Cycle 1: Strength Mondays and Gymnastic work

The strength work on Mondays in Cycle 1 is focused on lower body hypertrophy and bent arm gymnastic strength.

The rough skeleton of the main part of the day will be:

Back Squat
Front Squat
Single-leg (lunges, split squats, etc.)

Muscles grow primarily to response to an increase in volume. While the weight moved does play a part and will be the focus throughout a majority of the year, it’s not the focus now. The total amount of reps increase each week, and we want to be able to do that without causing injury or fatigue that degrades movement quality or the rest of the work programmed into the session.

Here’s the rough progression:
Back Squat 
Week 1 – 4×10 @ 60%
Week 2- 5×10 @ 60% with optional 5 pound increase from previous week
Week 3 – 6×10 @ 60% with optional 5 pound increase from previous week
Week 4 – 4×10 @ 62.5%

Front Squat
Week 1 – EMOMx10 – 3 reps at 80% of Back Squat weight – Pause for 3 count rep 1
Week 2 – EMOMx10 – 4 reps at 80% of Back Squat weight – Pause for 3 count rep 1
Week 3 – EMOMx10 – 5 reps at 80% of Back Squat weight – Pause for 3 count rep 1

Week 1 – BSS 3×10
Week 2 – BSS 3×10 heavier load
Week 3  BSS 3×10 heavier load

Some things:

  1. The fact that all of the work is lower body will save us the time to takes to warm-up different movements. Here, the back squats warm up the front squat, which warm up the single leg work. More work = more results.
  2. Weight cannot be too heavy here. If we want hypertrophy to assist in injury prevention, being mindful of when a weight is too heavy is important. Hypertrophy work can heal or hurt.
  3. Ideally the Bulgarian split squats in the single-leg section would also increase in total reps, but I don’t think it will fit within the hour of class. If this isn’t a big deal to you or your coach, you would increase like so: 3×10, 4×10, 5×10, with approximately the same weight each week.
  4. If you take longer to warm-up the legs, some sled pushes, airdyne or rowing before the main warm-up starts will be helpful in preventing injury and increasing performance.

Gymnastic Work

The pre-wod/post-wod work in cycle 1 is designed to accomplish a few things.

  1. Improve structural integrity – lots of different movements and holds at many different angles with increase tendon, ligament and muscular strength.
  2. Increase upper body hypertrophy – you will look jacked
  3. Increase gymnastic skill – If 30 strict muscle-ups get easy, imagine what that will do for 30 kipping muscle-ups…..

Because of the vast differences in ability here, I will typically prescribe this work something like:

For 20 minutes –
A) Strict Handstand pushups – wall facing
B) Strict C2B Pullups

You would rotate between these two movements for 20 minutes, performing submaximal reps so you don’t burn out too soon. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. My biceps and shoulder used to burn out in pullup until I sacked up, lost the ego, and started doing fewer reps, pulling with my scapular first each time. Now I feel like more of a functional human being.

Final note about this work – because you will need to be self-directed during this time, it will be easy to skip this work or get distracted or lazy and simply not do enough work to improve. You will only get better if you do the work. It seems obvious, but be aware of what you think you’re doing and what you’re actually doing. Just because work is written on the board, doesn’t mean you’re doing it. If you walk away from a session where pull-ups and pushups are prescribed having only done 4 sets, you haven’t done enough work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s