So last week, at Crossfit Littleton we had a workout that was Back Squat 5x2 at 85% of your 1RM. Most of the people in my classes that morning had no idea what their 1RM was. This initially pissed me off and irritated me because it made me think that those people didn't care enough to document their 1RM. But then I realized, it's because we as coaches have not forced you to do a true one rep max. We push your limits and force you guys to do "One more round!" in every single met-con workout you've ever done. But we haven't pushed you to do "Five more pounds!" in a strength component ever. We tell you to do a 5RM and then we will figure it out based on a mathematical equation we've stolen off the Internet. This equation gives us a "theoretical" 1RM. Guess what? Theories don't lift shit! Equations can tell me all day long that I should be able to pick up X amount of weight but until I take that shit and put it over my head it doesn't mean a damn thing! We have in the past been hesitant about having you guys test your 1RM because of the inherent dangers involved. While it's true that maxing out on a lift can cause injury, if the athlete has a base level of strength and skill required to move the load then maxing out is just fine. On the programming I'm following it seems like we max out twice a week. Not in the same lift, but we spend alot of time working in the maximal effort zone. Again we spend time in that zone every single met-con workout why not give that same effort during the strength component? It's just as important as the met-con.
It's important to know what your 1RM is because the programming we are doing at the gym these days uses a formula much like the one that was done on Saturday. Take a percentage of your 1RM and use that to complete the prescribed number of sets and reps. This style of training is
a.) more fun than just adding five pounds to your last lift and b.) more effective for developing the strength and power we are looking for. Especially for those athletes that are looking to be competitive. All things being equal stronger wins. Now for those of you reading this thinking "Well I don't give a crap about being strong, I just want to be good at Crossfit..."
Number 1. Shame on you
Number 2. Why the hell are you reading this blog?
Number 3. Think about this. I have two athletes. Athlete X and Athlete Y. Athlete X has a 1 RM push jerk of 235 lbs. Athlete Y has a 1 RM push jerk of 185 lbs. Athletes X and Y come in to the gym and look at the white board the WOD is:
AMRAP 12 min.
3 push jerks (155 lb)
200 m run
Athlete X thinks "Sweet I'm gonna crush this one." Athlete Y thinks "Shit this one's gonna crush me" Get the picture? Now please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying to abandon the met-cons and do all strength training. We as a gym have a lot of athletes that have developed the capacity side of their training because they want to get better at the WOD's. We have very few that have developed the strength side of their training. I take the blame in this because as a coach I haven't put my foot down and said "We need more strength training." I slunk away and lifted my weights quietly in the corner by myself. But lately a few other folks have taken up the battle cry and we are seeing more strength components to the training. All I ask of you guys as clients is to not duck these workouts but come in fired up and hit them with the same intensity that you do the met-cons. Now let's get lifting!!