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Pendulum Programming: How It Works.

Pendulum Programming has evolved over the years. One thing that we do not shy away from is that we want our program to be smart. We want to be able to deliver people results and keep them from getting hurt.

Here is the transcript of the video from above.

Alright! What’s going on FitFam? You know, I wanted to do this special thing for you today. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what it is like to program. A program specifically for CrossFit, for fitness, for personal training. What that looks like and how it relates to you. Why should you listen? Maybe because you feel like you’re not getting the right things out of your workouts. Maybe you want results and you’re not getting the right results. Maybe you want harder workouts. Then this is for you. So we’re going to cover those things. 

Here’s the deal. Why should you care? Why should you listen to me? I’ve been doing this for eighteen years. Eighteen years of programming fitness for people from the elite to the general public. Programing, good programing, should serve a purpose and it should serve a result. A direct outcome. Now, when I was a strength & conditioning coach for Western Michigan University, we used to program so we would 1) keep our athletes safe and healthy so that they could be competitive throughout the entire season; 2) so that they could get stronger and become better athletes; and 3) team building and community. This was really cool because you would have kids who would come in as 18-year-olds and they could barely bench 185lbs, but they were Division I athletes. Then by the end of their four or five years, they were benching over 315lbs. Very cool! Now, does that have any relevance towards football? It depends on the position. But, that was unique to that situation because we had to get them from their day 1 to the end of their time with us at the university. 

Now, when I program here for Pendulum, it’s different. It’s different because we have people of all shapes and sizes, all different ages; but everybody is here for one thing— to improve on their fitness. Then from there, you have subcategories: 1. I want to lose weight 2. I want to get out of pain 3. I want to look better naked 4. I want to perform better in my workouts 5. I want it to help support me for my job 6. I need to have more energy for my kids. The list goes on. Why is that important for you to care about? There is a spectrum of wellness from those that are sick to those that are fit. When we see that full-spectrum we want to look at that and say, “How can we take somebody from being not healthy to leading a more healthy lifestyle?” Living life in motion! 

So what does that mean for you? A General Physical Prepared program, known as GPP, should be constantly varied, have functional movements, and it should be performed at high intensity. That’s what we like to program. The reason why we do that is so that every day could be different. Not every day has to be the hardest, most grueling workout of your life for it to be effective. Case in point, a couple of years ago I got hurt. I was doing too much training, wasn’t sleeping enough, wasn’t eating the right way, I was getting older, and there were certain things that were not going the way that they should for somebody who’s going to be doing competitive CrossFit. I ended up getting hurt so I sought out help from a coach. That coach helped me really understand some things. He helped me understand that not every day has to feel like the nastiest beat down of your life. What you do need to do is have consistency. That’s the name of the game in fitness. Anywhere between 4 to 6 days of working out a week, coupled with eating right and sleep, is going to allow for you to get really good results. If you do those things you’re going to get results. But it takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. So, what’s really important for people to understand is that if you can commit to a process and show up day in and day out, get good sleep, manage your stress levels, and trust the programming to us, you’re going to get results. 

There are times when you’re like “Hey, I really want to get a muscle-up” or work towards something more specific. There are times like that where you do need a bit more specificity in your programming that will help you get better. Seeking out one of our coaches to help program on the side for you or doing extra work at the gym with guidance helps. What doesn’t help is having grinder workouts (really long and hard workouts) multiple times a week. That may work for a competitive crossfitter at an elite level. They need to be able to train in that capacity so that when they go to competitions they’re prepared for that experience. But for you and me, having one or two hard workouts a week is just right. You have days that need to be long, and slow, days that need to be really short and explosive, and then your general aerobic workouts. 

The other thing that happens when you program for people is volume. The amount of volume that is okay for one person might not be okay for another person. You may get a lot of sleep but the person next to you in class may not get much sleep at all and may have a really stressful job. The great thing about CrossFit Pasadena and about being a part of our gym is that we can scale you up. Make the workout more challenging if you want. But working out harder doesn’t always mean working out smarter. There are three kinds of energy systems that we typically use— really short workouts, medium workouts (30s – 1min 30s), and aerobic workouts (2min 40s and up). We want to make sure you stay inside these energy systems so you can get better at fitness. Then your improvement will show when we test or with things like The Open.

There’s this belief in fitness that really hard, demanding workouts are what you need. That’s not necessarily the case. You’re just doing extra stuff just to do extra stuff and sometimes that takes more of a toll on your body than it does with helping it. Remember, exercise and fitness is just one component. The only way that it works is if you are recovering as well. If you spend an hour in the gym, what are you doing outside of the gym to make sure that you’re recovering and helping your body recharge? Are you eating the right foods? Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night? Are you managing your stress levels? Do you have a really demanding job? Are you only making it to the gym about two times a week? Your answers to these questions might be the reasons for your setbacks. 

The reason we program the way that we do is so that we have at least one really hard workout a week. The other stuff is to help color in the program and make you generally physically fit. Fit enough to do everyday tasks, to move a couch without hurting yourself, or even just to have the energy to play with your kids. When I was training to compete I actually found that my fitness level to play with my kids was way worse than it is now. I was always so sore, so beat up, so UGH! My kids wanted to go out and play and I just didn’t have the energy. At what point does your fitness help what you’re trying to do? Does it help make your life better or does it hold you back from living your life? That’s why we program the way that we do. So you can show up every day and it can help not only your fitness but your overall life. 

There is someone in our gym who has been with us for five years and he is one of the most consistent athletes that I have ever seen. He is now considered one of the top athletes in our gym. But it wasn’t always that way. What allowed him to progress was his consistency and understanding of scaling. It’s a process. If you can commit to the process, eat right, sleep, manage your stress, and communicate to your coaches about what’s going on, then we can help you. 

If you’re having pain, if you want a different program, if you want a little bit more work for specific goals, we can help adjust those things for your workouts to support that. So if that’s something that you’re interested in, please come talk to one of the coaches. If you have more questions about programming, come talk to me. I love having this conversation because it is something I’ve been doing for a very long time. But I want to make sure that you understand why we do what we do. It is to make sure that you guys get better, get results, and ultimately so that you can come in more often. The more often that you are here, the better the results. I hope that this helps and thanks so much for listening.

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