Make Your Sets Count!

Hey all,

As we enter into our Olympic lifting and Skills block, I wanted to touch on how to get extra gains out of your training sets. If you put the tips below into practice, you'll see your rate of improvement increase, and will enjoy the benefits of increased strength and skill much sooner.

We do a lot of set and rep sequences that suggest you build (add) weight as you go. This is a great way to progressively warm up and do a self assessment of your body. Sometimes, there isn't enough time to get a full warm up in before you start your "work sets" either, so that's something to consider.

What I've seen though over the past while is that a lot of you are starting your sets too low... so that you only get to a reasonable weight maybe halfway or 3/4 of the way through a series of sets. Since most of your strength gains occur at above 70% of your max (or 7/10 effort), if you're doing sets below that amount, you're missing out on some potentially higher quality sets (and subsequent gains).

For example, if someone has a max of 100lb in a lift, they need to be working at 70% or more to be making real strength gains. If they have 5 sets to do and their first sets are 55-60-65lb, they're not at a weight that it is significant enough to stimulate strength gain. They may get to that threshold for the last two sets but could have gotten more out of the early ones too.

My advice if this sounds familiar is to start warming up right away when you get into the gym. If you're doing squats, get out your barbell (only) and do some squats or mobility prior to the actual class warm up starting. Likewise for cleans or snatches or any other lift. This will get you a bit more warm and therefore a bit more able to start at a slightly heavier weight.

So to revisit our example above, if someone is warmed up by doing some mobility and practice lifts with the bar only, then does the warm up with the class, and hits the strength component, maybe they start at 65lb, then go 75-75-80-80. In that case, they have doubled the effective sets.

Now each situation is different, and the higher your max lift ability is, the more time it takes to warm up. So just take the above advice and try to apply it to your own training. If you end up doing 1 or 2 more productive sets each time you do some strength, it will add up to much more volume of quality work in the months and years ahead.

Keep fit and have fun!



We're back to 10 people in classes now, so half will start with the skill and the other half with the WOD. Show up dressed warmly so that starting outside isn't too bad!!

WARM UP: Barbell sequence: 5 deadlift, 4 hang power cleans, 3 front squats, 2 push presses. Samson stretch x 1 each side

3 rounds total, can add weight to the bar as you go!

SKILL: Rotating EMOM x 5

Minute 1: 4 front squats (can be taken from a rack)

Minute 2: 3 power cleans

Minute 3: 2 split jerks (from a rack)

Choose a weight that is challenging but also allows you to be smooth with the 1 minute changeovers!


15/10 Assault Bike Calories

10 V Sit-ups

25 Double Unders

Scale sit ups to double crunch or regular crunches... if you've got a bad back, do a front plank for 20 sec each round.

Scale to singles on the skipping or sub in jumping jacks or 7 burpees in for the du's