Why bother with periodization in a CrossFit program? Before I answer the aforementioned question, allow me to explain periodization as applied to human performance and strength training.
Periodization is the systematic design of training that employs specific parameters over a specific time to achieve specific goals. It can, and should be, applied to all conditioning and sports specific programming. If implemented correctly, an athlete will reach optimal performance at the optimal time. Periodization’s foundations are rooted in the General Adaptations Syndrome. Hans Selye, the “father of stress studies”, introduced the theory in 1936. Read more about it in this article. One of Selye’s most important findings was the body has only a limited amount of adaptive evengy to respond to stressors. In physical training, constantly overloading the body’s ability to clear stress and recover quickly leads to over-training.
Periodization is most often divided into three distinct cycles. Micro, Meso, and Macro. The microcycle is usually 7-10 days. Microcycles make up the mesocycles, which can be 2 weeks to a few months or even a quarter. The macrocycle is the overall training cycle that usually ends at a competition, sports season, or at an achieved goal.
In studies comparing periodized work with non-periodized work, the periodized programs render much greater increases in strength, performance, and body composistion. When summarized, these studies demonstrate significantly greater improvements when intensity and volume are systematically increased and decreased. Better results are undoubtedly linked to the decrease in volume and intensity, otherwise known as deloading, and the subsequent recovery allowed during that phase.
Of course there are many variables in any training program that lend to its success or failure. Choice and order of exercises, loads, sets, reps, tempo, rest between sets, recovery between training sessions, sleep quality, and nutrition all have their own say in things. A coach or trainer must consider these things. However, training volume and intensity typically, and rightfully so, get the most focus.
But all things being equal, or even better… all things being optimal, periodization will provide better results in any training program. Instead of randomly varying, systematically vary and the program, whether it be strength, running, or CrossFit GPP, will be more effective.
At CFW we are always seeking new ways to make your programming more effective. The 5 week hybrid (metcon and strength) mesocycle is what you all know and love about CFW programming combined with a more traditional, systematic approach to training. If, in the next 5 weeks, you put your heart into it and follow the instructions and parameters explicitly you will get great improvements in strength, power, and metabolic conditioning.
Get at it.
Stone, M. H., O’Bryant, H. S., Schilling, B. K., Johnson, R. L., Pierce, K.C., Haff, G. G., and Stone, M. (1999). Periodization: Effects of manipulating volume and intensity. Part 1. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 21(3), 54-60.
Fleck, S. J. (1999). Periodized strength training: A critical review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13, 82-89.
Crossfit – Day 2 / Week 1
3 Rounds of the Snatch Complex for time…
5 Muscle Snatch
5 Power Snatch
5 Snatch High Pull
*Select a weight that you can muscle snatch for 6-8 reps.
Dead Hang Pull-ups 6-8r x 5
Tall Snatch 68% x 2 x 4
Snatch 75% x 1 x 4
Jerk 78% x 1 x 5
2 rounds of CrossFit MetCon with as heavy as you can lift with good technique.