I’d like to interrupt the nutrition and lifestyle blogs for an update on the programming. I’ve been slack with giving you insights into the programming, so back to it at the start of new training blocks.
A quick review on the previous two training blocks first. The 12-week block that began in April had a strength focus. We managed that by keeping strength work to the the first piece of a session IF there were two pieces to that session. Everyone knows that the barbell is a strength development tool, but gymnastics also plays a massive role in strength development. We therefore performed a lot of strict gymnastics work for the L2 stream, and either static or eccentric work for the L1 streams.
The 13-week block that followed that (the most recent block) continued with a strength focus but with less overall volume to make way for better intensity.
Remember, a focus is NOT a bias, because a bias would require sacrificing other components of fitness. Our aim is a broad and inclusive fitness so although we focused on strength, we didn’t overlook conditioning work. And the great results we had in tests of stamina and endurance during Test Weeks proved that all components of fitness improved.
Here’s what you can expect over the current training block:
- Firstly, every time we do strength work it will continue to be max effort work. That means you’ll go to the heaviest load you can manage, for that day, and for that rep scheme. You’ll typically see “heavy single/double/triple” in the notes. The differences between a heavy single and a 1-RM, for example, is that on a 1-RM attempt you may end up failing a lift because you’re attempting a PB. Whereas on a heavy single there should be no misses because you aren’t maxing out. This develops confidence in the lift, which in turn develops strength, and stronger people are harder to kill.
- The strength movement will change on every max effort day. For example, a sumo deadlift today for lower body strength and a squat next time. This helps to prevent or break plateaus, and also give you more exposure to different strength work more often.
- There are always differences in the L1 and L2 streams here. L1 athletes will simply have more volume and relatively less load.
- Strict gymnastics movements will still be used for upper body strength development, but the L2 stream will have these movements in conditioning workouts too.
Endurance & Stamina Conditioning
- This will be the new focus. It doesn’t mean more conditioning workouts than previously, in fact, we’ll be doing less overall work because we want good intensity (power output) in metcons. But metcons will be the first piece IF there are two pieces in a workout. IF there are two pieces, the barbell strength work will come after the metcon.
- As always, there’ll be a good variety of low, medium and high rep workouts along with a good dose of long interval-based workouts.
- The Endurance Club is going to hit a running cycle. This will be interval-based training and it will include a lot of accessory-based metcons as part of the sessions. I’m also going to program a ‘Day 2’ for anyone who wants to do a second day of running in a week (this will be self directed, though).
- The amount of gymnastics work we’ve done in previous cycles remains largely the same but moves from being a part of the strength pieces to the metcons. There’ll be high volume gymnastics movements in metcons and they’ll often be combined with interfering movements.
- Gymnastics comes before weightlifting in the hierarchy of athletic development, so we’ll never sacrifice it.
- As noted above, instead of just strict gymnastics work you’ll be doing more gymnastics-based metcons in order to improve upper body endurance and stamina. Sometimes a gymnastics movement will be coupled with a weightlifting movement that will interfere with the working muscles. You may not feel the lungs work much on these, but you’ll feel a lot of local muscular fatigue. Aside from swimming and cross country skiing (like the ski-erg), this is the best way to improve the endurance of upper body musculature.
- On other days, gymnastics conditioning will be more skill-based. This is where you’ll learn the progressions for a new skill, improve a skill, or improve your capacity in a skill. As Greg Glassman says, a fitness program devoid of gymnastics practice and skills is deficient. This is also the sort of stuff you can’t do anywhere else. Even many CrossFit affiliates don’t have the space or resources for gymnastics skill work like rope climbs.
- For those who are able to perform the more technical gymnastics movements, we’ll be increasing technicality and growing your capacity in those movements.
- The Barbell Club will have a low volume on-the-minute style program to develop consistency under heavy loads. This format also develops your ability to complete technical movements under tight time restrictions and fatigue — that carries over in to every other aspect of fitness too.
- The UpSkill plan is there for anyone who needs individually tailored work. We have people working on gymnastics, weightlifting, strength, conditioning, and even rehab or basic skills like skipping. If you’d like more info on this plan, get in touch!
- A good CrossFit program should be injury prevention by design. However, I do still believe that there is room for accessory work. Such work is intended to keep you injury free by preventing any imbalances from developing while keeping the areas of most use (shoulders, midlines, knees) strong and stable. This work will be programmed on occasion to keep you healthy. You can either ass around while we do this, or you can care about your health and performance and apply yourself just as you do in metcons.
This 12-week block will take us right into the December holiday season and when we’re back in the new year we continue the conditioning focus to ensure that you’re all ready for the Open!
To remind you yet again, the big picture is to continue developing a broad fitness throughout life. We’re always working on all aspects of fitness.
Sometimes, you need a more tailored approach. That’s why we have Tayla, the Client Services Manager, to help you with goal setting, but more importantly to direct you to the best services we have to offer for YOUR goals. So if you’re feeling a bit stuck, get in touch!