Block Two: General Strength/Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity (February 3 – May 3, 2020)
Starting Monday, February 3rd we will begin a new block of programming at BCF and CF Route 7. This programming block will be three months long, going through the end of April.
The goal for this block of programming will be to increase our general strength and to more specifically target the development of our aerobic and anaerobic capacity while maintaining the skills that we have developed through our previous blocks of programming.
General strength as defined by Scientific Principles of Strength Training is: “the general ability to exert force using the body’s musculature.” Basically, in this programming block, we will be developing our ability to move heavy weight for a moderate amount of reps.
There are a few reasons why we have decided to focus on this type of strength for the next block of programming. First, we have just finished up a block of programming focused on building muscle and increasing your strength work capacity. Focusing our strength training on general strength at this point will best utilize those newly developed aspects of your fitness. Better strength endurance means better recovery between your working sets of lifting, leading to higher quality training sessions.
One reason for a shift in focus to aerobic and anaerobic capacity development is that it will fit well with the reduction in lifting volume that occurs during general strength programming. Simply put, we have more room in our daily programming for longer metcons and extra conditioning work. The most important reason for this focus, though, is that developing these capacities is necessary for efficient use of your body’s energy systems. The more developed you are in these areas, the longer and more intensely you can exercise without your body fatiguing and the more quickly you will recover during and after workouts.
A definition for aerobic capacity is: your body’s ability to consume oxygen for energy production. Aerobic exercise consists of lower intensity, longer duration workouts. These are workouts where you are still in control of your breathing (conversational pace) and you experience minimal muscle fatigue. Success in this style of training requires some restraint and consistency. To work within your and expand your aerobic capacity you have to establish and maintain a pace that is just below the threshold where you would shift into anaerobic energy consumption.
Anaerobic capacity refers to your body’s ability to continue doing work after you have surpassed the intensity level where oxygen alone is enough to sustain energy production. In anaerobic exercise your body will begin to use other energy sources and will also more rapidly accumulate metabolic waste products like lactic acid. Anaerobic workouts are the workouts where your muscles begin to burn, it becomes hard to control your breathing and you may even get deep enough in the pain cave to start to feel a little nauseous.
Most CrossFit metcons fall under the anaerobic training umbrella so this style of training will not feel very new to most of you. During this next block of training, there will be workouts specifically designed to take you to the edge of your anaerobic capacity (a.k.a. lactic threshold) and keep you there as long as possible. To really improve in this area, though, it will take some commitment on your part. This style of training demands intensity and it HURTS. You have to be willing to push yourself near your limit and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is the only way you can expand your anaerobic capacity.
Some overall themes and changes that you will be seeing in regard to the general strength training will be:
Slightly fewer days per week with barbell strength work
Lower repetition lifting (Mostly 3 – 6 reps)
High percentage lifting (Mostly 75 – 90%)
More rest between sets!
To help contribute to the goal of developing aerobic and anaerobic capacity you can expect:
More long metcons (20+ minutes)
More monostructural cardio (Running, Assault bike, Rowing, Ski Erg)
More interval-based metcons
As we look to the rest of 2020 you can expect to see us continue building on the strength and conditioning that will happen in the next block. The low volume, heavy lifting and CrossFit-specific skills will make a strong comeback in the months leading up to the next CrossFit Open in October.
We are very excited to roll out this new programming and see all of the improvements that our members will make!!!
If you have questions or comments, please let us know.