Strength Goals

Douglas Esposito Coach's Corner


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I would like to thank everybody who took time to submit your goal(s) to me for 2014. Having gone through them, I have found they all pretty much fit into eight categories. I’m going to go through all eight categories in the next eight days (yes, that’s one post a day) and give advise on each along with some possible action steps for each of them. Remember, this homework was for everybody in the class, so there are martial arts as well as CrossFit goals. Take the time to read about each others’ goals so you can understand and be supportive of what some of your teammates are undertaking.

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Dmitry Klokov Information Dmitry Klokov Video

Just to be clear, when I speak of “SMART” goals, these are the parameters I mean:

S – Specific – Not broad generalizations like, “I want to be a better person.” There are many areas in which you could become a better person. Narrow it down to treating people better, spending more time with family or something that will support the next four steps in the SMART model

M – Measurable – chose metrics to define your goals. Pounds, inches, time, dollars, and all manner of measurements are available to quantify your gains, losses, or improvements.

A – Action Based – Some people use “attainable” for the A, but I feel like that is covered by step four and leaves out one of the most important aspects of goal setting and accomplishment: Action Based Planning, Execution, and Attainment. Each goal should be broken down into the quantify-able actions it will take to reach your goal.

R – Realistic – Realistic means attainable through a balanced and intelligent plan. THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS. You have to be willing to commit to an intelligent, proven plan and work at things a little at a time. Great accomplishments are the culmination of commitment, dedication, and thousands of small actions adding up over time. As your coach, you won’t always like to hear what I say, but I promise it will always be the truth, and we can always make progress even if we can’t get to your dream goal. One percent improvement a day adds up substantially over time.

T – Time Based – This doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world if you don’t hit your initial time hack. Goals are an iterative process, always under review. If you are making progress, note the RATE of that progress, and understand that that rate will slow over time. Focus more on the journey than the destination, but always have a destination. Remember there will be unforeseen setbacks and challenges on your path, so sometimes we have to re-group and re-set.

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Ilya Ilyin Wikipedia Ilya Ilyin Documentary


I. One Rep Maxes (1RM) or specific strength goals.

II. Body Composition

III. Event Participation

IV. Specific Gymnastics Movements

V. Mobility

VI. Endurance

VII. Belt Rank and or Sparring/MMA Classes

VIII. Integrating attributes gained at Vanguard Gym into other endeavors.

Today we will start with Category One – Strength Goals

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Obviously I was pleased to see some form of a strength goal on most people’s goals. Our programming will support and encourage all of your strength goals so your first action step needs to be consistently coming to class. Our strength bias days are Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, and Sat. You can do active recovery and mobility on Thursdays and you should take Sundays completely off.

Secondly you MUST record all of your lifts, and use your numbers to drive all of your percentage work. Come to class with your numbers for lifts, get it done ahead of time. Get stoked about hitting the weights, getting stronger, and hitting your numbers. Spend a couple minutes visualizing you hitting your lifts and imagine how it will feel after you have accomplished it.

All of our percentage work is based on scientifically proven rep/weight schemes for specific performance improvements and increasing strength and power outputs. If you feel you have hit a plateau or have any other issues talk with Coach.

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Strength gains can certainly be SMART goals. Some of the issues I see cropping up are balancing the “specific”, “realistic”, and “time-based” parameters:
Exact numbers like “I want a 300 pound squat by the end of 2014” are certainly specific and time based, but if your squat is at 225, and a year ago it was 175 that shows only a 28% increase over the last year.

If you will remember from my post on “What Makes Good CrossFit Programming”, your ability to make gains in a linear fashion wanes significantly after the first nine to fifteen months of strength training. So, even if you could make another 28% gain in your second year of training, (which is highly unlikely and unrealistic, training naturally, for an intermediate or advanced lifter) that would only come to a 288 back squat. More realistic would be maybe a 15% gain giving you a 258 back squat.

If you are brand new to weightlifting then just commit your self to the plan and enjoy the weekly PR’s while they last (smiley face).

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So, here is an action plan for people looking for strength gains:

1. Commit and be consistent hitting the strength programmed days.
2. Keep painstaking records ( account will do most of the work for you) on all of your lifts. Keep a notebook in your gym bag if that works better for you, but remember, “what gets recorded, gets improved”. Keep track of your 10, 8, 5, 3, 2, and 1RMs and you will see that you are PR’ing all the time.
3. Think of things in terms of “percentage improved” over a simple number. This will help keep things in perspective and track your RATE of development over your development as compared to a random number you think sounds cool or you saw somebody else hit.
4. Have your numbers ready before the start of class. Use Coach’s suggested percentages to start with and then as a reference once you have solid numbers for all of your lifts.
5. Write all of your PR’s on the PR Board in the CrossFit training room.

Tomorrow we will look at how to set SMART Body Composition Goals…