Friday 121019

Three rounds for time of:
50 squats
Run 400m
Rest :90

Post time and comments to BTW.


The Science of Developing an Athlete: Overload and Accommodation 

If your training routine is planned and performed correctly, the result of the exercise system that you have employed is improvement of your fitness, particularly strength.  This is mainly though adaptation and intensity.  In a broad sense, adaptation means the adjustment of an organism to its environment. If the environment changes, the organism changes to better survive in the new conditions.  It’s Survival of the Most Adaptable… sounds like a movie, or maybe just a reality show.  Regardless (irregardless? Irregardlessly?), I want a cut.  It’s gonna be big. I digress.  The important thing that we want to remember about this stimulus we have imposed upon ourselves is that it needs to be regular.  Why?

Performance actually decreases after training.  No one expects to become stronger after one set of drills, or a single workout.  The improvement occurs after repeated performances, and the body adapts to the training load.  Once training stops, or becomes infrequent, the body has nothing to adapt to.  Atrophy occurs. We are trying to incur adaptations to ourselves that improve sport performance.  That can potentially change depending on a particular athlete’s goals.  In general, however, we are shooting for general physical preparedness program.  There are four main features to this type of programming: stimulus magnitude (overload), accommodation, specificity, individualization.  Briefly, let’s cover the first two of these very, very big words.

Overload: A training adaptation takes place only if the magnitude of your training load is above the habitual level.  So, if you have plateaued, you may want to check the loads you’ve been working with.  If they haven’t changed in a year, you may not be noticing positive changes any longer.  It may be time to step it up weight-wise, forcing your body to adapt, and then watch as your hugeness rises to previously unseen levels. Coaching note: in competition-level athletes, detraining happens quickly.  During the competition period, elite athletes cannot afford complete passive rest for more than three days in a row.  

Accommodation: Accommodation is the decrease in response to a continued stimulus.  Example: Instead of constantly changing your exercise, like we normally do, let’s say you pick an exercise… deadlifts, for instance.  If all you do is deadlifts for 6 months and you keep the load constant, not only will you not make progress, you will see your performance decrease.  Due to this principal, our training programs must vary.  Especially when the goal is GPP. When your goal is to be prepared for anything, the stimulus we choose has the potential for endless combinations. 

Specificity and Individualization will be covered next week.  Stay tuned Denver.

P.S.: This information is heavily referenced from the book, Science and Practice of Strength Training, written by some Russian guys.

P.P.S.: In order not to upset the at-large academia, it should be stated that the Russian guys’ names are Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and William J. Kraemer


  1. Matt :

    Great analysis! Congrats on the PR Andy.

  2. Mike Ledger :

    nice work andy! Luke- I have one small question. should the neck and head follow the diagonal (neutral) line of the back at the beginning of the lift? does a neutral neck and head promote good or bad things through the snatch or other movements (power clean, back sqaut, etc.)?

    • CrossFit Verve :

      The basic answer is that a straight or neutral spine does indeed promote good things. CrossFit terms this as MLS, or Mid-Line Stabilization. So, the short answer to your question is, yes. Keep your neck neutral, and, generally speaking, you will be in good shape. If you’re asking this question because the lifter in the video doesn’t seem to have a perfectly straight neck, then keep in mind two things. 1.) The more upright the torso is when you begin your lift, the tighter, and more straight your spine will be, and, 2.) We do have a small measure of leeway when it comes to the angle of the neck. If there is bit of a bend, it may not translate to loss of power. Severe neck bending (think of a person who is looking straight ahead, instead of down, at the bottom of their normal deadlift position) will translate to loss of power. Clear as mud?

  3. michael ledger :

    I understand. thank you!

  4. James (O.G.) :

    Apparently Crossfit is not the path to fitness – it’s acting:

    Marky Mark is the 17th Fittest Man of All Time. SMH

  5. john :

    Great analysis above. Thank you Russian dudes. Question regarding atrophy though… I’m sure it differs depending on the individual, but is there a general rule of thumb for ratio of time away to time to regain your level of fitness? For example, if you are at a certain level of fitness and slack off for one month, will it take two months of training to achieve your previous level of fitness? I guess I usually hear about 2:1… Thoughts?

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