16.5 last chance. Strength Bias explained.

March 28, 2016

Thank Goodness the CFG Open is OVER  (The exception being those athlete’s performing 16.5 on Monday).  Everyone who took them on should give yourself some measure of pat on the back.That was a tough set of WOD’s.

Monday 3/28  is the first day of what will be a 10 week shift in the programing towards a strength development phase. Please read all of the following so you come to the gym prepared.

The Weekly Schedule through this training block  is as follows:

Monday-  Shoulder Press

Tuesday- Back Squat (high bar)

Wednesday-  Barbell Row or Pullup

Thursday- Bench Press

Friday- Deadlift or Sumo Deadlift

Our last 2 cycles of linear progression were pretty successful, resulting in an average of 16% gains across the 3 lifts tested. First timers can expect more than that.  We will keep the same format for the lifts but we will change the way we apply the supplemental action (Strength 2)  and the Metcons.  These changes are detailed below.

First, Some FAQ’s

Why a strength bias? Strength is the critical component of fitness, spilling into and improving your capacities in other domains. 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 and all the local and regional competitions that have largely followed suit. Especially since the introduction of the scaled option, the workouts are getting heavier and harder (55 deads at 225/155,  cleans at 185/105 etc).  In an effort to remain competitive in the CrossFit world we are trending heavier too.

In addition to the strength workout, on most days there will still be a second period devoted to 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 durations, heavy loads, couplets and triplets. Do not expect multi-event chippers.

Hmmm…I don’t know…Wont This make me bulky? Don’t 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 our legendary parties) 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 activity, 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?

A) 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) Shoulder Press 3) DeadLift. That means if you only get here 3x in a given week, you should Squat, Shoulder Press and deadlift. So if you only make it in M and TH in a given week you may want to Squat and Press in that order, despite being the only person doing so that day, then do the work capacity test with the class.   If you have your own personal goals, and your attendance is limited, push those lifts to the front burner.  So if, for example, a bodyweight pullup is your priority and you can only come 1x that week, get your pullups in.

B) Record Your Numbers:    Having a record of what you did before will make your lifting more efficient and effective. anything else is playing darts blindfolded.  You cant improve on last week if you don’t know what last week even was.   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.

This sounds complicated.  I kinda wanna just work out and sweat?   Aim higher.  You can sweat almost anywhere.  Get something out of your money and get dramatically stronger.

I’m down for strength bias, I’ve done it before and it kicks ass,  but what’s different about this  period?

Glad you asked.  Please see the schedule breakdown below

Week 1– Test 1 Rep Max  Perform Target Lift 3×8.  Work capacity.  We will change the testing protocol’s a little bit for safety’s sake.  I’ll ask you to work up to a heavy single, but NOT quite a 1 rep max.  While this DOES adversely affect the accuracy of exactly HOW much improvement you gain, the corresponding reduction in injury risk makes it worth it.

Weeks 2,3, Target Lift 4×8, Supplemental Strength,  Work capacity.

Week 4– Deload.  3×5 Target Lift, No Supplemental, Work capacity.

Weeks 5,6,7  Target Lift 4×5, Supplemental Strength, Work capacity.

Week 8– Deload. Target Lift 3×3 No Supplemental Strength Work capacity.

Weeks 9 & 10 Target Lift 3×3,  and 3×2 respectively.  Supplemental Strength, Work capacity.

Week 11 — Test Out 1 rep max.

Expect a lot of tempo controls in your reps.   This will suppress your poundage vs what you could do at an optimized speed.  Don’t worry about it.

Get excited kids.  You’re about to get very strong!


15 Mins-  Find Your 1 Rep Max in the Shoulder Press.

15 Mins- 3×8 Shoulder Press @ 2-2-2-2 Tempo.  Start at 50-60%

Work- Tabata A)  Russian KB swings 24/16  B) 5 M Shuttle Run





  1. Still trying to talk myself into doing 16.5 again. I want to get into the 16 range

    • I looked at your splits. I think you need to pace slower in the 21-18 rounds. Also play with the single knee or step up burpee. They are slower but significantly less taxing.

  2. I’ll be starting this workout at around 2:20 tomorrow, and am looking for a judge who won’t be inconvenienced by the time frame. Please let me know if you’re willing and able to judge me. Thx in advance.

    • This workout=16.5.

      • Hey Brock I’ll slip over and judge you see you then

  3. Shoulder Press: 186 down from 210 back in January. Tempo @ 105
    KB low score 13
    Judge Greg so I missed the shuttle run.

  4. Shoulder Press 105 (PR!)
    Tempo at 55
    KB 13
    Shuttle 9

    • Great job Susan! Jill

    • holy shoulder press susan!

  5. Bench: 110; tempo 60
    Will do shoulder press Thurs to give a bit more rest time
    KB: 12
    Shuttle: 11

  6. SP: 85lbs
    3×8 @ 45lbs

    tennis match tonight, skipped tabatas & rolled out…quads are still shot

  7. SP: 110
    3×8: 55

  8. 235 lbs max
    145 lbs (3 sets of 8)
    12 (Kettle bell 24kg/53 lbs)
    8 5m shuffle

  9. 16.5- 17:28 RX Glad that is over.

  10. Does my body fat make me look fat? 😂
    I’m doing push press-1rm: 87
    Slow tempo 3×8 @45
    KB: 12
    Shuttle run: 10

  11. Press:1 single 85-50 for slow
    TabatA: run 10, KB 12

  12. 1 rep max strict SP (no Kipling) = 85lbs
    3×8 SP tempo @ 45lbs
    Tabata: KBS – 10 and shuttle run – 7. This is what I get for not coming for almost 3 weeks!!!

    • Oh yeah! Strength cycle so Kathleen is back! Love it! ~A

  13. 16.5 16:09 Rx

    Split Jerk worked up to a heavy single- 85, 95, 105, 115
    Dip drives 3×3 115, 125, 125
    Push Press 85x3x3

  14. SP 1 rm= 100 (surprised by this considering I haven’t used my shoulders in 4 weeks now bc of injury)
    Tabata- kbs 13 and shuttle 10

  15. Jill
    Shoulder press: 105
    Worked on snatches

  16. 13:04 16.5 Rx
    Then did split jerk work/exercises
    Max split jerk 160

    • Adelynn above

      • 🙌🙌 great job!! 👏👏👏
        ❤️ Jill

    • Wow! Awesome. No more “I just had a baby” BS. Does not apply ~A

      • Sure it does! You get until the kid is 2! It’s like a rule or something….

  17. Pp 195
    Tempo at 95

    I did 16.5 again this morn. Completely changed my life. I didn’t understand the workout the way I do now.
    I dropped my time by 1 min.

  18. SP 160 test in

  19. SP- 70…down from 76 test out from last cycle
    Tempo- 35
    KB tabata- 13
    Shuttle- 9

  20. SP 1 rep = 135
    SP Tempo = 75
    KB = 15
    SR = 9

  21. 16.5
    22:48 rx

    That was horrible. But terrific. And horrible.

  22. Bench: 57
    3×8 @ 35
    Shuttle 9

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