Bear with me, this may be a 3 or 4 part project…
Right around two years ago I asked Laura (then DeMarco – now Nielsen) to let me coach her. She was coming off a top 15 finish at the 2009 Games and had never really been coached. She followed CrossFit HQ for programming, but had literally never had formal coaching on any lifts or really anything else. She was/is a Level 2 trainer, owned her own gym, and was very very smart as far as movement and coaching.
Before I started coaching her she asked me to basically write a thesis of what I believed programming wise, what we’d be doing, and where I’d gotten the idea/science from. Today I was asked to do that again. The same person who had the idea for this blog and the whole “thing” that’s happening right now asked me to explain the nuts and bolts. I will try to summarize, but I will not get completely crazy with it tonight (I’ve gotta sleep at some point, I’ll try to chip away every day). I do want to try to give you guys a brief explanation of what we’re doing, and hopefully I won’t dive too far into nerdery. There WILL be a CF Journal article coming from all this, as that was the initial reason behind beaming WODs out to people. That is also the reason why it’s imperative that you post your work to comments. The site is free – it’s the least you can do for me.
1) Barbell Gymnastics
The mere practice of the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete how to apply large amounts of force. Part of the extraordinary abilities of an Olympic lifter arises out of his having learned how to effectively activate more of his muscle fibers more rapidly than others who aren’t trained to do so. This becomes extremely important for athletes who need to remain at lower body weights for athletic purposes but need to learn how to apply greater force. – Artie Dreschler
This is a powerful (no pun intended) quote. I love weightlifting – I love powerlifting. The problem, however, with powerlifting is the fact that the CNS is loaded for far more time than it is when performing the fast lifts. Therefore powerlifting takes a greater toll on the lifter and simply causes more fatigue and is harder to recover from. So, we Olympic Weightlift – a lot. The practice of the lifts improves rate of force development, builds flexibility/mobility, and allows for a level of general coordination that is unparalleled outside of – you guessed it – actual sports. I can throw 20-30 ME (or 90%+) lifts – which is what we’re doing on a weekly basis – at athletes per week without significant CNS fatigue or even soreness. Our skill transfer and accessory movements are basically programmed to work on the issues I’ve seen in most lifters (snatch balance ring a bell?).
The other inherent beauty of WL is that it is used all the time in CF competitions. Have any of you EVER done a competition that didn’t have a single WL or WL accessory movement? Guess what Grace feels like when you have a 300+ pound clean & jerk AND you’re really fit – feels like you’re playing with the kids weights.
2) Actual Gymnastics
How many kettlebell swings have you done in your life? Is that a high degree of difficulty movement for you? Have you ever heard a single CF competitor say, “I really can’t get KB swings”? (no AJ Moore comments)
If there’s going to be something you suck at, it’s going to be Muscle-Ups, HSPU, HS Walks, etc. Unless you drill these things constantly you’re not going to get better. I simply try to put these together in clever ways so we’ll have hit them from every possible angle (weighted, unbroken, pre-fatigued, fresh) and I like to do them in every possible way you could see them in competition (strict/kipping HSPU, HSPU on plates, HSPU on rings, MU on high rings, MU with turnout, bar MU, etc.). By the time you get to competition hopefully we’ve already practiced whatever comes out, and hopefully we’re good at it.
I know you all love Murph, but you won’t see it here. In fact, if you see anything over 12 minutes, I screwed up. Why?
As I’ve heard Coach say a million times – “All positive adaptations come through intensity”. Intensity is incredibly hard to maintain past 8 minutes, much less out past 12. Also, and this is even more important to me, anything past 12 minutes tends to lend itself to a fuckload of reps. A fuckload of reps means one thing – you get sore and your body breaks down (I guess that’s 2 things, and you’re all coaches – you don’t need me to break down the science). When you start to break down, we stop making positive gains and start to lose the strength gains we’ve already made. Not to mention, general muscular fatigue/soreness detracts from your ability to perform high level movements, and that is a great deal of what the program is based upon. I monitor the amount of reps (in met-cons… heavy – light – accessory – push – pull) we perform every week very closely and use many of the same charts that Louie Simmons has used for years, which are the same charts that some of the greatest European S&C coaches in history developed.
This, in my opinion, is possibly the most important piece of this whole equation. I actually got away from this in getting Becky and Brandon ready for last years Games and I think they suffered because of it. Brandon set me straight on this after the Games, and after the numbers we’ve seen in the last few months, he was absolutely right in doing so. The point is; you’re all really fucking fit already. You don’t need to get monkey stomped every day to become a better CrossFit competitor, but you do need to be good at going ALL OUT for moderate to short efforts while maintaining the highest possible level of efficiency.
4) Limited Conjugate Method
More to come tomorrow…
1a) Back Squat: 10×2 @ 60%+25% Band – rest 60 sec.
Notes: This is speed work, down and up FAST.
1b) Bench Press: 10X2 @ 60%+25% Chains – rest 60 sec.
Notes: This is speed work, down and up FAST.
3 rounds for time of:
50 Air Squats
10 Hang Power Cleans 135/95#
1a) 3×10 Hanging Leg Raises – rest 45 sec.
1b) 3×5 Banded GH Raise – medium/heavy (should be fast) rest 45 sec.
Band setup instruction video from last week (that never got posted):