Summer Swole Cypher


Cypheristas! Brace yourselves (literally!), Frequent Heavy Lifting is coming (next week, 6/9)! In the spirit of Summer, mixing it up, and a few light bulb moments I have had recently, we are going to run a significantly strength biased program for at least a few months. I say significantly because the programming already focuses on strength but, believe it or not, we can actually do more in this regard. A lot more. What does this mean? Well, it basically means the following:

  1. You are going to be Squatting heavy at least twice per week (Mon & Fri). Front, Back, and a sprinkling of Snatch Balances/Overhead Squats.
  2. Pressing heavy twice per week (Tue & Thu). Strict, Bench, and Push Presses.
  3. Deadlifting or “pulling heavy” (Clean/Snatch) at least once per week (Wed).
  4. Doing prescribed accessory work, which generally means a few higher rep scheme drop-down sets after the main lift is done (ex. 5×10 @ 50% of 5RM for the day)
  5. Doing accessory gymnastics strength work (Pull-ups, Dips, HSPUs, Muscle-ups) at least 2-3x/week as well.

In essence, touching a barbell everyday except perhaps Saturday, which will become our designated longer Metcon day.

I know some of you feel like you have such a deficit of strength that doing a lot of the metcons at the prescribed/Rx weights seems so far away. Perhaps impossibly far. I sympathize, but while I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is anything special about doing a workout at Rx level, I do think most of you need to get much, much, stronger in order to eventually reach your overall fitness potential (a many-years process). It’s also generally more satisfying than doing it all, because you get to regularly see how 1+1 = 2 (strength is the easiest quality to measure improvement for).

We have been threading the needle for a while of maintaining a balance between biasing strength programming somewhat while still maintaining a more or less full suite of Metcons (Metabolic Conditioning workouts) you are regularly exposed to. But this comes at a cost. For a time, we will push the strength envelope and see how it resonates and helps you improve overall. If it goes well it may become a permanent programming shift. We’ll see.

Now, everything comes at a cost and, strictly speaking, it is likely that you will backtrack and/or stall on certain other aspects of your fitness (aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, some skills). Some days we will do strength only. This is okay, and is actually essential in order for you to properly recover! (Aside Rant: stop trying to “burn calories” via your workouts, it’s not important). We will still do a fairly inclusive subset of this type of training, but something has to give if for no other reason than the time constraints of a 1-hour class (which we already regularly violate ;)), as well as your ability to recover from some pretty substantial training. Usually we find that at least some of your metcons get better as a result of an increase in strength, (for example if you improve your Front Squat by 30#, the Thrusters in “Fran” usually get easier). But it is not always the case, so I like to moderate some expectations.

Finally, since we have a mix of newbies and veterans in the gym, structurally the format is not going to be very complex (like asking you to do specific percentages and reps for each set). We are not following a Hatch or 5/3/1 program, because that is a management and math nightmare I don’t care to entertain at this point, but it will have a pretty fixed format. However, for you veterans and athletes aspiring to up your game, it is going to be extremely important that you:

  1. Know your lifts. All of them. 1RMs, 3RMs, 5RMs at least. Write them down, in a log book preferably (we sell them for $10). On the back of your hand works too. Apps are good also.
  2. Have a goal/target weight going into each day/session (beat your previous PR, duh).
  3. Have a plan on how you are going to ascend in weight across the sets to best attack that goal. Write it down (a mini white board is good).
  4. Warm up like a boss. Don’t be that guy/gal that chit chats, goes to the bathroom 7 times and takes 14 water breaks, then somehow runs out of time to do their sets. It’s a recipe for chronic weakness, bro.

We let a lot of this stuff slide because we have a lot of beginners throughout the classes whom we don’t expect to do this at first because it is often overwhelming, but in the long run (6+ month members take note) you all need to develop a degree of independence, which means knowing your stuff. This is training not exercising.

Anyhow, I’m sure there will be lots of questions which we will be happy to address. I look forward to seeing you all in the gym gettin’ swole very soon!



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