I have written on this topic in the past, but feel as though it needs to be touched on once again. I have had a few of the same conversations with peers and clients recently that I believe should be addressed more formally.
What we are trying to do at Fulcrum Athletics is to give people the opportunity to become more fit. In doing so, we must program with some form of progression and periodization for those clients that train up to five or six times a week. Some of you may only come in two to three times a week, and not necessarily the same days each week. From one week to the next, the strength training movements are done usually on the same days, meaning if you squat on Monday you will likely squat on the following Monday, and the Monday after that. The volume (amount of reps/sets) will typically decrease as the load (amount of weight) increases, which will allow for progression and strength development. The strength training part of our classes is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR DAY! Strength drives fitness and your strength development will greatly improve your conditioning.
I have seen too many people get caught up in the “WOD” mentality where if they can’t do one of the movements in the conditioning workout because of either; mobility issues, or past injuries, they feel as though it’s a failure. The conditioning workouts, or WOD, is separate from the strength training and should be treated as a second priority. These workouts are there to help you learn how to pace yourself through a given amount of work, or, a given amount of time you should be able to consistently work. If I was to tell you to row for 15 minutes at a steady pace, it would significantly increase your heart rate. If I was to tell you to maintain a pace through: 10 kettlebell swings, 10 burpees and 10 ring rows over the course of 15 minutes and keep track of how many sets you did, it would significantly increase your heart rate. You will still be tired; you will still be working to improve your conditioning and achieving the same basic response from the work you put in. If for some reason (other than you hate them) burpees are a problem for you because of a wrist, shoulder, back, hip, knee, toe, etc… issue then that exercise can be switched to something that is not a problem. It is not about each individual exercise, it’s about the training response you get from the workout as a whole. You are still improving your conditioning!
If you can squat and deadlift properly and have the ability to increase the load of those lifts, you should be pretty happy. If there were only two things you could do the rest of your life to stay strong and in shape, they would be the squat and deadlift. The rest is just details.