As the fitness industry has come to know, CrossFit has taken the world by storm over the past decade. And so have CrossFit strength training programs.
But what exactly is CrossFit and what does it have to offer you?
As defined by Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s Founder and CEO, CrossFit defines fitness through an “increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains”.
In other words, CrossFit is a unique way to exercise by incorporating multiple backgrounds of sports and physical activities in a high intensity interval training setting.
Simply put, this way of training has a lot to offer athletes and gym-goers in terms of strength, power, and cardiovascular ability.
But if you want to make your time worthwhile in the CrossFit world, it is best to design a personalized strength training program. And this is how you do it.
Understand Your Goals and Recovery
It’s time to figure out your underlying reason to step foot into the CrossFit world. Do you want to lose weight, improve your balance, or become more well-rounded?
Once you understand your burning answer to “Why CrossFit?”, you can focus on what the program will be comprised of and what you should focus on first to last.
Plus, before you even begin to workout, figure out how you will recover from working out.
It is imperative to do so.
The whole point of breaking down our bodies is to be able to become stronger from that.
And how do we do that? By recovering.
Design Your Own CrossFit Strength Training Program
At the core of your program is the aspect of strength. It is your bread and butter throughout your CrossFit journey.
During this first point of training, we will not yet introduce the interval aspect that CrossFit is known for. Why you may ask? Because it is important to get down the vast variety of CrossFit exercises down first to make sure you feel comfortable performing such movements.
Plus, dealing with your strength gives you time to understand where your 1 rep maxes fall for many exercises.
So, by the time you start dealing with interval training, you will know how to calculate what you can handle without burning yourself out or getting injured.
In a certain respect, the first two weeks of this program feel like a regular strength training program, yet you are learning all the popular CrossFit exercises still.
Interval Training And Cardio
Also understood as cardio, interval training is going to be the second step to your CrossFit strength training program.
It brings you to new heights as far as your fitness level. With an improved cardiovascular function, you can last longer working out and take shorter rests.
Take the exercises you have learned from the first two strength weeks and apply them to the cardio section.
But this time you will lessen the difficulty of each rep in order to maximize the overall reps.
To illustrate, if you were squatting your 1.5X your bodyweight for 4 reps the first two weeks, now only do bodyweight squats with 10 second sprints in between.
Benefits Of Training Cardio CrossFit-Style:
- Greater Endurance – CrossFitters are known to keep going, going, and going again. Endurance is the name of the game in CrossFit. That is why interval training is at the core of this fitness lifestyle. Your endurance will dramatically improve throughout your CrossFit escapade.
- Improved Balance – Our smaller supporting muscles play a vital role in stabilizing everything we do. And when you train a plethora of movements interval-style such as in CrossFit, you are consistently challenging your balance to improve.
- Increased Flexibility –Switching from exercise to exercise while keeping your heart rate up is an admittedly daunting task. Although it may not seem like it at first glance, this stretches our range of motions around that our flexibility actually improves too while performing the movement.
For many athletes coming from a variety of sports, power is typically the most highly sought-after fitness quality.
When you can perform the most skillfully with force and speed at the same time, nothing can stop you in your chosen sport.
Preferably the last two weeks of your eight-week program will be dedicated to power. Keep in mind that you can structure this any way you like, but it is recommended to have a solid base of strength, cardio, and flexibility first.
Focus on exercises that force yourself to use near maximum exertion very quickly in the effort of completing the task swiftly. Aim to use both your upper and lower body for your power weeks.
Benefits of Power Training:
- Efficient Body Movement – Whether you play hockey, football, basketball, tennis, etc., being able to command your body movement exactly how, when, and where you want is critical. (e.g. sprinting and changing direction)
- Fast Twitch Strength – Since power and strength go hand in hand, you will notice not only will you become stronger, but faster at applying your strength. (e.g. flipping tires and pushing opponents)
- Quicker Reactions – Power training helps focus on your central nervous system in a way that provides faster reactions, which is important to staying up and ahead of the game. (e.g. reading the rapid change of direction of a ball)
Many people are visual learners. For that reason, it is best to write down or print out your custom program to not forget it.
Of course, the best way to go about your own CrossFit program is to make it highly personal.
Fill in an eight-week CrossFit strength training program and base your exercises and recovery off the strength, interval training, and power sections stated above.
Each week should have you exercising for at least 5 days. Some people find it helpful to workout 3 days in a row then rest one day in order to keep the CrossFit intensity up.