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With the Open behind us this week provides a great opportunity to back off. While you’re always improving in some areas, progress does plateau eventually. Deload weeks are what we use to negate those plateaus. An opportunity to rest the mind and body before progress begins to diminish, and in preparation for another upward push.

The key in these back off weeks is backing off the volume. So don’t be tempted to do extra work, but keep your intensity high. There’ll be more time at the end of the sessions to cool down so spend the time on mobility. And don’t stress, a few days of less work isn’t going to affect your fat burning or undo all the gains you’ve achieved in recent months! Enjoy the smaller volume, have some fun, and gear up for the next block of training.

After the deload we’ll be testing some benchmarks. It’s been a while since we’ve tested fitness and you need some benchmark numbers as we move on to a new block of training. The only way to observe changes in fitness is by repeatedly measuring fitness. Repeatedly doesn’t mean weekly (yes, despite all the great advice you get at CFJ we still get the odd person doing “Helen Fridays”). We typically run 10-12 week training blocks and test at the end of those. So get stuck in to training and wait for testing and benchmarks to come up in class.

If you read the above you’ll now know that testing is to follow.

After testing we’ll be starting a new 12-week block. Here’s what you can expect on that block:

  • A strength focus. NOT a bias, because a bias would require sacrificing other components of fitness. Our aim is a broad and inclusive fitness so although more strength focus, it won’t mean a lack of conditioning work.
  • A focus on aerobic capacity. That means, improving the body’s ability to utilise oxygen for energy production over sustained periods of activity. Your ability to keep going, but not just long and slow, your ability to keep going even at relatively high heart rates.
  • In keeping with the strength focus, we’ll be reverting back to adding more strict and weighted gymnastics work to develop a bigger base level of bodyweight strength. Strength is your base. As we progress through the training blocks we layer on skill and technique work and then develop stamina and endurance. This approach, along with lots of mobility work, bulletproofs your shoulders.
  • The Endurance and Barbell Clubs tie into the above. That means less conditioning work on the bar for the BB Club but more classic lifts. We’ll keep those sessions to the “every minute” format to ensure that you are getting conditioning work in while developing your ability to lift big under fatigue and with short timeframes. Endurance Club, running, rowing and skipping as skills are still a focus but to grow your aerobic base we’ll be doing more of the long, slow distance stuff (like AMRAP 20) and long (longer than 3 minute) intervals.
  • Refer back to the mail you received yesterday about the GI JOZI program schedule. That’s there for those who don’t really want the strength focus or for you who need some active recovery.
  • MetCons will be low load but high volume to work on that aerobic capacity, but also to ensure we aren’t interfering with the strength work. This might seem counterintuitive to conventional training wisdom, but that “wisdom” hasn’t done much for fitness, ever. You can develop strength and endurance at the same time.
  • The only sessions with fixed days are the GI JOZI, and BB and Endurance Clubs. All other sessions are constantly varied – you won’t know what you’re getting or when you’re going to get it – it’s where a lot of the magic happens!
  • Within a 12 week cycle we’ll have three 4-week micro-cycles. Three weeks of increasing intensity followed by a back-off week, with the third micro-cycle ending in testing. We’ll also layer more testing in to the latter part of the 12 week cycle so that all the testing doesn’t happen at the end, and you get to celebrate success more often 😉

Look after your nutrition, sleep and mobility. Work on finding that technique/intensity balance. Turn up consistently. Relax. Have fun. Workout. Enjoy the process. And the results will come.

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