This past week I was listening to a Podcast by John Welbourn from Power Athlete and he made a great reference to NFL and College Football that struct a cord with me and is very timely. He said, and I'm Paraphrasing, "...they would send the biggest guy off the bus first to strike fear into the hearts of the team, but the real killer was the guy who didn't look that intimidating except when he turned to the side and his entire back side looked like the bus he just came off".
What he was referring to is athletic training. More specifically the concept of training for show VS. training for performance. This pertains to us in the CrossFit world because though we may not be of Bodybuilder size, we can usually outlift bodybuilders 2X our size.
The Concept in training is myofibril hypertrophy and Neuro-muscular Adaptaion VS. Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy.. And though those terms may fly right over your head, what we have been working towards the past 6 weeks in our Front Squat is a real world example of these two modalities.
Lets take a closer look, and you will hopefully understand more as to why I program and when I program the way I do.
We squat very consistently not just because we want to better our lifts but because, like the deadlift, we access more muscle and joints at one time than any other exercise out there; essentially when you lift heavy, your entire body is getting worked. I know you feel it!
Training for show is why bodybuilding programs are so damn popular among the DIY lifter. And they work! When the stimulus on the body or 'time under tension' is elongated, 2 things happen.
1) You are not able to lift at near maximal loads, which means you are limiting your training to the 50-70% zone.
2) You are increasing the cross sectional size of the muscle as the body searches for ATP and Glycogen to fuel the many reps, we know this as "THE PUMP".
Looking good after a session and having a respectable amount of weight on the bar makes everyone happy. But the reps were comfortable, manageable, they didn't scare you....
So lets take a walk back about 6 weeks ago when the volume of our Front Squats was 6X6 @65-72% (5/24/17). The amount of volume on that day had your muscles demanding as much energy as possible. I remember hearing how that 4th and 5th set were killers. My goal was to establish a baseline for the weeks to come and to begin developing size in the muscle because big changes were coming.
In CrossFit its not just about your WOD weight, its about your strength numbers as well. In fact, a few years ago, I saw many great CrossFit athletes abandon the WOD and just live on the platform, getting enjoyment out of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. Its performance, its hard work, and it looks pretty cool.
When absolute strength and performance are the desire then we need to not worry so much about the PUMP and more about pushing limits. So Lets talk:
Myofibril- Hypertrophy- the ability to access the maximum amount contractile proteins within the muscle
CNS Development- the ability of your Nervous system to fire the maximum amount of muscle fibers during a training session.
The purpose of lifting heavy is to increase force production; therefore When an athlete consistently lifts heavy, their nervous system and muscles begin to work in a complementary fashion. This creates a little bit of size, but a whole lot of useful ability.
Looking back only a couple weeks I programmed Front Squats @ 4X4 85% (6/14/17). The reps were scary, we were spotting each other, and a few sets had failed reps. Our time under tension is considerably less and yet our body had to work harder to get the reps done. And just this past week we dropped the reps to 5X2 @ 90% (6/27/17) to really see where that threshold is at. We have now built the muscle, trained the muscle, stressed the muscle and created more potential for use.
From a programming perspective, we are working towards the goal of Power output. Its summer time which means Power Programming. In 2 weeks we will be testing our Squat Clean, and I am sure you will be happy with what you see.
Are you still not sold? Well how about this...
Lifting heavy at near maximal loads also increases your metabolism (burning fat) and helps develop a deeper understanding of mental Grit. CrossFit athletes have become famous for their ability to thrive in the realm of discomfort. When life gets tough, Crossfitters are able to keep their heads about them and push through.
Good luck this week with the programming, its July 4th and also a de-load week. Keep pushing your training and positively moving towards the best possible version of yourself. Success is earned my friends and you are all putting in the work. I love you all.
Programming Notes 7/3-7/7
Agility Warm Up @ 10m Each
High Knee Pull
Squat 180 **stepping the leg high over hip, swing opposite leg to 180, squat
Marching High Kicks
Straight leg shuffles
Fig 4 Drill
Sprint W/ Change of Direction
Ankle Circles, Elbow To Instep, T Spine Reach, Hamstring Pulses, Down Dog, Divebomber Push Ups, Inchworm
Box Jump 24/20” (scale height so that athlete practices bounding)
*Run 200m Between Each Set
Midline Cash Out:
3X Not For Time
15 Diamond Push Ups
:20 L Sit On Parallettes
Independence Day PARTNER WOD
W/ PVC Pipe
“Air Force 20”
40 Thruster 95/65
40 Sumo Deadlift High Pull
40 Push Jerk
40 Overhead Squat
40 Front Squat
Partner 1 will work for 1 minute, EMOM the clock will beep and both Partners will do 4 Syncd Burpees, then Partner 2 will work for 1 minute. They will both continue to do the burpees and trade off working for 1 minute and resting for 1 minute until all reps are completed.
Aerobic Tabata ROW:
*goal is to match meters each segment
Spend 3 Minutes Working Squat Therapy on the Wall.
-Prep the Wall Ball Shot and OH Walking Lunge
10 Minute AMRAP
12 Kettlebell Swing (Russian) 70/53
:30 Rest between Efforts
10 Minute AMRAP
10 Wall Ball
20 Overhead Walking Lunges
:30 Rest Between Efforts
12 Kettlebell Swings (Russian) 70/53
:30 Rest Between Efforts
Deadbug W/ Contralateral Reach
Lateral Line Touch
Lat Band Mobility/ Bully Stretch/ Scapula Distraction/ Partner Global Extension drill
Clean Warm Up:
-Bent Over Row
-Muscle Clean+ 3 Press
-Hang Clean + 3 Push Press
-Clean + 3 Push Jerks
*Spend 5 Minutes Building up to Workout weight
Weighted Pull Ups
*Scale To 5X :15 Chin Over Bar Hold
12 Clean and Jerks 115/75
9 Strict Pull Ups
Roll Out on Lacrosse Ball for 5 Minutes
-Lat/ Teres Minor
Snatch Warm Up:
7 x romanian deadlift
7 x snatch high pull
7 x muscle snatch
7 x tempo overhead squat @ 23X1
7 x snatch balance
7 x power snatch to OHS
7 x snatch pull under
7 x hang (squat) snatch
*Spend 5 Minutes working to 80% of Snatch Weight
EMOM 20 -Alternating
Odd- Hang Snatch Below Knee/ Mid Hang Snatch @80%
Even- Toes To Bar X12