Chalk Talk: “The Coach, the Process, and the Programming” Pt. 3

The Program

The foundation of CrossFit is the training program. Fortunately, there are endless programs out there to choose from, with numerous goals for the athlete to commit to. Most of us are familiar with the basic outline for programming offered by CrossFit which involves a Work Out of the Day (WOD). The WOD is the common denominator of just about all programming. From there, programs vary by intent, goals, capabilities, etc. Instead of delving into all the different styles of programs out there, we’ll just take a look at CrossFit programming overall and how to benefit from the training.

Similar to the coach and the process, you have to trust the program. All programs should be written with a specific intent. This intent is evident in every part of the program from the weights used, to the movements and the time domains. In addition, each athlete is expected to reach certain levels of intensity for each exercise. Sound simple? Unfortunately, programming is far more complex that initially understood.

Strictly following a program should produce the desired results however; you may often need to scale to meet your individual capabilities. This is where many of us get off track when we train. We often try to scale or adjust the movements to enable us to move faster or easier in the WOD. Sometimes we also increase weight or difficulty of the movement, because we may feel that what was prescribed “wasn’t good enough”. However, doing this may cause you to fail to meet the intent of the work out and ultimately stunt your growth and development as an athlete. When moments like this arise, you should rely on your place in the process and trust your coach’s advice on how to attack the workout.

Tino Marini from CrossFit Invictus and I share some of the same views when it comes to developing our athletes. Here’s what he posted on a similar topic a while back:

“One of the key components in an athlete’s success is that they trust the program they follow and/or the direction their coach is giving them. No matter how good the program or coach is, if an athlete doesn’t believe in what he is doing, he will not make progress. It seems that one of the biggest stumbling blocks in being a successful athlete is the tendency to overthink the process and second guess everything they are doing. Just remember that an athlete’s job is to be an athlete, and a coach’s job is to be a coach.

This doesn’t mean that an athlete can’t ask questions, give feedback and make suggestions on what seems to be working and not working. It just means that the athlete shouldn’t have to think about the finer details of a program like progressions, energy systems, loading and volume. Too often we see athletes stress out because they aren’t seeing enough pulling or enough conditioning or the volume is too low, in their opinion. As soon as this happens they either stop putting the effort into their sessions because they think “what is the point in this” or they add in a bunch of unnecessary volume. If they think “what is the point in this” then intensity drops and progress will undoubtedly suffer. If they add in a bunch of volume, then they likely become overtrained and injured. Both are not ideal scenarios.


The Problem with Program Hopping
There are a lot of people who hop from program to program. They never really commit to a full program cycle. They do some of one program and add it to another workout they have seen a Games athlete do on Instagram. Before they know it, the Open has come back around and they are still the same athlete as they were the year before since they have just been “working out” for a year instead of working on weaknesses and building their strengths.”

Ultimately, you need to decide what your goals are and if you are willing to truly commit to a program. If you do, you will definitely see results and find yourself accelerating closer to your goals simply by trusting the program.

Stay on the Grind, Team Manta Ray and remember that Ability is Limitless!