The perfect Christmas gift…. a new deadlift PR!

Ahhh yes… December is here, there are so many aspects of December that I love!! First of all it is my birth month, its finally cold outside again, fantasy football playoffs, bowl season starts, and Nugget is finally justified listening to Christmas music (its been on his Ipod since September). We might as well add one more joy this December, a good ole fashion strength block culminating with CrossFit Total day! Its like adding Bing Crosby and Uncle Eddie’s egg nog to your CrossFit party.So what is a strength block you say? One thing we do when designing the program for CFA is set specific focuses for set periods time within the broader program. Think of it as an overarching theme or purpose that drives our actions over the course of 4-6 weeks. We call that a “block” and we just finished up a 4 week block of work capacity (you may have noticed the burning in your lungs) so its time to get back to the business of getting strong. Below are some tips for maximizing strengthiness this holiday season. 


As we’ve discussed before training is not about constantly tearing yourself to pieces. Its about systematically breaking yourself down then recovering enough that you’ve rebuilt a better, stronger more efficient machine. This becomes exceedingly important when we train for strength. The stress and intensity placed on the body’s muscles and nervous system is at its highest during bouts of strength training. Therefore one must be extra mindful that they are recovering. This includes things like getting good sleep, taking an extra 5-10 minutes before/after class to stretch/mobilize, and eating enough calories (particularly protein) to facilitate the muscle recovery process. All of these extra little details (strengthtails?) will help maximizes the benefits of the strength block. 

Complimentary conditioning not counterproductive conditioning

Although strength is our focus we’re still doing a comprehensive strength and conditioning program. That means we will be conditioning throughout the block, our strength focused days will fall on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with conditioning dispersed throughout the week. Conditioning is something that will actually help us recover and facilitate strength gains if we do it right. Basically three big things are needed for this to work:

  • Extra focus on mechanics, efficiency, and form during conditioning efforts
  • Staying out of the red line
  • Use weights and movement scales that encourage quality movement over nervous system demands

First things first, everyone knows that we hold you guys to a high standard in terms of movement technique. That said, proper mechanics will be even more important this month as we want to reinforce the most efficient and powerful positions possible. For an in depth synopsis of how technique contributes to overall strength development check out today’s article.

Secondly “stay out of the red zone” during conditioning efforts this month. We are dolling out a great deal of stress via the strength work, and mind scrambling can’t remember my last name WODs will leave your nervous fatigued right when we need it to be fresh and firing on all cylinder. In short, shoot to finish conditioning workouts standing tall knowing you’ve put in good work, not laying face down on the mats drowning in a pool of your own sweat and tears.

Finally, use weights and movement scales that allow you to move consistently, sustainably, and correctly. Don’t get caught up in Rx baby momma drama, if you can’t do it correct consistently its probably to heavy. Pushing and challenging yourself correctly with the strength work will drive the neurological adaptations we are trying to achieve. IF you let that happen the heavier WOD weights will come shortly there after.

That’s the low down for the CFA Holiday season folks. If your not to keen on being stronger, or you have competition goals that require more conditioning work, take this month to try out Coach Aaron’s running classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Other wise lets get our squat and deadlift on, Merry Christmas my friends!

Yours in Awesomeness
Coach Wes