in Programming by Coach Poach
Fitness & Performance – What’s the difference?
The difference isn’t in the level of intensity, but rather the level of skill required to complete a particular movement or workout. Movements are scaled or modified to ensure they target the same muscle groups and follow a similar movement pattern. Here’s an example:
8 Squat Thrusts
6 Cal AB
Rest 1:00 x 5
12 Hang Power Cleans 95/65
6 Cal AB
Rest 1:00 x 5
Now, you may think, “KBS instead of hang power cleans? I’m not going to get as good of a workout, I’m going to do hang power cleans anyway, even though I’m not super efficient with them…” This, in fact, is the exact opposite of what will happen. Fitness is ideal for the following groups of athletes:
-- those who are only 3-6 months out of On Ramp
-- ones with mobility or range of motion (ROM) limitations
-- the ones who slow down and take a few extra seconds before each movement – not as a result of “not trying” or “not going hard,” but instead they do it to make sure the movement 100% right
If any of those apply to you, Fitness would be a far better workout for you. Here’s why:
The hang power clean’s benefit comes as the result of an explosive hip extension. The same benefit is reached with the kettlebell swing (actually that's the whole point of a KBS). The difference in using one movement over the other is the level of skill (read: how complicated the movement is) needed to complete it safely and efficiently.
With the workout listed above, the goal is to go fast and unbroken. If you can’t complete 12 hang power cleans in 30 seconds or less, then you’re likely not getting the benefit of what this workout is meant to provide. However, doing KBS in lieu of HPC does 1) target the same muscle groups and use the same explosive, high intensity function of the hip and 2) allows you to move more quickly and efficiently in the movement and therefore achieve the goal of the workout – which is to go really fast, rest, then repeat while fighting energy and time from dropping off.
“I can do hang power cleans no problem, but 65lbs is too heavy for me!”
No problem, all you need to do is scale the weight on the HPC so you can do them unbroken. This would fall under Performance, you just wouldn’t press “RX.”
“I’m not too comfortable with going fast on HPCs, so I’m going to do KBS. But I CAN do push ups for days so the squat thrusts will be a little easy.”
Also no problem! Use a challenging weight on the KBS that you can go unbroken with and do 8 burpees instead of squat thrusts. This would still be Fitness, but is also maintaining an intensity level that’s right for you to achieve the goal of the workout.
If you’ve ever had the feeling or thought above in any form, but aren’t sure what to do then you should definitely ask the coach. They’ll provide you with direction, a suggestion, or if need be, they’ll give you the kick in the butt to push yourself a little more (you know who you are!). They are there to help you with movements, provide modifications/scaling when necessary and ensure you have the best workout possible – seriously, that’s their job and what they get paid to do, so don’t be afraid to ask!
What about moving from Fitness to Performance?
The first thing to know about this – you are NOT required to be able to RX every weight, movement, height, distance, etc in order to move into Performance. As mentioned in the previous section, you can still scale Performance movements properly for you. A good indication of when it might be time to move from Fitness to Performance is the day you do a Fitness WOD, and finish miles ahead of the rest of the class, or notice on the whiteboard that you finish 4:00 ahead of the fastest time, regardless of those who RX’d and who didn’t. Another indication would be if the coach looks at you funny when you grab a KB instead of setting up a barbell in the example WOD above. Unless you’re 100% sure the HPC is out of the question, if the coach gives you a funny look it may be time to try a scaled Performance workout. Disclaimer: this goes both ways – if you grab a barbell and the Coach looks at you funny because they do not feel you should be doing HPCs, whether it be for safety reasons, to achieve the point of the workout, or some other reason, they have every right to tell you do to KBS. This goes for all movements, workouts, reps, heights, weights, etc. Again, that is part of their job. As always, when in doubt of what movements you should be doing, or what weight to use, just ask your Coach!
Do we HAVE to move from Fitness to Performance? I kind of like the Fitness WODs…
Simple answer: NO! You are not required to move from Fitness to Performance. It is however, the natural progression of movements and progressing toward your greatest fitness potential. If you like the Fitness WODs, and your goal with being a member at CrossFit New Haven is to workout to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle, then you’re still going to get a killer workout by doing Fitness!
More complicated answer: No, BUT we do preach virtuosity, which CrossFit defines as doing the common uncommonly well. Revisiting the example WOD above that means we can achieve an explosive hip extension with a KBS, but to do it uncommonly well we should be striving for a perfect hang power clean (and then a perfect power clean, and then perfect squat clean, etc, etc). The progression and persuit of perfection should never stop. We want you to get better, stronger, and faster every time you walk into CrossFit New Haven. Following the progression from Fitness to Performance will help you do this. If you have asperations of exploring the competitive sport of CrossFit as it pertains to local competitions, The Open/Regionals/Games, and in house throwdowns, then we’d love to talk to you about that as well.
This concludes the 3 part series on programming. I hope this helps you understand why you're doing what you do when you come in, and also understand that everything we do is for a reason. Please email Coach Poach if you have questions or feedback. If you'd be more comfortable sharing feedback annoymously, you can do that as well through Wodify. After logging into your account through the desktop version, look for the megaphone icon at the top right of the screen where you can submit feedback and choose whehter or not you'd like to keep it annoymouse.