This week we are finding our 1 rep max for back squat, bench, deadlift and snatch. Such an exciting time! Remember to make sure you get those numbers tracked into WODify and keep them in your memory bank for the future. If this is your first (or hundredth) time maxing out, here are my suggestions going into this week.
- Don’t repeat an old number. Warm up to about 93-95% and on the next rep push to 101% or above. Don’t waste energy repeating an old 1RM because even though it’s awesome to hit that same heavy number, it will take a lot out of you!
- Be very consistent in your warm-ups. Make sure every rep leading up to the heaviest sets feels the same. Stick to a repeatable pattern for how you set up, how you take your breath and how you execute the movement.
- Don’t rush. Bottoming out on the squat, quickly dropping the bar to your chest on a bench, rushing your snatch set-up can all lead to failure at a heavy weight. It’s important to get hyped up, but it’s equally important to maintain focus and repeat the movement with the same execution style as every rep before.
So good luck this week, you’re going to do great. I can’t wait to see all the big numbers posted on the board! When this week is over, that means we have about 6 weeks left of summer (sad) before we jump into fall, and subsequently, the 2017 Fall Challenge. Those 6 weeks give us the perfect amount of time to do a short cycle and use it to address some of our major weaknesses.
6-Week End-of-Summer Rebuild Cycle (Aug 7-Sep 16)
Before we jump into the 2017 Fall Challenge, there are a few weaknesses across the board that we need to address. These 6 weeks are dedicated to breaking down problematic movement patterns and building them back up from the ground. The movement patterns we are focusing on are the squat, overhead position, the carry, bracing and unilateral muscle recruitment. What does that all mean? It means this is a chance to fix what is broken.
When I look around the gym right now and talk to folks about their bodies, there are a few major problems popping up. Maybe one or more of these apply to you?
- Limited overhead mobility and range of motion
- No stability in the bottom of the squat
- One arm or one leg is stronger than the other
- Pain in the low back while doing push/pull movements (or any type of low back pain)
- Lack of core stability (planks, handstands feel really hard)
- Shoulder pain stemming from tightness in the upper back
So, given these issues (which are essentially the issues of the average American), what can we do? Step one is to become aware of the problem. There is no better way to gain awareness around what is wrong than to practice the basic movement pattern at low weight, with precision. Additionally, doing a movement with only one side of the body is a very effective way to see where your weaknesses lie and what needs to be done to address them. Step two is to address those issues with deliberate and pointed exercises that can target those problem areas. Sometimes that means taking a step back from the bigger compound movements we know and love, and embracing some new (and sometimes strange) variations that can teach our bodies something new.
Things to can expect to see this cycle: squat variations, unilateral body building, overhead stability, weighted holds and carries, repetitive kipping skills, single-arm and leg pulling and pushing. It’s going to be relatively low weight compared to the current cycle, in an effort to rebuild movement patterns before hitting a heavy cycle in the fall.
This time around the days will rotate, so I encourage you to attend class as frequently as possible and not be quite so picky about the days. The metcons are designed to be recoverable and give you the chance to come more often without feeling overworked. If you are looking to keep up your running and maintain some longer cardio days, building in a couple of days of endurance classes will be very valuable.
I am also going to put out a challenge to the gym during this cycle. I always encourage you to attend mobility, but I am challenging you to do so AT LEAST 6 times this cycle. That’s only once per week. The coaches in the gym can help you work on your stability and get you into good positions, but the only person responsible for gaining and maintaining your flexibility is you. Take this chance to really make substantial change in your body. What did Gandhi say? “Create the Fascia You Want to See in the World” or something like that.
I don’t have any additional recommendations this time around except; make your movement perfection a priority, so that you can enter the fall challenge with confidence and a pain-free happy body. I can’t wait to watch you try some new things and have a good time doing it!