May 3, 2023

CrossFit City of Lakes Programming Process

CrossFit City of Lakes Programming Process

One question we get on a daily basis from the community is how do we come up with our daily class workouts. You may have noticed that we’ve recently started adding a brief explanation of the stimulus for our daily workouts but even still, there is always a much bigger “Why” behind all of the programming we do. The purpose of this post is to provide some clarity and insight to all of the considerations we have while programming and planning your WODs on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual basis.

The first consideration that all gym owners must consider while programming for their community is logistics. At COL, we are programming for around 300 members, along with some classes having upwards of 25 people in one class. Given this information about our population, here are the first couple things that we must consider.

  • Space- We only have so much room in our four walls at COL, therefore we must be mindful of how many people will be in class, how equipment will be laid out, how will the workout flow, etc.
  • Equipment Availability- The reality is that we don’t have an infinite amount of equipment, and oftentimes we find ourselves sharing rowers, bikes, rings, or otherwise why we rarely see skiing or peg board climbs in our class programming.
  • Time Constraints- Classes at COL are 60 minutes long, which is standard across most if not all CrossFit gyms. In this 60 minutes we are trying to fit in an intro, general warmup, specific warm up, explanation of strength/ skill portion, strength or skill portion, explanation of the WOD and its movements, WOD, cooldown/ clean up.
  • Weather- This can dictate if we’ll be able to do things outside, or have the garage doors open, which can have implications for both the stimulus of the WOD and space.
  • Varying degrees of CrossFit ability and experience- It is true that anyone is capable of doing CrossFit, however, this does rely on the programmer and coach to make sure each WOD is able to be scaled up or down appropriately for each individual athlete.

The second consideration we have is what our Goals will be for a given period of time. For us at COL, we divide this into 12 week cycles called macrocycles. During these 12 week macrocycles, we generally focus on a few key goals. It is important to note that although we may be focusing on some skills, lifts and movements more than others in a given 12 weeks, we are still training for General Physical Preparedness or GPP, while always keeping health and safety at the forefront of all of this. If you ever find yourself thinking, “Why are we doing this?” you can always refer back to the definition of CrossFit which is “Constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity”.

The third consideration is Volume, Load, Intensity and Movement Variety.  This will go hand in hand with our goals of the 12 week training cycle that we are in. During some phases of the year, like closer to the CrossFit Open, we will have training load quite high, while our variety of movement a bit lower, because we are trying to train for what's upcoming in the Open, i.e. very intense WODs with a limited number of movements to choose from. For the current cycle that we are in, our training load is a bit lower to allow our bodies to rest from the open, while our variety of movement is much higher in order to explore different moment patterns, work on weaknesses and avoid overuse injuries. We also consider these variables on a weekly basis as well. If we as a staff notice that a particular week ended up being higher in intensity or volume than expected, we will alter the following weeks accordingly.

Our fourth consideration, which ties everything together, this is what we call our “Programming Process”. This process starts with our second consideration, which is establishing our goals and focuses for our 12 week cycle. A skeleton of what we plan to do for 12 weeks gets mapped out and then our first 4 weeks gets fully written up and programmed into Wodify. From there, our upcoming weeks WODs get tested by the staff and revised as needed. Every Monday morning during our leadership meeting, we complete our “Programming Peak”, in which we again look through each workout in depth and revise as needed. After that, our community completes the WODs, we make notes, review, and repeat the process.

Hopefully after reading through this information, it is clearly understood that the workouts that we do are far from random, and that every decision we make regarding programming is a careful and calculated one that follows the process outlined above. If you are interested in learning more, check out the video link below for a bit more detailed explanation on our programming here at CrossFit City of Lakes.

Extended video on our programming

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