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Why Am I Not Improving?

It’s worth recognizing that the vast majority of gym goers stops making meaningful progress after about 6-months. This implies that the hours spent in the gym is little more than a useless, costly habit. “No!” you might scream at me “But I go HARD!!” And you might, but I would ask to see quantifiable proof—this is where most people start stuttering, usually referring to the holiday season or some injury that is to blame for the lack of noticeable improvement. It seems odd that people have been at this for close to a decade and yet they load the same weights, and they do the same movements, they suffer and even lay on the ground after—they have fallen victim to “gyming off”. 

To inquire about the usual fitnesser’s routine wouldn’t be much different than to question their masturbation practice. Sure, there are some note worthy times, but for the most part, one session melds and looks just like the next—there was that one time that they tried something new, but it was a mess and made everyone uncomfortable.

The difference is in one’s intention. You cannot just go through the motions, simply showing up isn’t enough—you need to examine every inch for improvement and seek to make it better. Better is better, the same is the same—even if you mix-modal the fuck out of everything. Being accurate and honest with your current condition and what your future could look like is the ONLY way to consistently make improvement. It doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that your body composition is exactly the same as it always has been or that you use the exact loading for the exact same movements despite your “going hard”, but this “discomfort” with reality is what allows you a chance to change it.  

Warm:

50-40-30-20-10

AB cals

Row cals

Progressive pace (it starts easy, whatever pace you can average for the first set of 50cals, then increase by a logical amount that will prepare you—not wear you—for the work)

 Shoulders:

10x of each:

Banded pull aparts

Dislocates

Banded pull aparts (thumbs out)

Dislocates (thumbs out)

3 rounds (the point of this is to put as much acidity in the shoulders as possible, if it is agonizing then good, if it’s easy—be more intentional, do more.)

Wrists:

3x10 DB circles each direction

3x15sec DB plank balance

3x5 wrist push-up (these need to be controlled so remove as much bodyweight as needed in order to do that)

 

Work:

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Snatch Start @ 35%ish + 5-10lbs each set (a snatch is a snatch is a snatch, If the bar moves from the ground and you catch it overhead, you have performed the movement correctly, we let the weight determine the catch position {unless working a specific deficiency}. If you can’t load for this rep scheme you have a skill deficiency—learn. If think the snatch is dangerous or too complex, you are too dangerous and unwilling to learn complex movements, fix that or reread the above.)

Rest as needed to avoid misses

5x10 back squat @60% (back squats are one of the most simple of movements to progress, yet people often get stuck, I prefer volume, first in reps then in sets. It is often said by those much stronger than myself “strength is in sets”. It took me years to understand this, I recommend others train to understand it as well.)


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What are we willing to do to protect our space?

The answer is simple: anything and everything. We shut-out, kick-out, block, deter or simply ask those to leave who do not add something to the experience. We believe a controlled environment is so necessary to what we do that we often remove ourselves to stave off complacency. We can only demand of our guests what we demand of ourselves, so we demand the best.  

We protect what is expected by often “exercising” elsewhere; by that I mean non-purposeful training, which is sometimes needed to balance out intentional, stressful efforts. I consider what we built here a facility that allows one to journey, to go from A to B, this requires intention and if I want to train without intention I go elsewhere so that I don’t dilute the richness of other’s experiences. I protect what is sacred, often times from myself. 

I often visit a friend’s CrossFit gym, where I know the training will be fun but I won’t have to concern myself with “thinking”. I can just show up and exercise, maybe blow off some steam or simply try out what someone I respect is programming for others. The example down below is of Josh Cook’s design ( @acmestrength on instagram), he is a state record holding weightlifter and has been coaching personally and in group scenarios for longer than I have, on top of this, I happen to think his training is somewhat insidious and often tricks me into going harder than I can when I design the training for myself.

Warm:

2 rounds NFT

20 air squat

10 toes touches

10m shuttle run

10m side shuttle

10 wall balls

Work

Front squat 1 rep max

then

20min AMRAP

3 rounds

10x deadlift @ 135

8x hang clean @ 135

6x Front squat @ 135

3 rounds

16x wall ball @ 20/14

12x burpee over bar

8x toes to bar

(scores are by total reps, I hit 616, Erin hit 568)