Methodical Madness

Have you ever wondered how the CPM coaches come up with workouts?  Is there a plan?  Do we try them out beforehand?  What’s the strategy?  As with most things, programming workouts is best kept simple (my opinion) and as random as possible.  Let me share with you some of my philosophy, and please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Anyone Can Program a Workout

But I’ve found that it’s more of an art form than a hard science.  Hard “laws” give way to heuristics and common sense.  I’ve visited gyms in the past few years and one thing was apparent to me; these gyms didn’t have any methodology at all to their programming.  They simply made up the hardest things in the weirdest combinations they could devise and put that on the board for the day.  Other gyms are down-right scientific about their programming.  They have a rigorous schedule and adhere to it almost religiously.

So you see two sides of the coin.  And the cool thing is that both are effective, one is not more right than the other.

Biases and Favoritism

I have noticed that in my programming, and that of others I know well, I tend to bias the workouts I design to things that I like and am good at.  Not always of course, but for the most part this just kinda happens.  If a coach’s biases are introduced into his programming that would tend to produce people with deficiencies in certain areas.  We get around this by alternating the programming between coaches.  Thank goodness we all don’t have the same favorites right?

The CPM Method

We’re not a highly competitive group at CPM.  We love to have a good time, get our butts kicked with our friends, and feel like better humans in the process.  This is considered and reflected in the way we program our workouts.

We know you are interested in getting stronger, but that you really like those longer 20+ minute workouts (well at least some of you).  We get excited when people get their first pullup, or their first muscleup after months or sometimes years of dedicated work.  We just hung a bell that is reserved to be rung when someone does something they didn’t think they could do: PR a lift, do X amount of double unders unbroken, or whatever it may be.  Our programming intends to get you to a point where you do more than you thought you were capable of.  Simply put, it consists of elements such as these:

Mostly dedicated to the barbell.  When we do a lift buildup before a workout, we’re building strength.  Or where a workout has low reps and heavier weight, the focus is on strength.  We’re fans of muscle.  To me, muscle is the most miraculous tissue we have (fat is a close second).  I’ll argue with anyone that adding muscle and building strength will add years to your life.  Strength is important, impressive, and beautiful.

Row sprints, tabatas, fight-gone-bad style, and light weight against the clock type of workouts are designed for speed.  How much work can you do in a given time?  How hard are you capable of pushing your body and mind?  Can you make your lungs burn, and even when they are, remain calm and keep pushing until the clock beeps?  These are good things to know about yourself, and practice to develop.

Like tomorrows workout, we program for long duration / high volume on occasion.  This tests a person’s grit, attitude, and work capacity.  Anything much over 20 minutes for me falls into this category.  Over 25 minutes and I start to feel my resolve weaken.  These guys become more mental than physical.  We have an interest in making your mind stronger along with your body.

Really, everything we program requires a certain level of skill.  Some movements more than others.  For instance the wallball: being able to do 50 straight reps with a 20# wallball (14# for women) requires some practice.  You have to develop the skill to know how to bounce that ball off the wall, catch it while dropping into a squat, and then drive up to repeat all over again.  Obviously you need strength, speed, and stamina as well!

The highest skill movements are things like:
Chest-2-Bar Pullups
Overhead Squat
Handstand Pushups

Once you develop the strength required to perform these movements, the challenge becomes developing the skill required to perform multiple repetitions.

Put It All Together

So we take these elements, and mash them up into combinations of workouts to challenge all people at every level.  Each coach gets to run a 3 week at a time programming schedule.  That is effective at eliminating a coach’s biases towards some movements.  We check each other to make sure there is balance in our work.  We wouldn’t want to program a workout that was high high strength and high high skill, or at least not do so the majority of the time.

We’ll focus in on one area at a time, and incorporate all of them in a given week.  If we keep things random enough, people don’t get bored and they keep making progress in all areas.

Our program design is an evolving organism.  As CPM’s coaches learn new methods and techniques, you’ll see them pop up in the workouts.  As new coaches learn and develop, they may get the opportunity to program some workouts, and then you’ll see even more variety as more styles emerge.  As the CPM member base matures, the workouts will incorporate more skill, of course keeping movements scalable for the less experienced.

It’s incredible to watch everyone develop in their abilities.  Personally, you may not recognize the changes in yourself, but ask a coach sometime.  If you’ve been at CPM for a while, and have been diligently following our recommendations that coach is going to be able to tell you where you’ve improved.

Stet’s Strategy

This sucker falls into the heavy stamina category.  The meat of the matter is running.  I’m a fan of the pose running method, and it’s creator Dr. Romanov.  Just youtube around a little if you’re interested on “pose running” or “pose and romanov.”  You aren’t going to become a pro pose runner before tomorrow by watching some youtube videos, but see what you think about the philosophy behind the method.

Running isn’t my favorite thing, so this workout looks dreadful to me.  It will be more of a mental effort to just keep pushing on the run.  I’m not going to run really, really fast.  Rather I’m going to attack this one like the tortoise.  Slow and steady.

Haven’t done a manmaker yet?  Check the video below.  They’re pretty much the toughest thing ever, which is excellent.  DBs you think are light get heavy quick doing manmakers.  Take them slow and steady, maintain good technique, and you’ll live through 10 🙂  Good luck everyone!

The Oboard Says…

Mid Week Madness:
200 run – 50 Wallball
400 run – 40 KB Swings
600 run 30 Weighted Step Up
800 run 20 Toe To Bar
1000m run – 10 DB Man Makers

Posted by: Stets