Category Archives for "Functional Fitness"

Will Velocity Based Training Change the Way I Coach Athletes?

Will Velocity Based Training Change the Way I Coach Athletes?

Spencer Arnold and I have been talking about this question for months. Will velocity based training change the way that I coach athletes? It will definitely be a tool that I use from now on. Whether you are a strength and conditioning coach, weightlifting coach, powerlifting coach, or CrossFit coach, velocity based training offers multiple ways to improve your craft. Here’s the way that I am going to implement:

1. I am going to collect data on all of my athletes for at least 10-12 weeks. This will give me all the numbers that I need to put ranges on my guys and gals.

2. I will use VBT to give me ranges of speed at various percentages for all of my athletes, so that I can predict outcomes and alter daily routines. I want to know each of my athlete’s velocities at 60%, 70%, and 80%. If bar speed is up, then I might go big that day. If it’s down, then I might focus on technique.

3. I want to know the speeds that all of my athletes tend to fail, so that I can set limits for each of them. The goal would be to end the majority of misses to avoid injuries and over-training.

4. For my field and court athletes, I want to avoid all misses and injuries.

5. I will use VBT to teach my athletes effort and intent. I will also use it to teach new coaches to speed up their learning curve.

Coach Spencer Arnold and I have been working on this book for some time. I am personally excited, as it is so different from anything that I have ever written. This book will help my readers in so many areas of their coaching and programming. For athletes it will open them up to a whole new way to quantify their training, and understand their strengths and weaknesses.

This is the sixth article that we have written on the subject, so I wanted to put links to all of them in one spot for you guys to understand the concept a little better. Here you go:

1. https://www.mashelite.com/velocity-based-training-for-the-strength-world/

2. https://www.mashelite.com/velocity-based-training-versus-the-dynamic-effort/

3. https://www.mashelite.com/velocity-and-the-rpe-scale/

4. https://www.mashelite.com/can-velocity-based-training-replace-good-coaching/

5. https://www.mashelite.com/maximizing-efficiency-in-the-sport-of-crossfit-by-coach-spencer-arnold/

I hope that this series on velocity based training has given all of you some ideas that might apply to your athletes or your own training. Let us know what questions that you still might have. We will be more than happy to answer.

This week, the new Mash E-Book “Bar Speed” drops. It is written by Coach Travis Mash and Coach Spencer Arnold. This book will help coaches and athletes:

• Define daily intent
• Keep the weight room safer
• Teach effort
• Prevent over-training
• Guarantee that all qualities of strength are being trained

It will provide you full programs for the sports of:

• Weightlifting
• Powerlifting
• CrossFit
• Athletic Performance
• SuperTotal

I even provided a high volume and low volume program for each. This will be unlike any program that I have ever written.

Stay tuned! If you are not on our newsletter list, you can get a FREE Copy of our E-Book “The Mash Method” all at the same time at:

www.mashelite.com/mashmethod/

“Maximizing Efficiency in the Sport of CrossFit” by Coach Spencer Arnold

Maximizing efficiency in the sport of CrossFit using Velocity Based Training.

by Coach Spencer Arnold, Head Coach Power and Grace Performance

If you have been around the competitive CrossFit scene at all you have heard the phrase, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.“ This phrase, that many CrossFit coaches like to apply to their athlete’s movement, denotes that smooth will ultimately be the most efficient way to accomplish a task without any of the fatal flaws that comes with being reckless. The phrase itself likely has its roots in the military, which only heightens the necessity for precision.

In CrossFit, the speed at which I’m able to accomplish a task or workout or a combination of workouts is the all-important factor. For most workouts it’s about the clock when I’m finished. Therefore, both the efficiency at which I move a bar as well as the speed at which it is moving carries a crucial amount of importance in performance. Spectators easily notice this distinction in watching high caliber CrossFit athletes compete. One of the most often reference examples is watching Rich Froning complete workouts. For me, watching him work through a set of thrusters is mind-boggling. The bar is moving with relative ease continuously at the same velocity. It’s like he never slows down. The movement itself is far from reckless and is in fact uncannily in its efficiency. There’s a quick pause at the top of every rep with a properly loaded bounce through the bottom. Many of the competitors at his level perform the thruster a similar fashion.

The reason I bring these examples up is to point to two incredibly important factors. The best CrossFit athletes in the world waste no energy. They are able to move a barbell or their body or any other random object with the least amount of energy needed to accomplish the task with the greatest amount of speed. Secondly, these athletes move at high rates of speed for longer periods of time then most considered humanly possible. As a coach, there are a lot of moving parts around the success of a high-level CrossFit athlete but these two factors rank pretty high.

I say all this to point to one of the many ways that a velocity based training philosophy can be used in a CrossFit environment. Obviously the constructs of the tether attached to the velocity unit (Linear Position Transducer) itself prevent a lot of mobility that is required in a typical CrossFit workout. However, velocity units could be used in testing and in specifically engineering workouts to test these two factors of training mentioned above. The question you should be asking right now is how in the world does a velocity unit measure my efficiency. That’s simple. Take a look at a weightlifter that moves with really clean smooth efficient technique through a snatch. That weightlifter is going to be maximizing the speed at which the bar moves simply because there are no “power leaks“ within their technique. A high-caliber weightlifter will eliminate faults like the early arm bend or shifting to the front of the feet early or a lack of finish in the second pull. Their inefficient technique allows for greater velocity. How can I use a velocity unit to measure this? Simply by attaching the unit to the bar as they are performing those movements and noting the speed at which the ball moves when the movement is clean. Then, use the unit to the note lack of efficiency in the movement as a velocity begins to drop. Obviously fatigue will play into some of that but if it’s a relatively short amount of reps then it’s easy to see inefficient technique playing a part in dampened velocity. I can take a Rich Froning type athlete and attach a velocity unit him while he is performing a thruster and put him next to an athlete who has multiple technical faults and see the velocity difference. Especially in reps 3,4 and 5 this will become clear. While most good coaches can see this error with their eyes, an athletic training alone may not catch it. One of the biggest faults I often see in an athlete performing a heavy thruster is a shift to the front of the foot during the concentric phase as well as a collapsing of the anterior core doing the same phase. This is seen by weight shifting to the ball of the foot and their elbows dropping. However an athlete completing the movement by themselves may not have the kinesthetic awareness to recognize this fault but will be able to look at a screen in front of them and get immediate feedback on a technique failure. This will allow them to go back and correct the movement or during the next round focus on those two areas in order to maximize the efficiency during the lift. I recognize it seems a little crazy to attach a velocity tether to your bar for a workout like Fran. And I am not at all advocating that you should attach a velocity unit to every barbell movement as a CrossFit athlete. What I am saying is a velocity unit can be a good tool to measure inefficiency in movements that may be your weakness. I’m also saying that it’s worth measuring the velocity of those units at multiple points during a training phase in order to see if you were getting more efficient and moving about a higher rate of speed.

The mixed modality nature of the sport of CrossFit makes the utilization of velocity based training chaotic in most cases. However, there are specific scenarios in which the principles of VBT can be utilized. Experimenting with those situations especially with a proper understanding of your weaknesses will allow just a little bit of an edge on your competition. We all know that in the sport of CrossFit one rep in one round on one work out can be the difference in a podium or going home. Every edge matters! If an athlete is able to identify inefficiency or notice at what rep during a set fatigue begins to happen or understand their threshold for power endurance in the push press these are all little pieces of information that can go a long way in fixing weaknesses, becoming a better athlete, and reaching your goals.

Next week, the new Mash E-Book “Bar Speed” drops. It is written by Coach Travis Mash and Coach Spencer Arnold. This book will help coaches and athletes:

• Define daily intent
• Keep the weight room safer
• Teach effort
• Prevent over-training
• Guarantee that all qualities of strength are being trained

Stay tuned! If you are not on our newsletter list, you can get a FREE Copy of our E-Book “The Mash Method” all at the same time at:

www.mashelite.com/mashmethod/

Sola Fides,

Spencer Arnold
Owner/Head Coach
Power And Grace Performance

Can Velocity Based Training Replace Good Coaching?

Check out one of our 13 Books on topics like programming, conjugate method, injury prevention, nutrition, mindset, and competition prep at:

==> https://www.mashelite.com/ebooks/

or Check out one of our Online Teams and Nutrition Programs at:

Mash Coaching
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Can Velocity Based Training Replace Good Coaching?

by Coach Travis Mash

I have been studying velocity based training for the last three months just about every day. That’s what I do when I am interested in a topic. I check out the research, and then I look up my friends in the industry that I respect that are actually using what I am interested in. Then I read what they have to say, and then I call them or go see them. That’s exactly what I did here.

Velocity Based Training is a tool for coaches and athletes to use. It’s not really a method like the dynamic method for example. It’s a tool that can be used for to better quantify any method that you might use. VBT can do a lot more than just that like:

• Keep athletes safe
• Guarantee intent of training
• Teaching effort

These are just a few, but we will use these three benefits of VBT to make my point. A good coach desires first to keep his athletes safe. No matter what the goal is, safety has to be first. In the weight room, two of the biggest injuries in the weight room are wrists and lower backs. How do these injuries happen? A lot of wrist injuries occur when a lifter goes too heavy on a clean, and ends up with his elbows on his knees. A good coach knows when the bar speed is slowing, and will therefore cut the athlete off. Once in a while, a coach makes a mistake, and then boom a lifter breaks a wrist or sprains a wrist.

One time in my career, we had a major injury in my gym. I wasn’t there, and a younger coach let an athlete continue one set too many. It was a terrible day in the history of my gym. If we had used VBT, we could have put a minimum on our athletes. For example, we could have said that the minimum bar speed for a clean is 1.5 m/s. That would remain the same whether I was there or not. This would give a younger coach a quantifiable number instead of having to use their gut. Over time this can help speed the development of the coach as well. They will start to relate speed with a number. What takes most coaches years of experience can be taught if a few months of training.

You can do the same for squats and deadlifts. If you are a high school coach, you will definitely want to listen to this one. The last thing that you want to do is see a young athlete hurt their back. Is there really a reason for a high school athlete to try a maximum deadlift? That’s debatable, but I recommend putting a limit on the velocity. For example you could have them max out, but with at least a .5 m/s velocity. You could test them in this way avoiding grinding with slower velocities putting more stress on the athlete’s back. Of course a good coach knows when to cut off an athlete, but when you are coaching 30 athletes at the same time all by yourself in a high school, it’s hard to watch every single athlete max out. Setting this minimum immediately makes all the athletes watching become a coaching assistant.

Guarantee Intent- We all know by now that there are different qualities of strength. Let’s call them zones of strength. Here’s the way Coach Bryan Mann labels them:

Absolute Strength- .3 to .5 m/s and somewhere over 90%
Accelerative Strength- .5 to .75 m/s and somewhere between 65-90%
Strength Speed- .75 to 1.0 m/s and somewhere between 45-65%
Speed Strength- 1.0 to 1.3 m/s and somewhere between 25-45%
Starting Strength- 1.3 and greater m/s and somewhere less than 25%

All of us that coach have a reason for programming the way that we do. Some of us want our athletes going heavy very often. Some of us want to focus more on higher velocities. Personally I like a combination of the strength zones focusing more on the ones that relate to the sport I am programming for. How do we know that the athlete is actually training within the zone that we want?

A lot of us use percentages to control training intent. The problem is that an athlete’s 1RM can range 18% each way on any given day. That’s a 36% swing. Coaches like Don McCauley can see that in the way his athletes are moving, and he can make changes based on what he sees. He has two decades in the sport training the best athletes that the United States has to offer. It’s unreasonable to ask a coach with two years of experience to be able to do the same thing. Velocity can help all coaches quantify their training intent.

Teaching Effort- this is a big one. Heck this is hard for me at times. I can tell an athlete to push as fast as they can, but some simply don’t grasp the concept. I’ve had an athlete performing a speed squat only to push faster when verbally prompted. That shouldn’t happen. If you are pushing as fast as possible, you shouldn’t be able to push faster on command. VBT is a way to show the athletes with a number on a screen. Soon an athlete starts to relate speed with the number. Therefore they start learning the concept of speed.

They will learn that .8 is moving pretty fast probably with a descent amount of weight. They will learn that 1.0 to 1.3 is really starting to generate some major speed and power. They know that anything faster than 1.3 is freaking moving man. It’s an amazing tool that I wish had been around when I was coming up as an athlete.

So does velocity based training replace good coaching? Obviously the answer is no, but it sure does help in a lot of ways. It shortens the training curve of less experienced coaches, and it helps advanced coaches teach their assistants and their own athletes. It’s just a tool, but it’s pretty darn amazing.

Right now VBT has been used primarily in the strength and conditioning world. Coach Spencer Arnold and I are bringing it to the rest of the barbell world. Next week we are dropping our latest e-book “Bar Speed” all about velocity based training. We are teaching:

• Weightlifting Coaches and Athletes
• Powerlifting Coaches and Athletes
• CrossFit Coaches and Athletes
• Athletic Performance Coaches and Athletes
• Even SuperTotal Coaches and Athletes

We are going to teach all of you everything that we have learned about velocity based training. We also have laid out full programs for each division and explained them to give you a better idea. I am excited about the programs because they are different from the ones that I normally write. I think that you will all enjoy them as well.

I can’t wait to release this book, as the programming inside will be different from anything that I have ever published. This book will help coaches and athletes:

• Define daily intent
• Keep the weight room safer
• Teach effort
• Prevent over-training
• Guarantee that all qualities of strength are being trained

Stay tuned! If you are not on our newsletter list, you can get a FREE Copy of our E-Book “The Mash Method” all at the same time at:

www.mashelite.com/mashmethod/

“Basics of Training Frequency” by Coach Matt Shiver

Check out one of our 13 Books on topics like programming, conjugate method, injury prevention, nutrition, mindset, and competition prep at:

==> https://www.mashelite.com/ebooks/

or Check out one of our Online Teams and Nutrition Programs at:

Mash Coaching
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Basics of Training Frequency

by Coach Matt Shiver

One of the biggest questions we hear as fitness professionals is how often should I exercise? The question then gets broken down into: “How often should I train specific movement patterns or specific body parts?” Well the answer to this question is “It depends”. Like many of the training variables, frequency is going to be changed throughout one’s fitness career based on their goals, training history/progress, and lifestyle. But the basics of frequency need to be laid out so that is what I will do here.

High Frequency Training for Strength

The most effective way to increase strength and hypertrophy is through resistance training using progressive overload. The easiest way to “progressively overload” an athlete is to increase the total poundage of weight lifted over a given time period. The equation is as follows: weight x sets x reps. If you did 100lb squats for 3 sets of 5 reps in one week, your total volume will be 1500lbs for that week. Your body will adapt to the 1500lb stress you applied to it. This means that the next week, you need to use more than 1500lbs to elicit an anabolic response.

To get more poundage added in your training program, at least one of the three variables (weight, sets, or reps) must be increased each week. Notice how I highlighted each week. You do not have to add weight, sets, and reps to every training session. Instead you can add another training day. For example, if you are used to squatting 1x a week and you start squatting 2x per week, you increased the frequency and total volume just by adding one more day. You do not have to add more sets or reps to each workout with an additional training session. You could actually decrease the amounts of sets and reps you do each day and spread them out over the week to leave your legs feeling fresh and still progress through the principle of overload.

For example, if you did 100lb squats for 2 sets of 5 reps twice a week, you have a total of 2000lbs of total volume. By taking this approach, you actually decreased one workout’s sets by one set in the process and increased the total workload by 500lbs.

You do not need to train your body to exhaustion by adding weight, reps, and sets to one day of training to make progress. By spreading out the amount of times you stress that muscle each week, you can directly increase the total volume. This approach allows you to get more work done and feel much better through the process.

We all have done a typical bodybuilding split that had its leg day. The leg day consisted of absolutely demolishing the legs. The DOMs you got made it difficult to use your legs the next day. Your legs sometimes took a full week to recover from the training stimulus.

This approach is most likely not optimal for maximal strength gains. It limits the total poundage that can be lifted due to the muscle damage that was caused from such a high volume. If we took an approach that lessened the muscular damage done in one session, allowed us to train a movement pattern more often, and increase the total poundage of weight lifted over a given week why not do it?

High Frequency Training for Hypertrophy

My biggest concern for doing the classic “bro split” (spending one day on a specific muscle group) is that you are could be missing out on more opportunities to stimulate growth of the muscle tissue. If the body part is fully recovered in 48-72 hours, why wait another 4-5 days to stress it again? You will be getting much more bang for your buck by increasing your exercise frequency over a given week rather than increasing the amount of total work done in a single session.

If you are currently training using a conventional “bro split” for hypertrophy and want to give this a try, here is how. First, you need to find out your baseline volume. You need to find out how much total volume you need to continue to make adaptations in your training. I suggest doing this by tracking your workouts for an entire week. Then break down the week into movement patterns or body parts: vertical pressing, horizontal pressing, vertical pulling, horizontal pulling, squats, hinges, carries, core, etc. OR biceps, triceps, chest, back, quads, hamstrings and glutes, calves, etc.

Then, find the total SETS for EACH movement pattern/body part. From there, decide on how many days a week you want to exercise. For most people I would suggest doing full body workouts on each of these days splitting up the amount of sets of each muscle group evenly over these days. If you were used to training vertical pressing 1x per week with 9 sets, now try to train vertical pressing 3x per week with 3 sets each. You are going to be stimulating growth more frequently than you were before. You will NOT be as sore. Soreness is not a marker of muscle growth. You do not need to be sore to increase your muscle size. If you can hit a muscle group more often with less damage, you are setting yourself up for success.

Experience Determines Training Frequency

Frequency is also going to be determined by how the experience levels of the athlete. The more experience you have, the higher frequency you will need to have to meet the total volume needed to adapt to an exercise stimulus. This is what we see when we have elite level weightlifters training 9-12 training sessions a week. They have built up to this level of frequency. There is no reason to start a program that makes you train 5x-7x a week if you are used to 2x. That is a huge jump! You are actually going to LOSE gains from this. You could easily continue to make gains with minimal jumps in total training volume. By increasing your frequency and total volume too quickly, you are going to be making a new set point for your body. Now to improve, you have to increase even more in total volume. Why would you want to train for 2 hours a day for 5-6 days a week if you can get the same, if not better, response to exercise from training 3 days a week for 45 minutes to an hour. It gives you more time to focus on what really matters in life. More is not necessarily better when it comes to hypertrophy and strength training.

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Next week our latest e-book “Bar Speed” drops teaching you guys everything there is to know about velocity based training for all athletes (Weightlifting, Powerlifting, SuperTotal, Athletic Performance, and CrossFit). Coach Spencer Arnold from Power & Grace Performance and I explain all the ways that VBT can be applied to each sport, and we give you sample programs for each sport.

Until then you can download our Free E-Book “Mash Method” to learn several ways to set new records in your training right now. Check it out at: ==> www.mashelite.com/mashmethod/

Velocity and the RPE Scale

Check out one of our 13 Books on topics like programming, conjugate method, injury prevention, nutrition, mindset, and competition prep at:

==> https://www.mashelite.com/ebooks/

or Check out one of our Online Teams and Nutrition Programs at:

Mash Coaching
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Velocity and the RPE Scale

This week I had the privilege of podcasting with Coach/Athlete Mike Tuchscherer. I am pretty sure that Mike is the first guy to introduce the Powerlifting world to the RPE scale, and now thanks to him I use it in the weightlifting world. Let me explain the RPE System a little better.

RPE stands for rate of perceived exertion. This scale originated in the running world, but Mike borrowed it for a couple of reasons. Typical periodization utilizes percentages to prescribe intensities on a daily basis. These programs have all been shown to be effective, but they have one major flaw. Standard periodized percentages don’t take into account daily stress or each person’s normal hormonal cycle.

Studies have shown that an athlete’s 1-repetition maximum can range 18% up or down on a daily basis. That’s a 36% swing, and that makes percentages sometimes less than optimal. These daily swings are taken into account with the RPE System. Here’s the way it works:

RPE 10- Maximal Lift
RPE 9- One repetition is left in the tank
RPE 8- Two repetitions are left in the tank
RPE 7- Three repetitions are left
RPE 6- Four
REP 5- Five
RPE 4- Six
RPE 3- Seven
RPE 2- Eight
RPE 1- Nine

There are two ways that this scale can work with a coach and an athlete. First this is a great way for the coach to communicate with the athlete the optimal intensity for the day. This starts to quantify the desire of the coach. With online coaching this can be a real help. Sometimes it’s hard for the athlete to understand what the coach is trying to communicate. For example, if I tell an athlete that I want them to go light in the squat on a particular day, I am not certain that the athlete will comprehend my intent for them. “Light” for one athlete isn’t “light” for another. If I tell them to work up to a 7 RPE, there starts to be a better comprehension.

Second it’s a great way for an athlete to communicate with the coach. If an athlete performs a lift and tells the coach that the lift felt like an 8 RPE, the coach will know that there is plenty more in the tank. This can be especially helpful at a meet when choosing attempts.

However there is one major problem with this system, and that’s it can be very subjective. In a world of numbers like powerlifting and weightlifting, subjectivity can be a real problem. I believe that this system could be really effective for more seasoned athletes. It’s the brand new ones that this could be a problem. When a person first starts training, they simply don’t know their bodies well enough to decide between a 7, 8, or 9 RPE. How can this be quantified?

This is where velocity can come in. There are a few affordable options out there that could work well like “Open Barbell” or “Form Collar”. The key is to find solid velocity numbers for each athlete starting with a maximum lift. Most people start to shortly after .3m/s. However some can finish a lift at .15m/s if they have amazing grind abilities like my friend Hayden Bowe.

Once you can establish a 1RM velocity, you can then start working down. For example you will know that for a person with a .3m/s velocity during a 1RM, a lift moving at .75 m/s is no where near a 9 RPE. Everyone is slightly different, but you could start with a scale like this:

10 RPE- .3m/s and down
9 RPE- .3 to .5 m/s
8 RPE- .5 to .75 m/s
7 RPE- .75 to 1 m/s
6 RPE- 1 to 1.3 m/s
5 RPE- Greater that 1.3 m/s used for starting strength or warm up
1-4 RPE- Warm up weight used for technique and recovery.

Velocity is simply the best way to quantify training intensity. I love all the different ways that velocity can aid a coach or athlete in the weight room. Louie Simmons used to talk about velocity all the time back when I was competing, and I just thought that he was trying to sound smart. Now that I am a coach, I totally understand why he talked so much about it.

In a couple of weeks, Coach Spencer Arnold (Power and Grace Performance) and I are releasing our new book “Bar Speed”. Right now velocity based training has made its way through the strength and conditioning world. We are going to bring it to the strength and CrossFit world in an attempt to improve the world that we love so much. This book is going to be great for:

• Weightlifting coaches and athletes
• Powerlifting coaches and athletes
• CrossFit coaches and athletes
• Strength and conditioning coaches and athletes
• High School weight room coaches for safety and teaching tool
• SuperTotal coaches and athletes

I can’t wait to release this book, as the programming inside will be different from anything that I have ever published. This book will help coaches and athletes:

• Define daily intent
• Keep the weight room safer
• Teach effort
• Prevent over-training
• Guarantee that all qualities of strength are being trained

Stay tuned! If you are not on our newsletter list, you can get a FREE Copy of our E-Book “The Mash Method” all at the same time at:

www.mashelite.com/mashmethod/

CrossFit is Becoming not so Random

Tomorrow our latest e-book “The Mash System” drops! This book is packed with 12-week programs for weightlifting, powerlifting, SuperTotal, Athletic Performance, and Functional Fitness/MashFit. We also have a GPP/Conditioning Section filled with conditioning that will get you in shape without destroying your gains. We also list each method within our system, explain each aspect, and point out where each is found within the programs.

“The Mash System” drops tomorrow. For now you can download our Free E-Book “Mash Method” to get a glimpse of what’s coming. Download “Mash Method” Free at:
==> www.mashelite.com/mashmethod/

CrossFit is Becoming not so Random

If you go to www.crossfit.com, you will find the following written in its definition:

“CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.”

Personally I believe when it comes to overall work capacity, this concept is a good idea. It’s basically the conjugate method for exercise. There will always be a place for this concept, but as whole things are changing in the sport.

The biggest problem with this concept is the SAID Principle. The SAID Principle states: “the SAID principle asserts that the human body adapts specifically to imposed demands. In other words, given stressors on the human system, whether biomechanical or neurological, there will be a Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands”. Basically if you want to get better at something, you have to practice that movement. You can’t get better at throwing a baseball by throwing a football. You have to throw a baseball, and you have to throw it often.

Within CrossFit there are several elements that are combined to make up the sport: gymnastics, weightlifting, powerlifting, general strength modalities, swimming, running, biking, etc. The complexity of weightlifting, gymnastics, and even powerlifting requires more frequency to see improvement. You can’t perform sit-ups and get better at muscle-ups. You can’t perform curls and get better at the snatch.

Most CrossFit competitors are realizing that, and there training protocols are reflecting the SAID Principle more and more. If you want to get better at weightlifting, you will need some specificity. That means you will want to program the Olympic lifts on a more regular basis. The same will go for gymnastic movements. To some degree both weightlifting and gymnastics should be programmed with some for of periodization with a goal of peaking at the Open and then continuing to improve throughout the Games if you are lucky enough to make it.

To some degree the movements of powerlifting should be programmed more frequently especially the squat and deadlift as those two movements will help not only the Olympic lifts, but they will also help with the improvements of running, jumping, biking, and other elements found within the CrossFit protocol. The squat and the deadlift are simply the two most functional and common movement patterns. How many times in a day do you squat down or pick something up. If you improve the quality of movement and/or strength of those two movement patterns, those gains will transfer to countless other areas of fitness and life.

Once again if you want a better squat, you will need to practice it on a regular basis. The same goes for the deadlift. The deadlift doesn’t normally need as high a frequency as the deadlift, but a once per week approach will work perfectly. Squatting improves the quickest for most people when performed with a little more frequency.

However when it comes to programming, it all comes down to what needs improvement. If you are Matt Fraser, CrossFit Games Champion, you won’t have to worry a lot about the Olympic lifts because he was a great weightlifter prior to beginning CrossFit. The same goes for a gymnast starting CrossFit. A gymnast wouldn’t need a lot of work on muscle-ups.

If you want to get better at CrossFit, you will need to master weightlifting and gymnastics. The best way to do that is with frequency. You will want to practice the elements that need the most help on a more frequent basis. I recommend performing the movements that you need the most help on 2-3 times per week, and keep the other elements in the program once per week. It’s really that simple. Sets, reps and total frequency are a little more complicated, but I recommend keeping it as basic as possible.

Am I talking only about CrossFit competitors? No even the general fitness member of your gym will benefit from a little more specificity. People love to get stronger. Anyone that’s ever owned a gym has seen the look on a person’s face after setting a personal record. Not to mention that the strength, hypertrophy, and improved movement patterns that comes with higher frequency weightlifting and gymnastics transfers to a better quality of life, lower body fat percentages, and overall improved health.

One thing that I would recommend is meeting your member at their fitness level. If a person is out of shape and their movement patterns are majorly restricted, I recommend sticking with basic movements like squats, presses and pulls. A 45-year-old accountant doesn’t have to snatch to be fit. If they want to learn how to snatch, you can work towards that with overhead squats and snatch pulls. However I wouldn’t program them a high rep snatch movement in a met con.

The randomness of CrossFit still has a place, and that’s in the conditioning element of the workout. Combinations of runs, carries, high rep lifts, and box jumps are not only healthy, but they are also fun. Fun is something that was almost forgotten about in the gym world before CrossFit came along and revolutionized fitness. If you are a coach, use your creativity in the conditioning portion of the workout. Randomness and constant variance has its place in fitness, and CrossFit should never lose those elements of its core.

Heck you can program the strength movements at a higher frequency and still maintain certain elements of randomness and variance. I use the conjugate method, which is all about varying certain elements of programming to avoid accommodation. However there has to be some specificity and frequency to see measurable gains. I hope this helps to guide you in programming decisions. At the end of the day it’s all about helping people improve, reach their goals, and get healthy.

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