Welcome to Week 3 of the Tonka Series: Overcoming Plateaus in CrossFit! Our topic this week is strength. Which seems a bit broad but it's tangible, measurable, and really fun and easy to improve upon to bust through any plateau you're experiencing. So let's get to it!
Wanting to get stronger is easy. Setting goals for getting stronger is a challenge. The question I think everyone needs to ask is how strong does one really need to be?
Everyday when you wake up you'll need to be able to stand up out of bed. Being able to comfortably squat your own body weight will set you up for a very strong life that you are in control of.
To get to that point or go beyond, I think working in small increments of squatting 5 to 10 pounds more every 2-4 weeks will lead you to safely accomplishing all of your goals.
If you feel like you have plateaued in an area, you simply have to spend more time doing that thing. For example, if you want your bench to go up and you are no longer seeing improvements benching 1x a week I would up your benching days to 2-3 times per a week and perform 2 assistance exercises after each bench session.
Sample Strength Programs for Bench Press or Back Squats may look like this........
Same rule applies every 2 weeks you should try to increase your weights by 5 to 10 pounds. Most weeks you'll be successful, some you won't. Don't force it if it's not there; we always want to avoid missing reps.
Please talk to myself or a Coach if you have questions or want to know more about implementing additional strength training into your programs. There are a million different ways to train, you just have to find what works for you.
How Form Affects Strength
What is also important and a precursor to developing pain free strength is having the best possible form.
A movement that we focus on a lot at the gym is the back squat. I think a lot of times people understand the basic form of butt back, chest up, knees out, squat.
What I think people miss a lot of times are squatting to one's body type.
When squatting we usually initiate it with the hips coming back first, then bending our knees to squat down.
If you happen to be an individual with a long torso and long legs this may be extremely difficult and cause an extreme lean forward. So in the case of the long leg, long torso, person I would encourage initiating the squat by bending or pushing your knees forward over your toes first, making room for your hips to squat straight down between your heals and effectively keeping your chest up, or parallel to your focal point even in the bottom of the squat.
Even if you don't have both long legs and a long torso but you find yourself leaning forward a lot in the bottom of a back squat try initiating a squat by pushing your knees forward first and then dropping your hips back and between your heals. This may not work for everyone but is just one example of squatting to your body type.
That's it for Week 3 of our Tonka Series: Overcoming Plateaus in CrossFit. Come back for the fourth and last installment where we talk all about improving your engine!