Strength, Flexibility, Stamina, Endurance, Speed, Power, Accuracy, Coordination, Agility and Balance. These are the 10 physical characteristics of fitness. Each requiring further definition to truly illustrate what well rounded fitness should look like, one could spend hours trying to pin point the elusive definition of what it means to be more fit.
At the end of the day, it is the ability to generate exceedingly high average power output levels that defines the best CrossFit athletes. Skill work on gymnastics based movements and Olympic Weightlifting allows us to become more proficient at the highest-skill functional movements. There are, however, some buy in physical traits that should not be overlooked by any athlete looking to advance from novice to intermediate CrossFit athlete and beyond. Even those training at the elite levels of our sport value these two physical traits as necessary precursors to improving fitness from any level to the next.
The two traits I am speaking of are Strength and Flexibility — not necessarily in that order. I have said many times before that if I could choose only one physical trait of any incoming athlete to our box, I would choose flexibility. Everything else could be trained. That is, all other shortcomings of fitness could be fixed with enough hard work, focus and repetitions in the gym. Flexibility, on the other hand, is one of those things that seems to be universally forgotten by nearly all athletes. It is very difficult to improve flexibility in CrossFit athletes without a very direct focus on mobility based exercises, performed on a routine (daily) basis. Similarly, without a direct focus on 1RM types of strength, it becomes quite easy for the CrossFit athlete to miss out on strength emphasis training and go weeks without hitting a 1 Rep Max lift.
In the quest to to reach ideal flexibility, the formula is quite simple: stretch a lot (the right way) and you will get more flexible. Likewise, if one trains towards improved strength and increased power output with very high intensity, short Metcon workouts, strength and the capacity to meet exceedingly high metabolic demands will be gained.
Enter the programming at CFWS for the next 12 weeks. Each athlete at CFWS will be undergoing a specific emphasis primarily directed at improving the two most limiting physical traits members of our box posses, you guessed it: lack of Strength and Flexibility.
12 Week Conjugate Strength Program
Programming will consist of a 3 day on – 1 day off split followed by a 2 day on 1 day off split as follows:
- Dynamic Effort – Lower Body w/ Metcon (45 minutes — performed in the AM)
- Accessory Strength training exercises (45 minutes — performed in the PM)
- Max Effort – Upper Body – 30 min
- Mobility session – 30 min
- High Intensity Metcon (around 30 minutes for warm-up, workout and cool down)
- Mobility hour (key instruction for 12 week mobility challenge takes place in these classes)
- Max Effort – Lower Body (30 minutes)
- Mobility (30 minutes)
- Dynamic Effort – Upper Body, plus short metcon (45 min)
- Accessory strength work – upper body (45 min)
- Rest Day/ Self led mobility – CFWS Closed
Athletes looking for maximal results will hit the box 6 days per week, sometimes either twice per day or at least on two consecutive hours. This is a high volume training plan, which means that having adequate amounts of nutritious foods (eat paleo and LOTS of it) alongside a good 8 hours+ sleep every night are indispensable while training this much.
There is actually more to our training cycles than what has been outlined above, but to keep things at least somewhat concise, we have left out the last 6 days of each 12 day micro-cycle. Follow this link for a complete list of our upcoming training in micro-cycle 1.
We will focus on the Back Squat and Strict Press as well as Snatch on cycles 1 and 2 — which will last 24 days. As cycles 3 and 4 draw nearer, we will be announcing our new focus. By the end of cycles 5 and 6, we will have been at this for 72 days. By then, you will be stronger, more flexible and overall, in better position to command a higher power output in MetCons.
For further reading on this topic, hit up your CrossFit Journal subscription (see link on the bottom right hand side of our home page if you don’t already know what I’m talking about) and search “Conjugate Training”. There’s some great content in the CFJ to help you understand why you are working so hard, so frequently.
If you don’t care to understand why you’re doing what we are asking you to do, then do just one thing…
SHOW UP. Every day. Monday through Saturday and see what happens to your fitness when you really try and improve. This is the type of program that has the ability to springboard your fitness to a much higher level. All workouts will be entered into Beyond The Whiteboard shortly. For the time being, keep a detailed record of the loads you are using on the strength workouts as well as the WOD times/scores for the metcon workouts we are running.
Much more to say, but this will do for now. Stay posted for more details and updates on our training at CFWS!