This is the last week of the Opens. This is the beginning of a skill cycle with the Snatch playing the leading role. We will talk more about it all later on, but right now all you have to know is that the most anyone is allowed to lift during the skill portion is 115/65. The idea is to slowly develop both comfort and confidence in the easiest form of the Snatch and slowly add both weight and technical difficultly. As far as today’s workout, think of it like putting groceries in a bag, you don’t really want to do too much of it, because your bag will get too heavy and rip.c..trust me it makes sense. 30 reps will serve as the upper limit on each set. If you hit 30, just stop and high-five yourself while you rest. Just be sure that you aim for 30 on both the Wall Balls and the Snatch. Now I will leave you with part 1/4 of Coach Justin’s strength talk.
PERIODIZATION: WHAT AND WHY?
Hey guys. So recently there has been a lot of talk amongst our members at Reebok CrossFit Back Bay about what they want to see in the daily programming from a strength perspective, and many people have expressed their dissatisfaction with the trend of the past two months to focus on skill/on-the-minute style work versus “traditional” strength in the sense of 5×5’s, etc. I will be writing one blog each day for the rest of this week discussing this subject, and sharing some insight with anyone who is interested regarding why our programming has been following the trend it has and what we can expect moving forward. The first subject of these discussions will be periodization and how this concept plays into the CrossFit “season.”
What is periodization?
Periodization is the idea that training must follow a “peaks and valleys” type of model in which intensity and volume are changed over the course of several days, weeks, months, and years. If you actually look at the weekly model for Wright Performance, volume (total reps/sets) is typically highest on Monday, lower on Tuesday, then back up for Thursday with decaying volume Friday and Saturday. In contrast the intensity (relative exertion for each set, typically expressed in percentages) is lowest on days with higher volume and highest on days with low volume (i.e. max effort Saturdays). For our purposes, the highest intensity is a 1-rep max or Max Effort set whereas sets of 4 or 5 reps are often lower intensity in comparison.
For training purposes, it is not sustainable to pelt athletes with high volume for extended periods of time whereas higher intensity, lower volume efforts are not enough to create growth in an athlete. In short, for those of you looking to do max effort sets every day you come in with the thought process that this will make you stronger, I cannot state enough how ultimately ineffective this approach will be. Strength work must attain peaks and must also go through valleys — we must build you up over a period of weeks, then slowly de-load your training volume, and lastly allow your body and nervous system to recover before we can throw more strength work at you.
Why periodize, and what does this mean within the CrossFit “season?”
As stated, constant volume training will cause damage to an athlete’s body, mind, and nervous system. Strength work must be performed in cycles for it to have a positive adaptation within the body of an athlete. This can also be performed by altering the type and focus of strength work being performed. For those of you at Back Bay who feel as if we are not doing strength work, what do you think EMOTM, heavy skill work, and barbell movements in WODs are? If you notice, many recent WODs have involved challenging weights with small rep numbers per set. The EMOTM work where you are alternating exercises each minute for 20 minutes is an adaptation of your previous strength cycle — converting this raw strength into muscle endurance for the Open and Regionals. By altering the stimulus of this strength work from typical sets on the squat rack into muscle fatigue work performed during the WOD, your body is continuing to build strength under different pathways. Because CrossFit follows a “season,” this is precisely the type of work you need to be doing right now. There will be time again in the near future to max out on your squat, and I can almost guarantee that none of you got weaker in your time away from strictly labeled “strength” work. Tomorrow’s discussion will be on Raw Strength versus Speed Strength.