The following article was written by myself and Michael wolf.
The information detailed here is intended for a specific group of people, namely those who have just completed an 8 week linear progression strength cycle with little to no conditioning and are planning to return to high intensity training such as CrossFit. . If you are one of those people, your strength cycle gains will likely result from your PRing one or more of your benchmark Olympic lifts and WODs. However, the transition to CrossFit after not conditioning for a while has its challenges and it is best to approach it thoughtfully and step by step. Your strength will be significantly higher than the last time you did CrossFit, but your conditioning will be (temporarily) lower than where it was before. This combination requires proper planning to ease the transition. So here are a few things you need to know:
You may or may not want to change your calorie intake
Returning to CrossFit will cause your body to burn more calories than you burn during the strength cycle. It's always interesting to see what effect training alone has on body composition, so maintaining your cycle calorie intake and returning to CrossFit will give you valuable insight into your body. If you do decide to bend over in the end, cut back on some of your calories as an extra help. Ideally, you eat a small excess of calories during the strength cycle, so cutting back on calories gradually should send you in the right direction to lean. When adjusting calories for leaning, as a rule of thumb, start with simple sugars, starches, grains, etc. Reduce them a bit. Concentrate on most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits with only a little starch. Ultimately, nutrition must be individualized. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
As mentioned, your conditioning will have temporarily dropped
There are no absolutes here as everyone is different, but generally speaking, if you had a high level of conditioning before entering the cycle, it won't go down as much as if you had a. low level of conditioning to begin with. Either way, you will always have some conditioning. Partly that's because 1) it's only been eight weeks and 2) you haven't become a couch potato - you were actually lifting heavy sets of five 3 days a week and anyone who did knows that it requires some conditioning.
Plan to return to CrossFit in the next 5 weeks
So let's talk about getting back to where you left off. The speed at which you will be able to fly during workouts and the rest times you take will be different when you return to CrossFit. You will need to go a little slower to complete the WODs and you will need to take more rest. Notice your body is going remember it has the ability to go faster and rest less, but you have to keep that under control and not go to that extreme level until you develop that physical ability again. Here's a general pattern you can follow to speed up saving in CrossFit:
- After Cycle / CrossFit Total: Take 1 to 2 days off.
- Your 1st week back to CrossFit: Take 2 classes separated by more than one day (i.e. Tuesday and Friday or Wednesday and Saturday), and complete the WOD section of the workout at around 60-70% of your “all-out” capacity. You will probably be tempted by your own inner motivation and / or the classy atmosphere to go beyond that. As mentioned above, resist this temptation for your own good.
- Your 2nd week back to CrossFit: Take 3 classes, preferably separated by a day (i.e. M / W / F or Ma / Th / Sam) and do the WOD at around 70-80%.
- Your 3rd week back to CrossFit: Use the same schedule of 3 separate classes of at least one day and do the WOD at around 90%.
- Your 4th Week Back to CrossFit: Most people with a solid foundation of conditioning will be rehabilitated enough to the demands of CrossFit to perform their best in the WOD. If you previously did CrossFit more than three days a week, wait until the 4th or 5th week to train for more than 3 days.
Some will benefit from taking a little longer to restart, and some will notice that they still don't have that last little bit of conditioning gas in their tank yet, but it will come back soon enough.
Specific notes for the management of WODs
- AMRAPs are great for coming back to CrossFit when everyone is done and you can set your own pace very easily.
- Get a lot more rest from WODs than you normally would; don't feel like you have to finish your timed workouts in the cap.
- If there are movements that require a high number of reps, be sure to divide the reps into sets (even if the movement is very light) or reduce to a lower number of reps.
- If there are high rep movements that use smaller muscle groups (bar toes, running), go much slower with those in addition to getting more rest.
- Although you are stronger, do not use very heavy weights in WODs until you are readjusted, especially if the WOD requires a high volume of work.
- You now have a lot of current information on what you can shoot for a single, a double, a triple and for heavy sets of five. By all means, use these numbers to dial in your CrossFit strength training sessions. However, keep in mind that the strength cycle is designed to optimize strength. As such, you had longer periods of rest and rest between heavy days during the cycle - perfect conditions for expressing your maximum strength. This probably won't be the case when doing a mixed modal program like CrossFit, where you might have 15-20 minutes to work up to a maximum squat, performed the day after your 100 double under. Plan your numbers and expectations accordingly.
Remember the benefits of your strength cycle
- The extra strength developed in the strength cycle will be evident early on in your return to WODs, especially if strength was previously a deficit and a limiting factor. Quite often your newfound strength will overcome the conditioning limitations in shorter WODs with moderate / light weights. For example, if your Rx boosters were slowing you down to “Fran” (20 min for Rx), it is not unreasonable for your time to drop to 8 min, even without your full conditioning.
- You will get noticeable gains in the main lifts (Squat, Press, Bench, Power Clean, Deadlift) and be able to consistently lift more in these lifts than in the past.
- Since your upper and lower body are stronger now, any lift that uses both will also benefit from major gains. These lifts include the push press, push jerk, split jerk, overhead squat, etc. This, of course, assumes that you have good form and that this technique is not holding you back.
And There you go. If you have any further questions, please drop us a line and we'll be happy to help.
Coming up with your perfect bodybuilding workout program and diet to match can seem like quite the process. You have to plan how many days a week you’re going to workout, what exercises you will include in your program, how long your rest periods will be, how many reps you should perform for each exercise, and on and on it goes.
Many individuals do tend to feel slightly overwhelmed with the amount of information available out there as to what works ’best’, and therefore take more time than they should to even get going.
The sooner you can get into the gym and start actually pushing the weights, the sooner you will start building bourrinage and seeing your body transform into your ideal
physique. That said, you obviously do need to make sure you are following some sound strategies so that the workouts you are doing will help you build force. If you pay heed to these rules, chances are you are going to be on the way to success as long as you also are sure that the alimentation part of the equation is included as well.
The first bodybuilding tip that will make the solo biggest difference on your rate of muscle gain is whether you are able to consecutively add more weight to the bar.
It’s not going to matter how many fancy principles you use, if you aren’t increasing the sheer amount you are lifting over a few months of time, you aren’t building force as quickly as you should be.
The number one priority of any muscle gaining bodybuilding workout program should be lifting heavier and heavier weights.
When you get ’stuck’ and aren’t able to bump the weight up higher, that’s when you start tinkering with other strategies such as drop sets, supersets, etc., as a means to help increase the body’s potential, so that in a few more weeks, you can bump it up to the next weight level.
All those fancy protocols will definitely have an advantage down the road once you’ve attained a level of morphologie you’re satisfied with, but until that point, you should use them intermittently when you’re unable to lift heavier.
The deuxième bodybuilding tip to pay attention to is the rule on failure. Some people believe that lifting to failure each and every solo set is the best way to build force. They think that in order to get a bourrinage to grow, you have to fully exhaust it.
While it is true that you have to push the zones musculaires past their comfort level in order to see progress, you can run into a number of problems when you’re lifting to failure each and every set.
The first major issue is central nervous system fatigue. Workout programs designed to go to failure each and every time will be very draining on the CNS.
After a few weeks of such a program, it’s highly likely that you’ll find the CNS is so exhausted that you can’t even lift the weight you used to for the required number of reps little own increase it upwards.
The deuxième problem with going to failure is that if you do this on the first exercise out in the workout, you’re not going to have much for a second, third, and fourth exercise after that.
Since you should be doing at least a couple of different exercises in each workout you do, this becomes very difficult to accomplish.
Instead, aim to go one to two reps short of failure. This will still get you pushing your body and working at the intensity level needed to build muscle, but it won’t completely destroy you so that you have to end that workout prematurely and take a day or two off just to recoup.
Bodybuilding tip number three is to focus on compound exercises. You only have a limited amount of time you can spend in the gym each day due to both time and recovery restraints so if you waste this time on exercises that only work one or two smaller muscle groups, you aren’t exactly maximizing your potential.
Instead follow the rule that for 80% of your workout you’ll only perform exercises that work at least two bourrinage groups.
The shoulder press, for example, will work the shoulders and the triceps. The squat will work the quads and the hamstrings. The bench press will work the shoulders, chest, and the triceps ( even the triceps to a very small degree ).
On the other hand, the barbell curl will only work the biceps, triceps pushdowns will only work the triceps, and leg curls will only work the hamstrings.
All of those exercises aren’t really giving you the best results-to-energy invested trade-off, so it’s best you keep them limited.
What’s more is that compound lifts you’ll typically be able to lift more weight with, and since you read the first tip in this article, you know that’s paramount to success.