By: Reuben Pearlman

There has been a major change happening at CrossFit 718 – and you may be unaware of it. No, it doesn’t have to do with new equipment, or our new doors and awnings. This change is much sneakier, and it has a much deeper impact on each and every athlete. The change I’m talking about is in our programming, and it’s called “progressive training.”


The concept of progressive training can be boiled down to the idea that, by increasing the intensity of your workout program in a safe and consistent manner, you can continuously improve over a longer period of time than you would otherwise.


A major benefit of this type of training is its potential for longevity. Most of you probably have experienced setbacks due to injury, or frustration from plateauing (a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress). By refocusing our programming on progressive training principles, we will be able to reduce the risk of injury from overtraining and smash through annoying plateaus.


Think of Fran: 21/15/9 reps of thrusters (95/65 lbs.) and pull-ups. Doing Fran over and over again without changing anything will undoubtedly produce some results (your time will improve, or you may get better at thrusters and pull-ups). However, at some point you’ll stop improving, you’ll get bored, or you’ll get hurt due to overuse.  The reason you’ll stop improving is because your body needs to be constantly challenged in order to cause the desired adaption; at some point, your body will simply get used to Fran. Plus, your risk of injury will increase, not to mention that if 21 reps of a 95-pound thruster isn’t within your ability, Fran alone won’t do much about that.


The four basic variables in a workout are volume, intensity, duration, and rest/recovery time. If you do Fran over and over again, you simply aren’t changing any of those variables. Now we all know that CrossFit prides itself on being “constantly varied,” so doing Fran every day is unrealistic. However, if there is no method to that variation, you won’t optimize your time spent at the box. Progressive programming allows you to methodically vary the components of your daily workouts to achieve maximum effectiveness. Also, this methodical, progressive approach has been shown to reduce the risk of injury caused by overuse and abuse, allowing for years of improvement in overall health and fitness.


For those of you worried about not seeing our dear friend Fran anymore – don’t worry. Fran and the girls are still excellent ways to test your progress, and they will undoubtedly remain regulars at CrossFit 718. But remember this: those workouts are just that – tests of fitness – not ways to train for fitness.


Stay tuned for more on this subject!

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