One of the things I like most about being a Coach is programming workouts. As Greg Glassman said:
“The magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, the science is in the explanation and the fun is in the community.”
For me, programming WODs and strength cycles is an art. It takes careful time and consideration, an eye for detail and a lot of creativity. What we believe in and use at the gym to get people more fit is CrossFit. Constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity. If you vary your program, the average person can absolutely get faster, stronger, more coordinate, agile, flexible, have better cardio vascular endurance, etc just off of a “typical” CrossFit program. What I mean by this statement can be seen in the programming on www.crossfit.com (mainsite programming). In mainsite programming, you will never see a strength session followed by a metcon. Just a WOD. Some days, the workout IS a strength session and that's it. However, another thing that Greg Glassman says is to use the CrossFit program and then compliment it with your weaknesses.
At Triumph Fitness, I program in strength cycles, skills sessions and olympic weightlifting movements to compliment our metcons. I love experimenting with different strength cycles to see how people progress, and then tweaking them based on our athletes performance. Once I have a good cycle down, I save it in my computer (and memory) and I can use it again in the future.
For me, the beauty behind this is that it improves not only absolute strength, but what I like to call barbell conditioning. It gets an athlete better at moving heavier loads than what he/she is used to under a high heart rate. This type of work will translate very very well into some benchmark workouts like Fran, for example. Think about a guy coming off of a few weeks of strength cycling, at this point used to performing heavy thrusters with a high heart rate, and then asked to do Fran. The 45 thrusters at 95 pounds is going to seem a heck of a lot more manageable than ever before.
The goal, for Triumph´s purposes, of each session is to go as heavy as possible for both movements and for all sets. We aren´t ramping up in weight each set, because we are not trying to establish a true max for the movements, but rather build strength and stamina with more reps of heavier weights. You will also notice that I might write down or recommend percentages to use during these strength cycles. This is a personal decision based on the following: There are always going to be people in every class that don´t know their max lifts, so suggesting percentages to use will be of no use for most people. If you do know you´re max weights for the lifts, you have probably gotten stronger since the last time you tested, so basing your work for the day off of a percentage will limit you from trying a heavier weight than you might be comfortable trying.
As for gymnastics, we will continue to hit gymnastics skills during each session to develop the great movement patterns that make movements more efficient.
I am ALWAYS watching and taking note of how people are performing, where the gym as a whole is at in terms of strength and skill levels, etc. If I notice that we need to squat more frequently, there might be a squat cycle in the near future
One last note: The metcon is ALWAYS the most important part of any class. The strength and skill sessions are meant to complement and improve weaknesses.
There are basically three stages, mentally, when we are preparing for a workout. The first stage is as soon as SugarWOD alerts your phone and you check for the day´s WOD. The second stage is during the actual workout, and the last stage is the aftermath: when you are laying on the ground in a puddle of sweat, wondering why you do Triumph Fitness!
Mentally preparing yourself for a workout can yield some pretty impressive results, and just a tweak here and there can make all this crazy exercising a whole lot easier. Try doing the following things when thinking about a workout:
1. When you first see a workout posted, whether its the night before or the day of, look at all the movements you know you are good at. Then look at the other movements that you might not like so much and think of them as a way to work on a weakness. If you think negatively about a movement or workout before you have even tried it, you are pretty much giving up! If you have the mobility of a metal rod and you see overhead squats pop up, just look at it as a way to improve your flexibility.
2. During the actual WOD, use only positive statements when talking to yourself or another athlete. When thinking quickly, under high stress, our minds don´t recognize negatives. In other words, saying “don´t drop the barbell” is actually processed as “drop the barbell.” A better way to think or help motivate others is by saying things like: do a big set, get as many as you can, just one more rep, etc, etc.
3. The aftermath. I remember at a recent competition, during the very first workout, I was extremely frustrated with our judge. I left the workout feeling cheated and let it affect my entire weekend. I never really recovered from that one event. No matter how you feel after the workout, whether you came in first or last, remember that all we are doing is exercising. Go give everyone in the class a high five and it will immediately make you feel better about yourself. Do a quick reflection of the workout: what was easy for you? What gave you the most trouble? Use those questions to determine how you want to get better.