This month’s cycle takes us away from a series of shorter, intense workouts to a benchmark requiring sustained effort and pacing. “Nancy” will be our focus over the next few weeks, and it consists of 5 rounds of 15 overhead squats and 400m runs. We tested “Nancy” yesterday, but we encourage you to make some time this week to make up the pre-test if you were unable to attend.
The beauty of “Nancy” lies in its simplicity. The overhead squat weight should be very light (prescribed weight is 95#/65#), but the volume of reps is high. As muscular fatigue accumulates and the run taxes your cardiovascular system, any weaknesses, movement inefficiencies, or mobility issues that may have been initially hidden will materialize. For some, the overhead squat is already a difficult exercise without accumulated fatigue; for anyone who has extreme difficulty with the movement, the weight should be scaled down to allow you to perform the squat for 15 full range reps, even if that is an empty 15 pound bar or unweighted PVC pipe.
To tackle this workout, over the next few weeks we will be working to improve the primary causes of poor overhead squats: shoulder strength and stability, thoracic (upper back), hip, and ankle mobility, midline stability, and leg strength/endurance. Our skill work will consist of exercises which challenge flexibility and shoulder strength, such as the Sotts press, Turkish get-ups, and kettlebell overhead squats. Our mobility work will attempt to loosen tight muscles in the back and stiffness in the joints and tendons. Lastly, our accessory work will target glutes, quads, abs, and shoulders to address any weaknesses which may be hindering your performance. We highly recommend anyone with extreme mobility restrictions also take one or more of our mobility classes, which are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00pm, or Sundays at 11:15am, to further address your problem areas.
Of course, the other element of “Nancy” is cardiovascular endurance; most people will take 12-20 minutes if the workout is scaled appropriately for them. Expect to see lots of running, and an emphasis on longer conditioning pieces and sustained effort (we will of course continue to include shorter workouts and interval training as well). One of the primary components to longer conditioning is learning how to pace, and if you are unsure of how to “attack” a given workout, your coach should be able to assist you. While “Nancy” requires consistency, knowing how to appropriately pace all time domains will help determine if you are going too hard or too slow when we retest the workout.
Our hope is that by the end of this cycle, you are stronger and more confident in your overhead squat, have increased range of motion in your problem areas, and are able to maintain a steady pace for longer durations. Let’s put in the hard work and crush some major PRs!