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Monday, September 21, 2015

CrossFit Programming Changes

Beginning October 1 you will notice some changes to the CrossFit programming at Flux.
After much thought and deliberation, my coaching team and I have decided to introduce three distinct program streams: COMPETITIVE, PERFORMANCE AND THE FLUX WAY.  The COMPETITIVE stream offers folks who are interested in competing in CrossFit and can commit to the training time,  the option of attending 1.5 hour long sessions. These will be offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday and Sunday will be REST/RECOVERY days. There will be more focus on Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics in this competitive stream, followed by conditioning work.
The rhyzome as metaphor: "Decentralizing" fitness at Flux.

The rationale for the competitive stream is as follows: CrossFit is marketing itself as a SPORT and gone are the days of grassroots competitions that appealed to everyone. Now, high profile CrossFit athletes are being sponsored by corporations, athletes are working closely with an array of manual therapists, coaches and nutritionists. CrossFit competitors pretty much have to eat, sleep and breathe CrossFit in order to be competitive. This commitment is not exclusive to CrossFit - just ask any high performance athlete or artist about sacrifices that had to be made in order to excel in their chosen field, whether it is sport or art. It is purported that Charlie Parker, the great Jazz artist, practiced 11 hours/day. Clearly, virtuosity in any field requires sacrifices. Or, a little closer to home, our teachers (including myself) put in a minimum of 12 hours/week of training.

Besides the introduction of a COMPETITION STREAM, we will also be introducing our PERFORMANCE STREAM. You can think of this stream as "Old School" CrossFit Programming. This style will be influenced by the original CF description of Fitness where we were told to practice the following:

Flips? Pirouettes? CF programming no longer resembles Glassman's original prescription for fitness and the main reason for this is that CF became a competitive sport. While competition  in CF has created superb athletes, particularly with Olympic Lifting and in the development of excellent aerobic and anaerobic engines, much of the creativity of CrossFit programming has been lost. The attempt to quantify fitness has meant that movement complexity has in many ways, been pushed to the sidelines. This is not a judgement, but rather the reality of transforming CF into a Competitive Sport.

CF touts itself as a generalized program but in reality the sport doesn't rely on that many different types of movement. Gymnastics doesn't extend beyond handwalking and pretty much everything is done with the aid of a kip. The volume also means that complexity is not realistic, especially for gymnastics. So, for instance, if your goal is to do a complex ring routine, a commitment to the CF as Competitive Sport stream will not help you. Or let's say you want to chase after a one arm chin up. Performing thousands of butterfly pull ups for time will not transfer to the one arm chin. You will get very good at high volume kipping pull ups but the increase in pulling strength will be negligible. This is not a value statement but a statement that is meant to bring clarity to the notion of "fitness." Change the rules to the game of fitness and someone else comes out the winner. Who is more fit? The woman or man who can perform 1 arm chin ups, or the athlete that can do 50 unbroken butterfly kipping pull ups? This is a rhetorical question meant only to draw attention to the fact that your answer depends entirely on the terms of the game. One of the ways the PERFORMANCE stream will differ is that the programming will not be boxed in by trying to guess what the CrossFit Open competition will entail as far as movements and energy system training. The focus will shift to a program that is meant to help you reach a high level of movement and athletic performance.

The PERFORMANCE stream is going to be a potent way to learn and even excel at Olympic Weightlifting. It will help tremendously with aerobic and anaerobic conditioning and to a lesser extent, performing high volume upper body strength work. You will develop very respectable numbers in both the back, front and overhead squat. This stream will also help you to methodically chase after that front and back lever, planche, straddle rope climbs, the one arm chin up and the consistent, freestanding hspu. And beyond the above array of movements, you will train for adaptability. For instance, you may feel comfortable passively hanging on a bar for 60 sec, but what about a cat hang hold on a brick wall, or the wooden wall at Flux? What about a wall climb with a muscle up to 'top out' at the top, like Derek below. Who decided that muscle ups or hanging should only be practiced on the perfect conditions of a bar or a set of rings? The PERFORMANCE stream will allow me, as the programmer, much more creativity.

And finally, the FLUX WAY. This is arguably our most playful and movement oriented of the three streams. This stream is also performance oriented but it draws its strength on heterogeneity. Its motto is Strength Through Difference. Everyone loves to talk about how CF creates community and strong social bonds with others. But all too often community is built on sameness. Flux is unique in that it has always prided itself on being a community that draws its strength on DIFFERENCE. This is why our first Flux Summer Festival was so successful. Have you ever seen so much varied movement happen on one day? People came together for their love of movement and while CF was a part of this, CF was not the only discipline on display. The Flux Way will reach far beyond the parameters of what you typically see in the CF milieu. It is every bit as performance based as the second stream but the movements will be more diverse.

If you have always wanted to try some of the other classes at Flux, but the schedule doesn't allow for that, The Flux Way is the program for you. This program will combine barbell strength work, parkour, movement, dance, mobility, strongman/woman, etc. Olympic lifting will be present, but not to the same degree that it is currently. As you can see in the example below, you have the wall climbers from parkour, you have lizards from the world of movement and you have back squats from basic barbell strength. The Flux Way is much more in line with the House Blend philosophy. These examples also provide a stark but telling contrast between a movement based versus a competition based approach. The lizard is far more complex and challenging than a push up but it would be impossible to judge in a competition. Likewise, check out the video of the shinobi versus the pistol. Pistols can easily be counted and standards created but the shinobi, which is a movement of integration as well as improvisation, can't be made to fit the CF model.

How do you decide what is right for you? Here is what I DON'T want guiding your thought process.
If I don't do the competition stream or the performance stream I won't get the high intensity that will help me lose weight. Then, I will have to secretly continue to run on the side with fear that Darci might one day witness my "cardio on the sly". For God's sake, stop thinking that unless you leave Flux in near convulsions you didn't get a good workout in and hence you will never lose weight.  Some good posts to follow on this topic!

Below are some photos of Summer, Ido and Roye, all students of the Ido Portal Method. While I can't speak for their training program entirely, I have worked with all 3 of them and their bodies are not a result of CF training. Why do they look like that? Their way of eating is very dialed in. Not much alcohol, no sugar, an appropriate amount of carbs, meat and fat and a ridiculous amount of vegetables. I can almost guarantee that they are eating more vegetables than you or me.

Once you decide which stream to follow I would like you to stick with it for at least 4 weeks (1 training cycle). If you go back and forth between streams your training will be too random. Commit to the program and you will witness improvement.  

- Darci

CF as Competitive Sport
A. Snatch
Every minute on the minute, 2 snatches at 80% of your max. 10 minutes.

B. Clean from blocks

C. Back Squat  Wave Load
5, 3, 1, 5, 3, 1

D. 3 Rounds for Time:
Kipping ring muscle ups x 3/6
clean and jerk x 6 205/115 lb
Kipping hspu x 5/10

CF for Performance
A1. Back Squats

A2. 1 chin ups/pull ups/1 arm chin progressions.

B. 8 min AMRAP:
Front Squats x 8 @ 00x0
rope climbs
Ring dips x 2-4 reps @ 51x1 (advanced should do rings turned out 45 degrees) everyone should end in a support hold. 

C. shoulder mobility work

The Flux Way
A. Back Squats

B. Every 120 sec, perform 3-5 chin ups or pull ups or coach's prescription for the 1 arm chin up @ 31x3 and 3 quad jumps x 5 sets (Nail your landing and make sure you use proper arm pattern.)

C. 5 Rounds Not for Time:
10 shrimp squats
1 length of low lizards
1 straddle arms only rope climb or appropriate version
Rest 90 sec after each round

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