To give you some insight into what you can expect from programming over the next couple months leading into the CROSSFIT OPEN, here’s Mallory!
The CrossFit Open is upon us! The Open unites hundreds of thousands of athletes around the world to compete in the world’s largest participatory sporting event! This year is going to look a bit different as it has been shortened to 3 weeks (from 5), AND HQ has added several new divisions. These new divisions include Foundations and No Equipment (YAH TO ALL OF THESE THINGS!!!)
Beginning March 11, CrossFit HQ will release a workout every Thursday evening for 3 weeks. Participants will have until Monday evening to submit a score. You can repeat the workout as many times as you would like within that time! We at Loft will be programming the workout on Fridays for all classes class during the 3 weeks. Our workout of the day for March 11, March 18, and March 25, 2021 will be Open workouts.
The Open is meant to be fun: it is SO exciting to see how you progress over the years by sticking with your CrossFit training! I do understand how even friendly competition can sound intimidating and this year, there is definitely every reason to question your fitness and sit out – however! I have been doing this CrossFit thing for a LONG time, and I have NEVER encountered anyone who regretted participating in the Open. You can compare scores and workout notes with your friends in different gyms, with your mom, and with the top level CrossFit athletes all over the world. We work hard year-round, and it’s fun to see how huge our CrossFit community truly is. 10/10 chance you push yourself harder than you usually would and will likely do something you didn’t think you were capable of! 10/10 PEOPLE!!! 10/10!!! 😉
Now let’s talk about getting ready! As mentioned, we will be programming the Open workouts every Friday for the workout of the day. In the next 6 weeks leading up to the Open, expect to see a “repeat Open workout” every Friday. These will be past Open workouts, and they should give you a good idea of what to expect! Plan on attacking these workouts with full intensity. Intensity is more difficult in a mask, but everything improves with practice! We want to see you all go FULL SEND!
Additionally for the next 6 weeks, we’ll have a two-part strength cycle. Because we had so much positive feedback in regards to our last Back Squat and Shoulder Press cycle, we will be starting a Front Squat focus this Monday (and every following Monday until the Open). While we all love lifting heavy weights, we will also be doing a lot of tempo work with a large emphasis on positioning.
What are tempo squats and why do I care?
Great question! I am so glad you asked!
Tempo work simply means doing the repetitions at a defined tempo! I know, MIND BLOWN! This means we will be slowing the movement down. Slowing down will allow you to really feel the movement and positions your body is passing through (aka proprioception!). It is easy to ignore or not even notice deficiencies and imbalances at a fast speed. Slowing the movement down allows your brain to process the movement, analyze, and adjust. The extra time also gives you more time to apply all the things your friendly Loft coaches have been telling you 🙂
Since you will be going slower, you will also need to USE LESS WEIGHT! In order to get any benefit from tempo squats, you will need to actually follow the proper tempo prescription. This means 3 seconds is 3 seconds and not 1 second. Expect to go LIGHTER on these. THAT IS THE POINT!
Interpreting tempo prescription: Let’s use Monday as an example on how to read tempo training. We have programmed Front Squats 3 x 7 at a 32X1 tempo. This will be 3 sets of 7 reps at this tempo:
• The first number is the eccentric (lowering) phase of the movement. In a squat- this is your descent. You will take a FULL 3 seconds to lower yourself down.
• The second number is how long you pause in the bottom position. You will pause for 2 seconds in the bottom of your squat. It is incredibly important to keep tension through your midline and your chest up otherwise you could end up overloading your back. This is also why we keep the load light!
• The 3rd number is your concentric phase. In a squat, this is when you are standing back up. In this instance the “X” denotes an explosive movement, which means you will stand up as fast as possible. Lifting as quickly as possible during the concentric range of an exercise can be a very useful strategy as it helps to fully recruit the higher-threshold motor units. You know, the fast-twitch fibers that have the greatest potential for strength and size improvements! (WOOHOO! GAINZ!)
• The 4th number is how long you pause in the top position. In this case it will be a 1 second pause while you are standing at full extension before starting your second rep.
Besides creating better body awareness and developing better movement patterns, tempo squats are great at recruiting small stabilizer muscles that often get forgotten when we are “bouncing out of the hole.” The tempo squat cuts out this “bounce” (aka stretch reflex) which will make you stronger and make your tendons and ligaments real happy!
If you aren’t sold yet, tempo squatting is also great for improving eccentric strength! We know from research that the concentric and eccentric portions of an exercise are actually separate skills. In other words, by slowing down the negative phase of a lift, you really are able to get dramatically stronger at lowering the weight! Improved eccentric strength has many benefits including enhanced muscular hypertrophy and a greater potential for long-term strength gains. (WOOHOO! MORE GAINZ!)
We will also be adding in specific barbell cycling (aka barbell cardio) on Wednesdays. We will be starting with a “Macho Man” complex and building in weight week by week. Macho Man is a CrossFit bench mark and the complex is:
• 3 Power Cleans
• 3 Front Squats
• 3 Shoulder to Overhead
We will be playing with our weight percentages and time domains. You will want to err on the conservative side on choosing your weights. This might mean you use an empty barbell or dumbbells. Both are ABSOLUTELY OKAY!
These workouts will go “until failure,” but the goal is to make it through until the end (each week will have a different target number of sets). If you get through the workout easily then that’s great! You can add more weight the following week! If you don’t make it through, you might want to go down in weight the following week or try again. These type of workouts really push us to new limits so we can see what we are capable of!
Honing these new skills and strength will help us feel prepared and confident going into the Open. You can sign up here! As always if you have any questions, we are here to help in any way we can! I’m looking forward to an awesome 2021 of alllll the fitness with all of you!