and we’re back……
As a quick refresher, this January we were working on strict gymnastics, unilateral strength and the posterior chain via Sumo deadlifts. We will continue to work on strict gymnastics and unilateral strength in February as auxiliary emphases, but now gaining strength in the basic lifts becomes the primary emphasis. We will build our foundation of strength by focusing on squats, presses and conventional deadlifts and improve our ability to use that strength quickly (rate of force development) with a regular dosage of Snatch and Clean variations. Look to retest your strict gymnastics near the end of the month and continue to push those hard and with high quality when the show up in the WODs over the next few weeks. Our weekly template this month will follow a classic Push Pull schedule on M/T/Th/Fr with longer WODs on Wednesday. Saturday will continue to be partner WOD’s and a great day to work on some higher-level skills as well. Look for some rope climbs on a few Saturdays this month! Sunday’s we will continue to take a break from the barbell and work on the aerobic engine. Roughly, a February week will look like this:
Tuesday – Pull Variation, Short WOD
Wednesday – Longer WOD, Core work – Fitness and then more Fitness
Thursday – Squat/Unilateral and Press variation, Short WOD
Friday – Pull Variation, short WOD
Saturday – Suffering with friends, partner for the wins
Sunday – More heavy breathing and usually without a barbell
I was asked some good questions after last month’s blog. One of which was, “I want to do all of these days, so when do I rest?”
Hopefully by now you’ve been told to rest two days a week. Your goals and lifestyle will determine which of these days you rest. A few things to establish:
- Most of our athletes don’t have very specific or competitive fitness goals (i.e. 10 muscle ups or squat 500 lbs). If you are just here to be fit and healthy and look good naked then in the long run, it really doesn’t matter on which days you rest. Try to exercise 5 days a week, lifting weights for at least 2 of those days, and make sure to include some yoga.
- As a rule, strength and skill takes years to develop, whereas conditioning takes months. In the exercise physiology world, strength is known as “the mother of all motor qualities.” Want better balance? Get stronger. Do you need stronger bones? Get stronger. What to move faster? Get stronger. Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. Strength is the foundation to most of our physical abilities and we lose it steadily with age IF we don’t train it. Progressive resistance training is the most powerful tool to maintain muscle and bone mass which is what allows us to move. Of course, Cardiovascular fitness is extremely important, which is why we take some time to breathe hard every day.
- What is strong? I would say Bench, Front Squat, Clean, and Jerk 1.25-1.5x your bodyweight, a 2 x bodyweight squat and a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift. Oh, don’t forget 10-20 Strict Pull-ups, 20 strict Dips. If you have mastered those movements, and depending on how much you weigh, you could then consider the return on investment of more strength. If you are already exceeding those numbers (especially the barbell lifts), then you might want to focus more on conditioning and skill development (gymnastic techniques, Oly technique) than strength. (hint: in our gyms, I can count those people on one hand).
- If you are competing, how far from competition are you? Since we like to compete as a group in the CrossFit Open every year, we will bias the programming towards conditioning a few months prior to the Open in October. Right now, we build the foundation of strength and controlling our own bodyweight.
- Exceptions – We do have athletes who compete in local competitions quite regularly. If you have an upcoming fitness competition, you may want to make sure are hitting the conditioning days (Wed, Sat, Sun) and resting on 2 of the strength days. This really depends on their individual weaknesses.So, let’s build our strength base and get healthy. Make sure you rest a few days each week. Eat & sleep well; they are just as if not more important!
This is the way…..