Fitness

5 Tips for Helping CrossFitters Get Strong


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A couple of years ago I took a job at a CrossFit as a strength coach. It has been an incredible journey and my proudest achievement. I teach 8 classes a week and follow a plan that is designed to get people strong and more importantly, be strong when you feel like you cant go on anymore. My workouts are simple, brutal and made up of things that have worked for me in my career. I stress keeping the weight lighter and focusing a 100% on form. The hardest part for me is selecting workouts for novice-advanced strength levels that will work for everyone. Here are some things that have really seemed to work.

1.Have everyone use 90% of their one rep max when figuring out weights. If clients don’t have a one rep max then have them use a 3 rep max as their number. More often than not it will be a guessing game. I have the clients guess their max then I subtract 20 pounds and go from there.

2. I generally use rep ranges from 2-7 for the first exercise. I use 65%-85% for the main exercise and generally add more volume as the workout goes on.

3. Train the hell out of abs and lower back. Most new crossfitters seem to lack core strength at first. We do hundreds of band goodmornings, back extensions, and weighted sit ups every week. I see very few lower back injuries with my clients.

4. I do a lot 3 second rest periods on exercises and super high rep sets. This seems to transfer over well to WODs and force clients to push past what’s comfortable.

5. Every Friday we do a bench WOD. It started out as speed bench and not many people showed up, then it became a light bench day and people said it was boring. I switched it up to a circuit of bench exercises which includes pressdowns, dumbbell presses, military presses, floor presses and flyes. I vary the rounds from 5-10 depending on the number of exercises. Its now my most popular class.

I noticed most crossfitter’s at our box had more of an endurance sport background. Lots of runners, rowers, swimmers and cyclists.  Strength was the variable that needed the most work. It’s also a nice add on to crossfit because it allows a certain amount of social time between sets.  My class is mostly women and they are absolute animals!

Greg Panora is a certified legend in the sport of Powerlifting. The former World Record Holder (and current American Record Holder) with a 2630 total (Multiply) in the 242 weight class, Panora now has his sights set on breaking the 242 raw total world record and is off to a strong start already having recorded a 500 raw bench and 750 raw deadlift. Greg coaches powerlifting at Crossfit Casco Bay in Portland, Maine.
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