Okay, I guess they aren’t really secrets but more so tips and things to keep in mind while progressing through the new strength program here at RADD. Although most of us have a decent strength base from participating in CrossFit classes, there’s still a lot of room to get stronger! Below are some key points to keep in mind while trying to successfully get stronger during the next few months.
Come up with a plan
Luckily, that’s the job of the coaches. But understanding the plan put in place is important for the athlete. As you’ve probably heard the coaches mentioned during the strength portion of the workout, “add 5lbs each time you lift.” This is called linearly progressing the workload and this strategy is known as the most efficient way to increase strength. For linear progression to work, recovery and adaptation must be taken into consideration. You, the athlete, must give your body time to adapt and recover to the new stress (aka the weight on the bar). For example, if you do 3×5 squats on Monday, then don’t do them again on Tuesday and expect to be stronger than the day before, wait until Thursday to do your second squat day.
As with anything, consistency is the key to success! But we understand that life gets in the way and vacations happen. So, if/when you end up missing some time, drop 10-15lbs from the lift and work your way back up increasing 5lbs each lifting session.
Typically, we harp on proper technique for the sake of injury prevention, which is the main benefit of proper form. But perfect technique while strength training can also help recruit the maximal amount of muscle mass resulting in the best strength response. For example, squatting to just below parallel is the optimal position for maximal muscle recruitment. A half squat will not provide us with an adequate strength gain because you will be relying on your quadriceps rather than also recruiting the glutes and hamstrings (expect a future blog post on why half squats are bad 😊). The same can be said for deadlifting with the hips in the wrong position. When positioned correctly, the deadlift can help build strength in the hamstrings, glutes, and back extensor muscles. Don’t be afraid to ask a coach to watch your working set and help you out with technique. If all else fails, back down the weight until you can perform the movement with the proper technique and then work back up.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Most importantly, recognize that when the weight gets heavy it’s normal to be afraid to get under the bar for a fear of failure. As cliché as it sounds, overcoming obstacles and things we are fearful of are what helps us grow mentally and get stronger physically. Trust the process and fully commit to the lift every time you begin a set. If it helps, ask one of the coaches to spot you or grab the safety spotters.