How Do We Program Workouts?

How Do We Program Workouts?
-Clark Hibbs

One of the best parts about joining up with Yellow Rose is that every day you have an awesome and effective workout waiting for you. You no longer have to frantically search Pinterest or Instagram for some snippet of a workout. We’ve got a team of professional coaches ready to lead you through some seriously awesome workouts.

But how do we come up with these workouts?

Why do we come up with these? What’s so special about them? And the burning question… why the burpees?!

Let’s discuss.

But first, we need to look at what are we programming for. Well, we program for general physical preparedness for the general population. We don’t specialize in one aspect of our fitness. We want to hit all domains of our fitness (after all… life makes you cover all domains). I talked a little more in depth about that in another blog post here.

If you don’t want to read that one, it’s cool. In the short, we’re programming so we can achieve a high level of fitness. That level of fitness means a lot of different things to people, but for me, it’s a level of fitness that will allow me to do whatever I want to do. I never want my body to hold me back from experiencing something life has to offer.

The basic meat and potatoes of the CrossFit methodology (constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensity) is based around 3 different modalities where a plethora of movements fall. It’s basic strength and conditioning, but done in a new fashion.

Monostructural metabolic conditioning

Monostructural metabolic condition is your basic cardio movements. Running, rowing, air bike, double unders, etc etc. These movements are crucial for building cardiovascular endurance as well as muscular endurance and endurance across different time thresholds.

Gymnastics is not only the traditional “competitive” gymnastics movements, but all bodyweight activities like climbing, yoga, calisthenics, etc where body control/strength is the primary concern. Pull ups, handstands, push ups, air squats, hollow/arch holds, etc etc.

Weightlifting (not “weight lifting” or “weight training”) refers to the Olympic sport of weightlifting. This includes the clean and jerk, and the snatch, along with all variations of these movements (dumbbell snatch, KB swing, deadlift, etc). These movements do a fantastic job of building speed, power, strength, and muscular density.

So… how do we integrate all of these together for our fitness community?

If you look at one of the best training guides ever, the CrossFit Level 1 training guide, you’ll see that CrossFit recommends a “3-day on 1-day off” workout routine (on meaning working out, off meaning rest).

“Generally, we have found that three days on and one day off allows for a maximum sustainability at maximum intensities.” – CF-L1 guide.

And this routine works GREAT if you have a perfectly predictable schedule, get 8 hours of sleep every night, eat exceedingly well, and can keep your stress levels to a minimum.

But this is real life.

While that theory is awesome, it’s not a good fit for us. We’re a CrossFit affiliate that is open 7 days a week with a ton of members that all have unique schedules and demands in their own lives.

In the 3-on 1-off model, we would see a programming model like this (because I stole it from the L1 Guide! (Note: M – monostructural, G – gymnastics, W – weightlifting).

Looks awesome, right? Constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensity, with some stellar rest days programmed in!

But like I mentioned above, 3-on 1-off doesn’t work for our business (or for many people in general).

What’s going to work then? What’s going to be absolutely perfect for the community?

Upset Alert: we can’t have “perfect” programming for the community due to all of the variables. If we were to truly have perfect programming, we would all need to be on the same schedule, have the same training history, and all be at the same level of fitness.

Not happenin’.

Everyone has a different schedule. Some of us train 6 days a week. Some of us train 2-3 a week.

Everyone has a different training history. Some have been training for YEARS and can handle higher volume workouts. Some of us have been training for days and need the total weekly volume brought back.

Everyone is at a different level of fitness… and that’s something that makes this community so special. We’ve got a place for everyone.

Taking all of these considerations in mind, we write the programming based on the masses. We write workouts that can be infinitely scalable or modified so any person could get an effective dosage of fitness.

In order to do this, we have to keep things simple. Best part about simple: it’s super effective, and easily modifiable. That’s why you don’t see crazy complicated workouts or overly complex movements. We keep it to simple, primal movement patterns so we can modify easily (modify to a beginner level of fitness, or to an expert level).

Anyway, back to schedules and what not.

The CF-L1 guide also has a potential 5-days-on, 2-days-off split.

This is, in large, the basic meat and potatoes of the programming here at Yellow Rose. We can program Monday through Friday hitting all modalities in a varied manner, and then we simply extend that same variation through days 6 and 7 on the chart. So instead of programming for 5-on 2-off … we pretty much program for 365 days on (with the exceptions of the few days we’re closed).

Inside of that programming, we can play with different emphases and focuses, but for the most part, this is what we do!

We offer the constantly varied workouts 7 days a week, and YOU can pick when you get here. We don’t program for off days… we allow your schedule to choose your own off day (Like the kids little league games, or that work dinner, or anything that life throws your way).

As for the specific movements that get thrown into the mix for the different modalities, we use a programming matrix and check list to make sure that we are hitting everything each month. It looks something like this (this is found in the CF-Level 2 guide).

We have a few different movements populated into ours (and ours is 28-31 days mimicking the month), but we use this to make sure that we are hitting every aspect of our fitness, and to make sure we aren’t following into any repetitive programming traps. These traps would be something like always back squatting on Mondays, or always deadlifting on Tuesdays (but you should ALWAYS do some arm work on Fridays… #Fact).

The workouts and programming are an integral part of your experience here at Yellow Rose, and we want to let you know that we aren’t just making things up as we go. We have constantly varied workouts, but we do NOT have random workouts. We have meticulously crafted workouts to ensure that you get the results you’re looking for, and you have a good time doing it.

There it is, my friends. The programming mystery curtain is down!

Hopefully this shed’s some light for you on the how and why of our programming, and so you know that we don’t just program with your discomfort in mind. We program so we can help you get fit, happy, and healthy.

If you have any questions, feel free to message us!

-Clark Hibbs

Oh, and to answer the whole, “Why the burpees?” question… because the burpee is the ultimate expression of human independence. If you can get up off the floor, absolutely nothing can stop you.


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