Rhyme or Reason, part 2

EIE Tip of the Day 35:  Video tape yourself performing every movement.  You might be surprised by what you look like and you will have an image in your mind’s eye when you perform the movement next.  This can also help create a better understanding of what the coaches are talking about when they coach you.

REMINDER:  The EIE Challenge is officially finished in one week!  This doesn’t mean much will change in your life, only that starting next week we will be busy retesting our personal data points.  All information will be due by the following Monday, 4/15 for the coaches to perform the first round of deliberation, narrowing down from 115 participants to 20.  The final voting will be tallied by 4/20 for the announcement at our EIE Post Party!

Weekly Programming Links:  Group Class, Barbell Club


Monday, April 1, 2013


Keg Drill
PVC Dislocates
Gristle and Groiners

Classic Strength:

EMOTM for 7 minutes perform:

1 Power Snatch + 2 Overhead Squats (heavy) 

Notes: Work up to a weight that you feel comfortable with and that will challenge you while focusing on good form. Focus on achieving the deepest possible depth while keeping your shoulders in a quality position.

Advanced Strength:

EMOTM for 5 minutes perform:

2 Snatches @ 80%
-then, when the clock hits 5:00-
2 minute AMRAP of:
Snatches @ 80%

Notes: Focus on quality over quantity. Try to move consistently over the 2 minutes and focus on perfect form every time.


1 minute ME Ring Dips or Push ups
-then (no rest)-
8 minute AMRAP of:
-15 Overhead Squats (95/65)
-20 Pull ups
-30 Double Unders
-then (no rest)-
1 minute ME Ring Dips or Push Ups

Notes: Score will be written as:  reps min 1/total rounds/reps last min.  You may substitute the overhead squats with front squats and the double unders with barbell jump overs (2 jumps=1 rep).

 Cool Down:

2 x 10 Wall Extensions
5 Skin the Cats
Foam Roll Legs

The PCF Surf Club!

In case you missed Part 1, we are discussing the evolution of our programming that has occurred over the years.  Specifically, what is the method to the madness?  We ended with a brief discussion about the Outlaw Way programming that has become our template and that is where I want to begin again…

1.  The Outlaw Way (OW) is designed with one purpose:  to develop the best CrossFit athletes on the planet and to win every CrossFit competition including the Holy Grail, the CrossFit Games.  What they realized was that while performing constantly varied high intensity movements will get you in really good shape, it didn’t necessarily make you the best CrossFit athlete.  Realizing that the sport was skewing heavier and heavier and that mastery of the complex movements transferred skills over to other training areas drove their training regimen.  (Fun Fact:  the OW is actually where the term Everything is Everything originated.)  Taking a look at their programming, they are working on a year long cycle leading up the CrossFit Games.  The programming is very repetitive from week to week for the strength portion because they are working standard strength cycles.  Additionally, their workouts are almost always less than 15 minutes and includes a lot of the same movements burpees and double unders anyone?  The question was how does this training transfer over to the average CrossFit athlete and fitness enthusiast walking through our doors?

2.  The reality is challenging.  How do you create a program that will optimize the perfomance of an athlete that attends 3x a week vs someone that attends 5x a week.  Let alone an athlete that is on their first month of CrossFit vs a 7 year veteran.  For instance, OW always has max out days on Saturday for the Olympic Lifts, but what if someone always works on weekends?  They never get to max out.  Or vice versa, someone always attends on Saturday, but can never make the Wednesday class to work on their accessory lifts.  While we are stoked to have some very competitive athletes in our gym (currently in 11th place in SoCal for the CF Games btw), the average member has very different needs.  As I posted in part 1, the major change was to begin prioritizing the strength portion just as much as the conditioning portion and to have a more rigid structure to class.  While we could not plan a perfect strength cycle, we knew that everyone needed to squat and needed regular exposure to the olympic lifts if they wanted to improve their overall athleticism.  The gymnastic training was still involved, but it definitely took a back seat as we focused on refining our teaching progressions for the lifts.  This was a big change for the gym and an exciting and challenging phase for both the coaches and athletes.  Some days we programmed way too much work for an hour and overcomplicated the classes.  After about 6 weeks, we realized that while this was making our more advanced athletes better, some of the newer athletes were getting frustrated.  Lets say a workout had squat snatches and muscle-ups, we would attempt to scale the workout, but it would end up being more skill based, as opposed to feeling like conditioning.  While people understood it was important to improve on these skills, it was also important to develop their metabolic conditioning.  This was the beginning of our 2 levels of classes.

3.  The first version of this change was called the Conditioning Bias, I first posted about it HERE.  The idea was that we wanted to alter the workout to movements and rep scheme that would be similar to the workout of the day, but guarantee a high intensity experience.  The easiest example of this was subbing out double unders.  This is now a normal part of our gym program, but at the time we had people performing single unders, reducing the number of reps, counting attempts, etc and the reality was that this was not only frustrating, but it was reducing the high intensity aspect of the workout for many people.  We began posting “conditioning bias” versions in the notes area of the blog and the Classic version was born.

4.  The second problem we ran into was that some of the strength training protocols were also on the advanced end.  For instance, did it make sense for every athlete to use percentages?  Many beginning athletes have a 1RM that is not indicative of their strength, but rather limited by their experience and technique, so it did not make sense for many beginning athletes to use these numbers.  While we were there to provide assistance and advice for how to scale these more advanced strength portions, the reality became clear:  we had reached a point where two levels were needed for both the strength and conditioning.

5.  We decided on the names Classic and Advanced (over Zeb’s vote for Heroic and Legendary, sorry Halo fans:) to emphasize the type of experience required to achieve the desired result.  Classic is meant to be classic style Strength and Conditioning, with nothing standing in your way of accomplishing either of these goals.  Advanced means that there will be a more technical component present that can possibly detract from the Strength and/or conditioning portion of the workout if you are not proficient.  The programming starts with the advanced protocols and then we determine what the classic version will be from there.  The most important thing to understand is this: the advanced programming does not mean it is a better workout than the classic!  In fact, it is harder to get as good of a workout with the advanced movements than with the classic because the rep schemes and movements are more challenging, hence reducing your intensity level and strength.  Focus on getting stronger with perfect form in the foundational movements and focus on pushing your intensity as high as you can with quality movement.  Doing the advanced workout does not make you an advanced athlete!  I believe the majority of people should perform the classic programming to see optimal results in the short term.  You have a lifetime to become advanced.

That was a little more long winded than I imagined, and there is still so much to discuss!  Next week we will discuss our new take on programming variance, fun and the group warmup, where our gymnastics and KB classes have gone and how the Barbell Club training fits into all of this.  Also, do you remember those daily homework assignments we were doing briefly?  Well, we haven’t forgotten about them, we just needed a better plan of action instead of a bunch of random work (sometimes I get ahead of myself, which is what this series is really all about:).  I am very excited to discuss what I have been experimenting with and hopefully bringing a more thorough homework program to all of you within the next couple months.

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