Strength Cycle Overview

Starting Monday November 6 we will kick off an 8 Week Strength program.  While there are 10 Attributes that go into CrossFit’s definition of fitness, strength likely has the greatest spillover benefit and as such is worth developing.   A number of factor’s influence the program’s design:

Safety:  MOST IMPORTANTLY, the program as structured should minimize (unfortunately not eliminate) your risk of injury, but to that end it’d be really helpful if your read this brief outline.

Simplicity:  In both execution and in record keeping, this program is extremely simple.

Efficacy:  The scheme is commonplace, has been around for quite some time, and almost always results in an 7-15% jump in measurable strength.  If you are new to lifting weights you can expect a figure in the double digits.  If you’re more experienced you’re aiming for 7-8% gains.

Appropriateness:  Strength IS important, but we aren’t abandoning the goal of being “A minus” at everything having to do with human movement.  It’s still CrossFit, thus we still have scheduled work capacity and skill development periods.

We start this week and conclude in the last week of December, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  Immediately thereafter, we start our 6 week MJCF Diet Contest on 1/1/18 and the workout focus will change dramatically to longer, more rigorous work periods.  A solid foundation of strength will set the table nicely for the work capacity tests in Jan/Feb.

Here’s how it all works.



Monday-Shoulder Press.

Tuesday- Deadlift or Sumo Deadlift

Wednesday- Pullup

Thursday- Bench Press

Friday- Back Or Front Squat


You will test in by determining your 5 rep max in all of the above lifts.  It’s important to note that the Upper Body Lifts (Shoulder Press, Pullup, Bench Press)can be safely pushed to failure but the Lower Body lifts (any of the Squats/Deadlifts) are of greater concern.  Thus, your test-in here would be limited slightly.  Ideally you are finishing the set under great duress, BUT WITH FORM UNCOMPROMISED!  If you get the fifth rep of a test-in set, and have serious doubts about your ability to get a sixth rep that maintains good form, for safety’s sake, thats just about perfect intensity.

Think about the results of a missed shoulder press or pullup….No big deal.  Same with the bench press (with an appropriate spotter, of course).  But a missed back squat has some inherent danger to it, a deadlift where the spine, even briefly, leaves good positioning can injure quickly and unexpectedly.  Consistent with our ethos of weighing risk vs reward AND preserving you for the long haul, we want to tread very softly when it comes to max effort squats and deadlifts.

Mitigating risk is also why we are testing a 5 rep max as opposed to a 1 rep.  If you are in over your head on a set of 5 chances are you recognize such on rep 3 or 4 and (hopefully) have the good sense to stop, or perhaps a coach spots your form degrading and stops you.   With 1 rep maxes, there’s no early warning and correcting an error in technique mid rep is that much harder because the loads are x amount heavier

Thereafter you will, on the corresponding day of the week, do 1 light warmup set of 10 reps,  a medium warmup set of 6 reps and then 2 working sets of 5 reps each.  The 5th and final set you will take to either full fatigue (upper body) or to a point where you have doubts about your ability to safely get 1 more (squats/deadlifts).  The last set will determine next week’s loading.  If you get 5 reps you’d go up in weight likely by 5% or so.  If you got 6-7 reps, you’d go up more and 8 or more you’re weight jump would increase etc.  It is therefore essential that you get on SugarWOD and record your scores.  No more putting it off.  You are paying for more than “stroll in, do what’s put in front of you,  stroll out, think/hope you’re getting better/stronger/fitter”.  Please take advantage of the tools at your disposal.  Your fitness will improve at a faster rate and to a higher level.

After finishing your primary lifts  (15 minutes) You’ll perform 1 accessory lift,  whose purpose is solely to drive progress in the primary lift.   these accessory lifts will change week to week, providing a little mental variety and changing stimulus. Early on this accessory movement will have a tempo control, meaning that the athlete is meant to take a certain amount of time in each phase of the lift.  For example,  a tempo designated 2-2-x-1 would mean translate to 2 seconds on the descent, 2 second pause at the bottom, Up as fast as possible and 1 second at the top.  The goal of the accessory work is muscle fatigue, and all 3 sets are meant to be a significant challenge.

Lastly, we will have a work capacity period most days.  This will “feel like CrossFit” although most days will trend a little short.  Expect hard, fast 2 and 3 element workouts in the 8-12 minute range.

Your coaches will fill in the details.  Meanwhile, get up to speed on SugarWOD asap, eat clean, get some sleep and get ready to get stronger.

We’re excited!!!