Strength progression during CrossFit

Hi all,
Sarah S. asked a good question yesterday: "How do I get stronger?" Seems like a pretty simple question, especially since we do strength training just about every day alongside the WOD as well as sometimes for the WOD. 
It's important to keep track of your strength numbers to see the improvements you're making through this process. As Sarah noted, we sometimes very rarely hit the same lifts on a consistent basis except when we're in midwinter strength cycles. We have the big strength board at the gym that lets you refer to your PRs readily (thanks Emily R.!) but nothing can replace a little composition book or one of our WOD books.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially when comparing your progress to others is: Mass moves Mass. Another pretty simple idea, but when we look at pure strength numbers like deadlift, back squat, press, the people with more muscle and overall body mass will tend to have higher lifts. This isn't a good or bad thing, it just is. If you're coming from a long-distance running background and are of a lower bodyweight than perhaps a gymnast or rugby player, your relative strength is what you want to look at. A 125lb female runner deadlifting 200 lbs is far more impressive in relative strength terms than a former lineman that weighs 225 deadlifting 400lbs.

Strength works in a linear progression when people are novice lifters (Rippetoe) so large progressive gains are the norm for folks new to us and new to barbell training. Once you've been around a while, large leaps in strength are rare and a 5lb increase in a strict press is something to celebrate! 
If you're interested in strength development outside our day to day strength programming and WODs, you're always welcome to set up a personal training session to go over a strength program with me and for a short time at least take your focus away from heart-pounding sweatfests, and into the world of strength development. We have a number of programs like Wendler 5/3/1 that we can use to get you to your strength goals.

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 From Starting Strength, Rippetoe et al. 

From Starting Strength, Rippetoe et al. 

 Wendler 5,3,1

Wendler 5,3,1

Michael Reynolds

CrossFit Level 1 Coach