This month at JR CrossFit, we’re starting our next cycle: push ups and bench press. In this week’s blog post, we talked with Coach Matt about what to expect during this cycle, why he picked these two movements, and how you can get the most out of the programming.
1. Now that the front squat/clean cycle is over, how do think it went? Did everyone see the improvements you were expecting?
Aside from the complaining from a certain someone I may or may not be married to, the cycle was a smashing success. There were gold stars everywhere. I’m not entirely sure what our members were expecting, but anytime I’ve been part of a concerted, focused effort to improve a single lift or movement, it’s surprising to most how much gains you really can make.
2. Why did you pick push ups and bench press for this cycle?
In a blog post that now feels like years ago (January 13th, when the world was normal), I made the statement that we were going to be attacking our weaknesses head-on. Push ups and bench go hand in hand. Same movement concepts, just different rep and weight structures. And think of doing Murph: What’s the first thing that goes? It’s the Push ups. Everyone’s arms turn into noodles before anything else. For the bench portion, it has been since high school that I did a focused bench cycle. In all sports, your ability to push your arms forward is a very important asset. Be it pushing a blocker off of you in football, pulling the bat around in baseball or softball, pushing your opponent off you in any form of wrestling, that skill and strength translates.
3. For a lot of people, bench press might be a new movement since it’s not something we do regularly in CrossFit. What tips do you have for someone who’s intimidated by it?
As I start off every question of this nature, LISTEN TO YOUR COACHES. These movements are probably the most simple we will do. They are also the easiest to gain strength in a short period of time. The risk of injury is probably the least it will be w/ a barbell in hand, but as always, listen to your body. If you have achy elbows or shoulders, take it easy. We will be sure to coach you on the proper techniques to minimize that risk, but get ready to see that star!
4. What kind of programming and accessory work can we expect this cycle to help our bench press and push up performance?
Expect to spend a lot of time on your back and face down on the floor. All puns intended. We will be doing all variations of a standard flat bench with both bar and dumbbell. For the push ups, we’ll be doing a lot of them. The more push ups you do, the better you’ll get at them.