2 ways to get stronger

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Hey guys,

I want to shed some light on exactly how the body adapts to getting stronger, and how it relates to the programmed WODs.  There are 2 ways the body gains strength, adaptations within the muscle itself, or the central nervous system.  So, when we do higher rep ranges, this causes muscles to be damaged, and then the body rebuilds them stronger.  This also causes the body to increase mitochondria within the muscle, which improves its ability to utilize oxygen, as well as its ability to clear out waste.  In other words, we will have some gains in strength, as well as some in endurance.  This is know in some circles as the fatigue method.  We do a movement, such as squats, as muscles tire, we recruit more muscle fibers to help out.  This method is superior to training endurance.

Some of you may of heard the term central nervous system as it relates to training.  In this article, we are referring to our body’s ability to efficiently recruit muscles.  We train heavy for low reps, we aren’t usually creating enough time under tension to cause muscular damage.  We are instead working on 3 things:

Rate coding: Increasing the firing rate of motor units

Motor unit synchronization: Being able to recruit more motor units at one time resulting in more force

Size principle: being able to recruit bigger more powerful motor units

We train above 80% for 1-3 reps, we are focusing on honing our body’s ability to more efficiently use the muscles we have.   Think updating the software for all you computer folks.  This type of training has tremendous carryover to power activities such as sprinting and vertical jump.

Here at CFC, we have spent a lot of time training strength with sets across.  Ex 3×6, 5×5, 3×10 etc.  This gives us some strength, and more endurance at the preformed weight.  You are now going to see more 10-8-6-4-2 with ascending percentages or various other ladders.  This type of setup hits both ends of the spectrum.  See, our strength sets the bar for our endurance, to a point of course.  In very simple terms, there is how much power can be produced, and how much can be sustained.  What can’t be produced, can’t be sustain.  Working on the holes in one part of your fitness will help the others.