Where do we go from here?
As some blog posts have mentioned in the last few weeks, the CrossFit Open season is now over. With the close of our "season" now is the time to take stock of the last year. Where did we improve most? What areas still need some work? While these are generally questions that we all, as athletes, should consider for ourselves, they are also questions to consider for the programming of the gym. As coaches, we are constantly evaluating the services that we provide to members in efforts to continue moving forward in the most efficacious direction.
After examining the last year, we have decided to change programming slightly for the next year. Beginning this week, we will program based on a yearly "macro" cycle that will be further broken down into phases known as mesocycles. These cycles will be focused on building total fitness over the course of the next year with different emphases placed on different phases. To be sure, this will still be CrossFit. We will still be programming constantly varied movements performed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains. With that being said, numerous studies and anecdotal evidence combined tell us that periodization is beneficial, if not necessary, for maximizing fitness.
This post should provide a brief overview of the year to come. We will be posting updates to provide more specific details of each cycle as those cycles come about. The first phase we will enter this spring will be a strength and capacity phase. The focus here will be on building total body strength as well as general work capacity. Strength and capacity are vital components for any fitness program and should be in place before adding many other intricacies. Expect to see a lot of the "big" lifts; squat, press, and pull. Also, expect to see more squats, followed by squats (seriously there is going to be a large emphasis on squatting). Squatting is a foundational movement that is unparalleled in building total body strength. Along with these strength movements we will be adding a good deal of aerobic conditioning. While these are not always the most fun parts of training, we are trying to "broaden your base" to give us something to build on later. We will still be adding plenty of "fun" metcons into this phase, so stay the course here for greater gains later in the year.
Following this first phase, which will last approximately 8-10 weeks, we will be entering a skill acquisition phase. This is where the fun really begins. After the first phase, you should have plenty of strength and work capacity to really dive in deep on the higher skill movements like gymnastics and olympic weightlifting. There will be a major emphasis on technique during this phase. We will spend large amounts of the time in classes, initially, working with drills and scaled versions of movements that will then progress into heavy weights and high reps of gymnastics. Those of you that are frustrated and constantly struggling with these type of movements should expect to see lots of improvement here. Overall, think of this as a "movement" phase to dial everyone in on proper technique across the board so we can start to add more complex movements back to metcons. (Did anyone else struggle with squat snatches and bar muscle ups in the open? This phase is for you.) After the movement phase, we will start working our way back into shape for the CrossFit Open. This last phase will start a few months before the open so by the time 18.1 opens you will be ready to go. Open-prep will be focused on maintaining the strength and skills we have built earlier in the year while building a lot of conditioning. More on this later.
Finally, expect each phase to have a similar structure. We will begin with a test week that consists of a set of lifts, skills, or metcons to determine starting points. Following test week, we will have a few weeks of a "prep phase.' The prep phase will be focused on recovering from the last cycle and preparing your body for the upcoming weeks. For example, with the strength cycle that is about to start, our prep phase will include a lot single-sided work to reduce any imbalances our bodies have built up. In this case, picture lots of lunging and single-sided presses and pulls. Following the prep phase, each cycle will have several weeks of work with progressive loads, movements, and metcons. Lastly, each cycle will end with a re-test of the same tests that we began with to look for improvement.
Hopefully this gives you some insight into what to expect for the next year. Through all phases remember that quality comes first. Mindful movement and proper progressions are the only methods for sustained success in fitness. We hope to provide you the best service possible, so to do that we need your input as well. If there are areas that you feel especially weak in or that have been lacking in programming then let us know! We are always happen to listen.
Looking forward to seeing you all in the gym,
Cycle I Test Week (Day 1)
Did you read the blog today?
200 M Run
10 Empty BB Press
10 KB Swings
10 Leg swings (each leg)
Proper Back Squat
-Get my back extremely tight before the start of the lift, creating a shelf between the bar and back.
-Drive my elbows under the bar to activate the lats.
-Fill air into my lungs and push my belly out into my belt to stabilize the entire torso and create stability.
-Initiate the movement by unlocking the hips and sitting back to use the hips.
-Force the knees out aggressively by trying to spread the floor apart to keep the knees in good position.
-Keep the neck neutral, but eyes up.
-Get as deep as possible without losing low back position.
Note: If walking out a squat, make sure to take as few steps as possible; if using a mono lift get your stance first and then stand up with the weight.
5RM Back Squat
Athlete must establish 5RM Back Squat.
Tip: if you are able to complete three successful reps DO NOT go for five. Rack bar, add weight accordingly.
Max Rep Weighted Pull Up:
Two Attempts per Athlete. 3-5 Min Break Between Attempts
Scaled: Lightest Band Possible
Out of Town WOD
200 Air Squats