I think we can all agree that winter has dragged on by a few weeks too many, and are finally all happy that spring is here, and summer is around the corner! And you know what that means…our Summer Strength Cycle is upon us!
But first, let’s reflect on this past Open…
The Open brought tough workouts that tested everybody’s ability to push pass what you physically thought was possible for yourself! We could not be happier with everybody’s hard work and dedication to ensuring that you were as prepared as possible for the 5 week gauntlet. Shoutout to Bruna, Cheyenne, Isaac, Ben, and Garrett for testing themselves among the other teenagers in the CrossFit world. Shoutout to Valerie and Emily for PR’ing their cleans during 19.2, and to Rebecca for not letting her jump rope get the best of her and completing ALL 50 double unders! And we couldn’t be more excited for everybody who got their first muscle up during 19.4 or in practice!
The 2019 Open had many victories for everybody, and you all deserve credit and recognition for sticking with it and finishing strong!
As we transition away from the Open and into summer, here’s an overview of new things coming to the Angel Oak Programming!
- Summer Strength Cycle
- New Warm-ups
- Olympic Lifting Overview
- Core & Upper/Lower Body Accessory Days
- Summer Shred Checkouts!
Summer Strength Cycle in full effect!
We’ve been talking about it, and now is the time to really get into the nitty gritty of the next 12 weeks. All leading up to our Summer Lift-Off on Saturday July 6th, from 9-11am, where we will find the strongest male and female, and crown them the King and Queen of our Summer Strength Cycle!
Our focus is to build raw strength and power. What does that mean? Basically, we are trying to get as strong as we can to move as much load as possible, and in some instances, in the least amount of time possible. We will be trying to achieve this goal of increasing raw strength through our four main lifts: Back Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, and Power Clean.
Our approach over these next 12 weeks will include training each of these four lifts through three different modalities: tempo training, speed training, and utilizing chains. Similar to the CrossFit methodology, variation will be key in making those strength gains.
Weekly Lift Modalities
Tempo training is crucial for developing control and body awareness during complex movements. The goal of tempo training is to slow down the movement, so that you can increase your muscle fiber recruitment. What that means is that during our lifts, you will rely on your muscle fibers to move the load versus using your momentum and stretch reflex. I know we all like to move fast during CrossFit, but slowing movements down will have huge benefits in regard to joint health and tendon strength.
During out tempo days, you will be seeing a few different numbers associated with the movement for the day. For example:
Back Squat 3×5 w/ 32X1 Tempo @ 60%
3– the first number is the lowering portion of the movement, or the portion of the movement where the muscle is stretching and lengthening. For the back squat, this would mean a 3 second descent to the bottom of the squat.
2– the second number indicates a pause at the midpoint of the lift. In this case, you would sit in the bottom of the squat for 2 seconds.
X– the third number is the concentric portion of the movement, or the shortening of the muscle. In this case, “X” means explode out of the bottom of the squat.
1– the fourth number indicates a pause at the end range of the movement. For this back squat set, you would pause 1 second at the top before beginning the next rep.
For movements that begin at the bottom, or even on the ground such as a deadlift, you must first lift the weight to the top of the movement to begin your set. So, a deadlift rep at 30X1 Tempo would be equal to: lift the bar to your hips to begin, then lower to the ground for 3 seconds, do not pause at the ground before lifting with control back to the top, where you pause for 1 second before beginning the next rep.
There are two components to speed training: starting strength and explosive strength. Starting strength is the ability to turn on muscle fibers as quickly as possible, ultimately producing force as fast as possible. In simple terms, if you can learn to apply force quickly, you’ll get stronger. Take the deadlift, for example. More often than not, athletes hit their sticking point of the lift with the bar less than 10 inches off the ground; it is usually velcroed to the floor. Through training speed at lighter percentages (40-60%), we can learn to deadlift the bar and separate it from the floor with greater initial speed and finish the lift.
Explosive strength is the ability to keep those muscle fibers turned on for the entirety of the lift. This is the acceleration part of the lift. By focusing on accelerating the bar quickly, our bodies can become accustomed to moving through our sticking points with force before too many of our muscle fibers become depleted of their energy.
The beginning of a new strength cycle means new toys!!! We are so pumped to utilize chains to help make serious gains this spring and summer!
Besides looking really cool, here’s how chains will benefit you and make you stronger overall:
- Chains accommodate resistance.
- As you lower the bar, the chains de-load to the floor, making the weight lighter.
- As you raise the bar, the chains re-load off the floor, making the weight heavier.
- Chains greatly reduce your natural acceleration as you approach lockout.
- Meaning that as your body moves into a mechanically advantageous position (ie. stronger position), the weight increases, which forces you to produce more power to finish the lift.
- Chains build both starting strength and explosive power.
- Chains will help increase your speed of lifts.
Full Body Warm-ups!
Our goal is to maximize your hour in the gym everyday. And one way we are going to do that is by introducing new full body warm-ups! These warm-ups are intended to get you going, and to ensure your whole body is prepped for the day’s workout. These are going to be different than what we’ve programmed before, so the first few weeks will have a small learning curve, but after that we’ll be rolling with these new warm-ups!
In addition, we ask that you arrive at least 5 minutes before class begins to do mobility work on your own. If you know you will need some extra time to prep your shoulders for bench press, it will be your responsibility to arrive before class to get your pre-workout mobility in. We have given you a numerous mobility tools and tricks, but the coaches will always be available to help and assist you.
One aspect that we will be introducing into our new warm-ups is the “30/20/30.”
30/20/30 = 30 air squats / 20 pass thrus / 30 PVC OHS
Our olympic lifting will primarily be on a clock with lighter percentages, whether that is an EMOM to start the day, or incorporating an olympic lift into the metcon for the day. The majority of our olympic lifts will be power snatches or power cleans. We want to ensure that we are not taxing our nervous systems too heavily, by incorporating heavy squat cleans or squat snatches during this strength cycle. The goal is to build raw strength during these 12 weeks, and to dial in our olympic lifting technique as we become stronger.
Core & Upper/Lower Body Accessory Days
Balance is key when the goal is to become stronger. The lifts during our strength cycle are all compound movements, meaning that each one requires multiple muscle groups to perform the movement. Taking a step back and actually focusing on smaller muscle groups in isolation can have many benefits to increasing overall strength: increasing body awareness, reducing asymmetries between muscles on opposite limbs, increasing muscle recruitment without excessive loading, increasing balance about the body. We have programmed bodybuilding before, and we program it with intent and purpose each time. These days aren’t meant to be taken lightly, and are for you to learn how your body moves and if you have any asymmetries.
Throughout the cycle, core, upper body, and lower body accessory will be alternated during the weeks.
Summer Shred Checkouts!
Summertime means beach time, right?! You want to look your absolute best on the beach or at the pool, right?!
That’s where Summer Shred comes in!
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the strength cycle, there will be programmed work at the end of the workouts. Even if it’s Tuesday, don’t be afraid to look at Monday’s workout in Wodify on your phone to hit that Summer Shred!
Summer Shred will consist of: curls, triceps, shoulder raises, abmat sit-ups, diamond push-ups, banded glute kickbacks, glute bridges, shrugs, Ab Tabatas, etc etc. Just a little somethin’ somethin’ for you to feel good and look good!