These days in the training world there are several training companies pumping out one-size-fits-all programs. Template CrossFit training programs are incredibly popular in the community and usually backed up by top-level athletes. You might be following one of these programs or have in the past and have found your progress slow or stop altogether. The reality is that the very athletes at the top of the sport that are behind these programs are likely following their own customized plan with an individual coach rather than the daily template program. Template CrossFit training programs are great tools for general fitness but are not conducive to long-term progression in training. Let’s talk more about why that is.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY THE DIRECTOR OF COMPETITIVE PROGRAMMING AT TRAINTSK AND THE SWOLE KITCHEN, DONNIE OCHAMPAUGH.
What is a Template CrossFit Training Program?
First let’s talk a little bit about what exactly a template CrossFit Training Program is. A template CrossFit Training program is a daily program that gets put out on a weekly or daily basis for its users to follow along with on a mobile application. These programs will typically involve training in weightlifting, gymnastics, and endurance and there will be some variety you can choose from based on your weaknesses. These programs are great for athletes that are just getting started and want to build a general baseline of fitness or for anyone who generally works out alone and just needs some solid workouts to follow. It’s important to keep in mind that these programs are designed to be accessible for thousands of athletes therefore making it impossible to be individualized for you and your goals.
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Why Your Template CrossFit Training Program Isn’t Working
1. Lacking An Individual Approach
Template CrossFit training programs are designed for any and every aspiring athlete out there. With this being the case, there cannot be adjustments in program design for your specific weaknesses and needs as an athlete. All athletes have different strengths and weaknesses. Usually, these weaknesses are significant. It could be a lack of strength, endurance, or ability to perform high skill gymnastics movements. Whatever it is, a template program will not be able to address whichever weaknesses effectively and efficiently that you might have as an athlete.
2. Incorrect/Improper Progression(s)
When it comes to long-term training. Progression and periodization are everything. Most template CrossFit training programs follow general progressions that are not specific to your needs or timelines as an athlete. You might need to spend more time progressing your endurance because it is a significant weakness, but your template program only has you progressing for 6 weeks and then moves on to something else. This leaves you with inadequate training and without the adaptations you need to reach your specific goals. If you’re already really strong but burn out really fast in workouts, or vice versa, it’s imperative that your training progressions reflect that and you spend the appropriate amount of time training your weaknesses.
3. Lacking Accessory Work
In most cases, template CrossFit training programs have all the big fancy movements like muscle-ups, snatches, burpees, toe-to-bar etc. but lack significantly in the accessory movements. Accessory movements involve isolating and building specific muscle groups and are key to building strength, stability, correcting muscular imbalances, and most importantly, preventing injuries. Performing dynamic movements like muscle-ups or throwing a barbell overhead comes with a big risk of injury that could sideline you from training. Incorporating accessory work into your training plan can make a huge difference in your performance and your longevity in training. This is a big area that is missed in template training programs but is arguably the most important.
4. No Coaching, Guidance, or Feedback
While you’re following along with your template CrossFit training program you can usually compare yourself on the leaderboard to see where you stack up but there is no other way to get feedback on your training. Comparing yourself on the leaderboard every day can be extremely misleading and confusing when it comes to your actual progress and where you should be as an athlete. Only a coach can give you a completely objective assessment of your training and how you’re progressing. If you’re not progressing in the ways your coach wants you to, they have the power to adjust your program to get you on the right track. With a template program, if you’re not seeing the progress you want, there is no one there to tell you why or to correct it. This will often leave you stuck and in the same place for several months or even years.
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5. Not Goal Specific To The Individual
A template CrossFit training program will typically follow a schedule based around peaking for the CrossFit Games season. This involves the Open, quarterfinals, semifinals, and of course the CrossFit Games. However, not every athlete is trying to peak for one of these events. In fact, most athletes CAN’T peak for these events because there are weaknesses that need to be addressed first to become the best athlete possible. You might want to qualify for a non-sanctioned competition like Wodapalooza. Or you might want to just improve your Olympic weightlifting, compete in your first RX competition, or get your first ring MU. Whatever the goal is, if you want to optimize your time and performance, you need a specific plan on a specific timeline to accomplish your specific goal.
Individualized 1:1 Competitive Fitness Coaching
Individualized coaching is the most efficient and most effective way to optimize your performance and become the best athlete possible. An individual coach will build a program based on your timeline and your goals to get you exactly where you want to be. Of course, this is a more premium service and costs more but really you are trading cost for time. Paying more for an individual coach can save you months or years in time when comes to reaching your goal. If you are serious about reaching your goals and optimizing your potential as an athlete, individualized training far surpasses a template CrossFit program.
Template CrossFit Training Programs Takeaway
You are not built the same as the athletes around you. Why should you train exactly like them? It’s always good to involve others in your training and train alongside people to push you but it’s even better to have a clear-cut path to your goals that is specific to you and your needs. A path that will match your current fitness level, your timeline, and the athlete that you’ve always dreamed of becoming.
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