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Coaches Prep Course: Programming Bias vs. Targeting by Chris Spealler - CrossFit Journal

In Coaching, CrossFit, Reference, Videos

June 19, 2011

Video Article

In this video, HQ trainer Chris Spealler shares his programming insights at a Coaches Prep Course. His focus is explaining the difference between biasing CrossFit programming as opposed to targeting our programming.

Spealler says that CrossFit’s goal is general physical preparedness (GPP), so specialized goals of a three-minute mile or an 800-lb. back squat are not realistic.

“I want the best of both worlds,” he says.

Programming bias allows for that specialization. CrossFit Football and CrossFit Endurance are examples of programming for specific athletes interested in pursing different domains at the sacrifice of some of their GPP.

On the other hand, targeting rounds out GPP by filling in holes.

“I target my programming to work on my weaknesses,” Spealler says.

His own programming has a strength bias because he admits that is his weakness. Fellow HQ trainer Matt Chan is targeting his endurance and uses monostructural elements with more frequency in his programming. Other athletes target their gymnastics skills.

However, neither a programming bias nor targeting is essential for every athlete; it just takes some trickery as a coach, Spealler says.

“If you program well, if you give people good exposure to CrossFit, give them a heavy day once a week, couplets triplets the majority of your time, go long every once in a while, no one in your gym is ever going to have to target. No one in your gym is ever going to have to bias ever, ever, ever,” Spealler says.

10min 40sec

Additional reading: CrossFit Strength Bias by Jeff Martin and Darrell White, published Feb. 7, 2009.

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5 Comments on “Coaches Prep Course: Programming Bias vs. Targeting”


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Lying can work wonders. But you always have to leave some gray area so you can deny it haha.


wrote …

Thanks for posting this great discussion/info!


wrote …

Fantastic food for thought. Great insights by an experienced trainer who just happens to also be a great athlete... hitting on a point that Pat Sherwood talked about during the Games coverage last year with, "How many people do you hear having a gymnastics bias in their programming?" Scaling up/scaling down- that's the application of the art form of being a great coach to the science behind CrossFit. At the end of the day, that's why folks are willing to pay for box memberships- coaches push their athletes to do things they wouldn't do on their own in the box and can provide objective feedback. Even when results speak for themselves, how many of us are honest enough with ourselves to make the modifications to overcome our weaknesses? I know I still struggle with my own stuff, even though I can push the couple of folks I train to make fantastic gains...everyone needs a coach! Can't wait to get to a Coaches Prep Course.


wrote …

Speal is a very eloquent speaker. Great job. Best part - "Lie to your clients". Hilariously poignant, if a 5k is posted I would never show up for it, and I dont mind running all that much.


wrote …

This is great, watched this earlier then checked my affiliate WOD posted, I thought Fran. Walk into the box and first words were - today's workout is Fran! Crazy!

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