Can Your Coach Answer These 3 Questions About Their Programming

This is one of the most talked about topics in hundreds maybe even thousands of CrossFit gyms around the world. What programming are you following? Outlaw, Invictus, Level 2, WhatsRichDoing or Competitor wod. I’m sure they are all good and are well thought out and structured for those who they’re written for… but for the majority of people they’re rubbish!! Depending on an individual's goals the programming from person to person is going to be quite different. If your box does not currently write its own programming this is a big red flag and you should go and find a box that puts in the time and effort and does it themselves. Your box’s programming should be centered around the individuals who train there and their needs alone. Coaches should meet at least once a week to discuss the progress, faults, needs and observations of the members from the classes they’re taking. This feedback is essential to creating a good training program. So what 3 things should you look for in a good program?

If you ask your coach they should know WHY you’re doing the workout, HOW long it should take and WHAT the take always should be

Why… Each workout should be programmed with a goal in mind not just slapped together because the movements are complimentary or it looks hard or cool. If your coach cannot explain why you have programmed overhead lunges with a plate coupled with handstand holds then this is a worry!

How long should this workout take… something all coaches should have learnt when attending their first CrossFit level 1 seminar was that intensity can never be replaced. By adding heavy weight or overly technical movements to a workout the intensity will decrease. It is fine if just making one thing hard to build skill under some fatigue but you should still be trying to move with intensity. There is a time and a place for developing strength and skill and it is not in the middle of your workout everyday when you’re busting your ass. Additional programming or a 1 on 1 skills session with one of your coaches would be a good place to start and make a plan to get better.  

What you should get out of the workout.. Each workout should be programmed with a focus in mind. Whether it be hitting a certain energy system, the practice of a skill or technical movement with a simple movement in between to fatigue you (we like EMOMS for this), a strongman workout or a simple strength circuit to improve pull ups, muscle ups or shoulder stability. There should be an underlying goal for why you’re doing these things. If the programming is written by somebody else then I would bet your coach is just having an educated guess as to what should be achieved if they haven’t written the program themselves.

Testing of different maxes

Testing your 1 rep max anything can be lots of fun. But… You don’t need to do it every month or couple of months. Once you have been training for a while it is not going to increase exponentially like it did when you first started out. As your training age increases (time in years and months you have been training for) your ability to improve slowly decreases. Instead by testing 3 RM’s 5RM’s and even 10RM’s will be of more benefit. By doing more reps you will gain better proficiency in the movement and will find that what was once your 1RM is now your 3RM and when the time comes to test it again in a few months time you will crush it! Another reason for not testing just your 1Rm’s all the time is that it is only tested once during competitions. As a percentage of a competition it will be very low and your ability to move weight or perform more technical movements for higher reps will see you do better on the leaderboard. I am a classic example of this i am by no means a strong guy in comparison to regional level CrossFitters but when competing at that level I believe I was able to hold my own because I could keep up with the stronger guys with the medium to heavy weights because of this.

You should know what the WOD is for each day of the week NOT just the day before.

We at CrossFit Agilis are possibly the only box in Sydney who show our members the weekly program the end of the week before. We are very transparent with our programming.  This is for a couple of reasons. We place the accountability of showing up on the days that you need to come on the individual. This allows people to plan their weeks and schedule their training days in. Secondly it allows us to track how people are performing with the programming. We can see that one of our clients who has shown up to every squat or press day for the last 2 months and Pr’s then that strength cycle was successful and we can use it again in the future. If someone complains that their squat or press doesn't improve over this time and they have shown up to one day out of the 8 week program this is no fault of the programming but allows us to talk to our members and get them in on the days they need to be here so we can see improvement next time.