Our last block of Olympic lifting and modified Hepburn method delivered some outstanding results with many athletes reaching new heights within their Olympic Lifting and gymnastics skills.  The squats have been gruelling, and the hard work has us up for the Maximum weight method that we’re about to embark on.  The next 20weeks are probably not going to be easy, but they are going to be worth it.

The maximum weights method, which German exercise physiologists often called intramuscular training, is aimed at developing maximal strength by improving the link between the central nervous system (CNS) and the muscular system.  The result is gaining greater access to more motor units within the cross-section and improving both absolute strength and power.

To bridge the gap between science and practice, the next four training block (16weeks of specific training with four weeks of testing along the way) containing a useful strength cycle that uses a structured progression of varied sets-and-reps patterns designed to maximise the strength gain adaptations.  

This maximum weight method accomplishes this by the following means:

Part 1 (weeks 1-5). Increase neural drive to the muscle units (Advanced 5x5 Method)

Part 2 (weeks 6-10). Increase synchronisation of motor units (Patient Lifter Method)

Part 3 (weeks 11-15). Increase activation of the contractile apparatus (Absolute Failure Method)

Part 4 (weeks 16-20). Decrease inhibition by the protective mechanisms of the muscle (5/4/3/2/1 method)

We can only train as hard as we can recover.  Make a recovery a high priority and start thinking about regular massages, sauna, yoga, movement, flexibility, meditation, relaxation, nutrition, sleep, and stress management.  For the best possible outcome, we need to be implementing regular recovery strategies.

Part 1. Advance 5x5 Method

The Advanced 5x5 Method: This is one of the more classic and most effective methods of strength and muscle development. It was popularised in the 50s and 60s by British bodybuilder Reg Park.  Park won the Mr Britan in 1949.  In the 70s the Advanced 5x5 Method was heavily promoted by former elite weightlifter and strength coach Bill Starr in the book Strongest Shall Survive. Here is an example of how your workouts should go.

Let's say your 5RM for a Back Squat is 120kg


80kg x 5, 90kg x5, 100kg x5, 110kg x5

Working Sets: The goal is to complete 5 x 5 with your 5RM load.  In the first week it might look more like this:

120kg x 5
120kg x 4
120kg x3
120kg x3
120kg x3
= 18/25reps.  (ideally, you want to be hitting a minimum of 15).

Once the athlete can complete the 5 x 5 with the 5RM load, the weight would be increased by 5-10kg, and the method could be used again.

We are going to kick week one off as a deload week from the last block and give you all the chance to retest your 5RM’s.  We are then going to head into week 2 with 90% of the 5RM weight.  Weeks 3-5 will be the weeks where the intensity will be 100% of your 5RM.   The focus is to work hard while maintaining perfect lifting technique, with the aim being quality over quantity.  Don't stress if you don’t manage to do 5x5, as long as you are performing more than 15 quality repetitions you are getting stronger.

Olympic LIfting

The advance 5x5 is going to give your squats a good kick in the ass.  The combination of heavy back squats and overhead squats will undoubtedly carry over to your Olly lifting.

We will be taking the snatch from the block over the next four weeks to improve the explosive pull, to increase speed under the bar, and to give the lower back a slight rest due to the heavy squats.

The cleans are intended to be a little lighter and faster on this block.  The clean complex will be a mix of power cleans into squat cleans, hence the weight is limited by the power clean.  A chance to focus on the pull and the speed of the squat clean.  Don’t forget the valuable lessons from the previous block, keep the first pull deliberate and controlled.

Some additional work on the halting clean pulls and halting snatch will be used to improve your technique and to stay over the bar during the pull.

Energy System Training

The energy system training in this initial four weeks is slowly increasing the time domains from the last block.  We start to push more into the  2-3min interval range as we get closer to the CrossFit Open.

After spending a lot of time on our Olympic clean technique in the last block, we are going to put it to the test with Elizabeth.  We will also be working on the CrossFit Open 12.3 workout as the main aerobic fitness tool over the next 10weeks.  We expect to see a substantial increase in the number of total repetitions due to the specificity of the programme. 

We have added a specific rowing day to help build aerobic capacity through MAP10 training.  We have also included a lower body and upper body mobility and movement sequence on MAP10/Recovery days.

Our gymnastics day focus in bringing together the skills we have been working on to accomplish the kipping ring muscle-up.  We are also going to test, and train, your handstand push-up abilities over the next few months.  Expect to be doing a lot of HSPU’s.

Let the grunting and groning begin.