Workout of the day

When the Going Gets Tough

JT Scott | 09/22/2019 |

Programming is all about building a set of stimuli that will force your body to adapt while balancing it with retaining your ability to continue to follow that programming over a long enough time that the desired adaptation can happen.

That’s a long way of saying “it’s gotta be tough, but not tougher than you can tolerate”. And I’ll admit that we’re certainly pushing that edge over the last few weeks. Adapting to CrossFit-type stimuli is always tough for people new to it, like all of our new friends just joining us as part of the September 1 migration. But even those of you who have been with us for a while may have noticed that you’ve been getting some of that “just started CrossFit” feeling in the days after some of these workouts.

That’s a good thing… if you can stay with it. We’re challenging your pushing strength and (as my legs have been telling me all weekend after Friday’s workout) everything else too, by adding more volume and offering up some fairly relentless workout formats. “Relentless” might be a good description overall for the style of programming we’ve got on tap for this week, in fact.

The good news is that leaning into that kind of challenge gets results. The bad news is that it takes a lot of toughness to stick with it; this isn’t easy. I remember a few years back taking on something called the Smolov Cycle (google it) as part of my neverending self-experimentation with training methods. It was brutal! After the first week I questioned the sanity of the thing. But after a few weeks, I got used to the volume and stuck with the program all the way through the end.

Now that was a few years ago, and when I look back at those training logs I almost question if I must have wrote those numbers down wrong. Even knowing that I did it, looking at that volume of load it doesn’t seem possible. But it was and it is; I didn’t quite add 100# to my squat PR, but I damn sure knocked it out of the park at the end of that cycle.

What this means is that Knute Rockne might’ve been on to something, but it’s something Billy Ocean probably didn’t quite get right. (While we’re at it, what the hell is Danny Devito doing in that video?)

TLDR stick with it, then blame Jenna for making you tougher.

If you’re feeling especially battered by the programming of the past few weeks, take heart – you’re already adapting to this new, more relentless stimulus and it won’t be so bad soon. We’re also re-evaluating the programming constantly and making adjustments, and you’ll want to make sure to double-check your own approach to these workouts too. Even if you’re someone who usually is able to take on the WOD as prescribed, pay attention to what we say about the day’s desired stimulus and give yourself a little more leeway to scale down when you get to the box. The relentless programming we’re offering right now is an excellent preparatory cycle for the CrossFit Open which is coming up in a few weeks, but you’ve got to get through it to see big gains on the other side of it.

For today’s desired stimulus, we’re bringing the bench press rep scheme down from 8 to 5 this week, allowing you to get a bit heavier in your lifts. The WOD itself is a quick one, pairing a higher skill movement with a moderate/lower skill movement. If you don’t have Handstand Pushups, don’t sweat it – there’s plenty of scales to get you upside down and working on your vertical pressing strength. Depending on your skill threshold this might be a burner WOD that really challenges your overall work capacity, or a more deliberate challenge that doesn’t really make your heart-rate explode.

Bench Press 5-5-5-5-5

14 DB snatches (50/35)


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