Written by OPEX Head Coach Matt Springer
OPEX Coach Matt Springer is back to help coaches and athletes analyze and learn from their performance in CrossFit Open Workout 18.4. One of the things he specifically targets is how to improve your deadlift in a balanced fashion to prepare yourself for a future event like this in the next CrossFit Open season. Take a look below!
Open 18.4 is a wrap, and we all need more strength. Specifically related to the deadlift. However, I’m not suggesting that if you didn’t do well in this workout that all you should do is deadlift constantly until the next CrossFit Open. You need to tackle this movement in a balanced manner.
Balanced fitness is about:
Longtime audience members will recall the moniker of balanced fitness. Before the marketplace became littered with hundreds of training templates, I could count on one hand how many training options existed for the preparation of functional fitness. One of those options was Optimum Performance Training; today what is OPEX.
Of course, if you ‘followed OPT’ you knew two things: (1) You were opting out of a strength-biased program and (2) You were opting into the only design available for well-roundedness. People came through the proverbial front door because they knew absolute strength adaptations were not the limiting factor to their progress. And this was their only home to find a construction of that idea as a training method.
But after 18.2, and especially after 18.4, my pulse says the marketplace believes they need to be stronger for the sport. Reversion to biased training designs. While strength has never not been a priority, I am taking this opportunity to evaluate that idea from a different angle. What we do not need are 100,000 people following 5/3/1 starting March 27th. Consider the following event variations:
Deadlift 1-rep max
1 Deadlift 455/320lbs
2 Ring muscle-ups
3 Squat cleans 250/175lbs
4 Handstand push-ups
Run 400 meters
15 Deadlifts 155/105lbs
15 KB swings 55/35lbs
Rep-max deadlift training will not prepare you for the litany of possible events in functional fitness. You are going to be specialized towards events A & B, while Ok at event C, and completely unprepared for events D & E. Similarly if this were post-2013 Open, people would have prepared for deadlifts with iterations of hero workouts and grinders. Their paradox would be inverted.
Playing this game means you need an evaluation of what holes you have, how big those holes are, if you need to attack them, and with what urgency. There is no one-size-fitz-all model. However, since we are discussing strength-adaptation as a limiting factor in 18.4, let’s review how you might approach the offseason. Consider this is a perspective of balanced fitness, where we need to optimize for the possibility of all events while not biasing what we most recently failed at.
In closing, us coaches at OPEX will recognize my writings as an expression of the strength–speed continuum. This example has condensed the entire continuum into a single-year, a la block periodization. However, some individuals may be coming from YEARS of time spent on simply point no. 2, like a traditional bodybuilding scene. Other individuals might have spent YEARS of time on simply point no. 5, like traditional CrossFit affiliate-members. If you have disproportionality more time in one bucket versus the another, it is possible that you spend your WHOLE training year in one of the silos.
You and your coach make that type of decision-based on what gives you the breadth of capacity in this sport – Balanced fitness.
Perhaps that was a hydrant full of water to digest. If anyone has ideas to add to the conversation or would like clarity on a point, please drop a message in the comments below. Otherwise, shoot me a private message at email@example.com.