CrossFit Training Preview: Week of 9/21/15

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Strength Testing

Starting this week we will be gauging maximal, or near maximal, strength. For most of that are more experienced, finding a “maximal” weight you can do in a lift is appropriate. This is the most weight you can lift for the prescribed rep scheme WITH GREAT FORM. For less experienced, finding a heavy weight (not necessarily maximal) for the rep scheme is more appropriate due to a greater chance of technique breakdown. Don’t worry if you have some left in the tank. When we retest that weight will feel lighter and you will be able to do more…hence an improvement!

Here are some tips to help you on your “tests” and heavy lifting in general:

  • Warm Up, but don’t waste time and energy. Warm ups are a necessary part to prep you for your lift, but if done improperly you won’t be as successful. Below is an example warm up that should only take 5 to 10 minutes (shorter for lighter weights). If you take too long you might be cut short.
    1. Do 5 to 10 reps with the bar (grab weights without resting)
    2. Do 5 reps with 40 to 50% of the heaviest or your goal (grab next weights with 30 sec rest)
    3. Do 2 or 3 reps with 75% to 85%
    4. Load your bar and Take a decent rest: at least 2 minutes
    5. Hit your target weight/rep scheme
    6. Rest again before another attempt
  • Lift the Bar as Fast as Possible. This does a couple things. First, trying to move quickly helps excite your nervous system and helps to lift more. Secondly, the bar speed will give you an idea if the weight was “heavy.” It is pretty common in novice lifters to think that it is heavy when they are capable of so much more. If you felt or saw (WHA?! Use your smartphone for something other than social media?!) the bar more as quickly as your warm up sets…you probably can get more on the bar.
  • Loading the Bar.
    • As you get closer to your heavier, your jumps in weight will be smaller. Just because you put 50lbs on the bar for your first warm up doesn’t mean you should do that after hitting a heavy weight. Use those funny 2.5 and 1 lb plates!
    • Stop adding 10’s!!!  If you keep adding small plates to the end of the bar instead of heavier ones, you are actually making it more difficult. In essence you are creating a longer lever. Any loss in balance or level of the bar will be amplified
  • Practice Bailing. There are safe ways to bail. We have bumpers just for that reason…not to make it sound like Transformers battling in the gym. You will feel more comfortable with pushing into the “OMG that shit is heavy” feeling knowing you know how to pull the rip cord.
  • Knowing What Heavy Feels Like. Heavy doesn’t feel like a burning muscle, nor the lungs screaming for air, nor dripping gallons of sweat. It feels like pooping hard. I know I joke about this, but it really is a decent parallel. We have all had to create a ton of tension for a monster turd at one time or another. This tension, called bracing, is critical to lifting the bar. By engaging the pelvic floor and abdomen, the spine is stabilized allowing all the force to be applied to the bar. The Breath is critical to this, and will be explained on the next point. If the poop analogy doesn’t work for you, think about opening a really difficult jar, or pushing a car, or trying to turn a wrench on a locked down nut. You brace instinctively. You now have to do it consciously to prep for the lift! Just don’t drop in your trousers 🙁

Spiderman shows his "Poop Yourself Heavy" face

Spiderman shows his “Poop Yourself Heavy” face

  • Breath Setting for Low Rep/Heavy Lifts, this ain’t no Yoga Breath!
    • Take in a large belly breath (think of expanding your whole core, front and back)
    • Simultaneously tighten the low back and abdominals (that hard poop feeling)
    • Maintain the air trapped in the abdomen (this pressure helps stabilize the spine)
    • Forcefully compress air out only if needed during a sticking point. This may sound like a grunt or turn into a yell for some when lifting heavy.
    • If you have issues with lightheadedness or fainting, ensure that you breathe air out during the movement and not hold your breath for long periods of time.

Monday

Strength: Back Squat  

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Short METCON (Metabolic Conditioning): Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics

Tuesday

Strength: Bench Press “Tester”

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Medium METCON

Wednesday:

Olympic Lifting: Snatch

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Long METCON

Thursday

WOD make up: Make up the retest or another session to maintain balanced fitness

                                                Or

Skill/Mobility/Active Recovery: improve the effectiveness of your next WOD by improving skills and mobility.

Friday

 Strength: Sumo Deadlift and Pull Up “Tester”

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Short METCON

Saturday

Long METCON

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