4×4 @ 85% 1RM
20x Wall Ball shots
10x Pull Ups
3 Rounds for time
Notes: We are in full force all of November with this format. It’s not quite Max Effort Black Box as Coach Rut likes to break up the weak into different lifting segments, so for example Monday is upper body, Wednesday is Explosive, Friday is Lower body (just an example), it’s not quite like UCR because we don’t do as much rolling/mobility drilling even though I’d like to, logistics and timing is a little tough to fit all that I would want to do into the session, it’s not quite like Strength Biased CrossFit either.
Because of the massive variance in peoples workout schedule I felt that programing strength days based on the major lifts would not negatively impact everyones ability to recover. Most people are training 3-4x/week all on different rotations, it would be impossible to make sure everyone got their upper body strength day, explosive, and lower body portions in so I went with a exercise focus. We will spend time building strength in all the major lifts followed by a tight couplet or triplet. Every so often we will do a test WOD (think named WODs) or a chipper or a long mono-structure day. I lean very heavy a small statements that Glassman has made in Virtousity, and What is Fitness and I think that CFSB, MEBB has mentioned this same thing before.
Our approach is a little different even though all of the above examples have reached the same conclusion, strength and work capacity are equally important. I would say that the pursuit of work capacity (the ability to do more work in less time) is mathematically most dependent on speed and force. I would go even further to say that speed is a product of power and strength so at the end of the day after all this reduction, strength is the piece that is most impactful to work capacity.
To get stronger you have to lift heavy. A mentor of mine says that there are only three ways to get stronger, lift something heavy off the ground, lift something heavy over your head and carry something heavy for distance or time. Today we lifted something heavy off the ground, then put it back down, then did it again. It’s really that simple sometimes.
There is a very wide range of neurological efficiency with all the athletes at the gym, and given the wide range 85% is a pretty good percentage to go from. Generally speaking “heavy” is at least 85% of a 1 rep max and to get stronger you have to lift heavy. I keep the reps below 5 even though 5 heavy reps has a lot of history behind it. There is some speculation and theory that at reps 5, 6, 7 and 8 we start moving into hypertrophy with 5 being obviously on the low end of that. I want to avoid hypertrophy entirely. I would rather see greater strength to weight ratio and lean than big and bulky with limited range of motion.
In determining the rounds of 4 reps at 85% I defer to an observational study done awhile back on how intensity effects volume. The author looked at more than 1000 world, olympic, nation and European weightlifting champions and came up with a table. When operating at 80-90% 1RM I keep the reps at 2-4 per set with a target of 15 total reps or between 10-20 reps. So 4×4 is 16 total reps at 85%. Technically this is “light” for a 4 rep workout. We still have a lot of room to grow in terms of strength and doing what the NSCA calls for (90% 1RM) for 4 reps is just too much for most of us in the gym.
I also use Mel Siff’s book Supertraining and Pat O’Shea’s book Quantum Strength Fitness II to determine the rest periods. Both suggest between 2-6 min for full ATP recovery. If it was a pure strength setting, I’d go with 4-5 min for most people. Keep in mind the work capacity piece too though. Limit the rest and it become a bit more cardio/respritory endurance or stamina (depends on your definitions).
The Met-Con portion is simply 3 exercises that I was trying to stay away from posterior chain activites, but it crept in there anyway. I usually don’t program body parts but I felt that Sat max effort deadlift and todays deadlift work was just too much posterior chain to ignore. Sit ups would have been great to include… Maybe next time.