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Entries in elegance (3)

Quote of the Week vol. 250

"Less but better."

- Dieter Rams

Quote of the Week vol. 249

Steve Jobs: "...and why are there 4 options for the clock display?"

Avie Tevanian: "How many options do you want?"

Steve Jobs: "2. Buy it or don't."

Often times when people are presented with too many decisions, they either walk away or have second-thoughts. This usually comes from a desire to make everyone happy. You are not happy with everything (unless your name is Mrs. Pip) so how can you expect to make something that is supposed to make everyone else happy?

For example, Coach T just presented me with the idea of running a powerlifting club for the kids at the gym. We have not reached a final decision on it yet, but there's a chance it might happen in the fall. Mama V has also asked me about hosting Yoga classes. Morrow/JZ have asked me about doing Olympic lifting. Binno has asked about having a special gymnastics-focus class. Murley has asked about doing an Endurance class. Just last week a potential new kid asked me if I have a special 2-day-per-week option for the Summer. Mr. WA has asked about having a 10-session punch-card.

Now imagine if I presented all those options to Evan Pugh (New Kid who I'll be doing a post about soon) when he came in last week. Even if he still signed up, there would have been a lot of "well, I wonder if I should've picked the 2-day per week instead of the punch-card, and maybe the extra Yoga classes" going on in his head.

Limiting options usually eliminates people who want Yoga classes, or want specialty lifting, or want to change their computer clock design every day of the week. And that's okay. Keeping the options simple lets you (or me) focus on doing one or two things really well, and naturally attracts people who think the same way.

Test/Retest: The Main Site

Let's look at the workouts that have been posted on the main site for the past week:

Back squat 10-5-3-1-1-1-3-5-10 reps

For time:
15 muscle-ups
205-lb. squat clean, 1 rep
225-lb. squat clean, 1 rep
245-lb. squat clean, 1 rep
255-lb. squat clean, 1 rep
265-lb. squat clean, 1 rep

5 rounds for time of:
Row 25 calories
16 chest-to-bar pull-ups
9 strict handstand push-ups

For time:

Handstand walk 250 ft.

Then,

1-rep-max snatch

Max effort snatch? No problem for suspected lumberjack Ryan Richard.

1-mile run
135-lb. overhead squats, 50 reps
100 GHD sit-ups
150 double-unders
135-lb. sumo deadlift high pulls, 50 reps
100 box jump overs, 24 inches

It's been a little bit of a crazy week. Although the Champions Club hasn't quite progressed to a couple of these workouts, when we do, sometimes we tone them down a bit. Whether it's turn them into a team workout or just keep the standards higher and the speed a bit slower, we have to do a little tweaking when it comes to main site programming these days. 

When Murley and I went to California, we asked Jeff Martin what he thought about the current state of the programming on the main site. His response? Probably not a good idea to put it on the Internet. Instead, Jeff expressed his affection for old school main site programming. He suggested that I go back a couple years and look at what the workouts used to be like. Here's a couple workouts from May of 2004.

Rounds of 21-18-15-12-9-6 and 3 reps of:
Kettlebell swing 1 1/2 pood
Medicine ball sit-up throw 20 pounds x 10 feet

For time:
50 Push-ups
Row 1000 meters
30 Push-ups
Row 1000 meters
20 Push-ups

Summer of 2010. 6 years after these workouts were posted on the main site..

Power clean 21 reps
Run 800 meters
Power clean 15 reps
Run 800 meters
Power clean 9 reps

5 rounds of:
Wall ball 50 shots with 20 pound ball
L-Pull-ups 15 reps

Notice anything different? Instead of chippers and heavy weights the "old school" CrossFit workout are notorious for being elegantly designed couplets or triplets that would leave all 40 people following the program dead on their back. Pat Sherwood describes the classic CrossFit workout as elegant.

"Elegance, by definition, is cleverly simple. It’s often the obvious answer everyone missed or the clever nuance that makes all the difference. Elegance is what happens when the clutter is removed and the essential ideas remain, and it is part and parcel of virtuosity."

The latest workouts don't quite have the simple elegance that defined the first couple years of CrossFit. Rep schemes can get weird, burpee kettlebell swings get thrown in, and there are too many sumo deadlifts. 

This leads to the question: do you think that the Regional events (which many of the workouts from this past week are) should be listed as main site programming? Throw down in the comments.