Ask Greg: Issue 116
Greg Everett

Mike Asks: Hi Greg, my name is Mike and I have been following your current 6-week program and love it. My form and numbers have improved greatly. I am gaining strength every week but would like to decrease my body fat. Would doing sprints after any of the workouts affect my training or could I add maybe 2-3 days of sprints on top of what I am doing? If you could help me out I would greatly appreciate it.

Greg Says:
The short answer is that I don’t know—you’re going to have to find out by trying it. I would suggest easing into it and seeing how you respond before going full-bore 3 days/week. Make sure you back off that training when you back off the weightlifting—don’t keep sprinting maximally on your down weeks.

Also make sure you’re addressing every other factor related to body fat reduction—sleep quality and quantity, stress and nutrition. If you don’t have those things in order, adding sprints may not do much for you other than reduce the response to your other training.

Clifford Asks: I have been doing Crossfit for a while now but am fairly new to Olympic lifting. I am 48 and I think in great shape for my age. Over the past year I have improved my Olympic lifts but I still know I can increase my weights dramatically especially for my front squats, back squats and overhead squats. I want to do a strength training cycle but definitely want to continue with my WoDS. My son’s Crossfit coach recommended this site. Just trying to get some advice on where to start.

Greg Says
: You first need to decide on your priorities, and decide how much weight (so to speak) you want to assign each one on the list. Is your number one priority getting stronger, or getting better at CrossFit workouts? If your first priority right now is getting stronger, how much more do you want that than to be doing CrossFit? Your answers to these questions will dictate what exactly your program looks like.

Understand that you will improve in a given aspect of your training commensurate to how much you emphasize it. If you train everything in a perfectly balanced manner, you’re going to make small improvements across the board. If you emphasize one element, you’re going to make more progress in less time, but other elements will not improve at that rate and may stay stagnant for that period of time.

My basic suggestion is to prioritize the strength for 2-3 months and continue with a base level of CrossFit workouts. What exactly that looks like I can’t tell you without knowing what you’re currently doing. But consider the current frequency and volume of your training (assuming it’s effective for you), and don’t increase that significantly. In other words, don’t just add a bunch of strength work to your current routine—add the strength work and pare down the CrossFit in approximately equal amounts. You can maintain conditioning pretty well doing 2-3 short CrossFit workouts per week, and that will give you the resources to train and recover from more strength work.

After that 2-3 month run of strength emphasis, return to your more balanced training regimen. Your conditioning will bounce back pretty quickly, and you ultimately do much better with the additional strength.

Ryan Asks
: Should weightlifters program a dynamic effort day the same way athletes in the powerlifting community do?

Greg Says
: Just about every training day for a weightlifter is a dynamic effort day. Unless you have your program set up to do mostly or all strength work (e.g. squats, presses, DLs) on one day, and then more classic lift and related work on another day (which some coaches do), you’re doing both dynamic work and strength work together regularly.

The way I most commonly set up programs is to alternate “heavy” days and “light” days, although how light they are varies considerably. But those lighter days are often power, hang or block variations, which tends to naturally make them faster movements. Likewise with squatting, for example, if a lifter is squatting three days per week as is common, the second day is usually a lighter, lower volume day, which means more speed naturally. And, of course, since the classic lifts and pulls are always fast, the majority of training involves speed inherently, whereas in powerlifting, it would be easy to have nothing but slow lifts if you didn’t consciously program speed work.

In other words, I don’t see a need to set up a formal dynamic effort day for a weightlifter—it’s unavoidably built in to the training.

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