It's the off-season. Time to get strong.
For those looking to compete in fitness, there's a level of strength required to play at the highest levels. We've created a 12-week program to get you on your way.
I know, I know, the endless highlight reels of PRs on Instagram can be exhausting.
And, a lot of the lifts you see are from people who are gifted in strength - they would be strong and powerful no matter what program they follow. (We've got some of these people in videos below, simply because their numbers are impressive.)
What's more impressive, though, is seeing someone who is not naturally talented in strength development improve their numbers over time and improve their ability to compete in fitness as a sport. We've got some of those folks below, too, and their performances give us much more to be proud of as coaches.
Member of the NPGL's DC Brawlers and 1x CrossFit Games® Regionals Team Athlete
Here's some strong folks who we've worked with.
2x CrossFit Games® Regionals Team Athlete
515# Back Squat
2017 CrossFit Games® Masters Qualifier in the 45-49 Age Group
The strongest don't always win, but you have to be strong enough to play.
The heaviest lineman in the NFL isn't necessarily the best, but you're going to have a hard time making it into the starting line-up if you don't weigh around 300 pounds.
It's simply table stakes at this point. You may be able to get away with 295, but that's pushing it.
It doesn't matter how smart, skilled, dedicated, hard-working, and mentally tough you are if you don't have the baseline traits required to play the game.
We see the same thing in fitness all the time.
There are multiple traits necessary to be effective in the sport of fitness. Strength, speed, aerobic capacity, muscle endurance, CP battery, pacing, mental resilience, recovery between training sessions, proper fueling...the list goes on.
The most important thing for you, though, is finding your limiting factor.
For many, the strength required to compete at the level they desire is the missing piece. If you want to go to Regionals as a male, you better have been able to snatch the 245# bar in 17.3. If you wanted to contribute to your team's score, you better have been able to hit 225# a few times.
That doesn't mean that everyone should work on strength in the off-season - in fact, this is a common misconception. We've worked with several athletes whose 1RMs are way out of alignment with their performance in conditioning workouts - even "heavy metcons." These folks don't need to get stronger.
But, for people who know they have the skills, the engine, and the mindset to improve their performance, this is a great time to focus on building strength and muscle endurance.
If you want to find your potential and know that your strength is a limiting factor for you, we may have just the program for you...
Member of the NPGL's Miami Surge and 4x CrossFit Games® Regionals Individual Athlete
345# Back Squat x10
2017 CrossFit Games® Regionals Individual Athlete
175# Snatch x2
Member of the 2016 NPGL Champion Phoenix Rise and 2x CrossFit Games® Regionals Team Athlete
Introducing the Legion Off-Season Strength Build
When you click this link, you'll be redirected to Train Heroic where you'll be asked to create an account and agree to some terms and conditions. You'll be able to submit payment through Train Heroic as well.
From there you can use your Train Heroic profile to log in to the website or the app - which you'll also be able to use to track your results and post comments.
A 12 week program designed for competitive fitness athletes to build maximal strength, improve muscle endurance, and increase repeatability at high percentage lifts so that you can throw down at any competition or walk into any workout feeling prepared
Improve maximal strength through...
Improve muscle endurance through...
Improve repeatability of high percentage lifts through...
Improve hypertrophy and connective tissue strength through...
Workout tracking, logging, communication and videos through Train Heroic...
In fact, why don't we just show you a sample week so you can see what this is all about. Here's Week 1. See what you think.
This program is an off-season competitive fitness program with a priority on building strength. So, if you consistently find yourself looking at the prescribed weights in workouts and thinking "uh oh" or you know that your 1RMs aren't where they need to be, this might be the right thing for you.
This is intended for someone who is an intermediate to advanced fitness athlete. If you've tapped out the ability to follow a simple linear progression program (ie add 5# per week to your sets of 5 on a back squat), you may need more variation and complexity in your training program to keep improving.
If you're brand new to fitness and can still consistently add weight to your lifts on a weekly basis, this program may be too advanced for you - we'd recommend following a more basic program and working with an in-person coach to develop proper technique.
If your main priority is your engine, we'd suggest looking elsewhere. We all know that guy who can snatch 300# and doesn't want to do anything but snatch, snatch, and more snatch - if you're that guy, please go somewhere else and do some burpees and long easy sessions on the Airdyne!
Here's what we've got for you in this program:
2x CrossFit Games® Regionals Team Athlete
300# Back Squat
Member of the NPGL's Baltimore Anthem and 2x CrossFit Games® Regionals Athlete (Individual and Team)
220# Clean & Jerk
Member of the SAGL's Port Royal Sound Gunners and 2017 CrossFit Games® Fittest Service Member (North Central)
I have a question...
Will there be percentages? What if I don't know my 1RM?
Percentages will be utilized in this program, but often on drop sets as a percentage of an earlier, heavy working set. So, you will have to do some math, but it's based upon a lift you did earlier in the session.
What if I don't have all the equipment necessary?
This program is written with some non-standard equipment like D-balls, sleds, and glute-ham developers. If you don't have access to these, you'll be able to modify the specific movement and still get the intended stimulus using standard equipment like barbells, kettlebells, and dumbbells.
If you're unsure on modifications, you can reach out and ask us.
Can I follow another program in addition to this?
Oh boy, the bane of long-term development - the program-hopping fitness athlete! If your goal is to cherry pick from these workouts in addition to the five blogs you also cherry pick from, I can't say I'd recommend you use this program.
That said, for athletes who are used to high volume training, it would be possible to include double sessions with this training template. I would recommend having the other sessions be low to moderate intensity focused on cyclical pieces like rowing, biking, ski erging, and running.
There are a lot of contractions in this program, and a lot of demand on the nervous system, so I would be very cautious before throwing in a lot of classic couplets, triplets, and chippers in addition to the work here.
What if I don't know how to do the exercises or if I have bad technique?
If you're really unsure of your technique, an online program may not be the best fit for you. If you're looking for a coach in your area, you can reach out to us and we can make recommendations if we know anybody nearby.
That said, not every lift needs to be performed with technique that will please the braying hordes of commenters on Instagram and Reddit. Technique matters, but it's rarely going to be perfect.
What if I can't do muscle-ups? Or handstand push-ups?
For gymnastics density work, 4 levels of options will be provided for each piece.
Here's an example from Week 3:
Accumulate 60 HSPU in as few sets as possible
Level 1 - Push Ups
Level 2 - Kipping HSPU
Level 3 - Strict HSPU
Level 4 - Strict HSPU @ 4"" Deficit
Work should be completed sub 5:30 - pick the appropriate level for the time
What if I have injuries and can't do certain movements?
Just as in the equipment question above, there are plenty of modifications that can be made while still maintaining the desired stimulus of the program. It's not a problem to work around a slightly irritated knee or an iffy shoulder. If you have questions on modifications, you can reach out to us directly.
That said, if you have jumper's knee in both knees, golfer's elbow in both elbows, and a shoulder that clicks and catches, there are probably better uses of your time and energy than following this program.
What if my goal is weightlifting? Or powerlifting? Or just to look good and feel good?
This program is written specifically for fitness athletes. You may still improve your numbers in weightlifting and powerlifting, and you may get unreasonably jacked and Adonis-like, but that's not the direct goal of this program.
If you're looking for coaching in those directions, reach out to us and we may be able to make some recommendations there as well.
How long are the workouts?
There are 5 sessions per week. Sessions should last about 90 minutes.
I have more questions, where can I have those answered?
Send us an e-mail: email@example.com
We guarantee you'll love the program.
We know there's a lot of free training blogs. We know this program is challenging and is not going to be a great fit for everyone. We know that most people looking for training programs online are prone to "shiny object syndrome" and want to do whatever flashy workout they see on Instagram.
But, we stand by our program, and we think that this is one of the best options out there for people who are looking to improve their strength for fitness competition, and we don't want one of those creeping doubts to prevent you from getting started.
We've also spent thousands and thousands of hours coaching clients in person, designing programs for competitive athletes, and overseeing the implementation of these programs.
We have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't. While we can't guarantee specific results, we want you to feel confident that you're focusing on the right things in your training - that you're not feeling lost and you're not trying to layer multiple programs together in a haphazard Frankenstein of a weightlifting program, some accessory work you saw in an article on T-Nation, and conditioning cherry-picked from various blogs.
That's why we offer a 30 day money back guarantee on this program. If you sign up for the program and it's not what you expected or you realize it's not a good fit for you, just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you a full refund.
In fact, if you're not completely satisfied, we insist that you reach out to us.
Find some focus in your training with this proven 12-week program
It's so easy to get lost in posts on Instagram, jumping in on random workouts with friends, or trying to figure out which blog you should follow on which day.
In twelve weeks, where will you be? Will you be stronger? Will you have a better grasp on how to pace yourself with heavy barbells in workouts? Will you know how to attack a big set of ring muscle-ups?
Or, will you still be training in an uncertain and distracted environment?
Try something consistently, and try something that works.
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