CYCLE 1 COACHES LETTER
Dear ANCHOR members,
Welcome to year two of programming and a new year of working towards your goals.
This letter will be one of many you receive throughout the year.
Every 4-weeks, at the beginning of our new cycle, you will receive detailed information outlining our programming from a structure, warm-up, strength, skill, and metcon perspective.
It is important to me to show you the path we plan to take you on.
Your ANCHOR membership is your investment into yourself, your health and your life.
It’s only appropriate to show you how we are going to invest into you too.
year two// cycle one
monday: back squats + “cardio monday”
uesday: snatches + gymnastic pulling development + partner metcon
wednesday: overhead squats + “work capacity wednesday”
thursday: gymnastic pushing development & conditioning + metcon
friday: clean & jerks + metcon
saturday: deadlift + gymnastic pulling development + metcon
The template of ANCHOR programming will change every 4-weeks. We aim to move around when we back squat, or when we have work capacity, or when we focus on gymnastic strength. This creates many opportunities to improve for members who are able to come every day and for members who are limited to certain days a week.
Variety is one of the foundational components to CrossFit programming, after all.
"constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity"
Strength – Back Squats + Overhead Squats + Deadlift
The focus for our back squats and deadlifts will be to build strength in the legs through volume. To begin, we will be testing out 1RM for both these lifts in week 1. For the remainder of this cycle, we will see lots of 5x5 work with increasing percentages each week. Working to develop leg strength and leg volume before progressing into smaller sets (3’s, 2’s, 1’s) in later cycles.
Something new to ANCHOR will be strength work with the overhead squat. The overhead squat is the most challenging barbell strength movement we can ask of you, and with it, comes the best strength, mobility, core, and movement pattern improvements. Although we will be testing a 1RM in the overhead squat come week 3. In the coming weeks we can expect lots of pause overhead squats and volume sets building how the athlete wants. By incorporating overhead squat strength work, simply put, everything gets better. Our squatting, our overhead stability, our midlines, our snatches, our shoulder to overhead, and our body awareness.
Olympic Lifting – Snatch + Clean & Jerk
Similar to our strength work, we will be testing 1RM snatch + clean & jerk during week 2 of this cycle. Each week we will have set percentages that build from sets of 3 towards heavier sets of 1, ultimately leading to a new 1RM.
These next 4 weeks will see lots of focus towards volume in the 70-85% percent range. Which will allow for us to refine technique and build better patterns before getting back to heavier weights come the next cycle. By coupling this with our strength work above, you can expect to see heavier weights (90%+) move better through technique but also strength, leading each of us to lots of bell rings come re-test day!
Gymnastic Development – Pulling + Pushing
Three times a week we will be incorporating gymnastic strength development. For this cycle we have 2 days focusing on pulling and 1 day focusing on pushing.
For pulling, our days are split between strict chest-to-bar work and tempo ring row work for all athletes. The reason we are moving away from strict pull-ups towards strict chest-to-bar is for greater strength development and range of motion. When we perform a pull-up we actually only use part of the range of motion we have to develop our lats, back, and arm muscles. Be focusing on chest-to-bar, we will target full development, creating stronger pull-ups, toes-to-bar, rope climbs, inverted positions, overhead positions, and more.
The tempo ring rows are in place to create time under tension. We don’t need to always add reps to increase the challenge. The longer we are working the greater the muscle fatigue becomes. Therefore, we will focus our second day of pulling on ring rows where we pause at the top and have set timing descents (example: 3s pause, 3s descent). Holding our positions at the very top range of motion will add to this theme of building the entire muscle and strengthening the entire range of motion.
For our one day of pushing focus we can expect a two-part EMOM.
Part 1 will be strength development, focusing on strict handstand push-ups from the wall or the box, combined with isometric specific movements like triceps extensions, rotating bicep curls, and strict press. Following this, a second EMOM is in place labeled as “gymnastic conditioning”, where one minute will push muscle failure on any and all gymnastic movements while the other will be an opportunity to work on a skill under fatigue (i.e. rope climbs, wall walks, pistols).
Ultimately, all of our strict and full range of motion focused gymnastic work will build each of us greater strength for working towards our first pull-up, toes-to-bar, handstand push-up, muscle-up. Taking time to build the base and develop strength will only lead to better kipping movements in later cycles for all of us.
Throughout each week we will have 5 different style workouts, hitting each of the necessary stimulus’ to call our programming “whole”.
We will see interval work in two forms: (1) 1:1 ratio, traditionally through partner workouts. Where we will split work as desired or go round for round. (2) 4:1, 3:1, or 2:1 ratio, this cycle’s “Cardio Monday”. Where we will see multiple short metcons with set rest between. We will see one of each of the following throughout the week as well: (3) short workout, less than 10-minutes, (4) medium length workout, 10-15 minutes, and (5) long workout, 20+ minutes.
As well, we will see one “HQ workout” each week. HQ workouts are taken directly from CrossFit’s main site, past open workouts, or “CrossFit benchmark” workouts.
Why? Because ultimately, especially for those who are planning on doing the open, all programming gets compared to CrossFit’s open programming. After all, CrossFit HQ themselves does define what CrossFit is for all of us. They are our test to see how we did and how we are doing. Therefore, the best way for us to constantly test where we are and where we are going is to included “HQ workout’s” once a week.
By doing this we can also expect lots of re-tests of similar workouts throughout the year. Creating another great way for each of us to measure our improvement from not just a barbell or pull-up bar perspective, but from a complete workout perspective. Which ultimately, is the best way to measure our fitness.
By hitting each of the above stimulus’ throughout the week, athletes will improve across the board. Developing greater endurance, the ability to hold a high cadence for a longer period of time and the ability to recovery quickly. Simply put, we are developing the entire package of fitness.
Each week we can expect to see 3 different types of warm-ups done based on the select workout.
First, joint mobility. Specifically, one day will be dedicated to lower body (knees, ankles, hips), and the second day dedicated to upper body (traps, lats, shoulders).
Second, simple EMOMs focusing on (1) midline development, (2) movement development to work on db transitions, squat patterns, and preparing our bodies for movements in the workout, and (3) sprint engine development on the rower, skipping, and bike, to build better engines.
Third, shoulder, back, and midline stability and development through movements like overhead db carry, db strict press, db farmers carries and suitcase carries, as well as single arm kb deadlifts, animal walks, and core movements.
These are specifically put in place to ensure shoulder stability, midline support, joint mobility and health. We put a lot of effort into our workouts, it only makes sense to put effort into taking care of our bodies and improving them from a holistic standpoint.
Cycle 1 will be a phenomenal 4-weeks of building stronger foundations from the barbell to the pull-up bar to the rower. It will set us all up for even more success as summer approaches. You will soon be lifting weights you never thought you could, doing movements once believed to be unattainable, and finishing workouts that once seemed impossible.
I am very excited for this opportunity to program for ANCHOR athletes.
As a coach here since day 1, I have had the opportunity of working with all of you, learning your goals, your strengths, and the areas you wish to improve upon.
I have experienced our programming first hand and am excited to implement areas we can improve on. To take what has been done well and build off of it.
To help each and every one of you become -
a stronger athlete,
a more gymnasty athlete,
and a greater engineered athlete.
Here is to the next 4-weeks of working on ourselves, and to the beginning of something very exciting.