Monte Carlo Muscle

 …but I do with my programming

…but I do with my programming

I’ve been trying to develop a good way to explain how we create variability in our programs without being CrossFitRandom.

Then one day it hit me: my programs really are the same as Monte Carlo modelling. That is, there is an underlying random component but that random component is shaped by distributions and other functions.

That’s exactly the kind of modelling that I’ve done for the last 20 years for work: find a problem that’s too hard to solve exactly and just throw random numbers at it until you get the right answer. The hard part is how you transform those random numbers to converge on the right answer.

That’s what I’ve finally done with our programming. Or at least, that’s what I finally figured out how to do and now I need to tweak it. There’s an underlying model to the Olympic lifting cycle that we’re running in the Hardstyle class this month (or two). But the week-to-week and day-to-day variability is mediated by random permutations.

As I look through the program that gets generated, most of the days look pretty reasonable. A few here and there look like they may be a little too long. Sorry about that. I’ll figure out a better way to tweak it - but as I always say, we’re the laboratory of strength, sometimes we have to experiment to see what really works.

As always - I need your feedback! As I come up with more Monte Carlo models for programming, we’ll be trying lots of new stuff in the next year. I think we’re on to something cool.

Enough theory! How do you execute to this program?

Each non-AGT day you have a kettlebell skill movement. I can’t drop kettlebells completely for this program - I love them too much! You can choose if this is a warm-up weight or serious strength work. Base it on how you feel when you come into the gym each day.

Then we have three barbell lifts, a core Olympic lift, some assistance/skill work, and some pure strength work. For each lift, I give you a sequence of reps and L(ight), M(edium), and H(eavy) for each set. Light is about 70% of your max (round down) - if you don’t have a max, make it feel like a 7 out of 10 on effort. Medium is about 80%, (round up), and Heavy is about 90% (round down).

You’ll be at these weights for a long time. You can nudge them up very slowly if you feel yourself getting stronger. This program is based on a bunch of the old Russian programs where you spend almost all of your time at 70% but you play with the set-to-set, day-to-day, and week-to-week volume. Only a few times each cycle do you hit a heavy set. Note: 90% is pretty darn heavy for a heavy set. So, if you see a 3H set, you can interpret that as 3x1H.

Some days will conspire against you and be really bad, some days will seem too easy. That’s all part of the model. Rather than beat you down with maxing every week, we work-harden you with repeated exposure to the lifts at a reasonable weight and play with the volume as our variable.

I did this program with Deadlifts just before the TSC and I really enjoyed it. We’ll see how well it works when you have three lifts…

Michael Deskevich