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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 02-17-2015, 12:42 PM   #1
John McGuire
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Mainsite Programing

Before I begin, I would first like to say that I do love CF and I am an affiliate owner
With that said, for the first time in the 3 years that I have owned my facility, I actually began following the main site, everyone obviously scales as need be for the wods
With this, I have a few questions as well as concerns
1) What is the logic in programming high volume clean & Jerks and snatches the day after 5x10 on the deadlift? or 3 rounds of 100 air squats, 50 box jumps and 15 clean and presses the day before 5x10 back squats?
Their programming just seems illogical, these wods used individually are a ton of fun and challenging but when you follow up a hard pulling day with lots of hard pulling, it just seems like a recipe for injury
As an affiliate owner I have control over what weight people are lifting and can correct form or tell them to take a breather if its getting sloppy
What about the people out there that do these wods out of their garages or at globo gyms? these people can hurt themselves and go on about how dangerous cf is
I want crossfit to be extremely successful, it only betters myself as well as other affiliate owners, so please dont mistake me for someone trying to hurt the name
Does anyone agree with me?
2) A solution I believe can be to create a scaling system
For example a wod with a snatch of 115 for lots of reps, maybe is written for a guy that can hit 230, which would mean that 115 would be 50% of that persons max, which would make this a lighter wod
The reallity is that most guys dont snatch 230, they snatch 150, which makes this around 80% of their max, then this is no longer a light wod, but the guy can lift 115 a few times so he goes ahead with the rx
If you take the guy that can snatch 230 and the guy that snatches 150 and give both of them 115 to do in a wod, the training effect for each of them will be completely different

Maybe instead of the rx being 115, it should of been 50% of your 1rm, which would make it safe for everyone
I guess what Im suggesting as a solution is to use percentages instead of hard numbers for the rx
If not percentages, maybe a fictional persons 1 rep maxes on all the lifts that are used in wods to help give an idea of how to scale
the purpose of the fictional persons 1rms would give people a measuring stick so they have a better idea of what to do
ex Fictional Guy CF is programming for
Snatches 250
Clean and jerks 300
Front squats 350
Squat cleans 315
etc...
What does everyone think?
If this doesnt make sense to you, please let me know and I can try to give a better description
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:03 PM   #2
Tim Alford
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Re: Mainsite Programing

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McGuire View Post
Before I begin, I would first like to say that I do love CF and I am an affiliate owner
With that said, for the first time in the 3 years that I have owned my facility, I actually began following the main site, everyone obviously scales as need be for the wods
With this, I have a few questions as well as concerns
1) What is the logic in programming high volume clean & Jerks and snatches the day after 5x10 on the deadlift? or 3 rounds of 100 air squats, 50 box jumps and 15 clean and presses the day before 5x10 back squats?
Their programming just seems illogical, these wods used individually are a ton of fun and challenging but when you follow up a hard pulling day with lots of hard pulling, it just seems like a recipe for injury
As an affiliate owner I have control over what weight people are lifting and can correct form or tell them to take a breather if its getting sloppy
What about the people out there that do these wods out of their garages or at globo gyms? these people can hurt themselves and go on about how dangerous cf is
I want crossfit to be extremely successful, it only betters myself as well as other affiliate owners, so please dont mistake me for someone trying to hurt the name
Does anyone agree with me?
2) A solution I believe can be to create a scaling system
For example a wod with a snatch of 115 for lots of reps, maybe is written for a guy that can hit 230, which would mean that 115 would be 50% of that persons max, which would make this a lighter wod
The reallity is that most guys dont snatch 230, they snatch 150, which makes this around 80% of their max, then this is no longer a light wod, but the guy can lift 115 a few times so he goes ahead with the rx
If you take the guy that can snatch 230 and the guy that snatches 150 and give both of them 115 to do in a wod, the training effect for each of them will be completely different

Maybe instead of the rx being 115, it should of been 50% of your 1rm, which would make it safe for everyone
I guess what Im suggesting as a solution is to use percentages instead of hard numbers for the rx
If not percentages, maybe a fictional persons 1 rep maxes on all the lifts that are used in wods to help give an idea of how to scale
the purpose of the fictional persons 1rms would give people a measuring stick so they have a better idea of what to do
ex Fictional Guy CF is programming for
Snatches 250
Clean and jerks 300
Front squats 350
Squat cleans 315
etc...
What does everyone think?
If this doesnt make sense to you, please let me know and I can try to give a better description
John,
I agree with you 100%. This is where I think crossfit pushes their constantly varied mindset to the limit, but doing workouts that you would never plan to do back to back, they are showing that they don't do the norm (back and bi's, chest and tri's, etc.)

I also think that the RX weight is something people need to take a hard look at, many people don't realize they should be scaling a majority of the workouts. As you mentioned, a guy that can clean 230 can do 115 pretty easily vs a guy who PRs at 150. If I understand crossfit correctly, and I think I do, then we're trying to focus on power output, which means if you're the guy that PRs at 150, you should be doing the workout at 95 lbs or even less to get the same power output as a guy who PRs at 230. I hope that makes sense. I think all too often people don't put their ego aside and they do a workout that is way too hard for them and then say something like "Whoa! What a burner! Completed RX'd at 34:15." While they think that's awesome, the idea behind the workout was to have a 8-12 minute killer workout. By extending it to 34:15, you're actually missing the purpose the workout. People need to learn to scale.

Finally, I love the idea of going off of %'s, the only downside to that is 1) not everyone knows their 1RM and 2) most people that do, overinflate that number. So you would have to make sure people were unstanding what they're supposed to be going for (i.e. "this workout should take between 8-12 minutes). That way when they hit minute 20 they can say "I might have went too heavy". Does that make sense?

(Additionally, I know hero wods are supposed to be long and killer, those are the exceptions to the rule)
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:13 PM   #3
Tighe Crovetti
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Re: Mainsite Programing

I tend to take it for granted, but then read things like this and realize how good my box's programming is. Everything is guided with 1RM %'s (though there is almost always still an Rx weight amount) and often is accompanied by the expected time domain for the workout. Along with familiarity of your own strengths and weaknesses, it really allows you to make sure your version of the workout is accomplishing the desired goals. Example: our WOD yesterday had 115# thrusters as Rx. In general, I know I'm not one to be able to Rx thruster weights. The time domain was 6-10 minutes. The other moves are relative strengths of mine, so I could have taken the risk of the thrusters slowing me down, in hopes of catching up elsewhere. But, my first instinct won over: if the goal of a wod is to really get through it fast, Rx'ing thruster weights is not the way to accomplish that for me. I went with 95#. I did finish on the low end, 6:42, so maybe I could have done under 10 with 115#? Hard to say, but it's been a while since I had done a "no pacing, sprint" kind of WOD, so I still think it was the right choice.

As far as the occasional "piling up" of main site workouts on a particular body part or motion...I think that's just an unavoidable consequence of "constantly varied." I'd be curious how often it really happens, where you think, "what the heck, I just did this yesterday..." Given 250+ WODs/year programmed, it's probably quite rare.
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:55 PM   #4
John McGuire
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Re: Mainsite Programing

I appreciate the replies
Awesome reply Tim, that definitely helps
Tighe, I always had my members use percentages for strength work, never for wods, thats really cool that your box does that already
I know you were saying that piling up is unavoidable and its probably a rare occurrence, but it actually happened 3 times in the last 2 weeks
The 2 wods I mentioned then yesterday to todays wod
Yesterdays wod was a ton of thrusters and pull ups and todays was JT 21-15-9 handstand push ups, ring dips and push ups
To make a long story short, I gave the main site 6 weeks and did some really cool wods, but feel lucky that myself nor any of members were injured in the process, it was a cool way to shake things up a bit, but I'm going back to writing all the wods and I'm goin to attempt to write percentages instead of an rx
Thanks again guys
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #5
Danny Bostwick
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Re: Mainsite Programing

Take for example a soldier, maybe he does a 15 mile ruck through the mountains looking for insurgents. He was climbing, going down hill, all with 60# of gear, his nutrition is suspect at best, he got maybe 4 hours of sleep and the next day he has another 15 miles to get back to base. At that point, would you agree that he's probably be pretty glad he did that 5x10 back squat day after 300 squats? So he knows that he is capable of operating at a high level with sore legs?

Life doesn't care what you did yesterday, and that's the point of the exercise. You have to understand what Mainsite programming is for, it's not for someone who just likes fitness or want's to compete in the sport of fitness or any other sport for that matter. It's for someone who needs the unknown and the unknowable & he will benefit largely from that type of training. If your interested in increasing your 1RM numbers or making the games, I would incorporate some main site programming, but you'll definitely need something more organized and periodized for your goals. If being capable of most anything life will throw at you is your goal, main sites where it's at.

Speaking to the scaling aspect, that is going to vary person to person. I once coached a girl who had a max snatch of 85# but she could move #65 for a lot reps, she was just afraid of big weight, if I scaled her to say, 50% of her snatch, I'd be cheating her out of a better workout, so I think it's a case by case situation.
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:31 PM   #6
Steven Wingo
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Re: Mainsite Programing

I think it is important to note the main site provides lots of information to guide users, including general guidance and then very specific guidance. There is a "Start Here!" section, which includes some basic guidance and then branches out to very specific questions including scaling weights using percentages.

For example, the information provided has this to say about scaling weight:


[quote]1.3. What if I can't use the recommended weight?
Use a weight that's manageable to you, or use a percentage of the weight prescribed. Assume the "generic" male crossfitter weighs 175 and the prescribed weight is 95 lbs. Thus, you'd pick a weight that's approximately 55% of your bodyweight.

/QUOTE]

So far a 115 pound snatch workout, that assumes about 65% of an athletes body weight as a guideline--with the more important preceding statement to "use a weight that is manageable for you."

I do agree using percentages of 1 rep max is a viable way to program, arguably even a better way, but it does have drawbacks as well--such as has been pointed out by Danny Bostick above. One key issue to remember is that CrossFit gained steam and its original big following through the main site and people all over the world doing the workouts and posting their results. It started as a much smaller community. (And although I wasn't following it then most were probably elite level athletes, military personnel, etc.) They were able to compare, track results against each other, and had a lofty standard to aspire to in their fitness endeavors. Those are all good things that come with an "Rx" weight.

In the end, I wouldn't fault the choice to specify a specific weight as opposed to using percentages of one rep maxes.
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:04 PM   #7
Chris Sinagoga
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Re: Mainsite Programing

Our gym follows main site programming almost exclusively - except for birthday workouts for some members and theme workouts (w/f safe). It's very challenging to me as a coach, but I really think it makes me better.

Bottom line: the main site is designed to, over time, exceed the demands of the fittest person on earth. So even if you are the fittest person on earth, there is a point when you will have to modify. And if, by chance, you are not the fittest person on earth, then you have to take the temporary hit to the ego and scale most of the workouts so you get a productive outcome. I really don't see anything wrong with that,
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:55 AM   #8
Jeremy Schultz
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Re: Mainsite Programing

I know I'm screwing this quote up, but I remember something about either Pendlay or Rippetoe bashing Crossfit, by stating that that Crossfit is "exercising" but not "training".

When it comes to Main Site programming, this is absolutely the case. People have speculated for years as to whether or not the Main Site programmers actually think about the programming from day-to-day, or just pick a WOD out of a hat. John Maquire's examples help to prove that it's just totally random and that there isn't any thought put into it.

I love Crossfit's main ideals and what it's done for fitness, but I don't think that the Main Site is really helping anyone reach a "goal" - all it does is help regular people get in decent shape and feel better about themselves.

I know that this has been mentioned many times, but NONE of the "elite" Crossfitters that have divulged their workout routines do a completely randomized, goal-less training routine - like the Main Site is.
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Old 05-24-2015, 08:04 PM   #9
Chris Sinagoga
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Re: Mainsite Programing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Schultz View Post
I know I'm screwing this quote up, but I remember something about either Pendlay or Rippetoe bashing Crossfit, by stating that that Crossfit is "exercising" but not "training".

When it comes to Main Site programming, this is absolutely the case. People have speculated for years as to whether or not the Main Site programmers actually think about the programming from day-to-day, or just pick a WOD out of a hat. John Maquire's examples help to prove that it's just totally random and that there isn't any thought put into it.

I love Crossfit's main ideals and what it's done for fitness, but I don't think that the Main Site is really helping anyone reach a "goal" - all it does is help regular people get in decent shape and feel better about themselves.

I know that this has been mentioned many times, but NONE of the "elite" Crossfitters that have divulged their workout routines do a completely randomized, goal-less training routine - like the Main Site is.
Considering I do not personally see the main site programmers select their workouts, I suppose there is a possibility that they are mindless oafs who throw stuff in a hat and call it exercise. But common sense would say that is not true.

And as far as not helping anyone reach a "goal," that is also a pretty bold statement. It may not be the best avenue if you want to get huge powerlifting numbers, or a elite marathon time. But if you simply read through the comments section you will see plenty of people achieving goals, pr's, and consistent impressive numbers.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:42 AM   #10
Ludovic Deguy
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Re: Mainsite Programing

A long time ago, the crossfit journal published a few videos with Tony Budding and Pat Sherwood giving insights on the reasons behind the main site programming, it is not as random as you think ;-)
Regarding scaling, a good rule of thumb for me is to use the Prilepin table for each exercise in a metcon and to scale accordingly.

As the Prilepinís table doesnít go above 30 reps, you should probably go below 55% for 30+ reps . And for anything above 50 reps you should probably go very light (<40% or even less)
From time to time, for a benchmark for example, you may go a little bit crazy, but donít be stupid.
For example: donít do Diane with 225 lbs if your max deadlift is 275lbs
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