Fitness or Performance? “Variant” WOD Programming Explained


Here at Nova we strive to better suit the many goals and needs of our members by varying our programming to meet our clients where they are at their level of experience and fitness. We define this programming as “Fitness” or “Performance”, but neither program is better or necessarily more intense. These variants are not to be confused with “easy” or “hard” versions of the daily, prescribed workout.

The “Performance” version of the programming is not to be confused with “being better,” it is meant to challenge the higher level athlete with more advanced movements coupled with heavier weights in metabolic conditioning (METCON). This means that even the highest-level athlete can be challenged with “fitness” because they are able to push harder. In certain cases, fitness may be a better option for the athlete who has not yet mastered a specific skill, has a weak foundation, limited mobility, and/or needs to build more strength in order to complete the movements as prescribed.

It is important that purpose of variant programming is understood, and that being in one category versus the other doesn’t reflect your value as a person. It is meant to give direction and maintain a high quality class for everyone. We want to focus on what is most appropriate for the client’s goals and development.

Levels Defined:

     Fitness: A General Preparedness Program (GPP) for achieving many fitness goals of the larger population (young, old, athletic, inexperienced/experienced, etc.).

      • Builds a strong foundation for other activities, health, and more advanced training

      • Focuses on skill learning and body awareness

      • Higher complexity movements are done in controlled settings (i.e. strength or skill portion)

      • Less skill intensive conditioning to maintain high intensity

    Performance: A specific training program for the “Sport of Fitness” and High-level athletics. Success in this program is dependent on a solid foundation in the basic components of fitness needed (strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, skill). This baseline allows coaches to spend more time working on more advanced technique with appropriate individuals.

      • More complex movements (and may be included in conditioning)

      • For those that have a solid foundation of abilities and experiential knowledge

Requirements for Performance:

     • Full Range of Motion

     • Knowledge of basic mobility and stretching techniques

     • Know all the foundational movements, how to warm them up, and appropriate weights (squat variations, deadlift, press variations, Olympic weightlifting variations)

     • Proficient in weight dropping technique

     • Proficient in fundamental bodyweight movements (pull up, push up, lunge, air squat, sit ups, knees to elbows, handstand)

Each class will generally have 2 variations of the WOD (workout of the day). The member will perform a group warm up before following the appropriate programming. This is based on their individual fitness & strength level, as well as the ability to perform certain complex movements. There is still a strong sense of community and teamwork because all members are working alongside each other completing similar exercises. Many times whole WOD or parts of it will be the same.


Fitness:                                                                           Performance:

A) Deadlift 5 sets x 5 reps –                                              A) Deadlift: 7 sets x 2 reps @  90% 1RM,

Increase Weight each set –                                                     -Rest 4 minutes

Med to High intensity                                                        B) 3 rounds:

-Rest 2 to 3 min                                                                    Thruster x 15 @ 50% 1RM –

B) 3 rounds                                                                            Chest to Bar Pull Ups x 15

-Wall ball x 12

-Pull Ups x 6