It’s no secret that CrossFit is a demanding discipline. If you wanna survive a grueling WOD, you’ll need a big metabolic engine, plenty of power, and a solid base of core stability. But at some point, every athlete—CrossFit or otherwise—needs the all-out, brute-force, no-holds-barred strength to lift big weights and put them down, over and over again.
For a high-caliber strength routine that will have you racking up barbell-bending loads in no time, we turned to Dan Wells, a veteran CrossFit Games competitor, CrossFit coach, and owner of the two CrossFit Horsepower locations in Los Angeles.
Wells designed this workout program around two fundamental lifts: the back squat and the strict shoulder press. These classic “big rock” movements are absolutely essential for any athlete, since they build not only upper- and lower-body strength but also the supporting musculature in your core.
"This program is intense and designed to shock the system, but it's very effective," Wells says.
Each workout features two essential components: A strength session, designed around multiple sets of relatively low reps so you can lift progressively heavier loads, and a high-intensity conditioning session, designed to rev up your heart rate and increase your metabolic work capacity. As always, warm up and build up to a working weight before beginning the strength session of the workout.
In CrossFit WOD style, weights (in pounds) are recommended for each conditioning exercise in parentheses like so: (185/125). The “Rx” weight, intended for well-trained athletes familiar with the exercises, is listed first, followed by the “scaled” weights for less experienced athletes attempting these moves. As always, it's a good idea to work with a strength coach or trainer who can help you perform each exercise with good form.
INSTRUCTIONS: Perform these five workouts over the course of one week. Choose your two rest days as needed. Listen to your body. Typically, athletes start the program on Monday and take off Wednesday or Thursday and Sunday.
You’ll repeat the workouts in Week 2, adding approximately 10 lbs. to back squat and 5 lbs. to shoulder presses for your strength work. "Ideally, you can continue it for a third five-day week," Wells says.
TEST: Establish your one-rep max for both back squat and strict shoulder press.
STRENGTH: Back Squat
6 sets x 6 reps: Back Squat @ 70% of 1 rep max back squat. Rest as needed.
CONDITIONING: “Jetliner Joe”
As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 12 minutes:
- 15 box jump-overs (24/20 inches)
- 12 toes to bar (scale: V-ups)
- 9 pullups, kipping okay (scale: TRX or ring rows)
Rest 5-10 minutes at the conclusion of the conditioning portion.
Read on for Day 2 >>>