A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away we were possibly over-concerned with strength. There was the 70s Big phenomenon. We had the Mark Rippetoe-induced strength cycles and gallons of whole milk per day episodes. And we may have even shirked some of our conditioning responsibilities in pursuit of that foundational strength in the slow lifts like the squat, deadlift, and presses.
But out of that time of flux came some good. We learned that unbridled strength gain without commensurate engine building would only get you so far. We learned that the easily gained strength of lifting priority cycles could also easily be eroded and washed away in the rains of mixed modal metabolic conditioning. And we created a staple of CrossFit Ktown: the Summer of Squats.
Now there are mixed opinions on the Summer of Squats. Some people love it with a passion that rivals my love of Terra Chips Mediterranean flavor – I ate an entire bag on the way home from the gym a couple weeks ago. Others scoff at the idea of squatting three times per week because they fear that they will no longer fit into their jeans. I am not here to make you love it or hate it. I am just going to explain what the 2018 iteration looks like and how you might get the most of it for your personal journey. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not everyone is entitled to their own set of facts – or something like that…
First 8 week cycle of Summer of Squats:
A1) Squat: 3RM test/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×3/5×3/5×3/3RM retest
A2) Upper body posterior work
C) Upper body focused metcon – Competition
A) Clean and jerk: 1RM test/4+1/4+1/3+1/3+1/2+1/2+1/1RM retest
B) Push press: 1RM/3×5/3×5/3×5/3×3/3×3/3×3/1RM
C) Short and intense – Mental Anguish alternating with Practice
A) RDL: None/3×8/3×8/3×8/3×5/3×5/3×5/None
B) Bent row: None/3×8/3×8/3×8/3×5/3×5/3×5/None
C) Classic CF – Practice
A) Front squat: None/3×3/3×3/3×2/3×2/3×1/3×1/1RM test
B) Your pace metcon/work
A1) DB bench press: 5RM/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×5/5RM
A2) Weighted pull-ups: 5RM/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×5/5×5/5RM
B) Benchmark – Competition
A) Snatch: 21 (7×3) rep cycle through 6 week accumulation phase
B) Back squat: dynamic squats + accessory
C) Partner workout
A couple of things jump out at us here. We are squatting on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. We are pulling on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Upper body pushes fall on Tuesday and Friday. And finally, in addition to Saturday’s programming in Wodify, I will post partner workouts for the entirety of this cycle. This is a good chance to change things up a bit for you on Saturdays. Grab a buddy and get to 8-9:30AM Open Gym!
Some strategies to get the most out of this cycle follow in no particular order:
- Make sure you test! And make sure that your test is measurable and repeatable. For instance, don’t test your 5RM pull-ups by doing toes on the box strict pull-ups. That is an excellent way to TRAIN your pull-ups, but for a test you want something more like a max rep strict pull-up with band. This is measurable (reps) and repeatable (same band).
- If you missed a test last week, find time to make it up.
- Make sure you retest at the end of the cycle. And then make sure you set expectations according to the myriad life factors that occur before, during, and after training days, weeks, and cycles. This is always a great conversation to have with a coach!
- Start your volume sets light enough to ensure adequate progression week to week throughout the cycle. Do you have to go up in weight each week? No. But you should strive to go up in weight through the 6 week accumulate phase. This might mean going up in weight each week, every other week, or some other likewise option.
- Burnt out on squats? Do a technique-focused squat cycle! I would argue that this should always be primary, but if you have some glaring weakness(es) in your movement pattern these next 6 weeks are a great chance to isolate and fix it.
- Afraid you won’t fit into your jeans this fall? Watch what you eat. Nutrition plays a massive role in putting on mass. To add mass whether it be muscle or fat you need to be in a calorie surplus for extended periods of time. As always be mindful of what you are putting in your body. This is another great conversation that all of the coaches are capable of handling. Ask to sit down with us sometime!
- Have fun. Remember that training is not the isolated events of one rep, one set, one day, or even one cycle. Training is a lifelong process, and what we are most concerned with at CrossFit Ktown is long-term athletic development. Behind mountains there are more mountains.
Squats will fix you,