It’s Not Rocket Surgery…Or Something Like That
We left off with the fact that we’re working on a linear force program and recognizing that all our gains and goals aren’t going to happen overnight. Let’s face it; we humans are an impatient lot. We want our gratification, and we want it immediately, but like many things in life, this is going to take time. Alongside proper form and learning new movements, we’re conditioning our bodies to hang in there for the long haul.
Why a Linear Force Program?
There are a few really good reasons, but here’s the best one:
It’s perfect for anyone.
Yep, you read that correctly. ANYONE can do it. Knee problems? No problem. Overweight? Ok. Underweight? Not for long. Asthmatic? Just breathe and go. Seriously, this program can be tailored, shaped, molded, and formulated to work for everyone who walks through these doors, and there have already been numerous success stories to prove it.
Want to squat below parallel? Next time you’re here, ask your coach who can drop it, drop it low! There are athletes in the box who are working some serious strength and mobility because of this program—and you’re next in line.
HERE ARE THE BASICS
- The program is based off a few core strength movements.
- We’re laying the groundwork for increased strength and complexity down the road.
- We’ll alternate days for focused strength work. For example:
And the next week, we’ll shift to:
- We’ll add weight every day, every set, every lift. Add 5 pounds each lift for lower body and 2-3 pounds for upper body.
- We’ll alternate weeks, adding weight to every lift—until we’ve reached our MAX for lifts. Then, we shift to an alternate focus.
Here are a couple of things you’ll want to remember, or—at the very least—take note of:
- You’re going to look at your starting numbers and think they’re really, REALLY (like seriously) light. And they do feel light. But go ahead and enjoy it for now, because they won’t feel light for long, and this is the time you need to be focusing on having kickass form. Not sorta ok form, not decent form, but POPPIN’ form. If you get in the habit of always having great form now, you’ll avoid injuries later when the weight gets heavier.
- This is about thriving, not surviving. It’s about performing. Think back to any (and all) of those times you’ve ever quit anything. You’re not going to quit this time, because by taking it slow and training every part of your body and mind to do this the right way, it will become like a habit you don’t even have to think about.
Let’s Talk About the Golgis
The golgi tendon organs are proprioceptors, sense organs, and they monitor the stretch at the end of our tendons. Much like an over-protective mama bear, they jump in to protect us and inhibit the stretch whenever they feel we’re using too much force. But, to become gradually and safely stronger, we can train the golgis, allowing us to lift heavier and more efficiently.
With a big focus on technique, repetition, and the gradual addition of weight—as well as TIME UNDER TENSION, we can build our tendons. This explains the slower concentric (muscle shortening) and eccentric (muscle lengthening) movements we are working. We build our tendons by placing them under tension for longer periods of time. In fact, it takes 20 seconds of constant tension to stimulate the golgi tendon neuron to create a lengthened muscle. And, if you take a look at our programmed lifts, you’ll see, with 3 seconds concentric and 3 seconds eccentric, for 5 lifts, we end up with 30 seconds per set, which is perfect to help us make gains.
And that’s enough math. But hopefully it helps explain what we’re doing, why we’re doing it slowly, and why we just have to be patient. Trust me, it’s gonna be worth it.
And here’s what we’re going to get from our linear force program:
- More flexibility.
- Healthy joints.
- Kick-ass lifting technique.
- Stability & balance.
- Body awareness.
- Great habits.
- Greater force production.
- Overall badassery & a superhero cape. (Ok, Carl did NOT verify this last one, but I think we can totally wear superhero capes to CrossFit.)
Keep being awesome, CrossFit peeps, and keep those squats LOW!