It is easy to show huge gains in strength in new members and make claims of how effective a strength conditioning program is.  I always celebrate our new members increases in strength, but the reality is, a new / untrained member will experience gains in strength in even a crappy strength conditioning program.  It is exponentially more difficult to elicit big gains from trained, conditioned athletes.

So we celebrate and give notice to the new members achievements, though it is not proof our strength conditioning works.  I’m not, in any way, down playing new members’ improvements.  It is just fact… in any type of human development and learning, the uneducated and unconditioned learn and respond at the fastest rates.  In all disciplines, there is a point of diminishing returns of the rate we improve.

We just spent 6 weeks in a strength based programming period.  We did MetCons, but, excluding the beach workouts, they where short and intense.  But for the most part, we did strength conditioning with almost all sets on a tempo to increase your time under tension.  Charles Poliquin made this type of training mainstream.

It worked well (always does).

Shawn “The Mighty Midget” Knowles has been a member of CrossFit Wilmington since day one.  He earned his nickname for all the “feats” he’s accomplished while training at CFW.  I believe it was his 265lbs Overhead Squat (+100lbs BW) that first earned him his nickname back in 2008, but his deadlift has been over 400lbs, squat over 350lbs, bench over 275lbs, Snatch 185lbs, and C&J over 235lbs for numerous years now.

Did I mention Shawn weighs only 160-165lbs at any given time?  Yeah… that’s why he has his nickname.  Those are great weights for such a “lil fella”.  Ha.

Oh yeah, I should also tell you, Shawn isn’t a strength focused athlete per se.  He’s a CrossFitter.  He trains Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, takes Thursday off, and trains on Fridays.  He follows CFW programming.  He takes the weekends “off” and plays with his family.  His “Fran” time is under 3 minutes and his Fight Gone Bad is always over 360 points.

CFW just spent the last week maxing the major lifts.  Shawn participated and was, admittedly, a bit surprised at his increases.

His deadlift went up 20lbs to 425lbs, bench press up by 25lbs to 305lbs, and his shoulder press up 15lbs to 210lbs!!!

Those are substantial gains no matter who you are.  But for a trained individual to hit such new PRs… well, I reckon I can say with quite a bit of certainty, our strength conditioning works.

Congratulations on the increases Shawn.  Continue doing what you’re doing.

A big congratulations to everyone on their new PRs…  trained or untrained, your efforts gave way to results.


*Did anyone do the math on how many days off Shawn takes per week.  Recovery is just as important as your training. Think about it.

Shawn wakes up early and gets after it at 6 am, at the gym and beach.

4 thoughts on “Strength Development in Trained CrossFitters

  1. Ereka says:

    WOO! Go Shawn! After spending two years working out alongside Shawn, I can say that he is a great CFW member. He always takes time to help those of us who need a little help with our form/lifts or even a gentle reminder that we have missed a few days… Way to go Shawn!

  2. jd says:

    Awesome! WTG Shawn! As Ereka said, he is a great guy to have in the gym. He’s always there to give assistance, encouragement, or that yell to get moving! We are certainly lucky to have him working out beside us!

  3. Scott S says:

    For anyone who has not worked out with Shawn – he is as much committed to post workout stretching as anyone I know. Must be something to it as well.

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