Introduction To The Strength Program

Xi XiaStrength Program

With the great amount of interest, the Strength Program is kicking off! There is a lot to explain.

I’m going to start with the 100 words version to explain the program, then the Crib notes version, and finally the full version below. If you have more questions, check the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

After that, please email me so I can help you and post your question to the FAQ to help others!

How To Do The Strength Program in 100 words

Starting Monday August 10th, do the strength program by reserving your spot in a 201 CrossFit class. Since you are experienced, warm up with class or on your own. Be considerate of coach, space, and equipment.

You can find the program under “For Members” on our website. After you warm up and get your equipment ready, you are encouraged to ask the coach questions about the workout and your form. Please wait until the coach has organized and started the 201 class.

Expect the coach to give you unsoliciated feedback on form and ask you to reduce weight if necessary.

Crib Notes Explanation
  1. You sign up for a 201 class us usual and do the strength program during class.
  2. Your form matters. Coaches will be evaluating and directing you to change weights if your form is not up to standards.

 

The Strength Program starts Monday August 10th. In the strength program, lifting heavy is the goal. Breathing heavy is not.

The Strength Program is focused on building strength through squats, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, pressing, benching, pull-ups, dips, and other strength movements.

You will be able to see the workouts of the week here.

strengthwodmenu

The Strength Program IS NOT only a powerlifting program, IS NOT only a weightlifting program, and IS NOT a bodyweight gymnastics program. It is a hybrid of all three.

To do the Strength Program, you should be comfortable with squats, deadlifts, presses, snatch, and cleans. If you are not, you should take the 6 Week Weightlifting Course.

The Strength Program is 3x Week ( guidance for alternative schedules will be provided) focused on strength. One light aerobic WOD that can be done 1-3x Week, your choice.

The first phase of the Strength Program starts the week of August 10th. The first week will be testing and maxing out on a number of lifts. At the end of each phase, we will retest to see if improvements have been made.

You sign up for the 201 class that you will be attending to do the strength program workout. You do the strength program in a regularly scheduled 201 class.

I repeat, you sign up for the 201 class you want to attend to do the strength program.

You are responsible for communicating with the coach that you are doing the strength program and organizing yourself most effectively in consideration of the 201 class.

We are trusting you to do the strength warm up or warm up with the 201 class. You will then setup your own equipment and prepare to train.

You are welcome and encouraged to ask the coach of class to watch your lifts. You are welcome and encouraged to ask the coach questions on your form and the program. Please be considerate and wait to do this until the coach has managed to get their 201 class underway first.

Expect the coach to watch you and give you unsolicited feedback of your workout as well. We will be making a point to watch everyone in class. If your form is suffering, you are expected to listen and make appropriate adjustments to fix it.

Long Form Explanation
  1. You sign up for a 201 class us usual and do the strength program during class.
  2. Your form matters. Coaches will be evaluating and directing you to change weights if your form is not up to standards.

 

The strength program is in response (and also because strength is rad) to the need for a dedicated training program for making individuals stronger. The 201 classes do a great job of getting the process started.

However, as you become an intermediate trainee and become more interested in strength, the diverse and broad nature of the 201 program will not be enough to stimulate further strength gains.

Diverse and broad are key points here. A strength program is focused on…strength. It is not about conditioning/metcons, endurance, or intensive aerobic/anaerobic training. It is not about a compromise of 15-20 minutes of lifting followed by heart thumping conditioning.

It is about one thing and one thing only – strength. The light aerobic work only exists to aid in recovery between your strength sessions so that you can get STRONGER.

In the Strength Program, there will be a variety of movements but the bread and butter will be squats, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, pressing, benching, pull-ups, dips, and other strength movements.

The Strength Program IS NOT only a powerlifting program, IS NOT only a weightlifting program, and IS NOT a bodyweight gymnastics program. No one domain has a monopoly on the development of strength and we will draw on all three to try to make overall strength improvements.

We CAN and DO provide individualized programming if you just want to work on a specific area. This is a service we offer.

Please set reasonable expectations before starting this program. Training is not a hard science. If it was, you could just buy compound A and B, dissolve it in solution, and wait for the new strength to arrive on cue.

It is common to see multiple people do the same program and experience completely different gains. Keep that in mind as I will reference back to this when we are having a heart-to-heart about your training progress and how you are frustrated that someone else gained 10# more than you did on the program.

To do the Strength Program, we expect you to be a fairly experienced trainee. Meaning, you can follow a list of warm up exercises commonly used in the gym and get warmed up. You can read a workout with tempo numbers and understand what you are suppose to do.

You are also considerate and understand that there are classes that need the space and equipment as first priority. You are going to communicate with the coach of class on where to setup and manage your usage appropriately.

You also are comfortable with squats, deadlifts, presses, snatch, and cleans. If you are not, you definitely should take the 6 Week weightlifting course before starting the strength program.

The Strength Program is 3x Week of heavy lifting with One light aerobic workout that can be repeated multiple times a week. It is on a schedule of Mon-Wed-Fri BUT BUT BUT BUT you can absolutely do the program on a different schedule.

Guidance for alternative schedules, for what if I miss a day, should I go back to back, etc. is provided in the FAQ.

You should not try to combine the strength program with 201 classes. Do the strength program or do 201 classes.

The first phase of the Strength Program starts the week of August 10th. You will be able to see the workouts of the week here.

strengthwodmenu

The first week will be testing and maxing out on a number of lifts. At the end of each phase, we will retest to see if improvements have been made.

Ideally, we are shooting for the retest be an weekend event so everyone in the strength program can get together and motivate each other in their retest. We think that would be pretty awesome.

The strength program is considered a part of 201 classes. This means you sign up for the class you will attend and do the strength program in that class. Be considerate and communicate with the coach that you are doing the strength program and organizing yourself most effectively in consideration of the 201 class.

I repeat, you sign up for the 201 class you want to attend to do the strength program.

There will be a strength program warm up on the website. You can choose to do that, add in extra or do something entirely of your own, or do the warm up with the class. Whatever you do, warm up first and always!

You are also welcome and encouraged to ask the coach of class to watch your lifts. You are welcome and encouraged to ask the coach questions on your form and the program. Just be considerate and wait to do this until the coach has started their 201 class.

Also, I fully expect the coaches to watch you and give you unsolicited feedback of your workout as well. We will be making a point to watch everyone in class.

Meaning, if you don’t have good form and we tell you you need to clean up your form, you will listen and adjust your weight to make that happen.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Who is writing the program?

Director of Training, Scott Hagnas

I missed a day. Should I make it up and do back to back training days?

You will get the best results if you stay on track and don’t miss any of the workouts. If it’s infrequent, then you should be ok doing them back-to-back once in a while. Just be smart about reducing the weight if some muscles feel very sore or under-recovered.

If you get several days behind, then it’s probably better to just join in on the current day.

What if I can’t train MWF?

No problem! You can do the workouts on any day of the week in a class. The one important caveat is that there should be at least one day between strength workouts. You can always do the aerobic workout on the day between strength workouts. You can always TAKE MORE THAN A WEKK to complete each cycle if it fits your schedule better.

How strong do I have to be to do the strength program?

There is no strength requirement. There is an experience requirement in that you are comfortable squatting, deadlifting, Olympic lifts, and reading the workouts on your own.

If you are not comfortable with the lifts, please take the 6 Week Weightlifting Course first.

What does light aerobic mean? I do like to get the heart pumping and don’t want to lose that aspect.

Light aerobic means you will not feel fatigued but rather refreshed after the sessions.

Heavy strength work is very taxing to the central nervous system, and recovery is needed between sessions so that you can lift at 100% in the next session. Metcons are also quite taxing to the CNS, leaving you lifting at less than your maximum potential in your next strength workout. This will significantly slow your results from the strength work!

Would the strength program be coordinated with the regular crossfit classes at all, or would we have to choose one or the other?

If you want the best strength gains, then just follow the strength program. Heavy strength work is very taxing to the central nervous system, and recovery is needed between sessions so that you can lift at 100% in the next session. Metcons are also quite taxing to the CNS, leaving you lifting at less than your maximum potential in your next strength workout. This will significantly slow your results from the strength work!

How should I do the aerobic work?

It is best done in the day(s) between strength work. You can do it one day per week, or if you have the time and energy, you can do it up to 3 times per week. Ensure that you follow the intensity guidelines, as going too hard may begin to subtract from your strength gains. I suggest using a heart rate monitor, at least until you know what the effort should feel like. The heart rate range you want to be in for this work is Z2 – about 120-140bpm for most.

You may substitute any other easy aerobic work for the workout in the program. Biking or Hiking outdoors is an excellent choice.

Do I need to do the aerobic work? Why is it in the program? Won’t it take away from my Gainz?

You do not need to do the aerobic days to see good progress in this program. The low intensity work is included in the program because it can help speed recovery between strength sessions, and also it will build your capacity to complete longer sessions of strength work. It is also important to build your base aerobic system to be a good, well-rounded athlete.

Aerobic work gets a bad rap these days with many claiming it will halt any strength gains and make you slow and weak. This is not true, at least if you are doing low intensity work such as in this program! Aerobic work definitely can impair strength gains, though. This happens when it is either done in very high volume and/or too high intensity.

What would be the difference between this program and the Competition program?

Parts of the competition program would have a very similar feel to the Strength Program. However, the competition program will morph and change as the months progress and get closer to the CrossFit Open. More conditioning, more endurance, more that is focused towards the sport of CrossFit.

The strength program wouldn’t do that, It would stay focused on strength.

Can I do the strength program and the weightlifting class?

Yes, but with the understanding that the extra work you take on in Weightlifting Class could potentially have a negative impact on your recovery between Strength Program training days.

Can I start the program at any time?

Yes. Get your max lifts established and jump in.

It would be more ideal if you started at the beginning of a phase but that is of little consequence. Lifting heavy is lifting heavy.

I can’t make it to my scheduled class but can train before/after. Can I do that?

We rather you attended class but understand life comes up. Yes, you can in emergencies do the program outside of class. This still costs one of your class passes for the week if you are not Unlimited.

How should I eat when doing the strength work?

Eating well, and eating enough, is very important. If you are cutting calories, your body will not prioritize strength gains, as it won’t have the raw material to re-build. A good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat are important – don’t restrict any macronutrient.

Protein at .8g per pound of bodyweight may help in a strength focused phase. This is a situation where protein powders may be useful.

Many on the strength program may wish to gain muscle mass. You must have a daily surplus of calories in this case. I suggest adding 300-500 calories per day, then adjusting upward if not gaining weight steadily.

Eat your meals spread thru the day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and several high-calorie snacks is the best plan. Eat slowly, in an unhurried manner. This improves digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food you eat, which is important to get the best results.

Should I track my workouts from week to week?

One important thing to get in the habit of doing is recording your daily results! You’ll need to get some kind of training log – it could be a notepad, or notes in your phone. You don’t want to have to keep guessing at what weight to put on the bar from week to week!

Some might wish to use a lifting belt. This is optional and definitely not required, but they can be helpful as you reach max loads. I suggest only using them in sets where you are working above 90%1RM or so.

What other things can I do to get the best results?

Good lifestyle management is essential to see the best results. The number one thing is to ensure that you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. You actually get stronger and restore your nervous system when you sleep!

The rest of your life stress should be low as well. Undertaking this program when you have lots of stressful deadlines at work may not be the best choice. Good levels of testosterone are important to see the best results in both men and women. Stress hormones directly compete with testosterone – when stress hormones are high, testosterone will be low.