but followers of the WOD as the sole source of training guidance are not included in this category.

Justin McCallon
05-10-2009, 12:22 PM
Ok, yeah. I'm guessing you've read this Dan John article (http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_philosophy_of_physical_capital), or at least something similar. Obviously you can't perform a max max max every single day, since by definition that's impossible. That contention is a matter of terminology. When I say someone is giving 100% intensity, I am talking about the fact that someone can periodize and still try as hard as they can every day. I meant it in the colloquial way (I guess I should have used 100% effort, now that I think about it). If you took me defining intensity as the sport-science way, then I definitely would agree with your contention.

As far as WSB lifters deloading, yeah, I guess they do every now and then (not nearly as much as Oly lifters, I don't think), but if their goals were much more broad, they could avoid doing this. i.e. the all-bench guys (like Travis Bell (http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106960) or Vinny Dizenzo (http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91951)) usually stop lifting intensely more often than the full meet guys (like Scott Smith (http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121153)). And, a lot of the time when those guys deload on their lifts, they jack up their GPP a lot and just lift less frequently (or don't lift), and still keep the effort pretty high, but in a different area -- GPP.
Also, I am pretty sure that Travis Bell is a pretty typical WSB bencher. He either tries/misses a rep, or PRs on just about every single ME bench day. This is something that I think differs a lot from Oly lifters, although my experience is much more limited to watching the guys I train with at Emory and CF Atlanta. It seems like it's pretty rare for them to set a PR of any kind in training.
(I think I'm allowed to post those links? If not, very sorry).

Also, I should have mentioned this, but before a meet (assuming you care about it), obviously regardless of what you are doing, you need to back off for a few days.

Dave Van Skike
05-10-2009, 01:21 PM
I hadn't read that. Thanks, pretty good description of what i was inartfuly getting at.


Given that there is so little clarity I think it's important in thsi case to be specific. 100% intensity, means to me, the absolute top end of what you have demonstrated you're capable of on a given day, maybe not lifetime PR, but a "working max" as it's sometimes called. tough to gauge as this is usually a moving target but useful because the target doesn't move very quickly.

for a PL it might be a 1RM set in training of 500# on the back squat.

for a track cyclist, it might be a 1:16 Kilo,

for a runner it might be a 12 second 100 meter dash.

For some random crossfit "athlete" it might be a 3.10 Fran.

What I'm saying is not only is it not possible to hit this 100% number every session, further, it's not prudent or useful. even in the hyper specific world of bench press specialist like Vince, the rotation of special exercises is allowing him to train close to 90% plus for a long time on a variety of lifts, but he's certainly not hitting it every day, every session or really every week. same with the three lift guys, they are constantly cycling exercises and strategically deloading. I have no idea what Oly lifters do.

Some acolytes of CF seem to advocate something close a 90-100% output on a truly randomized daily conditioning circuit that has no particular specific goal. This appears to be based on the assumption that the randomization/rotation of exercises will spare you the after effects of being retarded with intensity level....

Now I'm a skeptic when it comes to stuff like adrenal fatigue and overtraining etc...but I do know from watching and doing that hammering away at limit whether that is strength, endurance or speedwork will result in being stale, bored, and sub optimum to put it lightly.

Now I'm not suggesting (here) that CF be thrown out as a model of GPP, or sports training or "bodybuilding" or whatever it's currently thought of. I am saying that the CF'er who think they can go balls out every day, are sporadically and probably very rarely ever getting to a true 100% effort.

Conversely, I read somewhere a that the way to think about the little couplets and triplet that CF puts out as the WOD is to "Play It." This, I think, is perfect.

Play is fun, play is scalable, play means it's not the end of the world if you don't get a PR, play is sustainable and you certainly don't feel guilty if you miss a day of play. sometimes you play hard, sometimes you play easy.

Play works. this is an example of gym play.

warm up,
practice a pet skill until the form get's a little sloppy,
work on a core lift that you've set a goal on and you've developed a plan for improving.
Do a quick conditioning circuit or medley, made up on the spot (randomized play)
Bullshit with some friends and help coach your training partners,
Do some mobilty/stretching work.
Take every 4th or 5th week kind of easy.
Compete regularly.

George Mounce
05-10-2009, 01:28 PM
The only periodization I ever saw in CF was when LL said to take a 1/2 week and a full week off every 8-12 weeks. Its not programmed in to the main page, and 150 out of 365 days a year of rest isn't periodization either. If you ever hit PD's blog, he lists a whole bunch of workouts from CF in a row, and shows how they do very, if anything "random". Its a mish-mosh of the same stuff put in different ways. But, for some that works. I prefer more structure, even though I am a self-proclaimed workout schizophrenic.

I like DVS's though about play. I actually tried to do 50 KB flips in my front yard the other day, and man that was absolute fun.

Plus Garrett's signature always brings about a sense of reality to the conversation.

glennpendlay
05-10-2009, 01:33 PM
Ivan Abadjiev said something kind of like this to me, cant remember the exact words, but paraphrased... "80% is not natural. When rabbit is chased by wolf, he doesnt run 50% or 80%. Always 100%."

And this is from Oleg..."If bear can ride bicycle in circus, then anything is possible"


Lots of good OL coaches dont believe in planned unloading.... but it still happens. Its a case of either you tell your body, we are stopping at 80% today, or, eventually, your body will tell you "buddy, im stopping at 80% today." Which is better? I'm not smart enough to answer that definitively... but I suspect that a combination of the two applied with lots of loving care is best, and in fact that this is a big part of the art of coaching.

And last a paraphrased snipet of a conversation with Krychev " day after day you come in and jerk 200kg. Then one day you try very hard but can only do 180kg. Well, that is your light day."

I dont make this stuff up guys! And, when you think about it, what is another 100lbs on your clean and jerk compared to a bear riding a bicycle???

glenn

Kevin Perry
05-10-2009, 02:08 PM
You can periodize without having "down" cycles...
And actually, save maybe taking 3-4 days off every 4 months or so, I don't think there's any need given their very broad plan. i.e. if you're overtraining one area, there's so many other areas that you can focus on.

Even though I think other approaches may be as good or slightly better, setting up the workouts to allow someone to give 100% intensity at all times is very reasonable imo. Theoretically, you gain the most from an individual workout when intensity is the highest. So, why not always keep it high?

Oly lifters can't do this, because they are training for a very limited number of movements. CF athletes can train lactate threshold intensely one day, then strength, then muscle endurance, then cardio endurance, then power, etc.

You will burn someone out quick this way.

Dave Van Skike
05-10-2009, 02:15 PM
And last a paraphrased snipet of a conversation with Krychev " day after day you come in and jerk 200kg. Then one day you try very hard but can only do 180kg. Well, that is your light day."

I'll defer to your experience with high skill lifting, I'm not sure that the experiences in that one arena necessarily translate straight across.

If I went in to the gym and tried to hit let's say a max zercher squat or a max DL or a stone medley more than 3 sessions in a row, I'd be broken for quite a while.

Justin McCallon
05-10-2009, 02:17 PM
I guess "quick" is a matter of degree. CrossFit main site basically prescribes maximum effort every day, and I don't think people get burned out that easily once they've been training for a little while. Most of the time people are PRing close to every workout.

That said, I think Glenn makes a good point that I didn't really think about.

I've always done a lot more volume/total work than the main site prescribes. But, there are definitely days that I just kinda fall off the map and just can't push myself to the limit and leave the gym feeling like a wimp. I guess it's because I'm just doing too much stuff that I can't keep my effort that high. I always felt like it was just wasted work, but maybe I should plan to take it easy some days.

This said, if you drop the total work low enough, you definitely can have 100% effort every workout. i.e. I can run a mile at max effort on Monday and without doing anything else, I can recover in time to give max effort on bench on Thursday, do "Fran" the next Monday, and front squat on Friday with full effort. I guess the implicit point everyone is making is that to do this, the volume would have to be so much lower that it's just not worth it.

Thanks for the perspectives.

glennpendlay
05-10-2009, 02:50 PM
And last a paraphrased snipet of a conversation with Krychev " day after day you come in and jerk 200kg. Then one day you try very hard but can only do 180kg. Well, that is your light day."

I'll defer to your experience with high skill lifting, I'm not sure that the experiences in that one arena necessarily translate straight across.

If I went in to the gym and tried to hit let's say a max zercher squat or a max DL or a stone medley more than 3 sessions in a row, I'd be broken for quite a while.


Dave,

I was reporting what Krychev said there, not neccessarily agreeing with him. He and Abadjiev are successfull coaches by any measure. However, I find some things I cant agree with... Abadjiev for instance is laboring under the belief that glycogen replenishment in a muscle is proof of recovery from resistance training... So, basically the fact that Ivan was coaching Olympic medalists when I was still in diapers, and Krychev standing on the medal platform at the Olympics and World championships while I was still in diapers... this gives their opinions a lot of weight, but not enough to never question what they say or disagree with it. I mean, Abadjiev only came to prominence because he didnt really have the respect for guys like Medvedev that they deserved...

So anyway... Im kind of in the middle about the whole planned rest or unloading topic. I like to go as hard as possible for as long as possible, but you have to employ your coaching skills and instincts to know when backing off is going to get you further than breaking something. And my lifters do have easy weeks, not neccessarily always planned, but implemented when I think, or they think, they need them.

And, on the zerchers, I agree. As someone who has done over 400lbs on the Zercher lift (the lift, not the squat... the zercher lift is when you stand over a barbell laying on the floor, bend down and hook your elbows under it, and stand up. got to be flexible.) I do know that if you did that particular exercise every day, you would break.

glenn

Chris H Laing
05-10-2009, 02:55 PM
I just wanna point out that all of this stuff doesnt only applies to high level athletes who are getting close to their genetic potential. Novices dont need any of this stuff. Look at SS for an example. You squat three days a week, and for 3-4 months, sometimes longer, you can keep adding weight to the squat, without any planned deload weeks.

Basically im saying that the necessity for periodization is based on how close to genetic potential the athlete in question is.

George Mounce
05-10-2009, 03:41 PM
I just wanna point out that all of this stuff doesnt only applies to high level athletes who are getting close to their genetic potential. Novices dont need any of this stuff. Look at SS for an example. You squat three days a week, and for 3-4 months, sometimes longer, you can keep adding weight to the squat, without any planned deload weeks.

Basically im saying that the necessity for periodization is based on how close to genetic potential the athlete in question is.

Very good point, but the novice is just as susceptible to doing too much as the elite athlete is, which is why CF hits the rhabdo information scene quite a bit.

Justin McCallon
05-10-2009, 03:49 PM
Isn't it relatively well accepted that work capacity is much higher in elite athletes, but novice athletes recover from workouts a lot faster? (since light weights don't bother the CNS that much, and since elite runners tax their hearts a lot more than novice runners)

This is kinda what I was getting earlier, if this is right.

Oliver Gould
05-10-2009, 03:57 PM
Basically im saying that the necessity for periodization is based on how close to genetic potential the athlete in question is.

Well yeah. Again, the criticism of Cf is that is doesn't take this into account at all. They mention the BrandX stuff, but beyond that its that line about "the needs of grandmothers and olympic athletes differ in degree but not in kind" or whatever it is. Now all the popular CF programs are specializing, something they would never have done a couple years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if the next step is "Crossfit Periodization Bias" or something.

If the trend continues there will be more and more strength, more and more specialization, maybe even more and more planning, until there's a CF for every sport, which will probably consist of the type of strength/conditioning that's usually done for each sport plus some metcons.

@ Justin: Yes, people are PRing on the CF programming. I can't prove it, but from my own experience with CF I'd say it "works" for two types of people: novices and good athletes. There are plenty of novice gains to be had, and good athletes put up better and better numbers as they get used to CF style training, movement and mental focus. The problem is there is no intermediate phase in CF. Either you progress until you can't handle with workload any more, or you come to the program with a good enough capacity for recover and enough strength that you don't stagnate before you hit the "advanced" level. A lot of people fall into the hole in the middle. A program that's "Forging Elite Fitness" is promising to take people from novice to elite, but for a lot of people CF doesn't do that.

Justin McCallon
05-10-2009, 04:41 PM
Ok, I can agree with that. I've never done main site WODs. I do CFFB now and I like it a lot, but if I did main site my strength would just absolutely plummet. I also feel like the overall amount of work is just too low.

"Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time."
I still think CrossFit periodizes. They cycle things like how often you deadlift heavy. I've never seen 3 heavy deadlifts in a week. I'm pretty sure I've seen a heavy deadlift every month.
I don't think that periodization means there must be a high-effort phase and a low-effort phase.

Whether or not CF's programming is actually good is a different story.

Steven Low
05-10-2009, 05:15 PM
Isn't it relatively well accepted that work capacity is much higher in elite athletes, but novice athletes recover from workouts a lot faster? (since light weights don't bother the CNS that much, and since elite runners tax their hearts a lot more than novice runners)

This is kinda what I was getting earlier, if this is right.
Yeah, that's correct.

It's not that novices recover much faster than elite athletes because they don't.

It's that the loads are lighter = less damage = less to recover from. PLUS, their available resources they have (muscle and CNS activation) are initially less able to function efficiently than an elite athletes (recruitment, synchro, etc. increase as you train heavy weights) which means less intensity.

Work capacity increases as the muscles, tendons, bones, CNS, heart/cardiovascular system, etc. become resistant to stress/fatigue through training. Don't need to go into the methods by which they adapt though.


Basically im saying that the necessity for periodization is based on how close to genetic potential the athlete in question is.

Clearly. Most systems in the human body operate on the law of diminishing returns.... which means that an increase in programming complexity is needed to elicit further adaptation as you get closer to genetic potential.

I think there's a chart in Practical Programming about that...

Gavin Harrison
05-10-2009, 09:43 PM
I just wanna point out that all of this stuff doesnt only applies to high level athletes who are getting close to their genetic potential. Novices dont need any of this stuff. Look at SS for an example. You squat three days a week, and for 3-4 months, sometimes longer, you can keep adding weight to the squat, without any planned deload weeks.

Basically im saying that the necessity for periodization is based on how close to genetic potential the athlete in question is.

But to go back to the idea of "planidization" or periodization, etc.. if you're plan is to get stronger, going through a short novice program is part of the plan.. you have to have something to do after those gains fizzle out or you'll just become stagnant and plateau. Some form of cycling intensity becomes necessary once you get to the point when the rather short period of linear increase ends. This goes for anything athletic related really. It makes the training more sustainable.

Craig Loizides
05-12-2009, 11:04 PM
I'll defer to your experience with high skill lifting, I'm not sure that the experiences in that one arena necessarily translate straight across.

If I went in to the gym and tried to hit let's say a max zercher squat or a max DL or a stone medley more than 3 sessions in a row, I'd be broken for quite a while.

I was wondering about this too. For instance take a 1RM snatch. The first pull is well below max DL. The second pull is really a DE lift more than a ME lift. The OHS is usually a bit below max as well. So, I'm not sure it's really the same as doing a max DL.

Or to take a more extreme example, I could swing a golf club as hard as possible 50 times every day without ever over training.

Justin McCallon
05-12-2009, 11:21 PM
Craig,

I don't have near the experience in Oly Lifting that you guys on this board do. I'd be inclined to agree with your logic, but watching some of the guys/girls I train with after a meet makes me think otherwise. After a meet (and more than just one day after), I've seen a lot of misses at around 85%.

Garrett Smith
05-13-2009, 06:10 AM
I agree with Glenn totally, in that the higher percentages of one's max that can be done without "psyching up", the better. This would absolutely allow for heavier training to be done more often, good for most athletic things.

This allows for that "extra gear" (ie. adrenaline, etc.) to be tapped into in the big situations, like meets.

When someone who normally trains without much "psyching up" actually does do the whole "psych up" for a meet (or something similar), they usually notice the "drained" feeling afterwards. This is due to them tapping into reserves that they normally save. That explains the misses at 85% post-meet, as Justin noted.

My training partner refused to take a very easy week after our last meet 1.5 weeks ago, I did the deload(2 yoga sessions, 1 gymnastics, NO OL), now I'm back to training full-bore and he's coming down with something like the flu. FWIW.

Sara Fleming
05-13-2009, 11:58 AM
Just wanted to add that periodization is absolutely essential for the novice. And Starting strength is basically a self-lead periodized program and using it as a jumping off place for Crossfit creates a foundational or adaptational mesocycle for the neverending functional mesocycle that Crossfit is. (We don't do mainpage WOD's at my affiliate, we always personalize the workouts for every individual and add in strongman training and modify things as needed.)

The most important group this applies to is the young athlete, especially high school students. We see a lot of seriously damaged athletes at our affiliate who have been done in by coaches who have no idea how to cycle their athletes properly. I have a sixteen year old cross country runner who went from running cross country to running track, all with horrible form, with no direction in the weight room, all with 2 hour practices 5 days a week. (And countless other fouls I wont' go into). She's just about blown out her knee and I don't even know if I can fix her at this point. We also have an injured wrestler and an overtrained football/basketball player.

Yes, the parents can be blamed partly for overzealous sports involvement, but a smart strength and conditioning program would be ideal to help these kids out, which is what we're going with them now. We do that with periodized Crossfit (my affiliate owner is a very wise man) and rehab type training.

Periodized training throughout the year would be ideal to support these year round athletes and keep them in top condition, not just sport specific training because it leads to overuse injuries and more. How many high school athletes go on to college only to suffer stress fractures and require ligaments surgeries? Too many to count. This, in my opinion, is the result of improper foundational training in high school and too much specialization. I think the vast majority of college injuries are not the direct result of more intense sports, I think its often because they are already halfway there to begin with.

Justin McCallon
05-13-2009, 12:19 PM
How are you folks defining periodization? I've been using Greg's definition and it seems like everyone is defining periodization much more 'strongly.'

Periodization is simply planning. It’s creating a structure to guide one’s training during a given period of time. It doesn’t necessarily mean a progression from higher volume and lower intensity to lower volume and higher intensity
...
The bottom line, the term periodization should be considered synonymous with planning.

That said, I'm rejecting this sentence, which is something I probably shouldn't do considering Greg is way more knowledgeable than me:
"In another sense, periodization is the segmentation of training into blocks of time that allow some degree of emphasis on certain traits over others."

This would mean that the Ordinary Concurrent Method of Periodization is not a form of periodization at all.

Sara Fleming
05-13-2009, 12:55 PM
I think that the more specific your goals, the stricter your definition is going to be, but for me periodization has two very specific goals that you don't get when you don't plan:

1. Developing and maintaining the groundwork/foundation of strength and skills required to both move on to the next step and sustain the current level of work without injury.

2. Achieving the right balance (and this is always a work in progress) of intensity and recovery.

Dave Van Skike
05-13-2009, 01:01 PM
That said, I'm rejecting this sentence, which is something I probably shouldn't do considering Greg is way more knowledgeable than me:
"In another sense, periodization is the segmentation of training into blocks of time that allow some degree of emphasis on certain traits over others."

This would mean that the Ordinary Concurrent Method of Periodization is not a form of periodization at all.



a day isn't a time period?

Justin McCallon
05-13-2009, 01:07 PM
Hah, Dave, I don't think that's what he meant. But if he did, it fits (but has no real meaning).

I've never seen a program that trains all elements every single day and neglects others. In the same vein, 5 minutes is technically a 'time period' and it's not possible to train everything in a 5 minute block. Thus, everybody segments their training in that respect, and even people that try not to periodize.
I think Greg is referring to the microcycle.


Sara -- I think the main site accomplishes #2. The total volume is sooo low that you can go at max intensity and still recover. No need to even have down cycles when the intensity is that low, imo. (Note: I do not think this is even close to optimal; I have never followed main site and I always do more volume, sometimes at the expense of a little bit of intensity).

As far as #1, that's basically an endorsement for a linear or conjugate system, but a definite rejection of a concurrent system. I really like conjugate training, but I don't think the concurrent system is necessarily bad.

Sara Fleming
05-13-2009, 01:46 PM
Sara -- I think the main site accomplishes #2. The total volume is sooo low that you can go at max intensity and still recover. No need to even have down cycles when the intensity is that low, imo. (Note: I do not think this is even close to optimal; I have never followed main site and I always do more volume, sometimes at the expense of a little bit of intensity).



. . . says the man-beast to the mere mortal . . . :)

I don't know about that. We did Hansen scaled to 15 reps over the weekend and I was on a steady diet of Ibuprofen, fish oil, and meat for two days afterwards. DT was the same way. And, after doing Grace today, well, I'll probably be okay because I only did 75 lbs, but I'm still going to take a day off because I have spent the afternoon digging holes in my backyard.

I used to do the mainpage WOD's, but as I've gotten stronger and more conditioned and can do them at heavier weights and higher intensities, they really push me over the edge and I need a lot more recovery.

I'm a 36 year old mother of three small children and I train clients three days a week. I can't do Crossfit as prescribed on the main page, even with scaling or I overtrain very quickly. I stick to three days a week of training in strength, O-lifts, and a Crossfit workout and I'm done.

I'm 5'8", 125 lbs, about 15% bodyfat, and have very long limbs so I'm not reallly cut out for the heavy lifting, but I try my best. I think I represent the average person who does Crossfit who has learned how to not stall after the shock and awe stage and I've had to do that by putting a lot more structure into the workouts. Which I've done by cutting down on the frequency, working more on the quality and intensity, and making sure I focus on the aspects that I need to maintain my level of fitness.

Gant Grimes
05-13-2009, 01:54 PM
Periodization is the forced monthly layoff from regularly scheduled activity. You may have to resort to movies, literature, or good memories, but you'll get through it.

I don't know about that. We did Hansen scaled to 15 reps over the weekend and I was on a steady diet of Ibuprofen, fish oil, and meat for two days afterwards. DT was the same way. And, after doing Grace today, well, I'll probably be okay because I only did 75 lbs, but I'm still going to take a day off because I have spent the afternoon digging holes in my backyard.

Just looked this one up. WTF?

"Hansen"
Five rounds for time of:
2 pood Kettlebell swing, 30 reps
30 Burpees
30 Glute-ham sit-ups

Now I understand the need for the RRG. What does this do for someone besides give them a head/neck ache and hardKore abZZZ (if they're not pissing out their kidneys first)?

Justin McCallon
05-13-2009, 02:03 PM
Haha Sara, not a lot of 36-year-old mothers are doing anywhere close to what you're doing, so congrats.
Additionally, there's certainly lifters are here that are doing a lot better than me.

That said, compared to CrossFit Football and CrossFit Endurance, the overall work volume is pretty low. For me, I can just barely handle CFFB's work volume and still go pretty close to full effort every workout (with the exception that there's too much shoulder work for my pathetic shoulders). There's some people that can do the same thing and additionally go to Rugby practice + do 2 CFE workouts a week. Those guys are freaks.

Anyway, the underlying point (and maybe it's just playing semantics) is that if you drop total work low enough, you don't need to cycle intensity, save maybe taking an extra couple days off every 4 months or so. I think it's a good point that the main site may be a low enough amount of work load to do this for some, but certainly not for others.

And in general, I'm not sure how I feel about sacrificing work for intensity in an absolute sense. Definitely an interesting discussion.

Garrett Smith
05-13-2009, 02:27 PM
Just looked this one up. WTF?

"Hansen"
What, 450 reps isn't enough for you? :p That workout justifies the need for rhabdo coverage. The "Hero" workouts are out of control.

Gavin Harrison
05-13-2009, 05:11 PM
What, 450 reps isn't enough for you? :p That workout justifies the need for rhabdo coverage. The "Hero" workouts are out of control.

I'm glad I stopped riding the band wagon and all of that. Tons of good information around crossfit and it's community, but ton's of crap as well... I've found the parts I like and look other places for information now... and I pretty much ignore whatever crossfit says about crossfit, and have my own opinion of it..