Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto (born 15 July 1848 – 19 August 1923) was an Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist, and philosopher, now also known for the 80/20 rule, named after him as the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle was named after him, and it was built on observations of his such as that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by about 20% of the population.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS CONCEPT INSIDE THE GYM THAT YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM?
1) Population Goals
When setting up training blocks we ask ourselves each month: 1) What is our unique population looking for? 2) What can our population handle efficiently & effectively 3) What weakenesses/strengths do we need to address more or less of and 4) What will make our population enjoy their hour with us?
Now, do we have a gym full of firebreathers looking to compete at the CrossFit Games? Maybe not now but perhaps sometime in the future yes. Regardless of who our population consists of, providing a program that matches their goals is vital and step 1 to creating a successful program.
2) Specificity of Programming
Once we've established answers to our population’s goals, the next step is formulating a plan that is specific to these goals. If you’ve got a group of people who want to make it to the Crossfit regionals you can bet there is going to be a fairly predictable set of exercises they’ll encounter at the open with a specific time duration and rep scheme. A priority for these people would be to prepare for exactly what will be coming their way in the Crossfit open. On top of that, the programming should be targeting specific weaknesses the individual might have and needs to improve upon. If this was our population our weekly training would look like this:
However, we've found over the years that this type of training year round only leads to more injuries and prevents our population from thriving as they should but also it doesn't line up with their goals. The benefits of doing 100 Chest to Bar Pull Ups/week along with 100's of Snatches and 100's of Muscle Ups does not allow our community to THRIVE. We want to see people move better, increase their strength, overcome weaknesses, improve their relationships, increase their happiness and see them perform to the best of their ability year round.
3) Application of Scientific Principles
Creating a successful program is both an art and a science. Preparing an individual for a competition will require periodization and progression of exercises in the proper manner in order to promote adaptation. On the flip side of the coin we need to know how much is enough and how much is too much, as not to push people into the realm of injury and overuse.
For a competitive athlete, knowing which energy systems are being stressed in their sport so that we can match those needs in the gym become important. Knowing which exercises to select and which rep schemes to apply to improve qualities such as strength, hypertrophy, speed and motor control are also paramount.
If you’re training competitive athletes, you don’t have to have them game ready year round. Changing the type of training based on how far out an athlete is from their competitive season is paramount for peaking at the right times and staying away from overuse injuries.
4) Management of volume, frequency and intensity
A commonly held belief in the CrossFit world is that if I want to become better I’ve got to train more often. Although this may be true to a point, there comes a point of diminishing returns. Keep in mind the Pareto Principle. In many cases 80% of your improvements come from 20% of the work performed. I don’t think your training is much different. There is going to be essential work and there is going to be some fluff. Prioritize your training and keep your focus on the essentials.
This is the exact reason why we prioritize movements not normally seen inside of a CrossFit gym: Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts, Suitcase Deadlifts, Farmer Carries, Wall Walks, Box Hamstring Curls, Tuck Holds, Bulgarian Split Squats, Sorensen Holds, Good Mornings, Waiter Walks, Lemon Squeezers, Superman Holds, Strict Pull Ups, Strict Toes To Bar, Tempo Squats, Tempo Presses, PVC KB Holds, Step Ups etc.... These movements are the 20% that allow and foster 80% of the results with the tougher/higher skill movements.
This idea becomes even more vital as you begin to introduce more and more work because you begin to tread a fine line between optimal performance and risk of injury. Just because Rich Froning Jr. trains “x” amount of times per day and excels, doesn’t mean that’s the best program for everyone. You may not be able to tolerate as much work. More work may actually decrease your performance or even worse end up creating an overuse injury.
A solution comes with the selection of the proper amount of volume, frequency and intensity of exercise mixed with the correct amount of rest between sessions. Obviously this is going to differ from person to person and based on the other variables we just touched on previously.
SO, when understanding what our program reflects inside the gym you must look at each other.
You reflect the programs success and you reflect the programs progress moving forward. 20% of your effort has always resulted in 80% of the results to reach your goals.