Building the Barbell WOD Program

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Knowledge: Scientific and Practical

While our programs are grounded in good science, we also rely heavily on our own evidence based reality.  This is a reality that has been forged from working with athletes across a breadth of various sports with a wide range of training ages and abilities. We take a scientific approach and blend it with this practical knowledge to form the fabric of the Barbell WOD.  While the basis of our program may on the surface look Soviet, there are some very noteworthy departures.  

We use Block Periodization models leveraged from some of the most well known coaches and researchers such as Verkhoshansky, Roman, Medvedyev and Bondarchuk.  We then combine the traditional block methodology with a Percentage + Progressive Overload (PPO) strategy developed here at California Strength.  Using the PPO strategy to drive intensity and training consistency is especially useful when combined with implementing a large range of exercise selection.  

Over the years we have found that allowing our athletes to achieve continuous success (small and consistent PR’s) in a variety of exercises yields long term interest and helps to drive motivation.  Achieving success during training is imperative to the long-term success of our athletes and with the wide range of exercise selection used in our programming, these PR attempts come often with the implementation of non-competition exercises ranging from hitting a double in the Low Hang Snatch to a 5 Rep Max Back Squat.  Having a wide variation of complementary exercises allows us to consistently operate at the edges of one's ability.  This high degree of varied exercise selection combined with the PPO strategy helps drive skill acquisition while guarding against overuse injuries and neural fatigue.   

Applying this method to the Barbell WOD has shown to not only provide a structured approach for those who may find themselves jumping from program to program in the past, but also the blend of exercise selection and Percentage + Progressive Overload challenges its members while avoiding an inevitable burnout or plateau that comes as a result of unstructured programs.

Anchor Dates and Feedback

Taking into account the principles above, we begin to build the Barbell WOD program by structuring our annual goals and Anchor Dates.  The goals of the Barbell WOD have always been to improve technique and movement through building strength based on structural balance ratios.  Anchor Dates like the CF Open provide the timeline used to structure each Mesocycle in order to be ready when it counts in competition.  

Athlete Feedback is a useful tool for all coaches but tracking this feedback and then applying it to your program can be a challenge. We are able to use the analytics and tracking features in the TrainHeroic App to gather data from the entire Barbell WOD community. Decisions made from this data allows us to combine input from past experiences, past athletes, and past successes and failures to use as cornerstones for improving the Barbell WOD programming with every cycle.  As people continue to join the Barbell WOD, our Feedback data expands and we are able to zero in on exactly what our athletes need in their programming.

A quick look at Dave’s book shelf inside California Strength..

  • Supertraining by Yuri Verkhoshansky and Mel Siff

  • Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance by Inigo Mujika

  • The Snatch, The Clean And Jerk by R.A. Roman and M.S. Shakirzyanov