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Can anyone write an effective exercise program and get results?

Hopefully, the answer is no. Otherwise I will be out of business pretty quickly

Often we hear the quotes “go hard or go home” and “hard work pays off” and the like

Lets be clear – I like these types of quotes, and at the right time, they can act as great motivation

But, to throw a caveat at you….

Simply doing “more” work or working “harder” does not guarantee success

Or put in another way, “Volume and/or Intensity do not trump Quality”

It doesn’t matter how much you do of something, if you do it poorly, your progress is not only going to be slowed down, it may actually be reversed


Here are my 5 tips for getting the most out of your additional training:

1- Understand that MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER (especially when it comes to CrossFit) and that sometimes less is actually more! Have you ever done a workout after a few days of rest? And it felt amazing? Think about that. It is not coincidence! That’s why sporting teams structure their training weeks with low intensity or rest days pre game day. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If your legs are sore, do some upper body work or simply take a rest day and come back stronger tomorrow (for example).

2- Do not try to improve 10 different things all at once – it will not happen. Be very SPECIFIC about what you are trying to improve with the extra training. It takes a very structured approach to improve, for example, your 1RM Back Squat, your first Ring Muscle Up, or PB your 5km run time. Your extra training should have a clear focus. It takes many months if not years of consistent deliberate practice to see significant improvement.

3- You need to HOLD THE STANDARD in your own training, not just when a coach has their eyes on you. Quality of movement (Coordination, Timing, Posture, Technique, Movement Efficiency, Range of motion) is of upmost importance if you are genuinely trying to improve. Therefore, using video to have eyes on what you are doing and how you are moving is a great tool. Keep this order in mind…. Mechanics —> Consistency —> Intensity

If you are consistently moving with poor mechanics at hight intensity – never mind not actually getting any better – it is only a matter if time until you get hurt!

4- Study your primary program each week to see where there may be room to do the extras WITHOUT LIMITING PERFORMANCE in either. Schedule your extras in so that it compliments the primary program and your schedule. Doing a double session using the same muscle groups on the same day is just not smart! One fatigues and/or limits the other, so you end up maybe doing one session at full intensity, and one at moderate. Or both at moderate, when actually you could have just attacked the one session for the day with full intensity.

5- Do not underestimate the necessity and value of ADEQUATE RECOVERY. Doing too much is going to result in sub optimal performance. Consistently training at a sub optimal level is not going to result in anything spectacular. To get the most out of each workout at CFH, you must be able to bring the required intensity. Being too tired, or sore, or stiff, will stop this from happening.


The program at CFH is carefully put together. Its design is guided by a group of 7 coaches. It is mapped out at the start of the year. It is discussed monthly. It is put out to the team in advance for critique. And it is published in advance for the benefit of all of our members.

The program takes into consideration all of the above points. Movement patterns, muscle groups, energy systems, required intensity, scaled options, recovery etc etc… We have to think about these things so make sure you can still function outside of the gym, and more importantly, don’t get injured!

Your extras should reflect the same approach. Otherwise, you will not get the full benefit from the careful design of the CFH program, or the primary program that you are doing / following.

I am all for the extra’s. I have been and always will be. But, it needs to be done with purpose, proper planning and executed well to be of any real value.


Paul Kiely

Head Coach

CrossFit Hurstville

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