How Strong is Strong Enough for CrossFit?

I want to get strong!

You are not alone… It is probably the biggest enquiry we get, in fact it seems that no matter how strong you are, you want to get even stronger.

So how strong is strong enough for CrossFit?

No one has the exact answer to this, well maybe 1 person – Dave Castro. He is the person that is programming for the 2018 season, so you will have to ask him for the workouts, before you can know exactly how strong you need to be to excel in 2018.

However it is true you can look at past workout results and what the top athletes can lift. Here you will get an idea of the numbers you need to be able to achieve.

In fact I will save you some of the work for the Snatch: The average 2017 CF Games Qualifier Male had 127,1kg and Female 85,1kg.

However, you must first ask yourself a question: Do you really need to just get stronger?

Be honest with yourself here…

Is your gymnastic ability and conditioning capacity in line with your strength goals? More often than not it isn’t. Many CrossFit athletes are chasing lifting numbers, whilst forgetting huge chunks of the puzzle.

Lets take for example an athlete looking to get to the Regionals in 2017. Obviously being able to hit a 120/84kg Snatch under fatigue would of helped your chances this year. However, first you had to make it to the heavier weights and this involved high level of gymnastic and conditioning capacity. Then there were 4 other workouts where top end strength numbers didn’t play as much of a factor. In other words the 120/84kg snatch would have helped you in 1/5 workouts… Only if your conditioning and gymnastics was good enough to get you there.

My point in this rather long introduction is that, strength although important, often isn’t the major factor in CrossFitters not achieving the level they wish to achieve. There are a lot more pieces to the puzzle than just being strong. Hitting a 120/84kg snatch won’t automatically take you to Regionals. In fact, a lot of athletes not being able to hit these numbers made it…


Getting stronger doesn’t necessarily make you better at CrossFit.

I personally think there are 2 things that drive this belief:

  1. It is an easy metric to measure. How much do you snatch, clean and jerk, deadlift etc? Most people know and it is easy to compare.
  2. Lifting big looks good on social media and it is easy to get likes, therefore we bias our training for the social media world.

So you have read the introduction and you have decided you still want to get really STRONG?

I understand.

So if you want to get stronger, quicker and more powerful. 

Ask yourself this question: Do your actions/training sessions reflect this?

As CrossFitters we are very used to getting the post metcon hit, lying on the floor rolling around, entering a dark place and sitting in a corner for a while. If you don’t get this you don’t feel like you have trained. 

Training to get stronger, quicker and more powerful doesn’t often leave us with the same feeling. In fact it needs a different approach.

We brought out a program that specifically caters to this need, because, as I said, people want to be STRONG:

So, what does it require?

First, like most physiological processes in the body, exact mechanisms by which exercise enhances strength remain unclear. We do however have theories and basics mechanisms that are understood as well as living examples (very strong people).

Overall, two processes are involved: neural adaptations (The connection between the nerve and the muscle gets better) and hypertrophy (Muscles getting bigger).

Therefore our training needs to encompass these 3 basic principles.

  1. For the neural adaptations to occur we have to practice! We do adapt quickly and this is often why a beginner makes significant improvements quickly.
  2. Hypertrophy takes time and the balance of stress and adaptation that is placed on the skeletal muscle is the key that allows this process to occur.
  3. Biomechanical efficiency (Moving well and good technique) allows us to express our strength. It doesn’t matter within the Sport of CrossFit if you can back squat 200+ kg but cant OHS an empty bar.

Within your training you need to be aware of these factors, proper technique, movement, diligent practice and optimal programming matter!

When these factors are combined in the right way this will allow you adapt aka get STRONG.

In summary:

Want to get better at CrossFit, then you need to get better at CrossFit not just get stronger. This will mean steady increases in all aspects within the sport of CrossFit, rather than just big jumps at certain points in the season. This is why within The Progrm, we don’t traditionally periodise our training, however look to improve all aspects all year around.

If you are looking to get stronger, quicker and more powerful then you need to think about how your actions and training reflects this. Want to see how this looks then you can try out a free week here:


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