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Programming: The Basics



It’s easy to equate the “exertainment” level of a workout with how satisfactory the workout was. The focus can easily switch from, what is the best for your fitness to what is the most entertaining workout. And that is completely understandable. A gruesome workout, like Murph (1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run), sounds like a good burn. And it is. After completing a workout like that you feel accomplished. But the question remains, is it a good idea to do workouts like that, the biggest and baddest one you can think of, day in and day out? I would argue no. And original CrossFit programming theory would too.

CrossFit Programming Methodology 101

Things to note:

  • 3 days on, 1 day off to allow adequate rest and recovery (this could be extrapolated to 5 days on, 2 days off for the average 9-5er)
  • Every 4th training session is a single exercise day

The above template comes straight from Greg Glassman’s original article, “A Theoretical Template for CrossFit Programming.” By “Modalities,” Greg means the following:

Single Modality Days

A single modality day might mean practicing your handstand hold for the entire training session on a Gymnastics day. Or it might mean working up to a 3 heavy sets of 5 deadlifts on a Weightlifting day. Or, god forbid, it might mean doing 200m running repeats on a Monostructural day. The advantage of a single modality day is that it affords you the time needed to focus on one aspect of training.

Double Modality Days (task priority)

Classic CrossFit workouts like Fran, Annie, Diane, Elizabeth, and Nancy fall into this category. This is where we take 2 modalities and combine them in our workout. For example, running and overhead squats (Nancy: M + W), cleans and ring dips (Elizabeth: W + G), or double unders and sit-ups (Annie: M + G). These workouts are generally “task priority,” which means that you are tasked with completing a set number of repetitions of each movement and your score is the time you complete it in.

Triple Modality Days (time priority)

Triple modality workouts are what most crossfitters associate a “good workout” with. These are usually high on the exertainment scale. The most common is a triplet of 3 different exercises that are performed as many times as possible in a given time period (time priority). For example, 400m run, 15 thrusters at 40-50% of bodyweight, 10 pull-ups, repeat for as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. While extremely potent and beneficial when programmed correctly, these are often over programmed in the CrossFit community because they give you a beatdown.

Single, double, and triple modality days are each valuable on their own. But when programmed together, they can be incredibly potent in producing the physiological response we desire - improved fitness.

One last piece, the model described above informs Trebel’s programming but for many reasons we cannot adopt it 100% (not even CrossFit Headquarters can). But it does provide general guidelines for us to follow. My goal in writing this was to give a clearer picture into the why behind what we do. If you have any questions about programming, please reach out to Coach Jesse, Rob, or you coach for life. We are geeks for this stuff!

Group Class Programming for Monday, Dec 17th, 2017:

  1. Clean and Jerk 3-3-3-3-3, Toes to bar 5x max reps
  2. Life:
    Perform at a sustainable pace for 15 minutes:
    10 dumbell Squats
    10 Push-ups
    10 Hands Overhead Wall Squats
    30 sec. Front Plank

    Fitness:
    27-21-15-9 reps for time of:
    Hang dumbbell Squat Cleans (25/15#)
    seated dumbbell Press (25/15#)
    dumbell Squats (25/15#)
    Push-ups 
    Handstand Hold (in sec.) x2 *20 cap

    Performance:
    21-15-9 reps fro time of:
    Squat Cleans (135/95#)
    HSPU *50% strict *20 cap

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