The dawn of the CrossFit Open is upon us. Some of you are ready, some of you THINK you are ready, some of you are NOT READY, some DO NOT CARE and some are already prepping for #roadtoregionals2018. Whatever situation you find yourself in I am here to tell you something… you can NEVER be strong enough.
If you are concentrating on this years Open, this years regionals or you are a 31 year old training for Masters in 2021 (don’t laugh…. I get these types of emails) you should be looking at getting stronger. If you are not getting stronger you are getting weaker. Of course your priority in training should change depending on your goals and stage of the season you are in BUT you should never stop lifting heavy. Those people on our RAW programs would have seen the structure and layout of our training change over the last 10 or so weeks BUT we are still getting athletes to PR AND build capacity.
Lifting heavy things is not only good for athletic performance, it also has many health benefits. There have been numerous studies published on the benefits of lifting heavy; ranging from higher bone density, longer periods of remaining independent in the elderly, a positive effect on those with depression, anxiety and confidence issues as well as creating, having and maintaining a healthier hormone profile. The positives out way any negatives. In fact following a well structured and progressive strength program has no negatives
A stronger athlete who has reasonable GPP (General Physical Preparedness) will almost always beat a weaker athlete with a higher level of GPP. Why? Because the stronger athlete will be able to move heavier loads for a longer amount of time and it will take less energy to do so. There is no point being a whippet with lightening fast burpees if you have to do heavy deadlifts in singles to get through a conditioning piece.
Generally a stronger athlete is larger than an athlete who is not as strong. This is because of the cross-sectional diameter of the muscle fibres (among other things) but from experience it usually means a larger athlete can grind through longer heavier workouts much faster than a smaller athlete. I am sure you have seen two athletes who MAY have the same or similar 1rm numbers BUT due to somatotype (body type) and muscle fibre make up they both have different body shapes. In a longer more grueling workout something perhaps where weights increase per round, the larger athlete despite being similar in strength tends to have better strength endurance and therefore can show their capacity to a fuller extent.
Now before you go off and get on the next Smolov squat program please remember that strength is NOT built overnight. Strength is an accumulation of load lifted throughout ones lift time. Did you notice when you were growing up and shook your best mates Dads hand it would near crush you or you turn on ESPN to find Worlds Strongest Man and you see most of the competitors in their mid to late 30’s even 40’s (this year there was even a 50 year old competitor from Britain)… strength is a lifetime journey.
Having lifted weights myself from a very young age and seeing the benefit strength has in every single sport I can think of I think it is necessary to introduce an Absolute Strength Program to the Raw Strength and Conditioning Blog. We will be launching the RAW Absolute Strength Program on February 14th if you want to start your strength journey.
Regardless if you do our program or not please recognize the benefits of being strong not only for performance but health and longevity. If you do nothing else but throw in an extra squat and pressing session per week you will see some benefits over what you are doing currently and in the long run be much better for it.