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Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – Videos & Guide

Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that strength training improves both performance and injury resistance for endurance athletes.  But these studies tested barbell movements like squatting with heavy weights, so how do you get started?

runner

Related: On Exercise, Training, and Where is This Going, Anyway? 

At CrossFit Slipstream, our approach applies the science to where you are today.  Beginning with the 5 or 8 repetition maximums tested in the scientific literature is unwise. Instead, strength training for endurance athletes (and everyone else) starts with proficiency in basic movements – squat, push-up, sit-up, and back extension. 

Related: Everybody’s Getting on the Strength Train(ing)

To gain this proficiency, you need to know the Mechanics of the movements and be able to execute those mechanics with Consistency.  Finally, you can add Intensity, in the form of increased weight, greater range of motion, or speed.

 Mechanics —> Consistency —> Intensity

Our FREE “Strength Training for Endurance Athletes” Guide, Tracker, and video series are designed to build strength, mobility, coordination, and balance at the same time.  This efficient approach builds strength, resilience, and performance while leaving you energy for your sport-specific workouts. By working through your full range of motion after a long workout, you begin breaking up the tissue damage that leads to soreness and stiffness, allowing you to recover faster than you would have without the “strength work”.

Related: Timing Your Training: When to do Strength & Endurance Training 

Start by downloading the FREE GUIDE and TRACKER here.   Then, start with the “bracing sequence,” video because it will help you perform all the other movements.  Watch the other videos, and try our plan after your next long run, ride, swim, paddle, or whatever you do for a long time.  Please contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com if you have any questions!

The full video series is:

Click below to receive our “Strength Training for Endurance Athletes” FREE Guide and Tracker and start getting stronger!

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Related: What Do you DO at a CrossFit Box?  

-John Bryant

Founder/Head Trainer

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com

Timing Your Training: When to do Strength & Endurance Training

Science has consistently demonstrated that strength training creates numerous and very significant benefits for endurance athletes.  Newer studies are demonstrating the benefit of endurance training for strength athletes.  Very few studies so far have addressed the next obvious question: when to do strength training vs. when to do endurance training to get the maximum benefit.  A new study out of Finland addressed this question for endurance athletes and found slightly mixed results:

Related: What Do you DO at a CrossFit Box?

Citation: Schumann M, Yli-Peltola K, Abbiss CR, Häkkinen K (2015) Cardiorespiratory Adaptations during Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Training in Men and Women. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0139279. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139279

The full study is available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0139279

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The abstract reads:

“This study investigated the effects of endurance [training] followed by strength training (ES, men n = 16; women n = 15), the reverse exercise order [strength then endurance] (SE, men n = 18, women n = 13) and concurrent endurance and strength training performed on alternating days (AD, men n = 21, women n = 18) on cardiorespiratory parameters. Peak oxygen consumption (O2peak) and oxygen consumption at sub-maximal power outputs (O2submax) of 50 to 175 Watts in men and 50 to 125 Watts in women were assessed during an incremental cycling test both before and after 24 weeks of training. Increases in O2peak in both men and women were statistically larger in AD (18±9% and 25±11%) compared to ES (7±9% and 12±12%, p = 0.002 and 0.009, respectively) and SE (7±9% and 10±8%, p = 0.005 and 0.008, respectively). No statistical group interaction was observed for O2submax in men, but in women O2submax was statistically lower at week 24 in ES compared to AD at 75 W (-2±6% vs. +3±6%, p = 0.027) and 125 W (-4±5% vs. +2±5%, p = 0.010). These findings indicate that endurance and strength training performed on alternating days may optimize the adaptations in O2peak in both sexes, while performing ES training in women may optimize cardiorespiratory fitness at sub-maximal power outputs.”

In other words, doing endurance before strength seemed least beneficial for most athletes.  Doing strength before endurance work is next best, and it appears that alternating days may be the most beneficial way to separate your training.

…alternating days may be the most beneficial way to separate your training.

Related: Everybody’s Getting on the Strength Train(ing)

At CrossFit Slipstream, we normally do endurance and strength work on different days.  They do not exactly alternate, as more of our workouts are endurance work of varied time durations than pure strength workouts.  Of course, our endurance work largely consists of resistance work performed at high intensity than “monostructural” work (the way we describe things like running, rowing, bicycling, etc.).  This means that even on our endurance days, you’re often doing strength work at the same time – getting stronger & faster simultaneously.

— John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com

Contact us  for a FREE introductory workout and discussion to find out more about our program and how it can help you achieve your goals!

Why 50-60% of 1 Rep Max Makes You Fitter

You get fitter, faster, by using a weight that just allows you to do your reps unbroken.

In CrossFit, we do “met-cons” to improve our cardiovascular fitness, which are high-intensity workouts often using weights.  To get the most bang for our buck, we want to use a weight that allows you to move as fast as possible, while still challenging you to work at your limit.  This means you’re maximizing your power output, and therefore your fitness gains.  You may find it easier to push yourself harder, and get fitter, faster, if you understand what this means.

What is power? Physics textbooks define power by the formula P=w/t.

P=w/t

Where:

  • P = power

  • w = work, which in turn =  force * distance

  • t = time

So we can also write the formula as Power = (force * distance)/time

The force is equal to the weight moved.  Normally, we ignore body weight to vastly simplify the math.  Obviously, it is always relevant, but it is also pretty much the same unless you are rapidly gaining or losing weight, so we normally treat it as constant.

Distance is how far you move the weight.

Time is how long it takes you to move the weight that distance.

CrossFit defines “fitness” as “increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.”  That “increased work capacity” means the ability to do the same amount of work, or more, in less time.  This means you can do a more challenging version of a workout in the same time, or do the same version of a workout in less time.  You will even find yourself doing a harder version of a particular workout in less time!  This is increased work capacity, which is the same thing as increasing your average power output.

Related: Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – Videos & Guide

CrossFit met-con’s are all about average power output.  Think about a met-con you’ve done where round 2 took much longer than round 1, and round 3 longer than 2.  Your average power output dropped.  Being fitter is about (1) increasing your maximum power output, and (2) improving your ability to maintain your power output over time.

Being fitter is about (1) increasing your maximum power output, and (2) improving your ability to maintain your power output over time.

So what does this have to do with 50-60% of 1 repetition maximum (“1RM”)?  When we program met-cons at CrossFit Slipstream, especially benchmark workouts that have “prescribed” weights to them, you will notice that we direct you to “use the lower of 42.5/30kg or 60% 1RM” for the weight to use.  In this example, if your 1RM for the movement in question is 70/50 (men’s weight/women’s weight) or more, you can use the “prescribed” weight.  If you can do much more than 70 or 50, congratulations!  You should be able to do the workout really fast at 42.5 or 30 kg!  If your 1RM is less than that, use 60% of your actual or estimated 1RM.  This will adjust the difficulty to keep your power output high, which is the best way to – you guessed it – increase your average power output.

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Doing the workout with too much weight will slow you down, lowering your average power output, reducing the metabolic load, and reducing your metabolic gains from the workout in favor of strength gains. While we want to get stronger, the time to do that is during focused strength work, not during met-cons.

Related: What Do You DO At A CrossFit Box?

Through a mix of reviewing the scientific research and our own experience, we find that 50-60% of 1RM allows most of our athletes to complete most weightlifting sets unbroken, which is important to keeping your speed, and thus your average power, high.

Ultimately, the 50 & 60% marks come from a mix of science and experience of what works to keep you moving fast, but challenged, to maximize the benefit of your workout. It also automatically adjusts your weight so you can benefit fully from having others around you doing the same workout – you’ll be able to keep up and that helps you push yourself harder!

-John Bryant
Founder/Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com

Maximizing Results While Minimizing Your Time Commitment – Endurance Sports Edition

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. “

– Benjamin Franklin

Those of us who have been able to give ourselves over to athletic pursuits at some point in our lives often long for that feeling of commitment, dedication, and joy that came from the simple pursuit of perfection in that endeavor.  Most of us eventually have to find ourselves a day job.  Adult life competes for our precious time.  Yet the love of that athletic pursuit and the pragmatic fact that our bodies are very much a ‘use it or lose it’ proposition, keep calling.  The solution is efficiency – maximum fitness (and joy) – in minimum time.  Unfortunately, training plans aimed at maximum efficiency remain stuck in the dominant paradigm of athletic training.  Most of us require a completely different approach to training.

Related: Strength Training for the Endurance Athlete – Part 1

That dominant paradigm is “periodization”.  Periodization is just breaking the competitive cycle down into “periods” – hence the name – and designing training to peak at certain events, especially the Olympics.  This works fantastically well for national and world-level athletes who are able to dedicate the entire structure of their daily lives for years at a time to a training program.

Related: Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – Part 2

The problem should be obvious: 99.99% of us have to add training to our lives as they are, not build our lives around training.  Any training program that starts with the assumption that the athlete can train 15 or more hours a week is not worth the electrons holding it in place.

We have to add training to our lives as they are, not build our lives around training.

Carmichael Training Systems publishes two works that typify the attempt to shoe-horn this training paradigm into less time for the real-life athlete, but you can get a good feel of it from a blog post by CTS coach Jim Rutberg “How to Maximize Your Winter Base Training“. Yet “winter base training” assumes an annually periodized training schedule.  This program says ‘well, the optimal plan I’d like to give you won’t work, so here’s what we’ll do,’ rather than building a new training paradigm from the ground of your reality and up from there.  It also assumes that you are after a peak result at one particular event.  This is great for the state, national, or world-level athlete, but won’t work for most of us.

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The annual plan also no longer fits reality.  There are events available year-round for virtually every sport.  The rise of fat bikes means you never have to stop racing, let alone riding outside, unless you want to.  International flights mean winter and summer are never more than a few hours away.  Winter triathlons, runs, etc. all are available no matter where you are.

Related: Your Guide to Training for a Strong 5k

Setting a specific performance goal for a particular race and spending months getting ready for it is enormously stressful.  Many athletes find their lives stressful enough, and want their athletic pursuits to be a way to deal with stress and stay healthy.  Victory is to achieve new goals and break down barriers.  I spent months and hundreds of hours preparing for a long-distance triathlon, and lost it thanks to a bad sandwich the night before.  Anything can go wrong on or around race day.

sandwich

The solution is, first, to enjoy the process.  Second, following a “conjugate”-style program will enable you to remain near your peak throughout the year, with goal races being celebrations of your fitness, rather than nailing them into crosses to drag about for months.  This program starts with ensuring adequate development in all areas of fitness.  You should be fully capable for whatever you like without a second thought when life offers it, like playing Frisbee® with friends, without getting some stupid injury.

The solution is, first, to enjoy the process.  Second, following a “conjugate”-style program will enable you to remain near your peak throughout the year, with goal races being celebrations of your fitness, rather than nailing them into crosses to drag about for months. 

Related: Everybody’s Getting on the Strength Train(ing)

This means developing your full fitness capability.  From a foundation of general physical preparedness (GPP), the athlete is in a stronger, more durable, and more capable position.  Then, focus on the skills required for your sport: technique, then intensity while maintaining technique, and finally, duration.  Structuring your program to emphasize technique, and maintaining that technique at intensity, sets you up for endurance sport success.

Related: Pose® method

This training regime can be maintained year-round, allowing you to continue to engage in the sport of your choice uninterrupted, without burnout and with significantly reduced risk of overuse injuries.

For more information on how CrossFit Endurance can work for you, check out the related links above, and contact me at info@crossfitslipstream.com to discuss how it can work for you.

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – Part 2

In part 1 of this blog series, we started down the path of genuine strength training for endurance athletes. If you haven’t read it yet, please click here and read it first.

The science behind strength training for endurance athletes is based on studies that used heavy weights the subjects could lift only 5-8 times, not 30.

Once you’ve gained some range of motion and become comfortable with the mechanics of the basic movements – squat, push-up, sit-up, and back extension, it’s time to add some intensity to your strength workouts.  The science demonstrating the benefits of strength training for endurance athletes used heavy weights the subjects could lift only 5-8 times, not 30.  Light weights and lots of reps is good for cardio, but won’t build the strength you’re looking for.

Related: Everybody’s Getting on the Strength Train(ing)

CrossFit Barbell KG

The simplest, most effective way to do this is with a device called a “barbell”. I know you’ve heard of it, and probably have an unfavorable impressions of it. For me, the word “barbell” used to bring to mind the 400-lb former powerlifter who was a teacher at my high school. He always wore gray sweatsuits, presumably because nothing else fit. He owned a powerlifting gym somewhere in town, but I never dared find out where it was, let alone tried to do anything there. My 98# cross-country-running self would’ve been humiliated. Or so I assumed.

…as long as you are in a supportive, friendly environment, there is nothing about the barbell to fear…

But it wasn’t the barbell that I was afraid of, I associated it with people I was afraid of.  Then you hear a story about someone who knew someone who destroyed their back weightlifting, and it’s all the excuse you need to never touch the thing. But as long as you are in a supportive, friendly environment, there is nothing about the barbell to fear.

You should, however, respect the barbell and what it can do. Moving incorrectly with a heavy load – whether it’s a barbell or a sofa – can cause injury.  Learning proper technique from a competent, caring, patient coach and working under that coach’s supervision is the best way to begin weightlifting. You should learn, at a minimum, back squat, bench press, and deadlift. Once your mobility allows, you should also learn the strict press and power clean.

Related: Timing Your Training: When to do Strength & Endurance Training

At CrossFit Slipstream, all our new CrossFit members go through on-ramp,” our program to introduce you to four versions of press, three of squat, two of deadlift, and the olympic lifts, getting you started on the path to complete athleticism.  That, in turn, will support your training for the endurance sport(s) of your choice.  Of course, we can help with that too.  Our program is designed to support you in your chosen sport(s), not to hinder or replace it.

To learn more about our program, and how it can work for you, check out the rest of our website, and contact us for a FREE introductory workout and opportunity to discuss your goals with us!

– John Bryant

Founder/Head Trainer

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com

Everybody’s Getting on the Strength Train(ing)

It’s time for endurance athletes to think about their goals for next year.  This includes creating a training plan to meet those goals.

The training community is putting out a series of articles reporting on the increasing – and increasingly convincing evidence – of the importance of strength, power, and high intensity exercise for endurance athletes.  The following article was published recently on TrainingPeaks.com.  While aimed at triathletes, its logic applies to any endurance sport.  My comments are in orange, and any underlining for emphasis is mine.

Published at: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/strength-and-power-training-for-triathletes

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[this photo was included with the original article…looks a lot like a CrossFit gym ;-)]

Strength and Power Training for Triathletes

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 | By Kelly Fillnow and Daniel Payseur

After a hard season of racing, it is important to give the mind and body a break from the rigors of training. Once proper recovery has occurred, the off season is a great time to make big gains. Integrating strength and power training will help to enhance performance, correct imbalances, and improve body composition.

In the past, endurance performance improvement used to only be associated with long distance, low intensity aerobic exercise. Before long, endurance athletes started incorporating middle distance exercise at a higher intensity to improve performance. This enabled longer durations of training at higher intensities with the increased ability to buffer lactate. Higher intensity work means you can swim, bike, and run at higher speeds for long distances. More recently, endurance athletes have added high intensity exercise at short distances. Incorporating power into endurance training increases running economy and anaerobic capacity.

Strength and Endurance

An additional way to incorporate high force movements is to hit the weight room. For a long time it was taboo to lift weights as an endurance athlete. People often associated muscle mass as extra bulk being carried for the race distance. However, the plethora of research1,2 available shows that muscle mass is a useable component that should be accessed. Fat mass is storage, muscle mass performs the work.  Muscle mass that can drive you forward is beneficial.  Fat is dead weight.

With this in mind, an obvious way to add more muscle mass is through strength training. Strength training further improves aerobic and anaerobic capacity by the addition of more glycolytic and oxidative enzymes. The addition of more of these enzymes means that our metabolism works more efficiently while at higher workloads. Being able to metabolize better means that we have greater means of using our energy stores as well as larger energy stores. Put simply, strength training leads to more energy available during endurance exercise By training all of our energy systems, we maximize the energy available to us during a race.

Strength training also enhances running economy. These improvements occur in a fairly simple fashion. Difficulty in force application all comes down to the amount of force being generated versus the maximum force capability of the muscle. For example, if your legs can generate 5000 Newtons worth of force in a maximum effort, generating 500 Newtons will be perceived as a very simple task and thus not require much energy. This scenario incorporates only 10 percent of the max effort (500N/5000N). The inverse is also true, if max effort generates only 1500, than we would be looking at 33 percent (500N/1500N). The lower the percentage, the better our economy. Swimming, biking, and running at a lower percentage allows us to increase intensity. This often occurs through increasing speed. Through improving economy, speed increases3.  The stronger you are, the higher your max speed, and the less relative effort needed to maintain a given speed.

The best way to improve strength is to ditch the isolation exercises and incorporate large multi-joint movements. These movements include the bench press, squat, row, deadlift, and any variation of these.  Our on-ramp covers four variations of press, three of squat, and two of deadlift, plus the olympic lifts (clean & snatch).  We use barbell and ring rows as needed.  We use all of these and more in our CrossFit classes.

RELATED: What Do you DO at a CrossFit Box?

Power and Endurance

One aspect that is often overlooked in endurance training is how power plays into stride mechanics. Stride length is often determined by leg length and the amount of power output being generated through triple extension*. We cannot do much about the length of our legs but we can control the amount of power generated by them. Increasing power output leads to increases in stride length. If stride length is increased and the number of foot strikes per minute remains the same, the result is higher speeds. Often, we overlook the need for stride length because of the importance of cadence. If we can maintain optimal stride length while maximizing cadence, race times will see a dramatic improvement. Power training has similar effects as strength training in how economy and anaerobic enzyme levels are changed.  Improved economy and strength also allow you to increase your cadence without overextending your stride.

*”Triple extension” refers to fully extending the hip, knee, and ankle joints; this is a key element in the clean and snatch.  Doing it well will dramatically improve your performance.  

To incorporate power training, a simple yet very effective method is through plyometric exercises. A classic plyometric exercise that requires very little equipment is the jump. Jumping on a box, over a hurdle, or even just performing a jump tuck leads to neuromuscular adaptations that can take performance to the next level.  We jump.  The olympic lifts are also effectively a jump, training explosiveness with unparalleled scalability (meaning it’s easy to change how hard it is). 

Correcting Imbalances and Injury Prevention

Another benefit to strength training includes correcting muscle and joint imbalances. Highly repetitive movements take a toll on the body, causing many imbalances. For instance, runners often have highly underdeveloped glutes and cyclists often have highly developed quadriceps yet neglected hamstrings. Correcting these issues through strength training allows for improved performance as well as prolonged performance through injury prevention. This off season, incorporate single leg squats, single leg deadlifts, lateral lunges, clams, and glute-ham raises to help correct imbalances in the common problem areas.

Additionally, joint and muscle balance is key to preventing soft tissue injuries such as muscle tears and strains as well as reducing the likelihood of injuries to connective tissue. Improved ligament and tendon strength results in improved joint integrity. The forces exerted on the joints during strength training puts stress on connective tissue causing increased bone formation. The end result is improved strength and resistance to injury.  Strength training enhances your resilience.

Strength Training and Body Composition

Lastly, strength training can serve as a great supplement to endurance training in its effects on resting metabolic rate (RMR). Resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories burned when doing nothing. This baseline is the bare minimum needed to maintain the human body. If an individual possesses more muscle mass, more calories are burned for body maintenance. At rest, a muscular body will burn more calories than one that does not have much muscle. More muscle means better body composition through increases in lean body mass and gradual reduction of fat mass.  Many endurance athletes are “skinny fat,” meaning they lose weight but do not change their body fat percentage.  They never get lean, just smaller.  Practically speaking, this means they are carrying around the same percentage of dead weight but have less muscle mass to drive it forward.  That means decreased performance.  With CrossFit, you may find your weight unchanged, but your body composition dramatically improved – replacing dead weight with useful muscle mass.

RELATED: Your Guide to Training for a Strong 5k

Incorporating strength and power work will set you up for a successful season ahead. Not to mention, it will give you a fresh new focus during the off season.  It’s a great new challenge to keep you motivated and engaged.

Contact us for a FREE introductory workout and chance to discuss your goals with me, John Bryant, Founder & Head Trainer at CrossFit Slipstream.

References
1) Skeletal muscle adaptations during early phase of heavy-resistance training in men and women, R. S. Staron, D. L. Karapondo, W. J. Kraemer, A. C. Fry, S. E. Gordon, J. E. Falkel, F. C. Hagerman, and R. S. Hikida, http://jap.physiology.org/content/76/3/1247.short
2) Potential for strength and endurance training to amplify endurance performance, R. C. Hickson, B. A. Dvorak, E. M. Gorostiaga, T. T. Kurowski, C. Foster, Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 November 1988 Vol. 65 no. 5, 2285-2290, http://jap.physiology.org/content/65/5/2285
3) Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power, Leena Paavolainen, Keijo Häkkinen, Ismo Hämäläinen, Ari Nummela, Heikki Rusko, Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 May 1999 Vol. 86 no. 5, 1527-1533 http://jap.physiology.org/content/86/5/1527

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Kelly Fillnow is a former college tennis player turned triathlete. She is a former Duathlon Age Group World Champion and a two-time age group podium finisher at the Ironman World Championships. Now competing as a professional triathlete, she loves inspiring athletes of all abilities to reach their goals through her coaching business, Fillnow Coaching.
Daniel Payseur, MS, CSCS, is the director of the United States Performance Center. He is the strength and conditioning coach of Olympic, NBA, NFL, and other professional athletes.

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – Part 1

By now, most endurance athletes have gotten the message that they should “strength train” to improve performance and prevent injury. Runners’ World, Triathlete, Bicycling, and many other magazines have reported on the numerous scientific studies demonstrating the performance and longevity benefits from strength training. Many endurance athletes still don’t do it, and for very good, honest reasons.

For starters, the popular literature tends to want you to do things like this:

kettlebell_sotts press

http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/10-essential-strength-exercises-for-runners

…with instructions like this: “Modifications: Do the squat without the overhead raise by just keeping the kettlebell in the center chest position for the duration of the exercise.
Repetitions: 10 to 12
Muscles worked: glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, shoulders”

The exercise shown is an excellent one (it also has a name, the “Sotts Press”). But it is not one of the exercises tested in the scientific literature on strength training for endurance athletes.

The helpful list of “muscles worked” is symptomatic of the classic parts-based approach to training the human body.  Of course different exercises have different areas of emphasis, but the body is best trained as a whole, rather than as a collection of parts.

Related:  Timing your Training: When to Do Strength and Endurance Training

In the case of the Sotts Press, notice that there isn’t much not in use. On that score, the Sotts Press is fantastic.  But the balance, mobility, and strength it requires put it out of reach of many endurance athletes.  Finally, RW recommends 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, but the studies supporting strength training for endurance athletes take off the quotes – they test maximum effort lifting at 5 to 8 repetitions, not 10-12.

In short, the advice from the magazines is not in line with the science, too difficult for many endurance athletes, and worst of all, often boring.

…the body is best trained as a whole, rather than as a collection of parts…

At CrossFit Slipstream, our approach is in line with the science, starting from where you are.  Beginning with 5 or 8 repetition maximums is unwise.

Instead, strength for endurance athletes (and everyone else) starts with proficiency in basic movements – squat, push-up, sit-up, and back extension. To gain this proficiency, you are probably going to have to improve your mobility and practice the movements quite a bit.

Related: Strength Training for Endurance Athletes — Part 2

Our “Strength Training for Endurance Athletes” FREE Guide is designed to work the joints through their full range of motion while building strength, mobility, coordination, and balance at the same time. This means that you can actually do your strength work as a recovery session after your hardest workouts.  Yes – strength work AS recovery work.  At least initially.

This is an extremely efficient approach that leaves you energy for your sport-specific workouts, while still building strength, resilience, and performance. By working through your full range of motion after a long workout, you begin breaking up the tissue damage that leads to soreness and stiffness, allowing you to recover faster than you would have without the “strength work”.

6-12 repetitions works well for these purposes, but when you’ve gained basic proficiency, you’ll want to take the quotation marks off of your “strength training” and begin working much harder — and get much stronger.

Click here to receive our “Strength Training for Endurance Athletes” FREE Guide and start getting stronger!

Related: What Do you DO at a CrossFit Box?

When you’re ready for more advanced strength work, the CrossFit Endurance approach replaces some of your low-intensity running with challenging CrossFit workouts to give you the best overall athleticism, performance improvement, and injury prevention possible. You can look through our WOD (“Workout Of the Day”) posts here on our website to see exactly what the workouts are like and how the program is put together.  Please contact me with any questions you have.

-John Bryant

Founder/Head Trainer, CrossFit Slipstream

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com

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CrossFit “as Rx” vs. Personal Progress

CrossFit evolved out of Greg Glassman’s personal training business.  As part of that evolution CrossFit moved away from individually-programmed weights and movements and towards generic “prescriptions” or “Rx”.  This simplifies the task of programming workouts and allows athletes to make apples-to-apples comparisons.  Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of presenting workouts that may not be best for particular individuals.  The general solution to this problem is to “scale” the prescribed version of a workout to an individual’s level.  Scaling allows a coach to re-personalize the workout.

Related: What Do You DO at a CrossFit Box?

Basic goals for any workout include intensity, volume of work performed, and density (how quickly the work is performed).  At CrossFit Slipstream,  programming a workout starts with one of these as a goal.  Our “scaling” of workouts is informed by this goal so whatever variation of the workout you do achieves the desired goal.  For example, when metabolic intensity is the goal scaling should focus on keeping you moving at a high workload.  You should not have to stop and stare at the bar before another attempt as this causes metabolic intensity to drop.  If the goal is volume, however, you should scale the movement or rest as needed to allow you to complete all repetitions prescribed.

In accord with this philosophy, CrossFit Slipstream normally dispenses with “Rx” weights and instead “prescribes” a percentage of 1 repetition maximum (“1 RM”) for that exercise.  This immediately personalizes the workload to your abilities.  It is not so simple when dealing with bodyweight movements or other aspects of training.  These will typically be programmed “as Rx” and then adjusted individually at the gym.  Obviously you will not know your 1 RM when just starting out or for every exercise, and many other exercises will not be advisable for you at this point in your fitness journey.  You may also have a competitive event coming up, and need to be sure your CrossFit WOD supports, rather than interferes with, your goal.  We work with you individually to customize the workout. We are always ready with modifications, adjustments, or even changes to the WOD so that the workout you do meets your needs.

Related: Why Technique is the Foundation of a Training Philosophy

For example, a WOD may specify deadlifts at 85% of 1RM and chest-to-bar pull-ups.  You may not know your 1 RM so we will help you decide what weight or variation to use based on where you are and the goal of the workout.  Possibly you should do them with kettlebells instead of a barbell.  If you are not yet able to do chest-to-bar pull-ups for reps those can be scaled to regular pull-ups, body rows, or ring rows, or several other ways. This is how we keep the focus on you, your needs, and your goals.

-John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com

 

Your Guide to Training for a Strong 5k

Original CrossFitter Chris Spealler has outlined three types of CrossFitters:

  • Type III are those trying to get to the CrossFit Games (i.e. “world class”),

  • Type II those competing in CrossFit, but not talented or skilled enough to have a realistic chance to go to the Games (i.e. “enthusiasts”), and

  • Type I, which is basically everyone else.

Within that “everyone else” are those who use CrossFit to prepare for non-CrossFit competitions.

crossfire slipstream run

Related: Strength Training For Endurance Athletes – Videos and Guide

These can range from the obviously similar, such as obstacle races, to what would seem completely unrelated, like bicycle racing.

Our WOD Your Way to a 5k guide lays out a path for using CrossFit for such “outside” purposes, be it an actual 5k, an obstacle race, or something else entirely.

Our goal at CrossFit Slipstream is to prepare you for the events you enjoy and the challenges you want to face.

Run your strongest 5k ever!  Click here to receive your FREE guide by email.

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– John Bryant

Founder/Header Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com

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