Behind The Programming Curtain
with Kurt, The Wizard of Tucson
For those of you who have been wondering if there’s a method behind the madness, here’s a little insight into Kurt’s programming approach!
As you may (or may not!) know, CrossFit is concerned with General Physical Preparedness (G.P.P.) In the words of CrossFit HQ, “our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.”
The CrossFit methodology uses constantly varied programming to achieve this G.P.P.: you have most likely noticed that the workout changes every day, and ranges from short to long and light to heavy. However, that doesn’t mean the programming is random!
Our programming currently runs in 5-week cycles. Every 5 weeks, Kurt chooses a set of benchmarks to particularly hone in on, and measure improvement in. The benchmarks chosen tend to be rooted in basic movements that translate into improved performance in more advanced skills. For instance, gaining strength in your deadlift will help you improve your Olympic Weightlifting.
Our overarching goal continues to be G.P.P. Therefore when choosing benchmarks, Kurt tries to get a good blend of CrossFit’s ten general physical skills. So you might see traditional CrossFit benchmark workouts (e.g. “Fran” or “Diane”,) strength benchmarks (e.g. 5RM deadlift or 1RM Clean & Jerk,) or monostructural efforts (e.g. 500m row or 5K run.) And you can all look forward to the day we decide we need to focus more on flexibility, and set full splits as a cycle benchmark.
Kurt also mixes in some benchmarks that are Virtuosity-specific and based on coach feedback. For instance if we feel that there are a lot of people struggling with pull-ups, Kurt will probably throw pull-ups into the cycle benchmarks somewhere.
Each 5-week cycle is structured as follows:
- Week 1: Skill / Recovery
- Week 2-4: Intensity
- Week 5: Test
During weeks 1-4, Kurt programs skill, strength, and accessory work that will help to improve the cycle benchmarks. Week 1 takes it a little easier, and most likely will involve more drilling of benchmark-associated skills, whereas weeks 2-4 you should be experiencing at least slightly more discomfort.
Week 5 is your opportunity to lay it all on the table and show us what you’ve got! We have updated the blog so that you’ll be alerted to test week and will be able to prepare yourself both mentally and physically to enter Beast Mode.
As always, don’t forget to record your scores so that you can see your improvement over time!
Have comments, critiques, or other feedback? Kurt loves to hear from you! The programming lab may have moved to Arizona, but it hasn’t stopped testing and refining the product. The only way to truly know if things are working is if you guys are getting better and having fun doing it, so let him know!
Sounds like an awesome plan.