the spaz of fitness has arrived

More Thoughts on Programming

In Rhetoric, Training on August 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I’ve mentioned often how I admire knowledgeable coaches who know how to apply their scientific and experiential learning to their training programs, but I haven’t given many specific examples about it. Though I concluded that it’d be too difficult for me to follow Outlaw’s programming while remaining an active participant at my box, I still read Rudy’s blog on a daily basis, just trying to keep up with his thought process. I loved this recent post, breaking down his motives for each aspect of his WOD:
In the post, Rudy explains his goal times for each movement, and the fact that, couched inside this chipper of widely varied movements, he’s replicated a “traditional timed conditioning effort that acts like interval work, and is slowed down by a high lactic movement after performing two completely different high intensity/anaerobic efforts.” As the athlete progresses from muscle ups to a rower to clapping pushups, he’s actually simulating a two minutes on, two minutes off interval pace.

Finally, the workout concludes with kettlebell overhead walking lunges because, after pushups have fatigued the athlete’s arm extensors, pectoralis, and anterior deltoid, he shouldn’t be able to achieve the overhead lunges without employing his trapezius, which is larger and more effective. Programming so that the athlete’s own exhaustion enforces proper form? Go Rudy.

Something like this is also why I worry about haphazardly appropriating different workouts. Without awareness of the coach’s original intent, you could entirely defeat the point of a properly designed workout. For example, an athlete too weak to link the prescribed stone-to-shoulders could unknowingly attempt the heavy weight and be confined to one to two reps at a time, entirely missing the “high intensity/anaerobic effort.”

This reasoning is also why I think the “Rx or bust” methodology is a bit misguided. If your Fran exceeds 5 minutes, you probably should have dropped the weight because you spent too much time pacing around the barbell, trying to muster up your strength again. For this reason, I also avoid workouts like “Grace” and “Isabel.” If the workout is meant to condition, I prefer other, less injury-prone/technique-driven movements. Olympic cleans, jerks, and snatches are so precise that I feel like form will give, even in stronger athletes, if they’re racing a clock…And rehearsing bad form at any weight enforces bad form when it counts.

Just the ruminations of a self-educating Jo for the day. Speaking of education, today’s also the first day of school and the first day of my PhD career. In about fifteen minutes, I have to go sound intelli-minigent about Marlowe and embodied rhetoric in Renaissance drama. Happy Monday.


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