Preparing yourself for your next GPP / Strength and Conditioning Cycle
PREPARING YOURSELF FOR NEXT CYCLE
So, some of you have just completed your first cycle at Crossfit Kingsboro and others will be starting their first cycle with us. Congratulations! Here is a look at what the next 8 weeks will look like as our programming emphasis changes.
MONDAY – BENCH PRESS AND PULLUP
TUESDAY – OBWOD
WEDNESDAY – SQUAT
THURSDAY – STRICT PRESS
FRIDAY – Handstand + Body Weight + WOD
SUNDAY – POWER CLEAN
Over the years we have learned that strength is most often the difference between being able to go at a workout as prescribed or not. The focus of the next 8 weeks is to work on gaining strength in the 5 Power lifts according to the Starting Strength Programming. These lifts are the Bench Press, Strict Press, Low Bar Back Squat, Deadlift, and Power Clean. Monday we will be bringing back the Bench Press for national chest day and including Pullups as well to counter the press. Tuesday will include CrossFit skills as well as obstacle course style movements. These classes will be fun.. and intense. Wednesday we will be introducing the low bar back squat into the programming. This squat will allow most lifters to lift more weight on their squats. This will get you super strong and diesel since the Squat has the most profound effect on your body of any exercise. On Thursday we will also be bringing back the Strict Press - a great shoulder builder and core and stabilization exercise as well. On Friday Handstand preparation is back. The Deadlift will be coming back on Saturday. And Sunday will be dedicated to the Power Clean.
Even though we have great things programmed for every day of the week we recommend that you, the athlete, rest at least 2 days a week. Your body needs rest in order to rebuild your muscles. If you want to make up a lift or skill work that you may have missed due to your rest day ask any coach if you can set up a rack or get a little space to get your work in. You can also take advantage of our Open Gym hours on Friday (6-9pm) and Sunday (1-3pm).
Our Performance program will follow the Wendler 5-3-1 progression. For a primer check this out: 5/3/1: How to Build Pure Strength | T Nation
At CFKB we utilize leveled programming in order to provide you with training that is appropriate for your needs and capabilities. Fitness and Performance are the terms we use for each tier. Exercises, drills, rep schemes and loads that are on the Fitness level are geared toward the beginner (0 to 6 months of consistent training) as well as the intermediate CrossFitter who may feel that for a given movement or skill the Fitness track best suits their current ability and goals. Performance provides a track for more experienced athletes that have established a solid foundation of technique, strength and work capacity to work on advanced movements and more rigorous workouts. A good indication of whether or not you are ready for Performance exposure is if you are able to do most if not all workouts as RX’d. We highly recommend that you only follow the Performance programming if you have been either CrossFitting or strength training for a year and half and/or have plateaued with your 3*5 linear progression.
PLANNING WHERE TO START FOR NEXT CYCLE
I want to discuss how to devise a plan for your weight training. For our Fitness programming we use a linear progression of 3(sets)*5(reps). This is the most efficient and safe way to build pure strength.
Below I will list two possible ways to find a starting point for the new cycle based on an athlete’s squat from the previous cycle, assuming that they finished last cycle at 135*3*5.
COUNTING DOWN METHOD
To do this pick what PR (personal record) you would like to hit for this cycle and make a list of your 6 weeks. Assuming our athlete (Zach) wanted to finish his next cycle at 165# his strategy would be to make 10 pound jumps each week.
As you can see in the 6 week program below Zach will hit his previous cycle’s 3*5 weight at about the midpoint of the cycle. For an athlete that has performed the lift in the prior cycle we would usually like to see you hit your previous cycle’s 3*5 at week 3. If you haven’t seen the lift in a cycle or two you should probably focus on hitting your previous 3*5 around week 4.
WEEK 6: 165
WEEK 5: 155
WEEK 4: 145
WEEK 3: 135
WEEK 2: 125
WEEK 1: 115
So why is Zach starting at a lower weight than he finished at last cycle you ask? We do this for a couple of reasons. First, he just had 2 weeks where he wasn’t following his linear progression (Test week and Back Off week). Because of this starting at a weight that is as heavy or heavier than where he was 2 weeks ago is probably going to feel 10 times harder. The second reason is that if he starts where he left off his progress will likely be minimal in the upcoming weeks (or he may fail immediately), which is something we do not want to see. We as coaches always want you to make sure that you, our athletes are giving your bodies enough time, rest and nutrition to adapt to this training.
Another way to find your starting place is by using a load that is a percentage of where you ended your previous cycle. A good starting place for most would be at 90% of the previous cycle’s 3*5 weight. Since our lifter ended the last cycle at 135#, 135# (.9)=121.5#. I would then have him round down and start at 120# (which is very similar to our starting weig
ht for the counting down method). Zach would add incrementally each week and by week 6 build up to 165# for his 3*5 weight. If you are an experienced athlete but you haven’t done the lift in a while you may want to scale to 85% or less of your last 3*5 weight.
No matter how well you plan though there are no perfect ways to establish your starting points. These are rough estimates and many factors can play into where you should start and how you will progress through the cycle. Play around with the size of your jumps throughout the cycle. If things are feeling really hard in your first few weeks decrease the weights, if things feel real light don’t be afraid to make slightly bigger jumps. If you have any questions you can always ask your coach and they can lead you the right way.
For the newer athletes that are just starting out don’t think that you have to start on the first week of the cycle. The linear progression is the easy way for an athlete to get started at any point during the cycle. A coach can help you plan and start accordingly.
I hope this post has helped you learn a little bit more about the upcoming cycle at Crossfit Kingsboro. Feel free to comment and make suggestions at anytime on our blog or in person with one of the coaches. We want to put the best possible programming out there for all of you because our athletes make this gym run!
Lets kick some butt in this cycle! I have seen so much improvement and growth in our athletes and can’t wait to see what the future holds.