Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Importance of Context.

Pretty regularly, someone will ask me to "write them a few workouts." I used to oblige - after all, a few workouts is only a few minutes of work. But, these days I usually say no.

The problem is, programming without sufficient information about the athletes goals, athletic history, current training plan, injuries, strengths, weaknesses, etc - in a word, context - is weak sauce. It may work for your fat friend who has been on the couch for most of his adult life, because he just needs to get up and move, but for athletes? Not a chance.

When you program out of context, you risk interfering with the athletes planned training, aggravating injuries, failing to address necessary skill development, etc. Now, of course, the athlete can just change the programming you give them to suit their needs - but then what was the point of asking for programming in the first place?

Programming shouldn't be random. Varied, yes, random, no. Even my competitive CrossFitters only have a certain degree of randomness to their training. For most of their preparation period, they have a set structure wherein only the conditioning sessions are "random" (meaning they do not necessarily progress from one to the next.) In their sport specific phase, all their training is varied, but I am still ensure that they have a minimum and maximum frequency for everything they do (for example, an athlete in their sport specific phase for CrossFit competition may not squat heavy on the same day each week, but will certainly squat heavy at least once per week. Same goes for running workouts, snatch, pullup workouts, etc.) It'll be different for each athlete, but there are always general guidelines.

If you want to see some of my programming in action, check out my good friend and athlete Owen Satterley. His blog has good information and he logs his training there as well.

Training has been nothing special. I've pretty much just squatted a bunch and done some clean pulls, GHRs, etc. I'm paying for last Friday. I'm really focusing on improving internal rotation in my left shoulder - I seriously think if I can get it up to par, I will be snatching 110+ very soon. Some mobility stuff I've been using regularly:

LAX ball to anterior shoulder with arm in internal rotation (lie on floor, face down on top of LAX ball, reach arm behind back as if someone was twisting it)
LAX ball to lateral border of scapula, alternate from internal to external rotation
"Pitcher" stretch (See the first stretch in this video)
Thoracic mobilization on double LAX balls

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