Strength: Bench Press
3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3
– then –
5 Rounds for time:
12 Deadlifts (155/105)
9 Hang Power Cleans (155/105)
6 Push Jerks (155/105)
In honor of USAF SSgt Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on Feburary, 20 2009 supporting operations in OEF when his vehicle was struck by an IED. Timothy is survived by his wife Megan and one-year old son T.J.
The CFM Christmas Party is on Friday, December 14 @ 7 PM! If you can’t find a sitter, you can bring your kids, but it will be an adult party.
NERF ARMAGEDDON!!!! On New Years Day we’ll be turning CFM into a NERF Warzone! All CFM members are invited to bring their kids for dart-gun battle royale. Hint: Nerf Guns make great Christmas gifts 😉
There’s 2 points I want to make today.
First, since there’s deadlifts in today’s workout, I want to address some issues. Lately, we’ve been deadlifting very little. Because of this, we’ve lost a bit of capacity in our midline stability when deadlifting. This is a reminder that, when you deadlift, you have to do it right.
This is our unofficial stance on deadlifts: “There is absolutely zero long-term advantages for deadlifts with less than optimal form. Deadlifting improperly not only increases your chances for injury, it instills improper habits that are difficult to re-learn down the road. As an athlete, maintaining a stable midline is the most important skill you can learn. No CrossFit Merced athlete is allowed to compromise good deadlift mechanics for the sake of load, time, or ego.”
We want our cake and eat it too! We want you to lift heavy stuff, but we don’t want you to move poorly. Often, the answer is simply slowing down. Take a few more breaths to give yourself time to stabilize. Other times, the answer is unloading the bar or scaling the movement to something else (lifting from a positive, changing stance, etc.). Be sure to listen to your coaches today.
Second, I’ve recently had several conversations with members who had questions about our programming, that is, the workouts we chose to prescribe. They asked how and why we chose to do what we do.
Without giving away our secrets, I’ll give you a little bit of insight: We follow a carefully planned program for which the primary focus is on 4 things: Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Back Squat, and high-skill gymnastics. Because the ultimate goal is a broad, general, and inclusive fitness, we focus on these 4 things for very specific reasons.
“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
We’ve been over this before, but I’ll repeat it again: If you get good at Oly lifting (Snatch, C&J), you’ll be good at EVERYTHING. The power, speed, coordination, strength, and accuracy required for a bodyweight snatch are going to translate to any other physical endeavor you chose. There’s no other method on earth that is as effective as Oly lifting. We program workouts in 4-week or 6-week cycles of the Snatch OR the Clean & Jerk. The strength work and conditioning work within those cycles is meant to compliment that movement.
The squat is the key to strength and conditioning. It is the sine qua non of barbell exercises. I tell many new trainees that if they are not going to squat, they should not even bother to train. No other exercise changes so many things about the body in so short a time as the squat. To omit squats because some uninformed fool said they were “bad for your knees” indicates that you probably didn’t want to do them anyway, so it’s just as well.
Squats make knees stronger. Squats make athletes better. Squats are good for kids, teenagers, adults, elderly people, and anybody else who can perform them correctly. Squats are the functional expression of human skeletal and muscular anatomy, and the human body is designed to do them. The squat is the way that God has made the bipedal human body to lower itself to the ground. It is the position in which half the population of South Asia spends the afternoon. And when done weighted, it is the best exercise in existence for strength, power, coordination, joint integrity, bone density, confidence, discipline, intelligence, and charm.
We do back squats once a week (usually on Tuesdays), and follow 4, 6, and 12-week back squat cycles (the majority of which are High-Bar-Back-Squats). All of our cycles will conclude with a test – usually a 1RM before the next cycle begins.
Gymnastics training is tremendously effective as a foundational fitness program for any physical activity. This specific training develops strength, flexibility, body awareness, and agility that cross over extremely well to other physical activities. The degree of control and body awareness cultivated in gymnastics training is unrivaled. Gymnastics develops functional movements that are often otherwise neglected but are extremely useful in other sports and in everyday activities. The kids in any schoolyard that consistently outperform their peers in fitness tests (frequently by large margins) are usually gymnasts.
It is well known that repeating the same exercise for long periods of time will reduce its effectiveness. Gymnastics continually introduces new movements and new stimuli to training. These varied stimuli ensure that trainees will never “just get good at training” but that the training will truly improve their fitness for all tasks.
For our purposes, running is considered gymnastics. There is no more functional movement in the world than running. We love running, but because running requires lots of recovery, we intentionally manage volume and dosages to avoid over-training.
We’ve chosen to structure our classes into 2 parts: “Strength” and “WOD”
Our “Strength” session involve some form of barbell or gymnastics (see above) in an untimed, intentional setting. The goal here is twofold. We want you get get strong, and we want to teach you proper lifting technique while you’re not working at a frantic pace. We won’t allow you to lift heavy weights until you’ve shown to us that you can move them properly. As coaches, this is where we do most of our technical coaching, and less cheerleading.
Our “WOD” (Workout of the Day) is where we do our metabolic conditioning (known in CrossFit Speak as the “Met-Con”). This is a short, intense workout primarily designed for you to develop your anaerobic capacity. Because we’ve been teaching the techniques in our Strength-sessions, we can give you simple cues in the WOD that aren’t going to slow you down. For example, when one of the coaches yells “KNEES OUT!” you know what he’s talking about because we’ve spent lots of time addressing body positions during our strength work.
The question I’ve gotten most is “What’s more important, the Strength, or the WOD?”
This is an interesting question. The answer depends on your goals. If your goals are based on a long-term approach, the Strength session is more important. Getting stronger will allow you to have a more functional body with more overall capacity. i.e. If you get stronger you can do more stuff! This process is slow. The techniques can take years to become proficient at. But, years from now, if you’ve continued to get stronger, our strength work will give you a body that can do more, from water skiing to tree-trimming, to loading lumber. Getting stronger tends to have long-lasting effects. Once you get strong, you (generally) keep it. Also, I’d like to add that getting strong DOES NOT mean getting big. Many of our female athletes have apprehension about doing strength work because they are worried about bulking up. This is simply not the case. If it were, we’d all be huge. A month ago one of our ladies told me “The heavier I squat, the skinnier i get!” I responded, “Yeah, we get that a lot.”
If you are focused on short-term results, the WOD is more important. Conditioning workouts will get you mobilizing oxygen in your metabolic pathways better. This means that you get less tired when you do stuff. If you are trying to get ready for boot camp in the Marine Corp, or if you just want to get ready for bikini season, the WOD is your primary focus. The results of our conditioning work are shorter-lived. You can get into (or out-of) conditioning shape in a couple months.
The sport of CrossFit has made it harder and harder to distinguish between strength and Cardio. When you think about it, though, in nature there is no regard for such a distinction. There is unlimited crossover between the two – one compliments the other. We want you to get it all. Get strong so you can move yourself (or something else). Get conditioned so you won’t get tired when you do it. Do Clean & Jerks, Snatches, Squats, and Gymnastics to get there.