Many of our athletes have noticed a distinct programming change in the organization and structure of our workouts over the last week and a half. In fact, if you’ve trained at CFWS for over a year, you might feel like you’ve been down this path before, maybe more than once. In both cases, you are right… Well, kind of. We HAVE switched up our programming as of last Monday, October 6th AND we HAVE done something similar to this at least 3 times in the past. Three years ago in an effort to work a periodized strength segment into our annual training calendar, the CFWS Conjugate Strength Program was born. Our program principles adhere to many of the principles found in the Westside Barbell Conjugate Strength program, coupled with ideas surrounding Weakness Biased Training introduced by Dan Williams in his 2010 CrossFit Journal Article, all while incorporating extremely high power output metabolic conditioning (think 5 – 8 minute time domains on average) AND addressing mobility issues that invariably interfere with training progress.
Although our intentions were to help our entire member base find greater success in CrossFit through a systematic increase in the ability to apply functional strength, what we quickly found was there are simply a percentage of people who do not want to train this way. In fact, no matter how emphatically we explained our position, including the benefits of increasing strength today in order to get more out of our metabolic conditioning WODs tomorrow, certain people remained disenchanted with the workouts and simply stopped attending the gym in order to miss another heavy squat day.
You are only as strong as the weakest link in your exercise chain. The weight hanging on the end of this chain is your level of general physical preparedness (GPP). The more the chain can support, the higher your GPP. If each link in this metaphorical chain represents a component of fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, etc.), the focus of training should be obvious. The first link to snap and drop your GPP is the weakest link. To increase GPP, our weaknesses should not simply be overcome but rather improved to match our strengths.
– Dan Williams, Weakness Biased Training
With all of this in mind, much thought and collaboration among the CFWS Coaching Staff has gone in to the next 3 months of programming. What we have come up with is a dynamic program that will allow for people with different goal sets train according to their individual goals. This program has two main tracks:
- Athlete is looking to gain strength in the functional movements routinely used in CrossFit
- Athlete is interested in making Rx’d loads in metcons feel lighter
- Athlete has a muscle building goal (gain lean mass)
This track will run in the exact format that has been outlined in the CFWS Conjugate Strength Program link in the first paragraph of this posting. Participaints can expect 5 different training days each week.
- 2 Max Effort Days (1 upper body and 1 lower body); Each of these days will have 20 minutes of mobility posted
- 2 Dynamic Effort Days (these days will include a short/intense metcon) as well as an additional 60 – 90 minutes of available accessory training designed to allow for even greater strength increases.
- 1 Dedicated Metcon Day
- 2 Rest/Mobility Days
- Athlete is already relatively strong in most of the functional movements found in CrossFit.
- Athlete is looking to increase endurance and stamina
- Athlete has a weight loss goal (lose body fat; maintain lean mass)
The general structure of the conditioning track will mirror the strength track with one major exception. There will be a conditioning workout posted on Max Effort days. Those who are looking to increase their conditioning during this training cycle should choose this workout instead of the posted Max Effort lift for the day. Once you look at it this way, there are truly 5 days per week of metabolic conditioning available. We have programmed the WODs in a way that allows our athletes to hit different time domains (longer and shorter workouts) as well as varying exercise modalities each week. If you choose to take this training track, your training will not seem all that different from what you have become accustomed to at CFWS.
The general structure of the conditioning track will mirror the strength track with one major exception. There will be a conditioning workout posted on Max Effort days.
This is a critical training period which will lead us up to and prepare us for the CF Games Open (last year’s first workout was announced Feb 27th.) If this is your first time going through one of these training cycles with us, OR if it has been a while since you have thought about what this program has to offer,read our blog post from the 2012 go round of our Conjugate Strength program. This post will explain the format and structure of each workout as well as outlines a week by week schedule of the types of workout you are going to see each day.
No matter which track you choose to take, one thing will remain true. Consistent training will yield the greatest results. We are working harder than ever to provide our members with the best possible training options to meet training goals. The one thing we can’t do is complete the workouts for you. Show up regularly, put in the work and get the results you want. It’s really that simple. Keep in mind this is simply a 12 week snapshot of your fitness life span. This is truly the perfect opportunity to embrace a weakness biased training approach and improve the weakest link in the chain (for many of us this is indeed overall strength). If you have any questions at all regarding which training approach is the right one for you, the coaching staff is here for you. Send us an email or flag us down in person before or after a WOD and we will be happy to help you decide which track to take. We want you to embrace your training and take your fitness to the next level. Commit to yourself a 4-5 day weekly training frequency and let’s see how far we can raise the bar in the next 12 weeks!!