Don’t re-invent the wheel.

CrossFit HQ has been moving along on a video series called “Affiliate Roundup” — a small round-table discussion amongst top coaches and affiliate owners sharing ideas and conversations above everything at the CrossFit Affiliate level. What works, what doesn’t, the good, the bad, etc. 

The cool part about this is the diversity of backgrounds, experience levels, and discussion topics. The down side is the current video series was shot at the same time and is broken into smaller parts. That’s only a down side because we don’t get to hear from other round table groups, other voices, even more diverse perspectives, etc. Maybe those scenarios are on the way and HQ’s media folks are hard at work, but that’s just an observation and what to expect if you go back and follow the information. 

ANYWAY . . . 

In this piece they hit on programming and it’s a huge passion of mine because of all the corners you can explore, the concepts we can utilize, and the variety in perspectives of different sports worlds and even nationalities. BUT, it’s also a passion of mine to back off of. That’s misleading so I’ll try my best to explain. 

When the idea of a “program” comes about it drags along assumptions. Some of those assumptions are necessary/accurate and some are the opposite. We’re not going into any programming details here so don’t get too excited. The point I want to drive home is actually in what not to do. The assumptions I mentioned can carry weight in areas such as, but not limited to, frequency of certain movements or time domains or energy systems, bias to certain movements or categories, themes like raw strength or bodyweight or sport specific inclusions, and general variety or lack thereof. Keep in mind I’m speaking mostly as the round table folks in the video are about GPP at the CrossFit Affiliate level. 

There are plenty of gyms out there, CrossFit or not, that boast a program preparing it’s athletes well for anything providing a strong, broad, inclusive base fitness with an understanding of what it means to hit the CVFMHI criteria accurately. I believe their flaw is in exactly what it takes to do that. A couple of the folks in the video mention that they utilize mainsite programming on a two-week delay (need to be able to prep class material outside of the actual meat of the WOD, hence the delay) and fill in the rest days with their own ideas (not everyone can maintain the three days on one day off prescription initially recommended by CrossFit). This is a brilliant idea and not because HQ provides the best program out there, but more simply in that it fulfills the exact criteria that initially, and always will, make CrossFit great. The goal was to find an optimal way to achieve elite fitness. CrossFit has done that in spades. Of course there is discussion as to how well that prepares you for a specific sport or the CrossFit Games, but those are discussions for other days. 

It is commonplace to build a program with many different components in trying to cover ground in all areas of fitness. This is a slippery slope because of the diversity in tasks we should be able to perform well in as humans. Start adding in rope climbs here and there and you’re missing out on some running or heavy lifting. You include some extra work to improve your ability to walk on your hands and absolute strength suffers. We care so much about the sexiness of weightlifting we forget how important is to increase our ability to deadlift well and heavy. The trade-off is endless and the discussion is exhausting. We can simplify the entire process, though, and get down down to brass tacks on the subject of GPP for general population, which happens to be more than 99% of the population (i.e. you’re not special): STOP DOING MORE! Whatever your program includes start looking for things you can cut out rather than places to fill in. It will provide you an opportunity to attack the important pieces with a vengeance that you’ve forgotten how to train with. 

It’s like editing a piece for a respected paper. Not just any old thing will do. They want to rid your work of the fluff and make it rich in its’ text. They want to find the best way to convey the message, not take up the readers time with nonsense. 

The point is this: more isn’t better, better is better. Historically I have been someone that tries to live by “always more”, but that doesn’t necessarily align with program specs. That could mean pure effort, it could stem from an evolution standpoint, and it could include other facets of life outside the training realm. Don’t make the mistake of trying to reinvent or outthink the wheel. We already know what works. Do it well. It breeds success and spreads like wildfire, we just have to keep feeding the fire. 

Leave a Reply