Strength Training Program Design

Strength Training Program Design

As many of you have noticed, over the past few months there has been a bit of a shift in our programming, mainly in the way that we design our strength days.

For the first year or year and a half at Cróga on strength days we would do some strength work and then move on to a “metcon” or conditioning piece after.

While this made sure everyone got some lifting in and also got to sweat and breathe hard on these days, over time and through continued education we realized that we were doing our members a disservice by rushing them through the strength portion of the programming.

We also noticed that often times our members performance during the strength work or conditioning work would suffer because they were either anticipating the metcon or they were worn out from the lifting.

Finally, the last straw was when I started to notice that our new members were getting stronger quickly, which is to be expected as many haven’t done much strength training in the past, but some of our members that had been with us for awhile were no longer seeing progress in the strength department or even regressing slightly at times.

Now, as any good programmer or coach knows, there are all kinds of factors that could impact strength gains for an individual, some within our control and some outside our control, but that doesn’t mean we were going to sit back and not attempt to fix a possible problem.

What we (Coach Anthony and I) decided to do was to choose 2 days a week, dedicate them strictly to strength work and fill the other 5 days in with all the other types of WODs that our members love.

Our thought process was that this would allow for some true high intensity strength training, we could get a proper warm up and movement instruction in before we started lifting, and no one would be rushed through their lifts, so they could give them an all out effort, which would provide us with the desired results.

Well, it’s been 12 weeks since we made the shift, so I think it’s about time to review how it’s been going.

Here are our observations:

The PR board has been slammed full of record setting lifts and the PR bell has been rung so many times I’m surprised it’s still attached to the wall.

New members are continuing to get strong quickly, if not seeing even more progress in a shorter period of time.

Longer tenured members have found their groove again and have been making some big GAINZ as of late.

Overall body composition of many of our members has improved dramatically as of late.

Excitement for lifting session and Metcon sessions has reached an all time high (there are very few people excited about half the workout and loathing the other half).

Gym wide moral is at an all time high with lots of high fives, fun, laughter and encouragement of others.

There are still a few that are reluctant to “lift heavy” and who want to “just do some cardio today”, but we are working on converting them. If you’re one of these people, please remember that we will never make you lift more than you’re comfortable lifting mentally and physically AND strength training burns more calories than steady-state cardio.


Do you have any other observations you’d like to add? Comment below or share a comment with us on our Cróga Facebook Page (

Next week I’ll be diving into the topic of additional work (we’ve called it Extra Credit in the past) and when it’s good to do and when you might be overdoing it or “overtraining”. Stay tuned…