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A Question of Strength? Part2

Posted 14th July 2015 by Josh Schouten

Squat4LifeIn the A Question of Strength? Part1 we talked about the importance of knowing your level of strength before starting the next phase of the CrossFit Hackney programme.  Following the correct programming will deliver maximise the progress you can achieve with the least amount of training time.

Here is a breakdown of what to expect at each level:

Movement (4sets of 8-12reps, max tests of 5RM)

Starting out with strength training the body adapt by increasing skeletal muscle strength and by improving muscle coordination, balance etc… Consequently, Movement level athletes are able to lift heavier weights each training session and can make the most of training by exploiting this fact.

Furthermore, since loads are relatively low the sessions aren’t very taxing on the body as a whole, which allows for training at a fairly high frequency. A Movement level programme is also suited for Functional level athletes that are coming back to training after injury or a after a holiday from training, etc…

Word of advice: Don’t rush to load on the weight as quickly as possible, instead focus on performing movements with the best technique possible to maximise strength gains and avoid injury. Make SMALL increases each session, adding just 2.5kg every time.  This will quickly add up to become 30kg in a month if you are performing the lifts (in this case squats) 3 times per week. Many high level athletes would kill (literally) to add 30kg to any of their lifts in a year!


Functional (5sets of 5-9reps, max tests of 3RM)

Not long after you have started lifting you’ll experience being stuck on the same weights for three or more sessions. Once this becomes the rule rather than the exception you are ready to start moved up to the Functional level. This means your not going to be increasing the weights each session but on a weekly basis you may see small gains. The Functional level is also a great programme for the Sports and Performance athletes who are coming back after an injury or other time off from lifting.

Word of advice: Same as for the Movement level athletes; a 2.5kg per week may seem like very little but provided you keep progressing with this type of program for about a year (even including time off) that could be more than a 100kg increase.

The Functional level will lasts much longer than the Movement level but as it is the case with all other good things; it will come to an end after 1-3years under the bar.


Sport and Performance (6sets of 2-6reps, max tests of 2RM)

The advanced athletes are either naturally gifted, or those who have been strength training for 4+ years.  These athletes will use the Sports and Performance levels.  The trick is now to experiment and find out how often you can successfully complete a program and take something positive away from it. This usually means some sort of periodization that must be tailored to the needs of the individual lifter.   It can be a real battle to make any progress when you reach these levels.



Choosing the correct programme can make all the difference between success in the gym, or frustration and zero improvements.  It’s just like baking a cake; if you put the wrong mix of ingredients into the pot your cake is going to be pretty shit.  If you choose the wrong programme your strength improvements are going to be pretty shit.

Just like the Juggernaut phase, we will be supplying an AWESOME spreadsheet to help you choose the correct level, and allow you to progress at the right time.  The rest my friend is up to you?

In the next post I will talk a little more about the Russian Squat Routine and the new spreadsheet for those who like to see and record their progress.