“Courtesy of CF Verve”
When will we start programming the mental push-ups? By Courtney Shepherd. . . . and the original authors, to be mentioned later.
When it comes to the WOD programming we have several goals in mind. We put weeks together thinking about time domains, variety of movements, skill work versus weightlifting, etc. Doing a chipper style workout that takes us 40 minutes has some easy telltale signs that hard work was done. We are drenched in sweat for one thing. Maybe we are out of breath, we feel fatigued, and at the end of the workout we find ourselves laying on the floor not ready to move for a considerable period of time. We love these workouts. So why don’t we love heavy lifting days as much as the long chipper style WODs? I ask this because notoriously gym attendance is down on heavy days. Is it because we don’t sweat as much? Is it because we don’t feel ourselves out of breath or fatigued to the point of having to sit down? Somewhere there has become the misconception that lifting heavy is not as good of a workout as running around for 40 minutes, I’m here to tell you that it is just that. . . a misconception.
There are several reasons why we should lift heavy weights (click here for full article from the Poliquin Group):
1) We improve/ strengthen our skeletal structure. By loading the body with heavy weights, bone osteoblasts occur, strengthening bone, and tendons, collagen, and ligaments go through remodeling to become stronger.
2) We build muscle. Muscle allows us to do all these amazing things: It keeps your back safe when you pick your kids up off the floor or haul luggage into the trunk. It improves both your 5K time and your jumping ability. It allows you to flip a tire or push your car up the hill. It gives you the body you desire and the metabolism to help you maintain that fit physique. The more muscle you have, the greater number of insulin receptor sites, which equals better use of energy in the body. Naturally, you’ll have less risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or metabolic syndrome.
3) We actually burn more calories and lose more body fat with heavy lifting. Lifting weights elevates post-workout energy expenditure significantly more than steady-state cardio due to the metabolic stress it causes. In a study that compared light with moderate weights on “afterburn,” women who did 2 sets of 8 reps at a “heavy” 70 percent load burned double the calories during the hour after exercise as a group that did 2 sets of 15 reps at a light 35 percent load.
Those are just a few of my favorite, you can read more on these and about several additional reasons by clicking on the above link to read the article “Seven Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavy Weights”.
But if that didn’t sell it to you enough, what if I told you lifting heavy weights was good for the brain? In another article titled “What Weightlifting For Just 20 Minutes Does To Your Brain”, a recent study “. . . . suggests that going hard in the gym for as little as 20 minutes can boost your long-term memory by around 10 percent.” (You can read more about this by clicking here). The article goes on to say, “Previous research in older men and women (50 to 85 years old) has found that a brief workout improves memory due to the exercise-induced release of the stress hormone norepinephrine. Scientists have long known that the hormone, a chemical messenger in the brain, plays a strong role in memory.”
I can go on and on about all the benefits of lifting heavy weights but really it’s not about what I say it’s about how you feel. And during heavy lifting days you simply may not feel like you have done any work. I think this is the hardest obstacle to overcome, because for some of you, you are right, you may not be doing much work. CrossFit has a mantra, Mechanics/ Consistency/ Intensity. It’s hard to get the intensity piece down on a 1RM snatch day when we don’t have a very good handle on how to snatch. I get that. But, and I’m going to make one last plea for you to always come to heavy lifting days, how can we expect to get a handle on these movements and work towards increased weight/ intensity if we always skip the heavy lifting day? Perhaps it’s not the heavy lifting day you imagined right now but as you continue to hit them, you build confidence in the split jerk, the snatch, the overhead squat, until eventually you feel the way you should after moving something stupidly heavy. . . out of breath, sweaty, fatigued, and needing to sit down for a second.
Lifting heavy builds the muscle, strength, coordination, and confidence to be carried over to the WODs. Squatting heavy improves your box jumps and runs. Fact. So keep calm and lift on, the weights are calling your name, you just need to stop in and mingle with them more often.
Strength-Skill:20 Minutes to Find today’s 1 rep PR”
Clean and Jerk 1-1-1-1-1
WOD “2 Minute Drill”
4 Rounds. Complete the following in 2 minutes. 30 : second rest
100m Run or 250m row
9 Push Ups
12 Air Squats
Power Cleans – 135/103 115/93 95/73
*As many times as possible, of time remaining of the 2 minutes.
Competitors or athletes wanting to improve your Fitness level:
3×10 Ring dips
3×20 GHD sit-ups
3x Max effort plank hold with 25lb plate