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April’s Strength-Gain Challenge
It’s that time of the season again to dive back into building the foundations of our fitness! Some of the biggest limiting factors hindering many people’s progress in the sport of CrossFit is lack of absolute strength. This week has been filled with testing to gather some baselines from our athletes, and it’s important to gather all the data accurately so that we may use percentages of your max lifts in the weeks to come.
First off, let me get this out of the way:
**You are responsible for keeping track of your data and doing your own math problems!**
While I will be interested to know your progress, am open to questions, and will certainly want to know what everyone’s numbers are (start and finish), but please don’t ask me or the coaches to calculate your percentages or what your 1RM’s are.
Here’s how it’ll work–the next 12 weeks I have written out an entirely independent line of programming that will specifically target our absolute strength–squats, bends, pushes and pulls. You have some options on how you can go about this separate programming:
1. You may do the regular class programming (WOD) at one end of the day, and the Strength-Gain Challenge (SGC) program at the opposite end of the day.
ex: AM session is SGC, PM session is class WOD.
This would be appropriate for athletes who are pretty solid with the basic movements and can handle the extra workload. An important thing to take into account would be to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and FUEL APPROPRIATELY (which I will get into on the SGC Facebook page)! If your goals are to gain strength, and the workload of doing both the regular class programming and the SGC programming is too much, then the next option might be a better choice, which is……
2. Do one line of programming per day, and hit ALL the SGC work every week.
ex: Monday, SGC. Tuesday, regular class WOD. Wednesday, SGC. Thursday, OFF. Friday, SGC. Saturday/Sunday, OFF (this would be an example of an athlete who attends 4x/week of classes.
This is more appropriate and realistic for the majority of the population who maybe is still relatively new to the amount of volume we do at CFD and doing that much extra work would be ineffective or likely not safe. After all, the point is to make everyone stronger, which will help you DO WORK and NOT GET HURT, so if doing too much too soon results in an injury, I would argue you are now LESS FIT than when you started! Don’t get greedy, and learn the (sometimes hard) lesson that the best progress is slow and steady.
Here’s something that is NOT an option:
3. Doing the SGC program, then immediately sticking around and doing the class (or Vice-Versa).
ex: “hey Coach, I’m super busy today, so I was wondering if I could just knock out my strength work before class so I can get it in, and then stick around and then do the regular workout…cool?!?!”
I know you guys are all awesome, putting in the kind of work you do while still having everything else life throws at you on your plate. But here’s the real problem with trying to do both back-to-back: you’re not allowing yourself the appropriate recovery to get very much at all out of either program. Before you ask this questions, the answer is NO. Pick ONE to do per visit, and have AT LEAST 4-5 hours of separation between the two sessions. Remember, I want what’s in your best interest! If you’re anxious to get gains in the SGC and you’re crunched for time, then do your strength work!
What do I want from this challenge? I want CFD to be stronger at the end of the cycle–period. Lift weights, eat food, recover appropriately between sessions, and increase our strength base. We could all use it! After all, strong people are harder to kill.
What I would consider to be a fail from this challenge would be injury. If you don’t rest appropriately, don’t properly warm-up and mobilize things you might need attention on, and/or get sloppy with your movements, it could result in an injury. When in doubt, ask! When in doubt, rest! My number 1 priority at CFD is always to keep everyone safe.
Please ask to have yourself added to the SGC group on Facebook so that we can have that private line of communication! Additional information will be posted there, including the programming itself, nutrition/recovery guidance, and probably more–I hope to see the work I’ve put into constructing this challenge pay off in increased strength throughout the community!