While I’m very proud of – and feel we did a great job at – our A, B, C programming I do think it fell short in some key areas. First, A, B, and C implicitly referenced skill level; a built-in progression or “scaling” option for athletes. Secondly, and most importantly, we failed to address the goals of the individual athlete in a systematic programming offering. My favorite part of the CrossFit methodology is its ability to address both the needs and goals of the most novice and most experienced athlete through the use of metabolic training and functional movement.
As someone who has trained seriously and consistently over the last 15 years, I’ve come to the realization that my goals have not always been the same throughout my training life. There were times where I wanted to be as strong as possible with zero regard for body composition. Other times, I’ve wanted to be as lean as possible. In other training blocs, I’ve been interested to see how closely those two can intersect. I’ve also had to re-adjust training for injury or illness. We would like to offer a more systematic approach for you to do these types of things.
After many discussions and careful consideration, I’m very excited to introduce some new programming tracks that will replace our current A-B-C continuum in favor of more goal-specific training. Our recommendation is that you spend at least 12 weeks in a track to see the full benefits of the training stimulus. These workouts will still be done in the same class and, often times, look somewhat similar. But, it is important to maintain consistency across a track so you can begin to see the benefits. Let’s look at the three tracks: Lifestyle, Development, and Strength Bias
The focus points of Lifestyle Programming are improved body composition and work tolerance. Resistance training in Lifestyle will be more hypertrophic than raw strength focused. Hypertrophy training will help with developing lean tissue, which will increase your resting metabolism and speed up the fat loss process. For conditioning, these pieces will be somewhat lower in skill advancement and more heavily focused on continued, sustained effort. This continual effort with minimal rest period between movements will help build your tolerance for work and help you burn more calories in a given training session.
The Development track will focus less on improving body composition and more on athletic development. The resistance and strength components of this track will focus on building up more time under tension. Working strength repetitions will be around 25 per training session, helping build your tolerance while still building toward your strength potential. Conditioning pieces will show an increased exposure to more moderate skill progressions – kipping pull-ups, knees-to-elbow, and rope climbs for example.
We struggled with naming this track. While “Competitor’s” may be appropriate, we didn’t want to give the impression that you would need to compete in local competitions to participate in this track. Put simply, this track is designed to get you maximally strong through the use of minimum effective dosing. Minimum effective dosing is an effective training protocol if you are, in fact, near your genetic strength potential – this is why we encourage you spend a significant amount of time in Development Track before attempting to jump to a Strength Bias (don’t worry, you’ll get plenty strong in “Development”). If you consider a 10# PR on a lift in a given year a significant increase in that lift, you’re a great candidate for this track. If you’re still hitting 2 or 3 PR’s a year in a given lift, I’d recommend continuing on “Development” until this slows down. Strength Bias will also contain the highest skill exposure during conditioning pieces. We, of course, advocate for well-rounded fitness. But, if you’d prefer to do Strength Bias lifting pieces while scaling down to “LIfestyle” or “Development” conditioning pieces, that’s OK too.
Where should I start?
If your goals are primarily related to decreasing body fat, we recommend you start in Lifestyle Track and work really hard there for 12 weeks. If you’re new to strength and conditioning and you’re looking to primarily develop athleticism and a baseline of strength, Development is your track. If you’re interested in fine-tuning your strength numbers and developing high-skill movements through work capacity, then you’re a great candidate for Strength Bias programming. As is always the case, your coaches are here to answer any questions you have.