Thanks to the generosity of the Balance Gym owners, CFDC has been allowed to continue our Sunday morning classes for the foreseeable future! And that means more blog posts!
To prime the nervous system, class began with 5 sets of 2 seated box jumps. A variety of box heights were set up, with intermediate heights achievable by stacking bumper plates on the boxes. Everyone was encouraged to work up in height, starting with a comfortable height for the first set, and then working towards a challenging height by the 5th and final set.
For those new to the seated box jump, start in a seated position with the tops of your thighs at or just below parallel (a small box is usually your best bet, with bumpers plates used to adjust the height as needed). To initiate the jump, rock back slightly while pulling your feet up off the ground a few inches, and then quickly rock forward, slam your feet down, and explode off the box into a full vertical jump onto the higher box. Remember to land light on the box, absorbing the impact with soft knees.
Following the box jumps, class kept the small boxes in play, but stowed the larger plyo-boxes in favor of some barbells for box squats.
We’ve often paired seated box jumps and box squats together before in a single workout, and for good reason. Both rely on explosive strength: the box jumps to move the body through the air, the squats to move progressively heavier weight, with each incorporating a complete unloading of the legs in the bottom position. By deloading the legs in the bottom of the squat, you force the muscles of the posterior chain to work extra hard to re-tighten before pushing the weight back up to standing.
To prepare everyone for the day’s worksets, class warmed-up with the following progressions (done as a percentage of everyone’s max back squat):
1 x 8 @ 30%;
1 x 5 @ 50%;
1 x 3 @ 60%; then,
5 x 3 @ 65-??%
The working sets were an open ended progression, with lifters increasing weight across all 5 sets as able (thus, the “??”). It’s been a while since we’ve hit the box squats, so probably not a bad idea to review the movement in writing.
Following completion of the box squats, class removed the racks and boxes, but kept the bars out for some follow-up speed-pull deadlifts.
The focus of class on Sunday was pretty evident in it’s obsession on explosive movement, and the close-out movement for Sunday was no different. Everyone loaded the bars to a weight that was between 50-60% of their 1RM, and worked through 10 sets of 2 reps at a time, trying to perform sets with only 30-45 seconds of rest in between. Speed-pull deadlifts are great follow-up accessory to the box squats, hammering the need for explosive movement, but in the deadlift rather than the squat. Additionally, by keeping the weight moderate rather than heavy, the focus is entirely on making the movement fast and crisp. Don’t get “speed” confused with “rushing,” though. Speed pulls are about the velocity at which the weight is moved, not rushing through the movements to perform the fastest but sloppiest movement possible. Form and technique are still key – only the weight (decreased) and speed (increased) are changed.
It was great to be back together on Sunday, and the energy in class reflected that. Of course, one of the great things about having a class this past Sunday, and thus knowing people would be checking out the blog this week, is that it coincided with TWO MORE CFDC-related weddings this past weekend!!
Some beautiful brides there in those pictures (OK, so Dan looks kinda beautiful too)