The Open is over. There were so many amazing displays of hard work and fought for progress this year! I am so proud of everyone that took part in the Open in some way, even if it was just showing up on Friday to do the workout. It was so much fun getting to experience this one with you all after being injured last year. I look forward to doing it again with everyone next year! But now it is time to get back to the basics. It is a time to sow, for there will be a reaping in the coming months like the Jacked and Tan Classic, Death Days, Oktoberfest, and more. And I want to make sure we are all setting ourselves up for success in the subsequent cycles.
And so this week begins a 7 week structural cycle. What do I mean by structural? I mean it in the sense of building up a foundation worthy of which we can layer more complex and technical movements and skills on top. So within this general physical preparation (GPP) phase, we will be performing movements that look a heck of a lot like specific physical preparation (SPP). GPP training is CrossFit, and CrossFit is GPP training. Things begin to look a little different when we talk about the SPORT of CrossFit, but what most of us do and need is GPP. SPP takes a more focused approach to address specific weaknesses, movement patterns, or phases of training. And so you will see a blend of the two this cycle.
It is often the case that individuals or a group might express the same characteristics when we have a large enough sample size. This is definitely the case with the athletes at the gym because we all lead similar lives. We all sit in a chair too much. We all are sometimes lazy in our posture whether it be seated or standing. And we all fail to get outside and play enough anymore. Because these failures are endemic to all modern humans, we have a good idea of where we are weak, what tissues are short, and where the general focus(es) should be.
This cycle strives to address some of these weaknesses through specific structural work. Just some of that specific work will take the shape of single arm and leg exercises, lateral movement, focused torso strengthening, and upper body pushing and pulling development. So prepare yourselves for plenty of Bulgarian split squats, side lunges, side shuffles, GHD work, and some good ole body building. And bring a strong work ethic to this stuff. It can sometimes be easy to shave some reps off your X-band walks, but the people cutting reps there are the same people with lower back weakness or injuries. Strong hips can help attenuate a weak or funky lower back.
But that is not the only example of the good this sort of cycle can do. Just a few of the other benefits of dedicated structural work are:
- fixing imbalances between the left and right side of the body
- hypertrophy or muscle-building of the smaller, stabilizer muscles
- increased blood flow to tissues not often used which spurs growth and recovery
- injury prevention through strengthening structures with novel movements
- in some cases rehab of tissues that have been neglected or abused
- and finally a quote from Supertraining author, Mel Siff, “
So bring some consciousness to these movements during this cycle. Not only performing them, but performing them well will lead to a healthier and more balanced body. Lay the foundation now so you will be ready when we move in to our next cycle focused on strength building through the slow lifts. Everyone loves a good Summer of Squats.
Cycle breakdown (my notes):
- Monday – DB vertical/BB row, Bulgarian SS/anterior torso, 6-10 min
- Tuesday – PS, DL/RDL, lactic capacity intervals
- Wednesday – horizontal press/weighted pull-ups, 12-15 min
- Thursday – goat work, step-ups, cyclical/posterior/anterior/oblique
- Friday – PC+PJ (or worked in to conditioning), 20-30 min aerobic grinder
- Saturday – heavy snatch, clean, and squat***
***This will be the first cycle with actual programmed workouts for Saturday Open Gym. If it fits your schedule and you are finding yourself recovering well during the week, come hit the heavies on Saturday!
P.S. – RSVP for Coach Mark’s rowing seminar this Saturday during Open Gym 8:30-9:45AM.
1. Mell C. Siff, PhD, Supertraining (Denver: Supertraining Institute, 2004), 401