21 Mar 2017 – Programming Update: The Strength Cycle

The last 3 or so months have seen us work hard to develop your conditioning and skills specific to the CrossFit Open.

For the past four weeks, you have taken on whatever Dave Castro has thrown our way and as your coaches we are very proud of each one of you.  It is clear that you were all focused on doing the best that you can do, do this and you are successful.

In typical fashion we like to transition from the Open season into something a little slower paced…

Introducing our 2017 Strength Cycle

It's everyone's favourite time of year! It's time focus on getting you strong!

Strength is the ability to produce force, and it is possibly the most important component in athletics. It is dependent on muscle mass, on the nerves that make the muscles fire, and on the will that fires the nerves. Power depends on it, as does balance, coordination, speed, quickness, and endurance.

Absolute strength is the catalyst to all strengths. The greater the athlete’s absolute strength, the greater the capability for all other types of strengths.  This is because increasing your absolute strength levels will increase your overall work capacity (the ability to do more work in less time).

And most importantly it's fun to lift some heavy stuff!

Strength Cycle Overview

Our strength cycle will work in four week waves.

The first three weeks will feature a weekly layout and movement selection that will remain largely unchanged. Over the course of the three weeks we will progress the loading/reps/times/% etc

Week four will be a de-load to allow your body and brain time to recover.

After the de-load, we will start the wave with new movement variations and repeat the process.

The reasons we keep the days static is so we can make sure you get enough recovery between our heavy days, and secondly so you can plan your schedules around hitting the strength days or the skill/conditioning focused days (depending on your flava!)

Each week you will perform a variation of the main slow lifts (press, squat and hinge…heavy). In addition, on each of these days you will also work on strict, high rep gymnastics strength as well as some accessory work for the main lifts.

Our 'non-strength' days will focus on shoulder prehab (to keep you injury free) and work on skill development and some base level aerobic conditioning.

Here is the weekly plan laid out...


Strength (Press variation)
Gymnastics Strength & Accessory work


Shoulder Prehab
Skill Development & Conditioning


Strength (Squat variation)
Gymnastics Strength & Accessory work


Shoulder Prehab
Skill Development & Conditioning


Skill Development


Strength (Hinge variation)
Gymnastics Strength & Accessory work

Sunday (Specialist)

This will vary week to week but it will be skill heavy

There are a few other very important points to note...

There will be very few high intensity conditioning days outside of our strength days. In order for you to recover, grow and get stronger we need to keep the metabolic stress low, so our conditioning days will be easy paced aerobic activity layered with lots of skill work.

We recommend you have 2 rest days per week, anything less and you will just be limiting how much progress you can make. In the case of strength work less is more.

If you don't take rest days, or we beat you down with lots of heavy days AND high intensity conditioning then we will only succeed in running your Central Nervous System (CNS) into the ground.

Famed track and field coach, Charlie Francis, described the CNS as a cup and every intensive stressor (sprinting, jumping, lifting above 90% intensity, dynamic effort lifting/Olympic lifts, lactic threshold training, etc.) you place upon your body fills up that cup to some degree. The cup is finite in its capacity and once it is full or overflows, the athlete will be in a state of overtraining, which can take weeks or months to recover from, so we need to fill your cup without having you spill over the sides.

Now, what better way to prepare ourselves for the Strength Cycle than today's workout!


"The CrossFit Total"

Establish a 1 rep max for each of the following lifts:
Back squat
Strict press

For each lift, use the following loading sequence:
2 @ 60%
2 @ 70%
1-2 @ 80%
1 @ 85%
1 @ 90-95%
1-2 attempts @ 100%+