What should I do before class?

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Some ideas of how to make gains in your downtime or as I like to call it “extras”

I get a lot of questions when it comes to making gains outside of class.

“I want to do more so I can see results faster… how do I do that outside of class? I have no time.”

 My first response is always “trust the programming”.

To make gains, each athlete must first assess where they are at currently with their own training, and balance their numbers in weightlifting, gymnastics and conditioning.

Then pending each skill, pick 1 or 2 from each category and work on them for a month straight before moving onto the next.

What’s the secret?

Here are 3 secrets that will help you to make some “extra gains” pretty quickly if done regularly.

1. Tempo

2. Strength Assistance exercises / correct imbalances

3. Mobility 

These three components are already a part of our regular programming and some ‘extras’ are programmed into our LIFT classes (Low Intensity Functional Training).


When looking to make strength gains we want to slow down the tempo of our lifts. By slowing down a movement (tempo) we put the muscles under tension for a longer period of time.  This allows us to contract more muscle fibres giving the body time to learn the movement, open up mobility and adapt to heavier loads for longer.


The code to CrossFit success is Constantly Varied Functional Movement executed at High Intensity. Constantly varying the training stimulus so that the body may not adapt and continue to make gains.

Here are a few strength assistance exercises that you may vary into your “extras work” and do anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before or after class.

If you vary the number of sets but keep the weight low/light, you may increase your volume with some of the below; however, you must always ensure PERFECT technique/form:


Goblet Squats
Bulgarian Split squats
Lunges (with and without weight)


Strict DB press
Tempo push ups
Handstand / strict HSPU
Dips (option to add weight)


Pull ups
Chin ups
Weighted pull ups/chins
Ring rows (change angles – get horizontal)

These work best in a 3-5 rounds for quality or EMOM (every minute on the minute) format.

Examples of WODs:

EMOM 10 minutes:
10-12 goblet squats

Choose a weight that makes 12reps challenging but not unattainable and always squat to full depth (use a ball where necessary)

EMOM 16 minutes:
Odd minute: 3 pull ups
Even minute: 3 dips/7 push ups

3 rounds for quality 70-80%:
12 goblet squats
10 push ups
8 strict pull ups
6 pistols each leg
Handstand 20-30 seconds

* Goal is to move seamlessly from one exercise to the other and not to WOD these exercises.
* Use scale options to perfect technique.

EMOM 20 minutes:
Choose an exercise that you want to improve and choose a number of reps that you will struggle to maintain for a 20 minute EMOM.
Eg. 5 HSPU, which would equal 100 HSPU in 20 minutes. Then choose a number that you think would be attainable, like 3. You should find sets 1-10 alright, sets 11-15 challenging and then finally sets 16-20 you are struggling to hang on to that number by only a couple of reps (1-3).

This type of training allows you to build volume but still maintain and focus on technique for a longer period of time. 


Finally, if you struggle to get into the bottom of a squat or overhead efficiently then continuing to train in a shortened range of motion will only cause you more problems (trust me I know…)

Take care of your mobility and your movement will improve which in turn will allow you build more strength in a full range of motion.

Take note of which mobility exercises challenge you most and repeat these outside of class or ask your coach to help you with your mobility and of course there is Maria’s mobility session every Sunday at 12pm.

So here’s the secret… there is no secret. Continue to move well, move often, eat good, clean food, sleep/rest lots, hydrate and you will most likely see the results you are looking for.

Coach Rus

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