What Are The Top 5 Movements?

17 Feb

Article written by Marshall White for LiftBigEatBig.com
Will Dinwiddie suggested this article topic the other day and I was giving it a thought and decided to give it a test run in conversation. To be honest with you folks I couldn’t believe how much conversation this ignited! Basically it was suggested that I write an article on, if I had to choose ONLY 5 exercises or movements for any athlete to do what would they be and why? The parameters of this are that the 5 exercises chosen must be specific, you can’t just say “squat and all it’s variations”, these have to be applicable to every athlete in every single sport, and finally you can’t say bench press. Ok I was joking about that last one, but the other 2 still apply. I talked with some of the LBEB athletes and my friend Chris Stark (owner of Lift Strong Run Fast) and after much mulling over I came up with my 5. Before I tell and explain my 5 understand that this is just my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me so as Pastor B says “calm your tits”, this is just an opinion piece and I would like or hear your opinions as well. Now then,  since that is out of the way, here are my 5 and my reasons why.

1. High bar/close stance back squat:

  I don’t think I need to go in to a huge explanation as to why I chose a squat but I feel the need to explain why I chose the bar and feet placement. I feel as though a high bar, close stance squat is easier to learn so if I were teaching beginners I would yield results much faster than if I were teaching a low bar or wide stance squat. In addition I believe this type of squat mimics most athletic stances much more so than a wider stance. Think about the foot placement in most sports, usually it is shoulder width, a natural stance, so I feel squatting in this stance will help the strength gained transfer more easily to the athlete’s chosen sport. I also feel this stance is more quad dominant which will transfer to more speed and explosiveness in most sports as well as remove the need for working front squats.

2. Clean shrugs (clean pulls, clean hi pulls, explosive shrugs):
 There are many names for this movement but I’m going to use clean shrugs for my purposes. I had a hard time not including power cleans in this list but ultimately I feel the same way about clean shrugs that I did about the squats. The hardest part of teaching a clean is USUALLY getting the athlete to catch properly. If I were teaching a beginner I could yield the same explosiveness and athleticism as a power clean but in a much shorter time simply by removing the catch. Here’s a little heresy: with a clean shrug you can get an athlete to go very heavy, basically keeping within a “speed deadlift” range, which in my opinion removes the need for deadlift. Eeeeeek! Yeah I said it, I feel for athletes that are not “strength based” athletes a heavy, explosive clean shrug will actually be more applicable to their sport.

 3. Push press:
 I had to debate myself and others over whether a push press or a strict press would be more beneficial and I had to finally settle on the push press. I decided this because I feel the push press has more facets than a strict press. With a push press you are getting the explosive work in addition to the shoulder, tricep, and upper back work, as opposed to a strict which is not typically an explosive movement and focuses more on just the benefits of a press.

4. Pull-ups (not chin ups):
 I honestly feel as though one of the biggest holes in most athletes development is their upper back. Pull ups are a great exercise to fix that hole and most people already know how to do them, for the most part. I do believe there are some other very effective exercises to build upper back strength, but those exercises can be harder to learn as they are more advanced. The funny thing about pull ups is that most people can’t do them (not strict at least) even a lot of athletes, so you have a TON of room for improvement. The equipment needed to do them is minimal and the goal to be reached with them is infinite. Take a look at most high level athletes and I can almost guarantee they can do tons of pull ups.
5. Yoke
This movement is my curveball and I had to defend this one big time in all my conversations. I chose yoke because the other 4 movements are executed on a vertical plane (up and down) whereas yoke is executed on a horizontal plane (back and forth). Think about it, in most sports your movement is not done simply on a vertical plane the vast majority of it is done on a horizontal plane. Why do most people not train their forward movement with heavy loads like they would any other movement? A yoke allows you to load your forward movement and develop serious speed and explosiveness. Understand also that while a yoke is started with a partial squat it is not a squat at all, your big squat doesn’t mean shit when it comes to a yoke, therefore we are not double training a movement. While squatting doesn’t necessarily improve your yoke, yoking heavy will improve your squat. This movement provides a whole body benefit in my opinion.

There you have it, my 5 movements/exercises that I would have any and all athletes do if I had to choose ONLY 5. I know some of you will disagree and I want to hear your thoughts on this. Post your comments on our Facebook page but please remember these kinds of discussions can get heated so try to be respectful and explain all your points intelligently. Also, if you say bench press you better have an AMAZING reason as to why you chose that :). Thanks for reading and make sure you give us your opinions!

Olympic Weightlifting For Sports Performance

14 Feb

Article written by Jace Derwin for LiftBigEatBig.com
Being how this is America (cue eagle scream), it is safe to say that the vast majority of serious strength athletes did not come to find their love for the barbell directly, but were rather introduced to it in an effort to increase their performance in another sport.  I want to take the time to address the beautiful symbiotic relationship of hard practiced o-lifting and the pursuits of athleticism off the platform.
  Olympic Weightlifting is not only an incredible sport in and of itself, but its use as a training aid to other sports may be the most transferable form of time spent in a weight room.  The point of emphasis for athletes shouldn’t have to be within the competition standard (though it doesn’t hurt) but instead on the RATE OF FORCE DEVELOPMENT.  RFD simply means the speed at which force can be produced.  Stronger athletes can produce more force, but the SPEED at which this takes place is the more important figure, specifically in sports where sprinting, jumping and throwing are used.  This is where O-Lifting reigns supreme, for it is the best way to move the most amount of resistance in the fastest way possible.  You have to train fast to be fast.
As an added benefit, the mechanics to the lift are nearly paralleled to athletic movements in other sports.  O-Lifting recruits tremendous amounts of force rapidly through the hip extensors, which is fundamental for high level athletics.  Think of the last athletic thing that you saw on Youtube that was awesome, and chances are, force driven through hip extension was needed.

In all four examples above, powerful extension of the hip is the key to the desired action.  Hip extension is the point of transfer where dynamic leg action makes its way through the rest of body, and better speed and power through that transfer will only make your desired action easier to accomplish.  Increasing the force and timing of hip extension can benefit sprinting, jumping, swinging, throwing, kicking, and just about anything that’s worth watching on ESPN.  O-lifting not only trains powerful hip extension, but it NEEDS it to be performed.  By training O-lifting properly, you will increase your athleticism whether you want to or not.  Does that mean you’ll be able to take LeBron in a game of one-on-one? Absolutely not, but you will be more capable of transferring force than if you didn’t Olympic lift.
A good example found here: http://i.imgur.com/Guz5YHL.gif

Now, there are inherent risks that go into O-lifting, and it is really up to the athlete and coach to determine the costs and benefits.  It is incredibly time consuming to develop the proper skills and mobility needed to snatch and clean and jerk.  Dedicating hours upon hours just to learn how to snatch 135 lbs. may not be the best time spent when you can be working on you jump shot or fielding grounders.  The early stages of learning such complex motor skills can be awkward and won’t transfer to field as quickly as someone who has a decent understanding of the lifts.  This is where box jumps and kettlebell swings can be a viable alternative.  The loads can be kept relatively low while still recruiting quick and powerful hip extension to accomplish the movement.  Athletes new to lifting should put in a decent amount of GPP prior to picking up the O-lifts with serious intent.  If developing explosive hip action is all we are looking for to benefit our performance, we may draw the line at dumbbell snatches and high pulls to minimize time lost on the field. The main point is to find what is effective, and to progress accordingly.
 A reasonable progression for athletes who compete outside Olympic weightlifting is to train up your hang power clean first prior to pulling weight from the floor or dropping into the bottom of cleans and snatches.  The hang power clean will train the importance of hip mechanics in the second pull while limiting the stress that can be picked up on the low back when pulling from the floor.  The weight can also remain light enough that any issue with front rack mobility can be seen and addressed as need be.  Once the hang power clean is developed so that the athlete delivers force predominantly from the hip and has good mechanics receiving the bar in the front rack, they can progress to the power clean.  Progress slowly in a manner that the most force can be produced without losing quality in the movement.  Typically, an athlete can just train power variations and benefit from training explosive hip drive, but learning how to accomplish the full lifts can reinforce good joint mechanics, and allows the athlete to lift even more weight at faster speeds.  The joint mobility utilized in the full lifts can help keep a high end athlete strong through positions usually not reached come game day, and provide a more holistic approach to athletic development and injury prevention.  

  Alternatively, it may be wise to only do full lift variations in the off-season, where there is no repeated stress of practice and games to add to the demands of the intensity that the snatch and clean and jerk provide.  Lifting should be secondary to daily practice and participation in developing the skills of the game, but not excluded all together.
 If you are involved with a form of competition outside the world of strength sports, consider adding in Olympic variations to your training to help optimize your performance.   Whether you are a high school athlete, weekend golfer, or just want to experience running faster and jumping higher, use Olympic lifting to help maximize your athleticism.  Don’t treat O-lifting as a means to an end, but choose to get better at it and develop the skills of the sport to reach a new potential.  Weightlifting is one of the few skills that nearly every top athletics organization uses with its best athletes.  To be very clear, being good at weightlifting won’t make you and all-star at any sport, but it will give you more tools to work with and open your potential to be better at what you do as an athlete. 

Jace Derwin, CSCS

BS Exercise Science, Seattle Pacific University

Sports Performance Specialist at VoltAthletics.com

Co-Captain of AJAX Weightlifting Team



Which Method of Squatting Should You Choose?

13 Feb
Article written by Fletcher Pierce for LiftBigEatBig.com

I want to preface this article by saying that it is coming from the perspective of an Olympic style weightlifter. That being said, when followers of LBEB started asking about how high-bar squats compare to low-bar squats, there is a much smaller window of comparison than you might think. Olympic weightlifters lift heavy most days, so we have to make every lift count. Every assistance lift performed by an Olympic lifter is designed to support one goal, lifting a crap ton of weight above your head. We don’t do lifts that are not dynamic, and a majority of our lifts replicate the positions and movements found in both the clean and jerk and the snatch, which is the main reason we high-bar squat. However, the low-bar squat is also a valid alternative to many other strength athletes, so here is a quick breakdown of both. 
 Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of both lifts, and talk about how either one will (or will not) benefit your training. First of all, the concept of the low-bar back squat is to move as much weight as possible, with some federations only squatting into the “parallel” position and then stand back up. Because the focus is on the amount of weight, lifters have developed a series of techniques to complete the lift with the shortest and most efficient way. If the bar starts lower on your back you can lean forward more with the bar remaining within your center of gravity. This requires a great deal of core and lower back strength, but the movement essentially becomes shorter. When you push your butt back you can get into a deeper position more easily and can maintain trunk stability.
 Powerlifters also tend to wear a flat footed shoe to help them get their knees and butt back. Of course these are completely legitimate tools to helping you be successful on a heavy low-bar back squat, but the application beyond powerlifting can be limited for some. It should also be noted that without breaking parallel, a majority of the stress of the squat is maintained in the knees instead of shifting to the quads and hamstrings. For those wondering, this doesn’t mean the quads and hamstrings are not being used. It means the knees are strained until the moment they break parallel, so without breaking parallel the tension is maintained throughout the lift. All of that considered, if you want to be able to brag to someone about how much you back squat, then the low-bar back squat is for you. This doesn’t mean it isn’t a difficult lift in its own right, it means it is designed for max effort and efficiency without having to be directly applied to another movement. 
 Now let’s move on to the high-bar back squat. The high-bar back squat is a perfect tool for any Olympic lifter, Crossfitter, or Strongman competitor. Because the bar is situated higher on your neck, your body can easily maintain a more upright position. A specially designed shoe with an elevated heel also allows the lifter to keep their knees forward (and out!) and stay in a more upright position. This gives you stability when moving through a greater range of motion than that of a low-bar back squat. This upright position is also designed to replicate the proper bottom position of the snatch and clean and jerk. When an athlete is properly high-bar back squatting, their bottom position should be nearly identical to that of an Olympic lift, with the obvious exception of the bar’s position. Another reason the high-bar back squat is beneficial for every athlete is because it breaks parallel. As I said earlier, breaking parallel releases tension in the knee joint and tends to lead to less knee injuries (I’ve been lifting for ten years and haven’t seen a single Olympic lifter in my gym hurt their knee). 
 The high-bar back squat isn’t just beneficial for Olympic lifters though. Strongman competitors also undoubtedly benefit from training with the broader range of motion and the explosiveness that the high-bar back squat can provide.
  For the Crossfitter out there who reads this article and is not sure which to choose I will try to shed some light on the matter. A Crossfitter will most likely see significantly less improvement from a low-bar back squat as opposed to the high-bar. If you are a Crossfitter it is important to keep the goals of a Crossfitter in mind . Range of motion, flexibility, and explosiveness are all desired and can be limited by continually training the low-bar back squat. It is an essential lift for powerlifters, but may not be the best fit for you. If you are a Crossfitter, you should understand that Olympic lifting is one of the major foundations of your sport and that you need to be utilizing the lifts used to benefit Olympic lifting athletes. With a high-bar back squat there is less back strain due to the more upright position, which will make performing high repetitions much safer and you could prevent a knee injury during a max attempt, an injury that could essentially kill your chances of becoming a successful Crossfitter. The explosiveness of an Olympic lifter is not only developed during the two main lifts, it is also greatly impacted by our high-bar squatting. If you are looking to develop your strength, speed, and core stability for box jumps, long jumps, sprinting, or any other dynamic event you come across, then high-bar back squats are for you. 
 Depending on your goals, you will have to make the decision as to which squat style will help you improve. For enhanced flexibility, range of movement, acceleration, strength, and performance in the snatch and clean and jerk, you must go with the high-bar back squat. In order to develop the raw physical strength and technique to be successful in powerlifting you will want to train the low-bar squat. Take the positives and negatives of both lift, and determine which will be the most beneficial for your training regimen.             

Sweeping The Bar: How To Fix Your First Pull

8 Feb

Earlier this week, we discussed how to extend the wrists for a proper overhead position. Today we will be discussing what we consider to be a few of the more glaring errors that can doom a lift before it even starts. One of these errors comes from a failure to “sweep the bar back”.

Naturally, the starting position is the most important aspect of the lift: an athlete has a small chance of finishing correctly if they begin incorrectly. Many of the new lifters we deal with will approach a clean or snatch setup the same way they would approach a conventional deadlift. Something we stress at seminars is that “a deadlift is not a clean/snatch, and a clean/snatch is not a deadlift.” This means that the upper back should not be round like a deadlift, and the bar should not start against the shin and travel up the entire leg. Coach Bob Takano has a nice quote about the starting position: 
“If you are comfortable, you’re probably doing it wrong.”

You can see everyone’s starting position in the video. Their levers are tight, and the bar is not starting against vertical shins. Instead, the knees start over the bar, and the bar is away from the shins, roughly over the crease of the shoe. This is where “sweeping the bar” comes into play. Unlike a deadlifter, an Olympic lifter should not be proud of bloody shins: bloody shins means something is wrong with the pull. Sweeping the bar means the bar travels backwards during the first pull. This occurs when the lifter’s shoulders and hips rise at the same rate. Essentially, the two easiest cues for this would be:

1. Pull knees back
2. Sweep bar backwards

You can test the athlete’s efficacy of this by standing a pvc pipe up on end on either side of the barbell, and ask the athlete to pull the bar to their knees. If the bar stays behind the pvc pipe: they are sweeping the bar back. If it travels in front of the pvc: they are not pulling the knees back and sweeping the bar back. If the bar were to travel  in front of the imaginary pvc during an actual lift, several things could happen: The bar can crash into the hips and arch out, either causing the lift to be lost, or causing the athlete to chase the lift, wasting energy and focus, possibly ruining the lift.

It is very important to remember that the hips and shoulders rise at the same rate during the 1st pull, otherwise the lifter will completely extend their legs without the bar moving off the ground, becoming a straight legged deadlift. The head should be pointed ahead (If there were a judge in front of the athlete, the athlete would be looking roughly at the judges forehead).

Keeping these things in mind will help you or your athletes alter their setup from a conventional deadlift setup to a proper clean/snatch setup position instead. Other aspects such as hand width, hip starting height, elbows turned out, etc… can all be different based on the athlete’s body type (Some suggest up to 9 different somatotypes for men, and 27 different somatotypes for women). However, one thing doesn’t change: The bar and knees must be swept back in order for the lift to start off correctly. Next week, we will discuss the basics of the 2nd pull and how you can improve it.

Fixing Your Overhead Wrist Position

3 Feb
Zach displaying proper extended wrist position overhead

Article written by Brandon Morrison
When putting a bar or other implement overhead, there are many things that need to simultaneously occur in order for it to be a successful. Little things like bar path, getting the head through, proper foot positioning, and fixing the position of the wrists during lockout. This article will focus fixing the overhead wrist position.

When the bar is overhead, the wrists can be in one of three positions as pictured above: Extended, Neutral, and Flexed. To achieve maximal weight in our lifts, we want to keep our wrists in the extended position whenever possible (This is not really possible when holding a log overhead). My mentor Weightlifting Coach Dave Miller

“In the extended position the head of the ulna and ulnar notch of the radius articulate with carpal bones the scaphoid, lunate and pisiform. In extension, the lunate, scaphoid and pisiform bones seem to sit nicely into the distal concave notches of the ulna and radius. The extension of the wrist also helps us complete the extension at the elbow and external rotation at the Glenohumeral joint (show me your arm pits!)….”: Stacking the Bones.”’

In order to properly “stack our bones”, it is important to think about what constitutes the most stable overhead position. We use the extended wrist position because it is MOST stable overhead position. It is the same position that is used if you were to stand on your hands. The bones that make up the hand and wrist slide into place when in an extended position, allowing us to hold maximal weight overhead.

Extending our wrists also allows our elbows and shoulders to lock into place and assume the correction. Getting away from the outdated and misinterpreted “active shoulders” cue, we instead want to think about “screwing a light bulb in with your right hand, and unscrewing a light bulb with your left hand” (try it now). By locking the shoulder into the back of the socket, extending our wrists, and stacking our elbows, we can prevent the soft elbows that occur on so many lifts due to a lack of stacking (We call these “jelly elbows” or “jellbows”. 

By combining extended wrists with stacked arms elbows, a strong and powerful dip, and driving the head through as quickly as possible, you should be able to save many of the overhead lifts you may have been missing. What’s more, you should be able to increase your maxes. Did changing your wrist position work for you? Let us know in the comments.   

Powerlifting Misconceptions

25 Jan

Lately I’ve been seeing some powerlifting numbers thrown around on the LBEB and I feel there might be a misconception or a lack of understanding as to what powerlifting, specifically geared powerlifting, is.  Did you know or realize that when you see numbers like a 1000lb bench press or even a 1000lb squat, these are not in fact what we at LBEB would call “pure lifts”?  In other words, the lifts were not accomplished using only the power of the human body and gear that is designed to keep it safe like a belt.  Rather, these lifts were accomplished using “bench shirts”, “squat suits” , “squat briefs” and even “deadlift suits”.  A lot of times when you see powerlifting videos on the Internet, the athlete is not wearing a singlet, but rather a variation of one of these suits.

Before I get into the explanation of the gear used, I feel it necessary to explain the current state that modern powerlifting is in.  Quite a while ago as more and more assistance gear was introduced, there was much debate amongst the athletes as to what gear should and should not be allowed.  What this caused was a major split, then even more splits, in the powerlifting world.  Tons and tons of powerlifting federations popped up, each with their own set of rules regarding assistance gear, squat depth, bench pause time, etc etc.  Unfortunately, this greatly divided and confused a once GREAT sport where pure, raw, static strength was tested on standardized equipment.  We are starting to see the revival of more and more “raw” (no assistance gear) federations, specifically under the direction of Sean Katterle, but again unfortunately more often than not, when powerlifting numbers are thrown around people are usually referencing “geared” or “equipped” powerlifting.
So, lets get into the gear.  Powerlifting gear is varied and wide in its scope. Nowadays an athlete can find a suit or shirt to fit any body type and to provide almost as much or as little assistance is needed, and if an athlete can’t find what they want they can contact gear companies and have suits or shirts custom made to suit their needs.  How much assistance does gear provide you ask? Well, that all depends on the gear.  I’ve personally known “1000lb squatters” that could only squat 5-600 without their gear.  Bench shirts offer even more assistance at times.  No man has ever benched more than 730lbs without assistance gear yet the “bench press world record” currently stands at a little under 1100lbs!!!!  I myself am a 500lb give or take a little depending on the day, but my very first time in an Inzer Rage X bench shirt I was able to bench press 700lbs!  Not all gear offer extreme gains like in my examples, deadlift suits for example only offer 20-50lb no matter what type of suit you use simple because the mechanics of a deadlift don’t allow for gear to be effective.  The IPF and USAPL powerlifting federations also minimize the type of gear that can be used in order to more legitimize the lifts being accomplished.

We at LBEB are not bashing on geared powerlifting,  in fact some of our lifters have dabbled in it a time or two.  What we are doing is trying to educate you as a lifter.  There is nothing wrong with being a geared powerlifter, but if this is the route you choose to go accept and realize that you are competing in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPORT than raw or standard powerlifting.  Please don’t claim to be a 1000lb squatter if your best squat raw is 405, just say you are a 1000lb geared squatter.  We have the utmost respect for geared powerlifters and we agree that these men and women are in fact very strong in their sport.  The fact is though that we at LBEB prefer raw lifting in all it’s forms so we will always be biased towards that.  In addition we will always be more impressed by a 400lb raw squat than even an 800lb geared squat for example.  So, when hearing numbers thrown around keep this in mind, only 18-20 men have ever deadlifted 900+ under powerlifting standards in competition, no one has EVER squatted 1000lbs without gear and the biggest raw bench to date is 730lbs.  This should give you just a bit of a reference point to go by.

Written by Marshall White. 

How To Get Big While Doing Crossfit

21 Jan

Based on the amount of emails I get regarding it, the question of the century seems to be “How can I put on more quality weight while still doing Crossfit and not losing my speed?” How I read this question is “How can I put on more weight without altering anything I am doing and without losing my abs?” You don’t have to be like me and get big by any means necessary, you can still put on quality weight over a period of time while improving your lifts and keeping your speed. I am going to outline three of the main issues I see when consulting Crossfitters who want to get bigger.

Jannetti knows whats up

1. Altering Your Diet (Duh)

Let’s take a look at what CF says about diet: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” Right there in the definition it explains to eat enough to maintain your current body mass but not add extra. There is a reason why women can add some quality weight on paleo while men have difficulty putting on weight. Some women who previously ate less meat and fat are now eating more meat and fat and can see some gain, whereas men (who on average require more calories) are now eating less calories.

I am going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear:

Eating bacon and eggs for breakfast is NOT eating big

There I said it. Let’s break down a bacon and egg breakfast in terms of calories. 6 pieces of bacon is about 200 calories, and 5 eggs would be about 310 calories. That is a whopping total of 510 calories. If you aren’t adding AT LEAST a whole avocado to that, how can you expect to put on weight?

Another thing to remember is that simply eating meat and a little fat won’t help you add very much weight. If you are eating low carb, the protein you eat is going to be used for energy, not for building muscle. Help protein do it’s job by adding more carbs back into your diet.

Streaky is down for carbs

Most of the LBEB crew is gluten-free, except for the occasional lasagna. If you want to put on some decent quality weight, try adding in 1/2 cup (measured before cooking) of rice to your meals 3-4 times a week. I recommend white rice as the shell of the whole grain kernel can cause GI problems just like gluten can. If you don’t want rice, add in 3-4 extra sweet potatoes a day. 

On top of these meals, adding in blended food shakes can help you add more weight. Twice a day, I will blend 3 cups of Rice Krispies with 100 grams of Cinnamon Bun grass-fed whey protein from TrueNutrition.com.
It is important to remember that shakes and post-workout drinks are SUPPLEMENTS, not REPLACEMENTS. Add them in to compliment your solid food intake, not replace it.

2. Decreasing The Training Days

The second most common question I get is people who want me to write a strength program followed by them saying they also hit 4-5 WOD’s a week, go to yoga 2-3x, run 5-10 miles a week, etc. It doesn’t take much brain exercise to figure out why hitting 8-11 workouts a week is keeping you from putting on mass, especially when combined with a diet that is supposed to help a sedentary person lose weight, not fuel high level athletes. If you are eating extra food to help you grow, working off those calories is the opposite of what you want to be doing.

When it comes to workouts, I believe in quality over quantity, and I believe in structure. Streaky learned this the hard way, she used to hit a random workout every day, some times twice a day, which led to some awesome injuries, right Streaky? She learned her lessons and now takes scheduled deloads, planned days off, and is always able to go to her next workout fresh and ready to roll. Her food is fueling her, as well as helping her grow. That is what we want when we are trying to cultivate mass.

You won’t get fat if you take a scheduled day off. In fact, that day off will allow your muscle fibers to repair and grow back stronger and bigger than before if you are eating correctly, and the fat will stay relatively low as long as you don’t overdo your carb intake. Not everyone wants to look like Marshall or myself (which confuses me!)

3. More Short & Heavy, Less Long & Light

As we have stated before, If you want to increase performance as well as increase quality body weight, decrease the amount light reps you are doing in favor of fewer, heavier sets. Doing a 150 air squats may give you an awesome lactic acid buildup, but as far as increasing mass beyond the average beginner gains, the progress just won’t be there. 

Along with this, if you want to improve your Grace or Isabel time, don’t just do 30 reps as fast as possible with the prescribed weight: do 10 sets of 3 reps with 1.75-2x the prescribed weight. Not only will this improve your strength and help you focus on your form, it will make the prescribed weight feel like peanuts after a few months.

Trade off the 20-30 minute metcons in favor of shorter and much heavier workouts to improve your overall strength without decreasing your conditioning; that I promise you. The only conditioning I have done in the past year is my Strongman events on Friday, and I can still row a faster 500m than most of you who read this site (1:20) at 285lbs.

These three aspects of altering your Crossfit lifestyle will help you to put on the quality weight you want to, while still maintaining that speed that is all-important to Crossfit. You don’t have to be 300lbs, but if you are 5’11” and 170lbs, you might want to consider adding some mass to your body!

Pastor B out.