We are starting a new strength program this week. We work on barbell skills and getting stronger through out the year but there are times we focus more on different aspects of strength and fitness. This enables us to continually make progress in many aspects of fitness and ensure we touch all the bases. For the next few monthes the main focus of our strength program will be raw strength in multiple positions. This is very productive for beginners and advanced athletes. Getting stronger never hurts it helps performance on all lifts as well as creates resiliency for more training. Want pull ups, get stronger,want muscle ups, get stronger, want a bigger snatch, get stronger. Faster mile ? Yup get stronger. Technique and conditioning certainly matter but the base of the pyramid is strength especially for beginners. Reps matter but focusing on the time or tempo ( more on this latter) it takes to complete them can be a lot more useful, especially when your trying to translate your gains to other things. There are three phases to every movement your body can do eccentric, isometric and concentric. For the sake of discussion I will relate them all to lifts. Eccentric - this is the phase of every lift where you are lowering/absorbing the weight. In the Squat it is the sitting, Deadlift it is the return to the ground and Bench Press it is the lowering to the chest. You are stronger this way. You can probably lower more weight than you can raise. Focusing on this phase helps build a lot of general strength. It can create a lot of the DOMs but it really reinforces proper positions and develops stronger tendons. When you deadlift and drop the weight you are essentially robbing your self of developing this phase. Great for conserving energy in a competition but not ideal when the goal is to get better rather than do better. Isometric- This is the phase where the weight stops before it changes direction. bottom of the squat, deadlift and bench. Traditionally in CrossFit this is an underutilized training position. Ever see an athlete catch the bottom of a snatch or clean, get buried , hold position and stand it up. That is isometric strength. Much of what you see in competitive gymnastics is isometric strength. Isometrics is also really good for developing joints and tendons. Ever watch a ring routine and wonder why their arms don't rip off. It's not as much because they have done lots of reps in and out of position as they have spent a lot of time in position. Concentric- This is what commonly gets counted when doing reps. The acceleration of mass. Coming up from a squat, pulling from the floor on a deadlift and pressing up on a bench press. This is the phase you are weakest, it can and will improve but it will never be as strong as the other two. Most athletes have this phase down. Outside of gymnastics the money shot of most athletic movements is the concentric phase. All phases are important but too often we skip any focus on the first two and only count and manage the concentric ( insert immature joke here). Controlling the tempo of a lift is the best way to accomplish this. We will introduce the skill and start the clock just like other sessions but you will be in charge of tracking your lifting tempo ( it sounds complicated but at most you will count to 7, you got this shit). The tempos will change from week to week as we focus on a different phase each week. This week is eccentric. Over the next few weeks we will squat one day, press the next then pull on the third do a mixed skill on Thursday then repeat the cycle Friday and Saturday. I will post the lifts for Saturdays to be done in conjunction with the team WOD or on Sunday during open gym. We have mixed it up so we don't work the same movement on the same day each week but we will follow the squat ,press, pull sequence regardless. We also will be fitting in some extra accessory work and doing some new movements. After about six weeks we will test max lifts so don't get antsy and and test early.