Strength Training 101

As we know, within CrossFit, the goal is to be as well-rounded as possible across the 10 general physical skills: 

  1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
  2. Stamina
  3. Strength
  4. Flexibility
  5. Power
  6. Speed
  7. Coordination
  8. Agility
  9. Balance
  10. Accuracy

The purpose of CrossFit is to build a complete fitness routine that can improve all of these domains! Today, I am going to just pick out strength and go over how to approach training if that is your primary goal! We are going to look at how to pick which main lifts you should be doing for a total body strength program! On top of the main lifts comes accessory work and other things, but that’s for another conversation. Today we will be just looking at how to choose your main lifts over the course of a week!

When looking at total body strength training, you should do at least 1 session per week at each movement pattern: Squat, Hinge, Push, Pull and Carry. We will break down different movements of each and then I will give you a sample week of what this could look like!

  1. Squat- This is any lower body movement with mostly knee flexion and an upright torso. Squats can be performed bilateral or unilateral. Examples would be back squats, front squats, goblet squats, split squats, lunges, box step ups, etc
  2. Hinge- This is a lower body movement with mostly hip flexion where the torso stays less upright and you “bow” over. Again this could be bilateral or unilateral. Examples here are Deadlifts, Cleans, Single Leg Romanian Deadlift, etc
  3. Push- This is an upper body movement where you are “pushing”. Also can be done unilateral or bilateral. Examples are pushups, strict press, dips, bench press, landmine press, etc
  4. Pull. This is an upper body movement where you are “pulling”. Can be done unilateral or bilateral. Examples are pull ups, ring row, gorilla rows, bent over row, high pulls, etc
  5. Carry. This is any sort of exercise where you are loaded and are traversing ground. Examples are farmer carries, sandbag carries, sled drags, yoke carrys, etc 

For a well balanced strength program, these 5 movement patterns should be done 1x per week (minimum) and can use any variation of the above exercises. We can also look at different sets, reps, tempos, rest/work intervals, etc.

 Again, these just make up your main lifts for the day. After the main lift we could get into how to appropriately choose accessory work, metcons,  depending on a lot of different factors, but this is the main objective when choosing exercise selection based on movement patterns. A sample week could look like this:


Monday (Squat Pattern): 5 sets of 5 Front Squats w/ :03 negative

Tuesday (Pull Pattern): 8 sets of 8 Single Arm DB Bent Over Rows each arm

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday  (Hinge Pattern): 5 sets of 5 Deadlifts

Friday (Push Pattern): 8 sets of 8 Barbell Strict Press

Saturday (Carry Pattern): 10 sets of 100m Sled Drag w/ 2 min Rest between sets

Sunday: Rest


This is a very basic week that hits all of the main movement patterns with the main lift! After this we could add in whatever is needed based on individual goals, but this would build a GREAT base of total body functional strength! 

As always, if you have any specific questions about strength training and want to dive into it deeper, hit me up! 

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