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Operation: Becoming a UNIT

Heading into the winter season we decided to do the CrossFit version of a "bulk". This training cycle was eight weeks lasting from 10/24/22-12/16/22 with a main emphasis on adding muscle to the frame to support strength gains in the new year while keeping our engines alive with less frequent but high intensity conditioning.

Disclaimer: If you've only been to the gym a time or two, and reading this makes no-sense, please know that you don't have to understand the below to join our family and get some great workouts in. One of the things we find very important at Jag is sharing the long term vision/goals of our upcoming training with our members. It's a lot easier to get to your destination if you know where you're going!

Chicago Ave. CrossFit Training Cycle

We are closing in on the end of Operation Strength God and Hot Bod and the PRs have already started flowing… not to mention you all lookin’ damnnn good! I’m revved up to see what this test week produces as we’ve been hitting some lower volume and higher percentage lifts that should fill the front board like we’ve never seen before – ding ding babiii!

Once we ring that bell for the final time this week it’s time to focus on our next goal, that of becoming a UNIT! The (urban) dictionary describes a unit as “Someone or something that has the shear mass or presence that makes your jaw drop and/or give the utmost respect to”. Essentially imagine if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Adriana Lima had a child… that kid would be destined to be an absolute UNIT.

Personally, I just spent this weekend unpacking my winter clothes from the storage unit, so the time has come to focus on layering on some slabs of muscle while the temps are low, the and we’re all eating our way through the holidays! Now chill… I didn’t say it’s time to get fatter lol. We’ve long since learned that packing on some solid LBs of muscle doesn’t have to mean letting our waistline go to shit. I’ll take a moment to share some scientific facts about muscle with you:

  1. Muscle increases your metabolism therefor increasing the amount of calories you burn all day long.

  2. The more lean muscle mass you have the longer you are able to live unassisted.

  3. The more muscle mass you have the more your life is like an Axe Bodyspray commercial where you have to fight away men/women (SCIENCE!!!)

This cycle will see an increased focus on lifting intensities, volumes, and functional bodybuilding. But don’t worry BT, I can feel your concern now… we will still feed your masochist need for pain and sweat by transitioning some of the lifting schemes into high cardio bouts to deliver the out of breath intensity you crave lol. This 8-week cycle will take us right up to Christmas – just in time to transition into a high-conditioning “Open Prep” cycle to get those that participate ready for the CrossFit season, and those that don’t lean and mean for what waits the other side of winter!

Note: This is an 8-week cycle that will occur in two distinct 4-week waves (or alt. A/B weeks) to keep things fresh, interesting, and keep you from plateauing.

Time To Eat

Monday - Clean and Jerk + Back Squat

Do you like slangin’ barbells and feeling like an absolute gangster? Do you like squatting heavy weights in a quest for big lifts and a phat ass? Do you want a shredded midsection that is the envy of everyone in Chicago’s Play Pen? If you answered “Yes” to any of the above you’re going to want to block off your workout time for Monday’s. We’ll be entering each week with a double strength day guaranteed to thicccify you in all the right places. We’ll kick off class with our Clean & Jerk progression that see’s SP using complexes from the hang (or blocks) to work postural strength and sheer power. In lieu of traditional regressive complexes we’ll use progressive complexes in phase 1 to build strength under fatigue and move into some heavier complexes from the floor in phase 2. BT will see a high conditioning focus geared around the bike/row paired with percentage based AMRAPs to spike the heartrate, build the backside, and dial in technique under fatigue. Technique will mirror SPs complex progression but with an increased volume because more reps = more practice = better lifts. After the final bar has been slammed to the ground we’ll load those babies onto the racks for strength part II – back squats. We’ll be hitting an age old classic 5x5-or-7 in phase 1, followed by a 5x3-or-5 in phase 2 to keep our leg strength moving up with our pulling strength. We’ll close out this session of paying the sweat bank with a core finisher guaranteed to target both the “Hollywood” abs that make peoples heads turn as well as the functional muscle of the core that keep you tight and unbreakable under heavy loads!!

Below is the focus of each "Path"

  • Strength-Power: Progressive Complexes (1RM Progression)

  • Build-Tone: Row/Bike + % AMRAPs (3RM Progression)

  • Technique: Progressive Complexes (1RM Progression)

Tuesday - Bench/Strict Press

Warning – Attending class on Tuesdays may have unexpected financial consequences. You’re likely to have to purchase new shirts with larger sleeves to accommodate JAS (Juicy Arm Syndrome) Tuesdays are all about pressing for all paths. Since we’re slapping jerks as part of our clean complex on Monday’s we will focus on Bench Press and/or Strict Press on Tuesdays. SP will choose one of them and use a new progression style where we hit some top & drops with decreasing rep numbers, followed by a single AMRAP set. BT will alternate weekly between strict & bench press with barbell + dumbbell drop sets guaranteed to have the sleeve monster lurking the hallways of 770 N Halsted. Tech will use tempos to build positional strength throughout both pressing variations. After we’ve sufficiently pumped the entire upper body it’s time for war in our weekly metcon. We will be getting an early jump on our upcoming Open Prep cycle by hitting old Open workouts all cycle to get the body and brain right. To much competition can break the body down but the right amount is a recipe for pushing you outside your comfort zone and releasing the savage jaguar within!

Below is the focus of each "Path"

  • Strength-Power: Top & Drop + AMRAP (1RM Progression)

  • Build-Tone: Drop Sets + AMRAP (3RM Progression)

  • Technique: Regressive time-under-tension Tempos (5RM Progression)

Wednesday - Front Squat

Imagine if you went to the deli counter at your local Whole Foods (because they got the best meat!) and ordered six of the juiciest and fattest steaks you could… then proceeded to stable those thiccc slabs of meat – one to each butt cheek, one to each hamstring, and one to each quad – that is essentially what Wednesdays of this cycle will be… ENOUGH SAID! Queue the return of the front squat! Most of us have been back squatting for some time but it’s time to move the load to the front and see what our legs, upper back, and core are made of! SP will be hitting a progression similar to Tuesdays where we hit pause front squats in a top & drop + AMRAP format in wave one before saying peace out to the pauses in phase 2. BT will kick it off with front rack lunges (phase 1) before applying those glute-gains to the front squat in phase 2. Technique will be utilizing waved pause sets to hone an impenetrable squat capable of sustaining massive loads in later cycles. Now that we’ve moved some big weights we’ll hit some quality functional bodybuilding to strengthen all the accessory muscle that improve our front squat, while simultaneously growing all the muscles that make our clothes fit justttt right! Look to build the upper back, hit some single leg hamstring work - and if you’ve got the time smash your abs with an extra credit core finisher that will make it harder to sit-up in bed tomorrow morning – leaving you walking out of the gym feeling strong, sexy and ready to f**k shit up!!! Below is the focus of each "Path"

  • Strength-Power: Top & Drops + AMRAP (1RM Progression)

  • Build-Tone: Lunge + Squat Inverse Progression (3RM Progression)

  • Technique: Waved Tempos (5RM Progression)

Thursday - Grunt-nastics

With all the lifting we are fluctuating “intensity” (not counting weight) demands throughout the week. If you look back you’ll see Monday = Low, Tuesday = High, Wednesday = Low, Thursday = OFF THE MF-ingggg charts babiiii!!!

Thursdays will be our longer form cardio day of the cycle… but don’t plan on rolling in for some relaxed rounds for quality (unless that’s what your body needs lol) – these days are going to be hard AF and will be long EMOM setups pairing cardio, high volume loading, and gymnastics (or upper push/pull). Get ready to sweat, dial-in gymnastics under fatigue, and unleash any inner demons that have been stored up by people that have pissed you off the first half of the week!

Note – This is also the day to deviate from programming and practice any skills you are working on learning!!!

Friday - Deadlift / Snatch

Legend has it that Beehoven’s 9th symphony was actually inspired when he walked past a CrossFit gym and heard a combination of perfect snatches being dropped from overhead and heavy ass deadlifts being dropped from the waist. This beautiful couplet of sounds rang through the streets of Bonn Germany to inspire one of the greatest musical works of the world. So, shit… if those weak ass punks in Bonn could inspire that can you imagine what type of absolute slapper beats we will inspire in Chicago with the weights you animals are moving?!!! Friday’s you’ll make a tough decision in choosing between a Snatch or Deadlift progression. Snatchers will follow a progression similar to our Monday cleans where we focus on pulling power in phase 1 followed by strength through volume in phase 2. SP of deadlift will used waved sets each day where we hit some quality volume and finish with a fatty top set. BT (Deadlift) will hit heavy RDLs in phase 1 to build an ass of steel and then express that strength through full deads in phase 2… plus you’ll be supersetting EVERYTHING with some AMRAP band work that will have your muscles feeling like your 10 years old again and experiencing growing pains! Part II we’ll tie up all the loose ends from the week that haven’t been adequately grown via some dynamic rotation, strict pulling, and a glorious arm pump to kick the confidence into over-drive heading into the weekend.

Below is the focus of each "Path"

  • Strength-Power:

  • Snatch: Progressive Complexes (1RM Progression)

  • Deadlift: Waved Sets (1RM Progression)

  • Build-Tone: Deadlift: Inverse Sets + Volume AMRAPS (5RM Progression)

  • Technique: Snatch: Progressive Complexes (1RM Progression)

A final thought...

Yo… I haven’t been this excited about a cycle in a hot minute. As I stood concept mapping this in the gym office all I could picture was the scene from Space Jam where the “nerdlucks” touch the basketball and transform into “MONSTARS”. That is essentially what this cycle will look like… except imagine if instead of little nerdy space aliens they were already strong, jacked, beautiful people (like all of you)… imagine what the results would be haha!!!

And as always, thank you for putting your faith in us to be a part of your individual fitness journey. If you follow me on IG you’ve likely noticed that I get really excited about PRing lifts… but the feeling of watching you all hit PRs, or learn new skills, is like nothing else in the world. Adam and I love contributing to that and appreciate your trust in us.

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