Glen Burnie Fitness and Nutrition CrossFit Glen Burnie

Different Types of Strength Workouts in CrossFit

The structure and purpose of a Strength part of the workout can be done in a few different ways. Here is a quick breakdown of each.

Why is it called Strength/Skill? – If it is a movement you are still learning and figuring out, technique comes first. Keep the weight light and practice, practice, practice.  

If your form is pretty good then we get right to the point and start building in weight.  It will take a moderate/heavy to a heavy load for some of your movement faults to start shining through and that is where we can optimize.

Build to a heavy set of 5 – 

  • Timing – You’ll see this more often when there is less time to do a strength component, usually in the 15-20 minute range.  
  • Stimulus – This is designed to have you build and build to a set that is challenging but not a max.  It should get slightly uncomfortable but not to the point where you’re intimidated by it. 
  • Purpose – 99% of the time, the movement done here is the same movement you will do in the MetCon.  Use this format to see how you feel with the movement and help determine your weight for the MetCon.
  • Logging Results – Here you will record one score in SugarWOD.

Build to a 5-rep max – 

  • Timing – During this one, you will build and build and build over the course of 20+ minutes.
  • Stimulus – You’ll build to weights that are uncomfortable and might scare you a little bit but that’s sort of the point. 
  • Purpose – When finding a “max” of anything, you need to go to failure.  You should not be able to complete your final set which would make the set beforehand your max. 
  • Logging Results – Here you will record one score in SugarWOD. 

2-parter – Build to a heavy set of 5 then complete 4 sets – 

  • Timing – This will usually be in the 20+ minute range and require a lot more work.  
  • Stimulus – You’ll have a certain amount of time to build to a “heavy” set of 5 then begin your working sets.  
  • Purpose – Unlike the first two types, here you are completing all your sets at that heavyweight which is much much more demanding.  Note that if your heavy set of 5 is 135 lbs, you can still do your other working sets at 125, 130, 145, etc. as long as they are challenging and make me work.  Be flexible here.  
  • Logging Results – Here you will record multiple scores in SugarWOD.  

5-5-5-5-5 – 

  • Timing – This will usually be in the 15-20 minute range and will be open-ended.  
  • Stimulus – What I mean is you can build to a heavy set of 5 in 5 sets or make them all challenging working sets.
  • Purpose – Let’s say it’s the deadlift and I do 5@135, 5@155, 5@185, 5@205, and 5@225 and I still have time on the clock for a couple more sets.  I can keep increasing or I can hit my last set of 225 for a couple more sets and just record my 5 heaviest sets.    
  • Logging Results – Here you will record multiple scores in SugarWOD.

Percentages – These are never prescribed but used more as a guide.  It gives you a number to shoot for and is always based on your 1-rep max or heavy 1-rep in that particular movement. 

Here’s a little cheat sheet to help but allow flexibility here depending on your experience and how you’re feeling that day. 

  • 1-rep: 100%
  • 2-rep: 90-95%
  • 3-rep: 85-90%
  • 4-rep: 80-85%
  • 5-rep: 75-80%
  • 6+ reps: This becomes more endurance and percentages can vary quite a bit.

*Essentially, you can take off 5-10% for every rep you add.


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