8-12-13 Start of Strength Bias Programming.

August 12, 2013

Hello All:  Monday is the first day or what will be a 12 week shift in the programing towards a strength development phase.  Much of what is written below is a direct repeat of the last time we started our strength bias cycle but some is new.  I have put the new information in red.  

Our last cycle of linear progression was really successful, resulting in an average of 16% gains across the 3 lifts tested.   We will keep the same format but open up the tool box as follows.  New members (defined as anyone who wasnt with us for the last strength cycle) Your schedule is as follows: M- Deadlift (Sumo version is acceptable), T- Shoulder Press, W- Pullup, Th- Olympic Lifting, F- Back Squat.  Strength Bias Veterans, your schedule is: M- Deadlift (Standard Preferred) or Cleans, T- Shoulder Press, Push Press or Push Jerk, W- Pullup, Th- Olympic Lifting, F- Back Squat (High or Low Bar), Front Squat, or Overhead Squat.

Why a strength bias? Strength is the critical component of fitness.  Your Strength drives your metcons and your metcons drive your Long Slow Distance, but the LSD does not reciprocate and drive your strength.  Every one of you will see improved performance in CrossFit workouts as your strength increases.  For the newer athletes amongst you, this might be the difference between scaling every workout and completing workouts as prescribed.  For our members with competitive ambitions, this format will serve as better prep for the CrossFit Games Open. If you have been following the Open, the Regionals and the Games, you will see that the workouts are getting heavier and harder. In an effort to remain competitive in the CrossFit world we are trending heavier too.

How will this be implemented? Mondays are Deadlifts for new athletes; Deadlift or Cleans for the 2nd timers. Tuesdays will be Shoulder Press for the new, SP/PP or Push Jerks for veterans.  Wednesdays will be pullups for both groups.  Thursday is dedicated to Olympic Lifting for both groups.  Friday is Back Squat for the new, BS/FS/OHS for 2nd timers. 

In addition to the strength workout, there will often be a second period devoted to skill development and/or work capacity.  This is a format we have used often so it really won’t seem very different to what you have already experienced. Expect short duration, heavy loads, couplets and triplets.  Do not expect multi-event chippers.

Hmmm…I don’t know…Wont This make me bulky?  Dont I need more Cardio? No and No.  It is my sincere hope that the diet contest has made you aware of the following FACT.  Your bodyfat is what make you look bulky and the means to address this are best achieved by changing what you eat.   Hopefully, some of what you are paying for (In addition to the charm and wit of our staff, the access to equipment and the ability to attend our post-Diet Contest Awards Ceremony) is our expertise about how to make you as FIT as possible.  Not as thin as possible.  Sometimes those goals coincide for a while and sometimes they do not.  Yes, if you build muscle and remain fat, you will indeed appear bigger/bulky but VERY few among you will not see positive appearance changes by following this strength-bias program IF your food is in line.

That said, if you want more, do more. Miss the old 5k?  Waxing Nostalgic for the 60 minute Step Aerobic class you used to take?  Feel free to do so, but AFTER your Strength action.

How do I get this most out of this?  FREQUENT ATTENDANCE.  I put that in all-caps to emphasize it’s importance.  You need to get here and hit these lifts regularly.  Much like Rxd is an ambitious standard, we are programming for the athlete who is prioritizing his/her fitness and progress.  If that’s not you via circumstance or attitude, your progress will suffer in comparison.  To that end, however, I DO recognize that life intrudes in unavoidable ways.  Therefore, if you cant get here very often, I would prioritize as follows 1) Squat 2) Olympic Lift 3) DeadLift. That means if you only get here 3x in a given week, you should squat, olympic lift, and deadlift.  So if you only make it in M and TH in a given week you may want to squat and Oly Lift in that order, despite being the only person doing so that day,  then do the work capacity test with the class.

Since we are trying to increase your strength by giving you regular exposure to the same lifts, it would benefit all of you to start journaling your numbers. Having a record of what you did before will make your lifting more efficient and effective. If you come into class knowing what you did previously, you can try to improve on it.  You can journal on a blog, in a calendar, or in a good old-fashioned notebook: anything works as long as it’s written down somewhere.  If you want a paper template you can keep at the gym, I will provide you with one.

Structure-  First- Establish your 1 rep max.

Then Four Weeks  each of 4 sets of 8, then 4 sets of 5, then 3 sets of 3 and concludes with a 1 rep max retest.  Every week you will chart total poundage and attempt to exceed that figure the next week.  So if in my first week I  shoulder press as follows:

Set #1-100×8=800 lbs

Set # 2-105×8=840

Set # 3-110×8=880

Set #4-105=840

Total weight (all sets times all reps)= 3360 Lbs.  The next week I want to be lifting MORE than 3360.  Where in the sets that comes from is largely irrelevant.  As long as total pounds lifted is going up.

There will be some assistance exercises programmed as well that will include partial reps, tempo controls and different movements that will expand the toolbox somewhat.

So, here’s your wod for Tomorrow:

10 Minutes–Warmup/Stretch

15 Minutes-Establish your 1 RM Deadlift 

Strength- 20 minutes 4×8 Deadlift ( Hand Release, No drops)

WORK-  5 RFT @ 60% of 1 rep max

5 Deadlifts/10 Over the bar Burpees

I did this in Fayetteville this past weekend, and my 2:50 @ 255lbs was the WOD that scored the highest.  It was pretty ghastly.   




  1. PS- Do NOT AVOID THE DEADLIFT because you are afraid of hurting your back. Embrace the CORRECTLY EXECUTED DEADLIFT as the means to strengthen your back. We will adjust your range and load to comical levels if that’s what it takes to make the deadlift safe and effective, but this is a movement pattern you MUST be able to do to be considered fit. Please DO bring me your concerns and lets discuss.

  2. Why standard over the sumo for 2nd+ timers? Just curious.

  3. Max dead lift 305
    Total weight 5400
    time 5:36 @ 185

  4. 1 rep 220
    3×8 – 3840 (150, 170, 160)
    6:20 at 132lbs

    I was one of those afraid of deadlifts people until the last strength session. I remember when 95lbs was scary, now I can lift 95lbs more than my (pre-pregnancy) body weight which is crazy and awesome to me. So don’t be afraid!

    • Very impressive Kate!

  5. 1rep deadlift 305
    3×8 for load 5600
    225, 235, 240

    5rds @ 185=3:47

  6. 1 RM = 325
    3×8 load = 5560
    245, 225, 225
    5 RFT 7:25 (ouch)

  7. 1 rep Sumo DL – 205
    3 x 8: 150 x 8, 155 x 8 x 2 = 3680
    8:15 @ 125 – miserable

    felt really weak today – not sure if this weekend’s tennis matches had something to do with it or not

    • 3 set matches in 90+ degree heat? I’m going to go with yes.

  8. 1 rep standard DL = 235lbs
    3×8 DL @ 175lbs = 4,200lbs
    WOD = 10:13 @140lbs (during round two I was thinking to myself…”I wonder if I will make it through 5 rounds of this shit. Maybe I should just do three rounds. I wonder if Brock would know something was up? Don’t be such a baby…everyone else is doing it. So what if your dead last AGAIN!!!!” My respect for Brock increased by ten-fold today just knowing he did this in sub 3 minutes.

    Over the last year or two I’ve mostly stuck with SDL. It felt odd doing standard today, but I think it might help strengthen my back.

  9. 1RM Standard Deadlift 200
    150×8, 145×8, 145×8 = 3520
    Work – 7:38 at 120 lbs

    My last RM was back in May 2012 for sumo at 195, so this is good I think.

  10. Max dead lift 325…I beat Larry
    3×8 for load 5600
    225, 235, 240

    5rds @ 195=4:3?

  11. Grrr. Damn you Seattle and missing deadlift day.

  12. 1RM 425lbs
    3X8 315lbs for each total of 7,560lbs
    5:38 @ 255lbs

  13. 455 DL (PR!).
    Took too long on the max and missed the work. Will redo tomorrow.
    6:23 on the metcon @275 lbs.

    • Really impressive PR

  14. Clean. 160. Then 120 clean x6 x3. Met con 555 (I think) at 180. -adelynn

  15. #175 DL max, total 3240, WOD: 6:44 @135

  16. Touch and go squat cleans 95x6x1 105x6x3

    Work 5 rounds in 6:40 at 185

  17. 1 rep max 335( little wobbly) Total weight 5400 Work 7:58

  18. 1 rep max: 235
    ~ andrea

  19. 1 rep max- 140
    3×8- 110 pds ( 2640 total score)
    Work- 5 rounds 6:34 at 90pds

  20. Max dead lift 275
    Total weight 4920
    Time 4:34 at 165

  21. Max DL 205
    3×8 – 3480 (145 each set)
    Work: 7:29 @ 125lbs

  22. 1RM DL 335
    WOD 545 205lb
    Too slow to get the weight in

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