The Big Picture

Hello people. A post for you all about how the training you are doing now fits into the training that you will be doing later.
Apologies for the lengthy post, but please read this when you get a chance since this lays out some of the why for what you’re doing.
When I plan programming, I think of it like scaffolding. We want to climb to the top of the building to be able to wash the big crap off the statues, but first we have to get off the sidewalk. We build the first layer, then second, then the third, and so on, until we get to where we want to go. Regardless of where you’re at in your fitness, the process is the same – you’re just trying to get to the top of different buildings. Some might be higher, some might not be so high, but everybody starts from the sidewalk.
Here are my layers:
1. Strength, aerobic capacity, movement proficiency. General Physical preparedness.
2. Continue building #1, but with the addition of power (strength + speed, think olympic weightlifting and kipping movements) and more frequent high intensity efforts.
3. Continue building #1 and #2, but begin adding more complex combinations with more sport-specific skill.
Layering training like this allows for better, faster, more sustainable and more consistent progress, especially over the long term.
Games caliber athletes, Regional level athletes, the person who walks into your gym never having done Crossfit and destroys everyone – one of the things they have in common is that they have 5-15+ years of athletic experience under their belts. It might be track and field, gymnastics, water polo, weightlifting, etc, but they’ve spent a significant amount of time becoming stronger, more enduring, and more resilient to be able to walk into the sport of fitness being able to achieve a high level of accomplishment.
I’m NOT saying “Ok people, we’ll be doing track and field and gymnastics for the next three years, and then we’ll start working in thrusters and burpees.” But I am saying that in order for progress to keep progressing, we have to spend a significant amount of time on each layer in order to be effective.
Think about it – we are trying to change and improve your body AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL. What we do in the gym is literally reconfiguring your body. This is awesome, but the creation of new and more cell parts, the building of new tissue, infusing that tissue with vascular and neurological systems, and then making those systems more efficient TAKES TIME. It would be great to hit a four week strength cycle and walk away meaningfully stronger, but for most of us, that’s simply not how it works.
So to be specific, our current five day training template looks something like this (how your gym implements this schedule might be a bit different than the order here, but the concept behind is day is still the same):
Day 1 – Lower body strength
Day 2 – Aerobic power/capacity
Day 3 – Strength/Strength endurance/Structural work
Day 4 – Upper body strength
Day 5 – Olympic work/Interval CrossFitty stuff
In about four weeks, the tentative template “clicks up” to a tweak of Day 3 and Day 5:
Day 1 – Lower body strength
Day 2 – Aerobic power/capacity
Day 3 – Strength and structure/ High intensity WOD, sled/sandbag/assault/row emphasis
Day 4 – Upper body strength in a faster paced setting – short rest, more circuits
Day 5 – Olympic work/Interval CrossFitty stuff
Then around October:
Day 1 – Lower body strength and power (begin emphasis on Olympic lifting)
Day 2 – Aerobic power/capacity
Day 3 – Strength and Structure/Sport-specific work
Day 4 – Strength and structure/Sport-Specific work
Day 5 – Olympic work/Interval CrossFitty stuff
That schedule then holds up until the Open.

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