Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thoughts on Programming, 3-on-1-off, and Doing Your Own Damn Thing

Thoughts on programming:

Note: This isn't my area of expertise, nor do I have a plethora of experience with programming. These are just my personal thoughts and opinions.

This is all dependent on individual goals; for the "generalist", regular CF programming works fine. The gains made in maximal strength, strength endurance, functional mobility, anaerobic and aerobic capacity, just to name a few, make regular programming suitable for a large portion of an affiliate's clientele.  This also include those involved in amateur sport looking for better overall conditioning.

If you're asking "Why", as most people outside the CF box will, you need to understand what elements of fitness Crossfit addresses:

Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

That's a pretty damn comprehensive list; so unless your affliate's programming totally sucks (which ours does NOT, most do not, but some probably do), I see no reason to deviate from regularly-scheduled flavors.

That is, unless you want something SPECIFIC.  This is where Strength Bias or Crossfit Endurance comes in.  What is Strength Bias?

This is Strength Bias This is Crossfit Endurance

When someone who's been Cf'ing for a year or more says "I want to be stronger", or an endurance athlete says "I want to be faster", then specificity comes into play. CF get's a lot of flak from the general exercise community for it's "lack of specificity"---but this is plain naivety and ignorance. Athletes CAN individualize their training, based on wants and needs. Scalability and programming options are endless.  This, of course, also includes injured athletes who still need to train but have to rehab and work around a specific injury.


What I'm talking about here is working out 3 days in a row, then taking one off, and then rinse and repeat. Glassman (Greg Glassman, founder of CF) adopted this early in the fledgling days of Crossfit; he found that while 5-on, 2-off worked well for the typical rat-race crowd, by day 4, people started to suck rocks. Day 5? Power output and intensity shit the bed. 3/1 offers optimal power output, intensity levels, frequency of WODs and recovery compared to a 5/2.

But is it for everyone? Hell no.

Regular Mon-Friday folks have a hard time adhering to it, but really, that's a weak excuse. What I've found personally and through clientele is that it's TOTALLY an indivdual thing. There's so many variables involved, I don't think a trainer could actually state what programming template an athlete needs without knowing the athlete.

Personal POV (Point of View): I work shiftwork, I am regularly sleep deprived, and I'm 6"0 and 165#. Why do these matter? Shiftwork doesn't allow me to hit the gym at any day of the week, sleep deprivation is like driving over an IED with a SmartCar to training (pure sabotage---nothing is worse) and heavy WODs blast more out of me than it would of a 200lb+ athlete.

And these are only some of the variables out there.  A lot more has to do with diet, time as a Crossfitter, total time as a trained athlete, age, sex (hormonal fluctuations have HUGE impacts on athletic ability, girls.  You know this.  Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and more specifically, relaxin, can have huge impacts on strength and flexibility and joint stability.) etc etc.

As a semi-related side note, I'm a HUGE proponent of  working out between 10-ish and late afternoon-ish; there's some ammo for that argument in the above picture (click on it to get the whole thing.  My eskills are still being developed), but once again, it comes does to individual wants and needs.  Humans have the amazing ability to adapt and alter our own circadian rhythms, but only to a very slight degree.  Since we've been walking the planet for millions of years and using the sun as our clock, our DNA just kinda get tuned to it.

Closing thoughts:  If you eat like a caveman, shouldn't you train and sleep like one? 

***Upcoming posts:  A kicks-ass guide to fish oil, the evils of fructose, and why anti-oxidants can sabotage your training.