Is your CrossFit gym guilty of these 3 programming mistakes?

The above picture is some basic programming homework our Coaches did in a recent training. #alwayslearning

In the ‘working-out’ world, ‘programming’ refers to how  workouts are designed and implemented in both the short and long-term. Many gyms do things randomly. “Oh, that looks good”… or “Yeah, we haven’t done that in awhile.” This approach is haphazard and dangerous. The program you participate in should be thought-out, progressive and have purpose. It should adhere to  some fundamental concepts REQUIRED for long term success. The 3 most common mistakes we see are:

Every workout is a CRUSHfest or a test 
Ever heard of the any-asshole-workout?
It’s when random crap is just thrown together.
Any asshole could come up with it. Just because it’s a hard workout doesn’t mean it’s good, there always needs to be thought behind the workouts. And they should be of varying lengths and hit different energy systems – and the purpose of each workout should be communicated to those participating. If every day is just a crushing workout or a hard-ass tester, it’s a recipe for disaster. Over time progress will slow and then stop, or injury will occur, and you’ll stop anyway.

There are no progressions, ever.
Everything is random all the time. I know, I know, the unknown and unknowable. But the preparation for the unknown and knowable doesn’t have to be random. In fact, it shouldn’t be. When you’re trying to get stronger, you lift progressively heavier weights. That word ‘progressive’ is key. When you’re training to get fitter and faster, you have to build it – with novice athletes, anything is going to progress them. But ongoing success requires a thought-out program. Progressions should be present in group programming. Not every workout has to be part of a progression, but at least SOME should be, and the others should still make sense. Implementing smart and varied progressions guarantees progress at all levels.

Specific bodyparts are overworked
“100 pull-ups yesterday? We should do 100 again today to see how robust our shoulder girdle is…” Balancing workload across the body is very important. If you’re doing the same sorts of things day after day, problems will develop and injuries will occur. It’s not a mystery, overworking specific body parts is a big problem. It’s no wonder PT clinics love CrossFitters, most of the time we keep them in business.

Programming is as much science as it is art, and it should be taken seriously. The primary elements of training are how you move, and the combinations of movements themselves (workouts). Moving well takes practice, a coachable athlete and a good coach. Creating appropriate combination of movements (programming) requires someone with experience who understands those movements, the energy systems involved, and how to balance load and general volume. In a group environment, it remains a crucial element to long term athletic success.

We know, see and learn from other gym owners and coaches who do things right. But far more frequently things are done wrong…so, be careful, it’s a jungle out there. Keep your eyes and mind open – and remember, in the end, you’re responsible for your own learning and success.