New Programming: The Wendler Cycle

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Wow 2017…where did you come from? It’s time to take those New Year’s resolutions seriously and put in some work at the gym. Most of you are already off to a great start because beginning a gym routine isn’t something you’ll have to do, you already have one! For most of you, it’s how do you increase your back squat, get your first pull up, increase your snatch? And that’s what we’re here to help you with.

Beginning next week we’ll be implementing a new 12 week strength cycle along with our programming based off Wendler 5/3/1. The Wendler 5­3­1 program was created by a world famous powerlifter, Jim Wendler designed for simplicity and effectiveness. The program’s main focus is to increase strength. While the traditional program includes 4 lifts, we’ll be focusing on 2- Back Squat and Bench Press. We’ll be coupling this method with accessory movements performed as skills and in the MetCon’s. You will still see variety, traditional CrossFit exercises and workouts, as well as Olympic lifting weekly, but you’ll also notice the pattern of squatting and bench pressing. What is unique about this program is that it focuses on 90% of your 1RM for each movement (versus 1RM) to avoid over training and allow for recovery and thus greater strength to be built.

A couple things about this program:

  1. Consistency is Key: We’ll be bench pressing on Monday and Back Squatting on Tuesday- if you can’t make it in one of those days and you’re staying consistent with the program feel free to do that strength later in the week (just ask your coach first) during that day’s strength/skill session. Open gym is the best time to make up these lifts.
  2. The Wendler program is based of 90% of your 1RM. This may get a tad confusing but it’s up to YOU to stay consistent with your numbers each week. We will remind you which cycle and week we’re on as well as give you the percentages at which to work, but it is up to you to know what total you are working off of. Wodify is great for tracking progress but we HIGHLY recommend writing down your max’s somewhere else (phone, paper, etc) and keeping track yourself as well.
  3. Check Your Ego at the Door: Some days the lifting may seem light, others its going to seem heavy, if you want to see results stick with it. Don’t add weight just because you think you can that day, stick with the program and you’ll get the results.

For the next 4 weeks (Jan 16 – Feb 6) you will use 90% of your current 1RM in Wodify for Back Squat and Bench Press. If you believe this to be incorrect, you may take time between now and Sunday to retest these- preferably during open gym, if not confirm with your coach beforehand. After the first 4 weeks (cycle 1), you will add 10# to your original back squat max and 5# to your original bench press max and then proceed to use 90% of that number for cycle 2 (weeks 5-8) and so on. If you are not interested in the math behind this, you don’t have to worry about it- show up to class, squat or bench what is written on the board and you’ll still make gains, maybe not quite as quickly, but it’ll still be worth it.

Confused? Hopefully not…Excited? Hopefully! We’re excited to kick off the new year with this new program and hope you are too. As always, questions and/or feedback are always encouraged! Let’s get stronger!

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