Programming Notes September 14, 2014

UPDATED: 9/22/2014

Updated performance testing form for week of 9/22

If you've been with us since January, you've experienced what we think of as one complete cycle: pre-season, in-season, competition, and post-season workouts. Now, it's time to begin again. Over the last year, Leon, Morgan, and I have been working on a system of strength and conditioning to maximize performance and functionality for every member of Tacoma Strength. In this new cycle, we're going to see that system evolve.

For the next 2-3 weeks, in addition to our normal workouts, we will be implementing a new system of movement skill testing, performance testing, and individual feedback. The point of doing all this is to focus on movement skill and strength balance before heavy loading. Many, if not most of the injuries I've treated gym members for can be traced back to athletic imbalances of one kind or another.

At the conclusion of testing, we will make recommendations to each of you about which training “track” will be likely to benefit you most over the next 6 months. However, just because we recommend a track doesn't mean you're stuck in it. These tracks and all the corrective modules that will go along with them are not meant to be restrictive. On any given day, you may feel like trying something more. That is totally fine. These tracks are simply meant to be your touchstone - your CrossFit Conscience, if you like; something reminding you of the current state of affairs of your fitness… and how to improve it.

The tracks are as follows

Fundamental movements are separated into “zones” of biomechanical and neuromotor skill.

This may seem like a novel idea, but think of it this way: in your average day, how many repetitions and tasks do you perform in the primary zone? Probably a lot. Personal hygiene, making food, socializing, yard work. Now how about those that require you to lift all the way from the floor. The answer is likely far fewer. And up overhead? Fewer still. Can you see why it could be important to pay special attention to zones of movement where we get less practice?

In order to achieve safe and efficient movement through all 3 zones, we need athletic balance.

Movement Skill + Strength Balance = Athletic Balance

Athletic balance is being proportionately strong in all zones of movement, then being strong enough overall and sufficiently conditioned for the tasks you plan to encounter. The idea here is to address your athletic balance in a particular zone of movement before adding heavy loads. This will ensure you do not worsen existing imbalances and set yourself up for injury.

You may still perform any and all movements of which you are capable, but our general advice is to do them at lower loads until you have fully addressed your weak areas.

So how strong is strong enough? What does balanced strength look like? When you demonstrate a basic level of capability in all three movement zones, you can test yourself out against the models of strength balance we have developed. These models are as follows:

Strength Balance Goals for Lifetime Athletes

Strength Balance Goals for Competitors

Finally, though we'll explore dozens and dozens of different exercises, we'll operate off of a fundamental list of Central Skills. While you can certainly work on all these movements regardless of your track, consider how trying to master movements on the Competitors list is premature if you still lack skills from the Lifetime Athletes list.

For Lifetime Athletes

For Competitors

How will we achieve balance and improve skill? First by establishing your individual baselines through movement skill (week 1) and performance testing (week 2). Then, we will incorporate corrective exercise modules specific to your athletic balance patterns. Something new you will begin to see during the last week of September is an “X-Block” in the daily workouts. This block will be a 10-20min adjunct to track-specificity designed to address your individual needs while you are still participating in group classes. The X-Block along with the track system is how we'll assist everyone in shoring up their weak links and maximizing their potential. We think taking this approach will bring the most success to everyone. As always, we need your feedback to make it great. Please fill out lots of Dropbox cards as we go along. Enjoy!


By Jared on Sunday, September, 14, 2014