In the Constantly varied, functional fitness, at high intensity, that is universally scalable definition of Crossfit, each work out has a clear intended stimulus that trains varying levels of the 10 general physical skills.
When we looked at Macro level programming to subject of modalities was touched upon, there are three different modalities in Crossfit – Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics, Weightlifting – and there are three ways that these can be combined – singles, couplets or triplets, giving 7 combinations (note MGW or the triplet is only counted once) the theory is that these 7 combinations give athletes the chance to train in Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics, Weightlifting in all possible combinations, which supports the Constantly varied aspect of crossfit in a controlled manner.
What it neglects, however is what movements can be inserted under each of the three modalities, which can result in an infinite number of combinations, the art in programming comes from balancing these movements under the 3 modalities so that the athlete doesn’t develop deficiencies whilst developing work capacity over broad time and modal domains.
Looking into class level programming – the concept of priorities was touched upon. the idea of priorities is to consider the application of intensity to a WOD regardless of the 3 modalities (Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics, Weightlifting), from Crossfit threshold training, we know that movement needs to be developed from Mechanics, to consistency, to Intensity. we also know that each WOD has a clear intended stimulus.
Consequently the concept of priorities is the application of these considerations into a given WOD. there are three priorities – Element Priority, Task Priority, Time Priority. so when combined with the 3 modalities (Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics, Weightlifting) and the 3 ways that these 3 modalities can be combined – singles, couplets or triplets, you end up with 18 possible variations (element priorities only focus on single modality days). again, we see how even those the combinations are extensive, they are ‘controlled’, its not entirely random, and the only element left to experience or preference at this stage is still the movements selected.
Focusing on the three priorities – Element priority focuses on technique, consistency and focus on building on a single modality. Task Priority, focuses on a ‘task’ by this we mean a clear end, such is with a for-time or rounds for time style work out, the focus here is to develop speed towards an end goal, the work is fixed and the time is variable. Time Priority focuses on achieving as much in a fixed time as possible, so the work is variable but the time is fixed.
the difference between Task Priority and Time Priority can seem superficial, but strongly influences the pacing and strategy an athlete would take to approaching a workout.
there are other additional factors that need to be considered in programming-
- Skill complexity