Last week in the comments I mentioned the analogy of the toolbox.  Generally described, the tools are skills or knowledge designed to help and allow for success in a given situation.  Having the many tools to choose from in your toolbox equips you to best deal with any situation presented to you.

In the strength and conditioning world we have tools in our toolbox to choose from.  But like the surveyor’s transit pictured, if you haven’t been taught it’s proper application, a tool is just a piece metal for the uneducated and ignorant to fumble with.

Chains, fat bars, and bands all have their place.  They’re some of many of the tools we use to build strength.  But in any trade, the knowledge and often the little “tricks” are what makes the difference between the successful artisan and the failure.  Hence the term “the tricks of the trade”.

At CFW, the instructors possess the knowledge of how to use the tools of the strength trade to elicit very measurable gains.

Strong Mommy

Kelly Lieghman came to CrossFit in January 2010 only weeks after having her baby, Ellen.  Kelly had done no dedicated weight training before that.  She now deadlifts 275lbs at a BW of 130lbs.  She throws around weights in our workouts that many CrossFitters have as their maxes.  All while rocking a set of chiseled abs!

In his first year at CFW, Chip Bullock increased his front squat from a relatively weak 155lbs to a respectable 275lbs.  I’m not being hard on Chip.  His front squat was relatively weak because he had been training at a CrossFit affiliate for TWO years prior to coming to CFW.  Not only did Chip get stronger, but through better training from the more knowledgeable instructors at CFW, he was shown the “tricks of the trade”.  Those “tricks” so vastly improved his technique, he got significantly stronger.  Did I mention his Fran and Fight Gone Bad has also improved greatly?  Strength develops and supports metabolic conditioning, not the the other way around.

Chains should add weight, not shine, to your lifts. 5/8" and 3/4" adds the weight needed.

CFW has always been known for its stength bias.  But at CrossFit competitions we crush the metcon stuff too.  Last weekend at the CF Games Regionals, Team CFW set the world’s fastest time on WOD 4, a lightweight metcon.  John Z., rocked a second place in the running / rowing WOD 1. Ben S., the heaviest and strongest member of the team, is a rippled 205lbs, has a 520lbs deadlift and just hit a 427 on Fight Gone Bad.

Our bigger, stronger athletes are just as fast as the lightweights at other CrossFits.  Our lightweights are faster and stronger than theirs.  Muscle ups and double unders will never make people stronger, much less gain muscle.  That’s apparent in the skinny fat types that only program and do metcon stuff.

Not only is this an example of misuse of chains, it poses many risks the athlete"s health. No where in CrossFit's mantra of functional and constantly varied does it recommend stupid as a efficient means of producing results.

Throwing in some lightweight chains purchased at the hardware store to a sporadic, unplanned and ineffective strength workout isn’t going to to help either.

CFW uses periodization and purpose in it’s programming.  We have separate programs from our CrossFit dedicated to Oly lifting and also strength conditioning.  The other CrossFit blindly copies our efforts…  it may appear to have the tools, but a closer look shows it’s all just an attempt to keep up.  Like a Garter Snake mimicking a Canebrake, it doesn’t really have any venom in its bite.  And so it is with the sledgehammers and sleds before, the chains are no good if your “coach” doesn’t know the techniques to maximize their use.  The next thing you know we’ll see time under tension, tempo, and single joint exercises misused too.  Imitation may be flattery, but a young, inexperienced “coach” with no strength background is endangering his clients in futile attempt to do what CrossFit Wilmington does so well.  Just watch…  they’re try to post tempo work too.

CrossFit programs are for General fitness.  Chains are for specific strength training goals and can be easily misused in a CrossFit gym.  But unlike crappy metcon technique, misuse of chains and bands can cause serious injury.  I point this out because I care about the reputation of Crossfit.  I care about CrossFitters, their improvements, achievements and most importantly, their health… especially in Wilmington.

This week CFW begins another strength phase.  This one is going to be a bit different.  We’ll incorporate more single joint movements to help correct and strengthen imbalances we’ve developed.  But as usual, the foundation will be squats, deadlifts, pulls, and presses.

I like to warn, with lifting and strength work comes appetite.  You need to tune up your diet and not allow yourself to eat on cravings and whims.  If you take advantage of a strength conditioning program’s potential to boost your testosterone and growth hormone, you can easily drop fat.  Increase your protein intake throughout the day.  Multiply your lean body mass by .8 and that is a good number a grams of protein to consume daily.  As always, watch the carbs.  No carbs if you’re over 12% b0dyfat fellas.  Ladies over 14%, you get no carbs either.  If you’re under those two numbers, you can add a few carbs (20 grams or so) to your post workout meal.

There’s lots more you can do with nutrition and supplements to get stronger, gain muscle, and lean out.  But it can get elaborate.   Set up a nutrition counseling session with me and I’ll line out a detailed feeding and supplement program.  I’ll get you lean and muscular before the last beach wods!


8 thoughts on “The ToolBox

  1. No GOOD says:

    Great post T. So after reading this I went against my better judgement and I may have looked at Comfortables site. And I noticed they are haveing a CrossFit Community Workout sat 18 June at 1030. It is a team WOD. Seeing as the CFW agenda is open ……….Im just saying…..a possible recruiting trip……haha

    Looking forward to the pics from Metro Dash and the offical results.

  2. Mike M says:

    Great post T.

    Coming from another crossfit, I can definitely testify that no other CrossFit programs strength training and conditioning as effectively as CrossFit Wilmington. I’m really looking forward to this next strength cycle, and who knows, we may even see some more of our future games competitors rise up from the ranks. We definitely have lots of members with the competitor’s mentality, just looking for a reason to lock in that training focus. Whether it be for Mud Runs, fitness competitions, or even just to be better at recreational sports, set a goal you want to achieve through this next training cycle. Having set goals keeps us focused on what it takes to accomplish those goals.

    Have a great weekend everybody, and i’ll see you all Monday morning!

    “Its kinda hard to reach your goals if you never set any for yourself.” – author unknown

  3. t. says:

    Oh Ronbo… You know how I feel about recruitment efforts. I don’t go out looking for good people to join CFW, good people just come join CFW.

  4. No GOOD says:

    T I know I guess I should have used a different word other than RECRUITMENT, but I was being polite ha.

  5. Sensei says:

    T. EXCELLENT POSTS!! Again, Thank you for your watchful eye and putting things together for our athletes that others wouldn’t.

    I can’t wait to get back into the our box more often. I am so constantly impressed by our leadership and our clients/athletes. Just as you said, Good People JUST COME TO CFW!

  6. Former CFW says:

    Ever since I left CFW, I tend to stay away from this page since it’s so negative against CFC and I couldn’t be around people that have so much disdain against someone else.

    In regard to Steve using chains – yeah it might be a little dangerous in a class setting and there’s better ways to weight down a ring dip, but I was visiting that class that morning and as far as I could tell he’s a newer member and didn’t know any better. Afterwards he was shown how to use a weight belt properly.

    The “tricks of the trade” are not rocket science – any of the exercises and supplemental activities can be googled or watched in the CrossFit Journal. Chains or resistance bands aren’t normally used in the group classes because not everyone is at that level, but more advanced athletes do use them correctly as supplemental strength work.

    There’s no doubt that CFW has amazing athletes & good instructors, but so do other gyms. Putting other people down to build yourself up is immature to say the least. God forbid anyone else use CFW’s elite training techniques lest they be called copycats or imitators.

    As far as people switching gyms – it goes both ways. People have switched from CFC to CFW and vise versa. Usually the people who leave CFC are loners who do their own thing and don’t get results because they don’t follow instructions (like t. mentions doing things like half squats or only practicing things they are good at). At any gym, the athletes who succeed are the ones who focus on form, put forth the effort and listen to instructions.

    However, doesn’t CFW offset other people’s gym memberships for them for three months and pretty much let them train for free? Danielle, Elizabeth & Greg Ryan – (a Level 2 CF Affiliate Owner who Tony was bragging about switching over) joined CFW and decided to go back to CFC and pay full price…just like the rest of us who have to pay and happily do so.

    As someone who has been to many CrossFit affiliates around the country, I can honestly say that both CFW and CFC are both quality gyms with good people & great athletes, but the “bad blood” between the two is ridiculous and whatever problems t. and Zeke have should be kept to themselves – it’s not our problem.

    For the time being, I’ve sadly cancelled my membership at both gyms and will work out in my garage unless things change.


  7. t. says:

    Former CFW,
    I call it like I see it. If you knew the real situation, you’d understand the “disdain” I have for Zeke. He a thief and a scum.

    If the fella in the picture was corrected, why was a picture posted exalting him for “stepping it up”? I’m not following ya there.

    Actually, the tricks can’t be learned from googling them or reading about them in the CF Journal. They come from applied, working knowledge gained from hands on training with experts in the field. That’s something not done at CFC.

    The copy cat stuff runs through and through. It’s stuff you probably don’t see. Ex. – CFW uses terms and a rank system for our instructors. It comes from the way we do things where I worked in the military. Lead, Primary, Assistant were very specific to CFW. Zeke copied it to make CFC look like CFW to prospective clients.

    Either way, folks have gone to CFC from CFW. Few. Most come to CFW from CFW looking for the better training. They get it. I’d have to disagree with you on the people that come to CFW from CFC being loners or whatever. Do we really need to drop names or compare how many came to CFW vs. the couple that went to or went back to CFC. The folks who come here are sponges for the info and knowledge we give and therefore make the huge gains they do.

    There’s no such thing as a drama free world. From day one Zeke chose to be a dick to me. I tried very hard and sucked up a lot of his crap. He has stole from me and even told people he “completed special forces training” in attempts to gain clients that were looking for CFW. He’s a cheat and a liar. His mommy and daddy bail him out of everything. He acts like a victim of CFW and me… the big mean, scary guy. Whatever.

    With me you get honest. You may not like it, but at least you know it’s honest.

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