Every year around February, the CrossFit community has a pleasant talk about the CrossFit Open. This 5-week event is the first of three stages that will ultimately crown the "best" men and women. When the Open was first introduced in 2011, it was more of a community sports competition. All skill levels were encouraged to participate, and although some more difficult movements (ie muscle building) would occur, they generally appear towards the end of the 5 open workouts, allowing most people to get multiple results before they are "eliminated". Today and the Open is truly a competitive sporting event, but the event still integrates all members of the CrossFit community. This shift in emphasis to competition was inevitable, as new challenges need to be created every year to understand who is the safest on Earth. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before Open became significantly more complex.
What we are seeing now is open, which requires a significantly higher level of preparation, skill and strength. This is true even for scaled versions of workouts. At the same time, we see interest and participation in the Open growing. This can become problematic, as pressure or a desire to perform well in the open is often at odds with CrossFit's long game of health and fitness training; the Open takes place every year and it may entice CossFitters to deal with weights, movements and training volumes that they just aren’t ready for yet. What can be done?
One solution is the biases and cyclical aspects of training in the different seasons that lead to Open. In sports, this is called periods – the systematic planning of training so that you are in the best possible shape for your target competition each year. In the rest of this article, I will describe in detail the plan for your training period leading up to the open.
Who is this plan for?
I would like to emphasize at the outset that this programming is not for everyone. In particular, this programming is NOT:
- Beginner CrossFitters (less than 6 months experience). If you are a beginner, you should not conduct CrossFit training periodically.
- They are only interested in health and sports. It doesn't matter if the level of experience is only about health and well-being (long-term play) and if you don't want to compete or perform well in competitions, you don't need to do CrossFit training periodically.
The above periodicity is one option for CrossFitters who are open, especially for those who feel left behind every year. Average CrossFitters know all of CrossFit's movements, but usually don't have one or more of them:
- Technical skills for efficient / safe movement.
- Stamina for successful assembly of larger sets.
As it turns out, the above-mentioned weaknesses / concerns are directly open. That's why many CrossFit average athletes have failed (or can't perform) at the Open.
A year in a nutshell
The annual breakdown of periodic CrossFit trainings can be as follows:
Note that the blocks listed above represent training emphasis for each month. As explained below, they do not necessarily mean only this type of training is carried out.
Blocks in detail
April-May: strength: The Open is over in April and the summer has not started yet. This is the perfect time to focus on making your workouts stronger. The vast majority of average CrossFitters are not close to their strength potential – they are still strength beginners. This is clearly evident when they undergo several cycles of linear training with linear progression, as described in the starting strength method. The profits they can make are striking. Just ask anyone who has done the cycle (specific examples can be found in my client's success stories).
June-August: CrossFit: It's important for CrossFitter to do CrossFit as much as possible, so here's a 3-month block where you just focus on CrossFit training. I put this big CrossFit training block in during the summer months, because these are the 3 months when people are the most active and "out". Holidays, sports and laying on the beach are popular activities during these months, and CrossFit training allows you to look your weakest (absolute part of the beach), while offering the flexibility to train in different places on different days if your schedule is different for summer activities.
September-October: strength: After the summer, I recommend going back to strength again. To exhaust the strength of all your beginners, you need several 8-week cycles, and placing another immediately after the beach season is ideal. If this is not your first strength cycle, small amounts of conditioning can be integrated into your strength programming.
November-December: speed force (Olympic lift): Olympic lifts (clean and jerk and grab) are CrossFit's main moves; they appear in every open and are extremely technical. Technical movements need constant practice to maintain proficiency, and although you have practiced them in CrossFit in the summer, it is beneficial to focus on your form and effectiveness when you are open. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to register for a special Olympic circuit during this winter. During this time, a little more conditioning can and should be added.
January: CrossFit (weaknesses): A month before the Open, you should head for 100% CrossFit training and it's time to take stock and focus heavily on your biggest weaknesses. You should seriously research what you need to make better for The Open and plan how to work with those elements. Maybe it's double the skill or stamina of squatting or stinging skills. Whatever your biggest weaknesses, make sure you target the classes that train them and give yourself extra time to round things up.
February-March: CrossFit Open: The event you have been training for has arrived. The focus should now be on doing all the activities needed to get the most out of all your open workouts. This means closely monitoring your diet, sleep, stress and exercise volume.
Why is there so much power work? Strength is emphasized many times because it takes a very long time to develop and it affects almost every aspect of The Open's performance. For example, if lifting the traction, chest and bar muscles, ring muscles, and bar muscles requires skills, for example, if you don't have the expected strength, those skills won't take you very far (and you can actually get hurt if you try them without the necessary strength). In addition, the stronger you are, the less tired you are of this weight. Imagine, for example, how light is 95 pounds of thrust when your squatting and press 1 RM is 355 pounds and 150 pounds, respectively, compared to if they were only 255 pounds and 125 pounds.
Should I always do a cycle with wheel rings (ie the starting strength method) during my strength blocks? What about other types of force? You should definitely prioritize the main barrel lifts until you have achieved all the strength gains of your beginners. This is the most effective way to increase overall strength. I offer these strength cycles both in small group lessons and through remote web-based tutoring. Once you've run out of strength for your beginners, you can add specific / positional strength work.
Do I have to do strength blocks twice a year to start and then do them year after year? Not necessarily. Two blocks are recommended to speed up the process and achieve faster gain for beginners. You can just use one block a year – the process just goes slower. Once you've got all your beginner strength gains, you can switch to the once-a-year blocks or even completely remove the strength blocks, opting instead for a more even distribution of your strength training in April-December. If you choose the latter option, you need to consider how you integrate power work into your regular CrossFit programming to maintain it sufficiently.
Am I not losing conditioning with two strength blocks and a weight lifting unit in a year? I noted above that you do not always remove the conditioning while lifting strength and weight. During these blocks, it is significantly less conspicuous. Try your first power cycle in April-May. During this first cycle, you should not do any additional conditioning, exercise, or external activities. Yes, your conditioning will drop somewhat, but for the rest of the year, you can train and develop your metabolic state in some way.
Can you explain in more detail how this training and the development of my metabolic state takes place? Assuming you start your first strength cycle in April as a beginner from the rank, the progression looks like this:
- As a beginner to the rank that begins in April as a cycle of strength (for the first time), you should not engage in other external activities. The program requires all of your recovery potential beyond lifting. Your air conditioner is declining, but getting strong is worth it (your 80-year-old self will thank you).
- As summer follows, the air conditioner will rise extensively and you will see improvements that exceed the level you had before the first strength cycle.
- In September, since you are no longer a newcomer to the strength cycle (you have one cycle under your belt), you can probably get there with one day of conditioning a week. This will help you maintain more of your conditioning.
- You can do even more conditioning on a regular basis when moving to Olympic Lifting in October, but you should stay away from movements that mimic / overlap with class lifts, and you should limit the time ranges of your air conditioners to 5-15 min (high intensity, low volume).
- Finally, when January arrives, you're back in the full steam of CrossFit, focused on preparing for The Open for about 1.5 months.
The more belt cycles of strength cycles, the more you can confidently train into strength cycle blocks, so when you look at the big picture, you just make a few small early sacrifices for greater long-term performance.
Should I only deal with my weaknesses in January? Is there enough time for that? January is just the month where you can focus on the weaknesses as they are at that time of year – open just around the corner. You can and should deal with weaknesses throughout the year. Written strength blocks help you with one weakness, but you can also work on others. For example, if you need to develop / improve your double bottom, you can practice them regularly. If tensile tests have weaknesses, you can run them into your strength program, if your overall flexibility is lacking, it may be necessary. also improved regularly, etc.
Do I have to fill in the blocks in the exact order of the month as you have listed above? Not at all. Every athlete is different in terms of their skill level, training goals, personal responsibilities, etc. You will always need to adjust the above plan in some way. The purpose of this article was to introduce you to the concept of periodization and to give an example of its application. If you need further help in developing a plan that works for you, leave me a line. I'll be happy to help.
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