Back in the day I worked for CrossFit HQ as a trainer/lecturer at the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification. I was grateful to have several opportunities to give the Programming lecture. It was one of my favorite lectures to present.
I haven’t been to a Level 1 certification in years. I hear that the lectures are much more business like since they have to make sure they cover all the material for the written test. I probably wouldn’t be a good fit on the lecture circuit anymore (haha). When presenting the Programming lecture, there were several lecturers who talked about “The Any Asshole Workout.” Likely, the same theory is presented in different words nowadays.
The Any Asshole Workout was simple to describe. It’s one of those incredibly long workouts that has everything but the kitchen sink in it. Basically, any asshole could program it. Don’t be an asshole!!!
If you are programming for your gym, don’t do your athletes a disservice and program ridiculously long and outrageous workouts. Think of what your goal is as a trainer programming for you gym:
- Keep your athletes safe and as injury free as possible.
- Teach your athletes how to move well.
- Get your athletes better than they were yesterday.
If you really care about your athletes, you put in a lot of work trying to get them to move safely, efficiently, and better. Why ruin all your hard work and your athletes hard work/accomplishments by programming a workout that destines them to failure in epic proportions? If you put heavy/technical/long into any combination, it just becomes long, poorly performed, and unsafe.
You can’t expect people to move well once they are at the point of exhaustion. Everything that you have taught regarding good movement is gone in a 30 minute workout. People are spending more time resting than working, and when they are working, it’s just plain bad. All this leads back to square one during their next training session.
Whatever you do, don’t let your athletes dictate your programming. "We want a long grinder!!" There are plenty of people that like the Any Asshole Workout. They think long is extreme. Extreme is something they can brag about to their co-workers and friends. They think that sweating A LOT for 30 plus minutes means that they are obviously getting in a GREAT workout. Also, let's not forget the number one reason people like the Any Asshole Workout. Bragging about a long workout on Facebook gets tons of LIKES, and how many Facebook LIKES you get is all that really matters in life........
In reality, athletes would rather do a 30 minute workout than a 10 minute workout because a 30 minute workout is just plain easier to do. 30 minutes is simply tiring. 10 minutes of intesity wrecks your soul. 10 minutes is fucking UNCOMFORTABLE. It's a place people in general do not like to go.
CrossFit is a cookie cutter fitness program. I have mentioned this before. We are taking a single strength and conditioning program and trying to make it fit everyone’s needs. There are definitely some peeps out there that don’t have a problem performing a 30+ minute workout fairly well. They will move decently through the entire workout. They won’t get hurt. Unfortunatley, the number of people who are capable of doing this is extremely small. If you have a majority of your athletes scaling the long workouts way back so they can at least attempt to perform the workout, what is the point?
Program smart. Avoid the Any Asshole Workout. I follow a simple template when programming.
Rule #1- Program to the overall average ability of the gym. If the workout is programmed well, a person just starting can easily scale and ideally do the workout with the goal you have in mind for that workout. A regular who is “average” will get a great workout, and any CrossFit badass can just crush it and get great results.
Rule #2- I try and use smart rep schemes. Within a round of any workout, on average, I keep body weight movements in reps of 5-20 depending on the skill/strength level. “Simple” barbell movements (presses/deadlifts/squats) in the 10 reps or less range. Olympic lifts in the 3-5 rep range. Long rep schemes come into play (for example the run 400m/50 air squat workout) during bodyweight movements, but in my humble opinion, barbells were not meant to be moved around for massive amounts of continuous reps.
Rule #3- We started incorporating this rule while Chyna was programming over the last year. Instead of coming up with a prescribed weight for men/women in barbell movements, we often use percentages of each individual's lifts as the prescribed weight. For example, we might start a session off with athletes determining a 3 rep max push press, and then put push press in the workout with the athlete using a percentage of the three rep max they determined earlier in the session. It’s a great way to program barbell movements because even beginners can say they used the prescribed weight.
Not every workout we post on the One World blog follows this template to the letter, but if you go back in the programming, a majority of them do. Most of them stay in the 8-14 minute time frame. In the 6 years of programing at One World, this template and time frame has produced the best results. I could easily come up with an Any Asshole Workout day in and day out. I don’t even think anyone would complain. The question would be, would anyone get truly better?
Programming is sometimes a pain in the ass, but no one knows their gym better than the person programming for it. It’s challenging to come up with a program that attempts to get many different individuals to the same place: faster/stronger/better. I personally don’t think that programming the Any Asshole Workout day in and day out is the way to get there (and there are plenty of gyms out there that program in that manner).
In the end, there really are no set rules. There are 4500+ CrossFit gyms across the world. I am pretty sure we are all doing it differently. I guess that’s the beauty of this thing that we call CrossFit. No one really knows what it is.....
Still taking volunteers for Occupy Strength this Saturday. If you are interested, please email me:
Complete 7 rounds for time of:
- 3 muscle-ups
- 50' bear crawl
- 7 box jumps (M:24"/W:20")
- 30 mountain climbers
Each of these movements can be completed in 15-20 seconds, so factoring in transitions and fatigue, this is a medium workout that should be completed within 14 minutes.
A decent video on how to do a mountain climber. For our workout, count each step as one rep.