SSCAC Series: Running a Strength Program at a CrossFit Gym SSCAC Series: Running a Strength Program at a CrossFit Gym

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Thread: SSCAC Series: Running a Strength Program at a CrossFit Gym

  1. #1
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    Default SSCAC Series: Running a Strength Program at a CrossFit Gym

    • phoenix arizona seminar date
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    Starting Strength Coach Michael Wolf explains how to run a successful barbell program based on the Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression at a CrossFit Gym.

    Watch presentation

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Running a Strength Program at a CrossFit Gym

    Michael,

    Thanks for the excellent talk! I have a few questions, if you donít mind.

    1) For pure novices, since you track their progress on fitbot, do you advise them on what their warm up and work set loads will be for the first couple of weeks until they get the hang of it? Or is all this information provided up front as per your instruction document and they work through it on their own?

    2) I like the 8-week structure as it is just long enough to produce significant progress, without seeming like a major commitment for a first timer. For a pure novice who goes through the 8-week cycle for the first time, will you run them LP-style again for the second 8-week cycle to max out LP gains? Or switch everyone over to 3ís (like you mentioned) may be half way through the second 8-week cycle?

    3) Do you include any conditioning in the classes? Or is the 90 min strictly to complete the lifts? Are participants advised to do conditioning on off days?

    4) If you had the opportunity for the second class for intermediate lifters, would you keep it at a 3-day per week structure, or would you employ a 4-day structure?

    Thanks

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHG View Post
    Michael,

    Thanks for the excellent talk! I have a few questions, if you don’t mind.
    Wow, you watched that quickly.

    1) For pure novices, since you track their progress on fitbot, do you advise them on what their warm up and work set loads will be for the first couple of weeks until they get the hang of it? Or is all this information provided up front as per your instruction document and they work through it on their own?
    Yes, this is something I've newly been able to do since switching to FitBot a few cycles back. It would still be WAY too time consuming to do it for every lifter, every class - time I'm also not getting paid for. But I do it for the first week for the newbies, pointing out to them that they shouldn't just mindlessly follow their assignments, but pay attention to the pattern so they can learn.

    2) I like the 8-week structure as it is just long enough to produce significant progress, without seeming like a major commitment for a first timer. For a pure novice who goes through the 8-week cycle for the first time, will you run them LP-style again for the second 8-week cycle to max out LP gains? Or switch everyone over to 3’s (like you mentioned) may be half way through the second 8-week cycle?
    If they can still make linear progress without adjustments, I'll have them keep going. Also depends what they did between cycles. Some people do literally nothing for the 2-3 weeks and need a huge reset. Others train with guidance from me on basic programming, and can ramp them right back up.

    3) Do you include any conditioning in the classes? Or is the 90 min strictly to complete the lifts? Are participants advised to do conditioning on off days?
    No conditioning in class. Once people are past the first 4 weeks or so, it takes the full 90 mins to do all the lifts most days, especially since each rack is often shared between 3 people.
    Those who are allowed or advised to do conditioning can do it either after class or on specified off days.

    4) If you had the opportunity for the second class for intermediate lifters, would you keep it at a 3-day per week structure, or would you employ a 4-day structure?
    It is a class, after all, and any sufficiently motivated and advanced lifter is going to eventually train his or her way out of being able to continue to progress in a class structure. Most of the people who are lifters of that variety will move on to more individualized programming anyway, so I would keep it at 3 days. More practical for the kind of people that are likely to remain in the class - working people with demanding jobs that still take lifting seriously, but are unlikely to have the 10+ hours a week to train that serious competitive lifters put in.

    Might reduce the class size so it's 1-2 to a rack instead of 2-3, to allow for slightly more individualized programming, but that would depend if doing so is financially feasible. If the gym can't make enough $ doing it to make it a practically worthwhile use of the space and I can't make enough to pay rent while living close enough to the gym to actually coach there, then a reduced class size might not work.

    It's always a matter of balancing the ideal with reality.
    Last edited by Michael Wolf; 09-06-2017 at 01:44 PM.
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    Default

    Such great info!

    Thank you for your insight. Really appreciate it.

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    Happy to help.
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    That was terrific, thanks! Wondering a couple of things:

    - What has been the response to the class by the box owners? Interested in both their impressions of the class itself, and if your results have changed the way they think about strength training wrt crossfit performance. I especially liked your comment that (paraphrasing) "...Xfitters have been told that [increasing strength] won't affect their C&J / snatch performance, so they are pleasantly surprised after a cycle...".
    - Have you been approached by local coaches or parents to host a "cycle" for HS or college athletes (seems like a great format to use for that as well)?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveJF View Post
    - What has been the response to the class by the box owners? Interested in both their impressions of the class itself, and if your results have changed the way they think about strength training wrt crossfit performance. I especially liked your comment that (paraphrasing) "...Xfitters have been told that [increasing strength] won't affect their C&J / snatch performance, so they are pleasantly surprised after a cycle...".
    The guys who run the gym have always given me license to run the cycle exactly the way I want to, with no interference on their part or from any of the other coaches there - which is good, because otherwise I wouldn't do it. As I mentioned briefly in the speech, they actually recruited me pretty hard. However, they are primarily interested in it being financially viable.

    The results side of the equation has been a slow acceptance on the part of the rest of the staff. At first, it was basically me on one hand, and everyone else on the other. Not everyone was hostile, but they were skeptical. Over time, slowly, one or two coaches at a time would try the cycle themselves, and always had a really positive experience that led to gains both on the lifts we do as part of the program AND back in the other stuff they'd go back to afterwards (WODs, gymnastics, olympic lifting).

    I'd say it took about 2.5 years (so, till about 6 months ago) but at this point pretty much everyone there is now positive on it and recommends it to people. Obviously at a Crossfit gym, an 8 week strength-only program isn't appropriate for every last person (i.e. a guy who primarily wants to improve his gymnastics and already squats 405 and pulls 455 wouldn't prioritize the strength cycle), but the vast majority of members need to get stronger and the coaches as a group really now recommend my program.

    - Have you been approached by local coaches or parents to host a "cycle" for HS or college athletes (seems like a great format to use for that as well)?
    No, but that's probably because 90-95% of the members of the gym aren't parents. If I were on the upper east side or suburbs, I'd guess that would have happened.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for presenting this topic! I've been interested in the way you run your program ever since the first podcast you did with Rip. Long story short it looks like I might be able to implement something similar at a Crossfit gym near me.

    It just so happens one of the project leads where I work is also a coach at a crossfit gym and we've always gone back and forth talking about training, strength, etc. I've coached a few people here at work through their NLP (still working towards getting experience for my SSC) and he's been really interested in the results i've been getting with them. He's been interested in SS but just recently said "You know i'm pretty satisfied with my performance overall with my running, gymnastics, and bodyweight stuff, except i'm tired of feeling weak through our barbell workouts. Is the offer still open to coach me up on the lifts since you're looking for experience?" I accepted, of course and also sent him a link to your video. I asked if it'd be something his gym would be interested in when/if I get my SSC and since i'm trying to get "reps" in at coaching if there are some members who would be willing (at no cost to the gym) to be coached on the lifts on a Saturday or something. He said that there were some folks at the gym who'd definitely be interested and as long as he was there (or another Crossfit Level 1 coach) for liability reasons and everyone signed a waiver there shouldn't be any issue getting reps coaching some folks there at the gym! Especially after he shows the benefit that comes from running him through his own 8 week cycle.

    Thanks for the ideas for getting an "in" with a crossfit facility. Looks like I just got the opportunity to get more clients/experience!

  9. #9
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    Thanks for Sharing this Info.
    Questions.
    If they repeat the class lets say 3 months later of more. Are they Weaker from where they left off in the previous class? If so what would you say is the average percentage?

    Have you gotten any spin off from this. Like a semi personal client from it?

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