New Programming! 4 Weeks of Greasing the Groove, and a Review of the Total.

22 Jan

Photo by Mike Mackintosh.

Keep the Goal the Goal. – Dan John

Every cycle is an experiment in finding something that serves the broad purpose of CrossFit Center City: to make powerful, healthy athletes. Our last experiment (from the previous total in early September to the total this past weekend) was to play with high volume squatting at higher intensities (intensity as measured by a greater percentage of max, so, less 5,3,2,1 stuff and more doubles and singles more often, but still fast) than normal and in the absence of the same for deadlifting to create a better TOTAL amount for three lifts.

As is evidenced by the 65 people who lifted in our last CrossFit Total, we succeeded. Even with the presence of deadlifting 2 months out of 4 in a cycle, 60 out of 65 PR’d their deadlifts, 63 of 65 PR’d their squat, and over %50 of members taking a chance at the press PR’d their press. In max reps, CFCC lifted over 7,000 pounds.

Other fun facts?

Not counting the coaches, there were 32 men and 27 women lifting.  Last time, this was 16 men and 16 women.

Of those 32 men, 6 were squatting over 315 and 3 men squatted 375lbs. (Hunter, Lux, Sean). 6 men were squatting very close to 300 (Jeff, Bova, Daffy, Hollander, Taylor, and Dorcus). 11 men were deadlifting over 300lbs. for the first time. 10 men were deadlifting over 400lbs (for the first time, Weisman, Nat, Andreas, Tyler, Taylor, Wilson, and Dorcus). Heitz, pulling 385lbs. is close. Lux is edging towards 500 at 455lbs. and Hunter pulled over 500lbs. (505) for the first time ever.

Of the 27 women, 8 were squatting over 200lbs, with Amber coming in close to it at 190lbs. Angie, true to form and always a crowd pleaser ☺, PR’d her squat at 253lbs – currently the best women’s squat in the gym. Additionally, Angie easily PR’d her deadlift at 350lbs. (also the best deadlift in the gym). A few women pulled over 200lbs. for the first time (Sparker, Abbey, Amber, Morgan, Leila, and Youngblood). Among the women deadlifting, 12 pulled over 225lbs. with Joey pulling an impressive 255lbs., and Meredith and Tess pulling 275lbs. Meredith made a gallant attempt at 300lbs. twice and will surely pull more than this at the next total. Record pulled 305lbs. putting her in a club of women at CFCC numbering a select four.

Next time, we’ll have to measure the actual poundage of PRs…so keep track of where you’re at, CFCC! 

One of the things that most members have expressed in the last few months and one of the elements that I’ve found lacking most in our training is good old fashioned Pull-up Strength Endurance. This cycle you’ll notice some changes in the structure of our every-day programming.

How does better Pullup Strength Endurance fit into that?

Grip Strength: you’re really only as strong as what you can hold.
Shoulder Health: Good shoulders pull well.
Body Composition: There’s nothing like a pull-up to encourage you to be as lean as possible (the more you weigh the harder it gets)– and nothing activates the body in quite the same way that a basic pull-up does – there is more abdominal activation involved in a pull-up than any crunch you could ever muster. Said another way, a personal trainer friend of mine once said when he saw me doing pull-ups, “they make yo back like a map.”
Running: Yup, believe it or not there is a strong correlation between good runners and max pullup sets. True, correlation is not proof, but it’s not a coincidence either.
Metcon: Every other CrossFit benchmark workout involves a pull-up of some sort and if you want to be dedicated to doing them well and in large amounts, you simply have to do them a lot of the time and more often, but NEVER incorrectly or to fatigue (ask a Marine – the required amount of strict deadhang pull-ups for men is 20 reps).

So what’s this translate to?

We’ll be greasing the groove – for more on this theory of training – check out this post.  We’ll be doing lots of other movements, still working on lots of skills, and still squatting – the deadlift will be saved for metcons during this cycle, but it’ll definitely be in the mix. In about two weeks some more classes will be added to the full schedule: a Shoulder Prehab Course and a few more Intro to Olympic Lifting Classes per week.

Check out the full format of every week below.

MONDAY – Warm-up = Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes either 1 pull-up, 2 pull-ups, or 3 pull-ups. Pronated Grip. Pick your band if you need one. Do not use one that sends you to failure. If you do go to failure for any reason during the cycle at any time, back down to an easier band or an easier variation (i.e. if you were on 3 pull-ups and fail on the 5th minute, back down to two pull-ups in the next minute). Metcon – Quad Dominant (meaning, some kind of squatting).

TUESDAY – Strict Muscle-up Skill/Strength Work and Gymnastics Dominant Metcons (Ring Work (Dips and Push-ups), Rolls, Handstand Walking, Single Leg Work).

WEDNESDAY – Warm-up = 1 attempt at a max set of Kipping Pull-ups or, if you do not kip or would like to use strict pull-ups instead, max a set of strict pull-ups. Use any grip you wish. Front Squat, Peak of 5, 3, 2, 1. Hip Dominant Metcons (Deadlifting, Kettlebell Swinging, Rowing, etc.)

THURSDAY – Warm-up = Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes either 1 pull-up, 2 pull-ups, or 3 pull-ups. Supinated Grip. Jerk from the Rack, (Push, or Split), up to a single every week. Those with testy shoulders should choose to Press or Push Press instead of Jerk. If you haven’t spent a cycle Pressing at CFCC, you should stick with the press.

FRIDAY – Strength: Pull-up (Pronated Grip, up to a quick peak of 1).  Benchmark Metcons.

SATURDAY – Benchmark Metcons.

I don’t think I need to say this, but just in case…

…the pull-up starts at a full hang (no bent elbows!) and ends with the chin breaking the horizontal and vertical plane of the bar.  There are no exceptions to this range of motion.  If you want to get the most out of your pull-ups for your shoulders, end them as often as you can with your shoulder blades back and down at the top of the pull (you shouldn’t be shrugging).  You should look as LITTLE like a chicken as possible (don’t stick your neck out, keep your chin tucked!).  Form matters – more than you know until it’s kind of too late…  If you have bent elbows you need to get to work on that YESTERDAY and this is a great place to start!

Also, because we’re not kipping THAT often (only on the days where it says we are or during some benchmark workouts) your hands should be mostly fine.  In case any of you need some review of how to deal with hand issues in CrossFit though – don’t forget to consult this post.  As with all injuries, always tell us via email as soon as you can!

Eat it, don't be it.

Remember, members don’t let other members short their pull-ups.  Take pride in the virtuosity of your craft and don’t count your reps unless you’ve MADE them count.

And with all that said, here’s to the next four weeks!


3 Responses to “New Programming! 4 Weeks of Greasing the Groove, and a Review of the Total.”

  1. LT January 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    What is that log thing? The link seems to be broken. I need a better system for keeping track of things!

    • crossfitcentercity January 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm # – it’s an old website that’s been around since the beginning of CrossFit where, if you go to the register link, you can keep a log along with a bunch of CFCCers. I’ll be doing a big instructional post on this in a little bit but it’s a great way to keep in touch with other CFCCers specifically about training and while still being able to search your log for benchmarks like Elizabeth, Fran, and “Back Squat” 🙂


  1. Quite possibly one of the most important posts ever. « CrossFit Center City - January 23, 2012

    […] things changing when we move and until then more thorough explanations of how programming works (like this post).  Remember, if you have a question – please ALWAYS ask!  We want to hear what you are […]

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