Strength is so important in our lives. At any age and ability, increasing your strength will help you perform daily tasks easier, increase lean body mass both muscle mass and bone strength, less risk to injury (especially if you commonly enjoy one activity or sport), and improved physical and mental health. The confidence from learning and mastering a new skill and being able to have strength is something very difficult to put into words and describe as a benefit. Sometimes the hardest benefits to describe are the most rewarding. Anyone can benefit from a strength program. Maybe you want to go for a run one day for cardio and are looking for a strength opportunity. Or maybe maintaining your strength without as much intensity is more enjoyable and what you need if you have a stressful life. Whatever your reasons, building strength will enhance your life.
Strength Club will provide some different opportunities from what you will be accustomed to from the traditional CrossFit programs. We will start with a focus on a single lift, using a big muscle group and a defined repetition scheme. There’s a couple of different repetition schemes that you may be familiar with, the larger sets 10 reps will be targeting muscular endurance and stability while the smaller sets will be targeting absolute strength adaptations. After the focused lift for the day, we will proceed to cover complimentary movements on smaller muscle groups.
One of the common rep schemes you will see in our CrossFit programming: 10 @ 50-60%, 8 – 10 @ 60-70%, 6 – 8 @ 70-75%, 5 -6 @ 80%, 3-5 @ 85%. And we will commonly do one set every two minutes. This programming combines some of the endurance strength (higher repetitions at lighter weights) and the absolute strength (low reps at high weights). The clock adds some pressure for when to make the lift. This works great in a CrossFit class setting where you want to get enough benefits from the strength component before proceeding to the workout.
In contrast to this method, in the Strength Club, you will see programming frequently including 5 sets of 5 reps at a certain percentage, resting three or four minutes between the sets. You’ll be able to track your progress and build the sets consistently over time. The training volume, the number of reps and loading will be programmed with the goal of building muscle and strength. If you increase too quickly, or max load for too long, your central nervous system might get fatigued and not recover as well. After a competition or big event, you may notice you’ll need even longer than normal to recover from the adrenaline and stress of a competition.
We do see this absolute strength programming occasionally in the typical CrossFit programming, but it also tends to cycle through many more movements and adaptations for the CrossFit classes. In building strength, you’ll increase the weights and the rep structure will change. Some weeks might be the 5 sets of 5 repetitions and several weeks later you might see five to seven very heavy single reps.
So a strength set of the focused lift might look like: Time to build, instruction on technique and form, then perform, 5 reps at 70%, rest 3-4 mins, repeat 5 times. (2)
Often, we will focus on heavy weights with lower repetitions and long rest breaks. (1) In addition to the barbells, you will see a lot of single arm, single leg, staggered stance or balance work as well as this uses a significant amount of control and teaches your body awareness. Strength Club will also have a lot of repeatability every week, and consistency in training can quickly lead to results such as improved performance. Consistency and hard work are keys to great results.
- Clark, Lucett, McGill, Montel, Sutton (2018) NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
- OPEX Energy System Training.