We’ve spent the last 14 weeks with a focus somewhat bent toward our development of raw strength. Regardless of what programming option you chose (Fitness or Performance), and whether or not you were blessed with a PR, I hope you found it fun and rewarding! But alas, this is CrossFit, and our goal of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) now require us to shift our focus somewhat. So, the question is, “What’s next?”
As I’ve stated before, our programming here at Five Alarm operates on a full, one year-long periodization schedule. Essentially, we use the annual CrossFit Open (and our Friday Night Lights) as a primary, once per year event, that the entire rest of the year is programmed around. Our goal, then, is to “peak” our physical fitness and GPP just before the CrossFit Open starts. In doing so, even though we’ll continually work to improve all areas of fitness throughout the entire year, there will be different foci during different parts of the year. We’ve just finished our STRENGTH cycle, and starting July 23rd we’ll be moving on to POWER!
Work = Force x Distance, and that was our Strength cycle. Now, how FAST can we work? Power = (Force x Distance) / Time. We’re going to try to take our strength, and apply it to become more explosive!
Once again, Fitness and Performance will each be moving through their own unique cycles. While these cycles will individually progress as time passes, it is NOT 100% mandatory that you choose either Fitness or Performance and stick with it the entire time. Yes, that could potentially mean you don’t progress specific movements as much as someone who sticks with one track, but you’d also have a more diverse cycle. Only you can truly make that call, based off your goals – but if you’d like help, the coaches are here for you, to answer any questions or offer advice!
Fitness (Conjugate Variant)
Yes, Performance just finished a Conjugate Variant for their Strength cycle. This will be somewhat different, though it will be organized very similar.
- Monday = Max Effort Lower Body
- Tuesday = Max Effort/Dynamic Effort Upper Body
- Friday = Dynamic Effort Lower Body
On our Max Effort (ME) days, we’re going to rotate through a variety of lifts. Some of them will be familiar to you, some of them may not. The goal is to SAFELY ensure strength through a broad range of exercises, and to pinpoint and bring up any weaknesses that may pop up. These days will be “Heavy” days (i.e. Heavy Single, Heavy Triple, etc.). Remember, our definition of “Heavy” is as heavy as you can go with as perfect technique as you can muster.
Also, during ME days, you’ll likely see some type of light plyometric movement sprinkled in. These are there not to be taxing, but to prime the neurologic system for the heavier loads.
Dynamic Effort days are for moving moderate weight quickly. Focusing on the speed of lifts and moving lighter (relatively) loads quickly and with good technique will not only transfer over to heavier lifts, but MetCons as well. On these days, the “Part A” might not feel like much, but they are very important to the program. Move weights explosively!
Overall, Conjugate is a great system for improving strength and power. Its focus on heavy and speed days, and the variety of exercises, help to spot and shore up weaknesses in the body and even prevent injury. It’s perfect for GPP, and can potentially be run indefinitely!
Performance (Olympic Weightlifting)
Performance will be undertaking a partial Olympic Weightlifting cycle. Again, the days will align with Fitness, and will be broken up as follows:
- Monday = Squat (2:1 Front Squat:Back Squat)
- Tuesday = Snatch Work
- Friday = Clean Work
That’s two solid days of Olympic Weightlifting technique/strength work for our “Part A,” and doesn’t include whatever pops up in MetCons. You’ll see some mobility work for the Snatch, and plenty of full lifts, partial lifts, and complexes.
Because it’s a Power cycle, the focus should be on proper technique > speed with proper technique > weight on the bar. If you’re compensating somewhere in the technique in order to lift more weight, at some point you’ll hit a wall; and the only way through that wall is taking the weight back down and working proper technique.
Snatch and Clean days will also have slightly different foci, so it’s imperative to remember that both lifts obey the exact same rules and employ the same techniques. Let them bleed over into each other!
Accessory / Extra Credit
Lastly, regardless of which track you choose, we’re trying something a little different this cycle. We will be programming a small amount of accessory work on various days that is meant to be done outside of the normal class hour. These exercises are meant to compliment the various exercises done in classes, and can be used for a variety of purposes:
- Extra volume for strength/hypertrophy work,
- Improved mobility or flexibility,
- Shore up weak areas to prevent injuries,
In total, any programmed accessory work should be able to be completed in around 15 MINUTES. It’s important to note that (1) it is absolutely NOT necessary to complete any accessory work in order to progress or get better. It will be there if you WANT it, but rest assured, it is not required or necessary. (2) The accessory work is completely GENERAL in nature. It is not programmed with any specific goal in mind. If you should find that you have a specific goal or need that requires more direct attention (for example: a continued focus on raw strength, or a consistent weakness in your lower back), please consider working directly with a coach or having a coach write you a specific program directed at those goals.
If you have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or just hit us up in the comments or in the gym!