Sunday 8.04.13

What are you training for?

Beginning in the late 90's, I started working out using other peoples programs.  Bodybuilders, football players, WWF wrestlers, etc.  I saw someone that I liked how they looked or moved and tried to mimic them.

I tried one program called "12 weeks to bigger guns" by Ian King.  That program had me doing days of double and triple exercises for the biceps and triceps and at the end of the 12 weeks my guns were bigger,  by several inches.  But I was never as cut as Ian King looked!  After that, I tried Ian King's chest program and legs program, but those didn't have similar effects as the arms program, so I moved on.

Throughout the years I tried many other programs, Dave Tate's, Westside Barbell, Chad Waterbury, Dan John, Wendler 5-3-1, Catalyst Olympic Weightlifting, Triple H's bodybuilding routine, etc.  All of them worked to a point.  None of them provided me exactly what they promised.

I did learn a lot from these programs.  Mainly I learned that all programs work.... for the person who wrote the program and perhaps anyone built like them.  But everyone else is different.  Our work and sleep schedules, the amount/ types of supplements we take, our metabolism, fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscles, etc....all different.  I could not train and look like The Rock, if I did not do everything in and out of the gym as he does.

Brad and I are brothers, but our training has been significantly different.  If I did the amount of volume of Barbell work that Brad does, my knees and lower back pay the price.  I can match Brad in strength numbers by going heavy more often for lower reps and doing less volume at a percentage of my 1 rep maxes.  We learned what worked for us from 15 + years of doing everyone else's programs and our own.  We took what worked for us from each program and used it to streamline our own training (and learned to rid ourselves of 2+ hour training sessions in the process).

Enter CrossFit.

CrossFit has continued that streamline process for training.  CrossFit has employed a "high intensity" approach that provides us with more benefits of training in less time.  Runners, weightlifters, athletes have lowered their time in the gym by using CrossFit type training.  CrossFit has thousands of gyms worldwide using various programs that have created a high level athlete or simply fitter people, by doing less in the gym.  You do not need to run yourself into the ground for a marathon or Tuff Mudder event or doing two a days just to be fit.  People around the world are proving through their training, that a strength or skill movement, coupled with a short but intense workout is the key to fitness.

The Compound's Programming:

So if everyone is different, how do we write a program that covers everyone in the gym?

Simple....we do not.  Not posted on the WOD blog at least.  And you wouldn't want us too either.  Keep in mind, most pre-made programs are written out exactly with what sets, what weights, what order, from the large lifts to the accessory lifts.  "You don't do 3 sets of 20 calf raises at the end of the leg day workout, no wonder you Squat isn't going up Bro."  That is part of the issue with programs.  The accessory lifts I need to improve my fitness may be completely different than the accessory lifts someone else might need.

Also, you never know how tired or sore you are from day to day.  That's the job of you and the coaches at The Compound to determine what you can do on a given day.

Therefore, we program a large lift and a Workout of the Day (WOD).  The WOD is a version of the accessory lifts.  We used to call them Supersets.  But add a clock to it and go for your best time possible (with good form) and you have a CrossFit workout.

So how can The Compound's programming work for you individually?

The best thing for your fitness, after you have form down, is to increase your intensity.  Intensity does not always mean being the sweatiest.  The Collins' would have a lock on that category.  The best ways to measure intensity is time (or rounds in a given time) or weight.   Move more weight (including bodyweight) in the fastest time possible is exactly equal to the Intensity you are putting out.   High intensity, short duration workouts is what makes CrossFit work.   Multiple WODS = lower intensity = CrossFit not working as well as it can for you (again, elite athletes like at the CrossFit Games excluded, but they have strict coaching and mandatory rest to ensure they are not over-training).

The Compound's workouts are posted the day before.  This is not so you can look the day before and decide if you want to show up.  That is called Cherry picking.  It is so you can prepare.  You can look back at the last time you did a certain lift or workout and decide a game plan on how you want to approach the workout and increase your intensity.  We program the most functional lifts and movements so you can get the most out of each workout.  If you programmed for yourself, then I am about 100% sure you are missing something.  I know if I programmed for myself, it would be the heaviest workout every time in 5 minutes or less.  Sit back, let us program for you and don't be afraid to try new things.  Working on your weaknesses is the best way to improve your strengths.

After the workout, or before if you get there early enough, feel free to work on any skill you would like.  To get the most out of this part, it should be done in a way that does not mimic a CrossFit workout.  Doing reps for time or huge numbers of reps where Quality drops quickly should be avoided.

Everything WOD can be scaled!  If you are sick, injured, or lack a skill or strength, the WOD can always be fine tuned to you.  Ask a coach!  Here's some options to fine tune the workouts for your individual goals:

What if you want to work more on strength?  Put the majority of your focus and intensity on the strength movements prescribed.  For the WOD, talk to your coach about scaling the weight up.  Understand, that your intensity will go down the slower you move the barbell.  But if its for a purpose of strength gaining, that is fine.  At the CrossFit Games in 2008, they programmed a workout with 275# Deadlifts.  That was considered heavy.  This year, they programmed a workout with 405# Deadlifts.  That's Evolution.

What if you want to work on cardio?  During the WOD, drop weights to roughly 55-65% of the prescribed weight and go for speed (with good form).  The more that barbell is moving, and the less you allow your body to rest the better for your cardio respiratory endurance and stamina.  Talk to your coach about what weights can be appropriate for you.

What if you need to improve your gymnastics?  Spend time before or after a WOD to work quality time on some body weight movements.  I find Handstand Walks to be a good warm up for my shoulders.  During the WOD, switch out some barbell movements for body weight movements.  This is what I do quite often.  Push Presses easily become Handstand Push Ups.  Sumo Deadlift High Pulls become Pull Ups, etc.  Again, speak with your coach about options of bodyweight movements that match the integrity of the workout.

Lastly, I've mentioned it before, but I'll end with it here. Speak with your coach and have him/ her help you decide how you can use the workouts to achieve your goals.  Our workouts are not random, they are varied.  We try to hit a variety of push, pull and squat movements in multiple planes.  This means the coach knows the workouts coming up in the week and can help you choose movements so you can avoid over-training certain body parts through too similar of movements.

The coaches are there to help you, so use them.  I always respond to calls on my job where people say that suspicious activities were occurring in their neighborhood prior to a major crime happening.  But they just didn't want to call 9-1-1 and bother us.  I have to explain to them that I patrol an 850 square mile county.  If they don't call us, there may be days or weeks we don't get to their neighborhood.  I tell them to be selfish with us.  Same thing for our coaches at the Compound.  Be selfish with them and ask them anything you need to help you achieve your goals.