How to do a Strength Block and Preparation vs. Competition – Share your thoughts/questions/results

preparation_mousetrapPreparation vs. Competition

In our plan one week will be a microcycle. Our microcycles can be classified as either preparation or competition. During a preparation microcycle a fitness block and/or a rowing block will be introduced and then repeated the following week. In the following week, aka – competition microcycle, those blocks will be repeated and individuals will be expected to compete and try to better their performances from the preparation microcycle.

This week is a great example.  Today is a Re-Test of “Nancy in a Boat”, which was introduced last week.  Last week was a preparation microcycle and this week is the competition microcycle.  If you did “Nancy in a Boat” last Wednesday and you are attacking it again today your goal should be to hold more consistent splits and move a little bit faster in both your rowing and your overhead squats.  Last week you prepared.  This week you drop the hammer and compete.  Have fun and get after it!  Let us know how you do and if you were able to improve.

How to do a Strength BlockShoulder Press_Boat Handling

Today’s Strength Block is 3×8 Shoulder Press.  What does that mean and what should you be doing?  To start, 3×8 Shoulder Press means your work should include 3 Sets of 8 Repetitions.  I will always write it this way, unless of course I specify something different.  Also, if there is no prescribed weight or percentages given then you are expected to work up to where the X rep( 8th in today’s case) is very difficult without compromising form.  Once you get to this point you have completed your first working set.  You should then complete the remaining working sets at this weight.

The above description addresses the prescribed work that is programmed in a Strength Block each week, for example: 3×8 Deadlift, 3×8 Back Squat, or 3×8 Shoulder Press.  In order to get the most out of a Strength Block you should be doing more than what is prescribed for that week.  Some weeks I will specify what that extra work should be, but otherwise your Strength Block should be carried out in the following order…

1. 5-10min Aerobic WarmUp – Bike/Run/Row

2. Foam Roll (5-10 Slow Rolls of the following areas)

  • IT Bands
  • Quads
  • Adductors
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip Capsules
  • T-Spine (Thoracic Spine)
  • Shoulders

3. 4-8min Specific Mobility

  • If you found tight or angry areas in the foam roll, use this time to mobilize those areas.
  • Otherwise, take this time to mobilize the muscle groups that will be used in the Strength Block.

4. 10-15min Dynamic WarmUp (Pick and Choose what is needed based on the Strength Block)

  • The following exercises can be done in place if needed, but in the interest of becoming more athletic try to find a 10-15 yard area to do this warmup.  Do the first exercise to half-way and the second exercise for the second half.  Then Jog Back.
    • Quad Stretch / Single Leg Flexion
    • Inch Worms / Bear Crawls
    • Toy Soldiers / Airplanes
    • Over the Fence – Under the Fence
    • Charlies Angels (Knee Hug, Lunge, and Twist)
    • Skipping
    • Quick Skip
    • Skips for Height
    • Skips for Distance
    • Burpee Broad Jumps
    • Butt Kicks / High Knees
  • Then in place, Finish with:
    • 40 Jumping Jacks
    • 20 Air Squats
    • 10 Push Ups

5. 15 min – Renegade Rowing Strength Warm-up

  • Complete 2-3 Rounds (10-15 Reps of Each)
    • :15 Samson Stretch
    • Overhead Squat w/ PVC Pipe
    • Push Ups
    • Pull Ups
    • Bird Dogs
    • Dying Bugs
    • Dips

6. 15-20min – Performing the Prescribed Strength Work for the day as stated at the top.  Be sure to include an adequate amount of warm up sets.

7. 5-10min Mobility and Foam Rolling – Help kick-start the recovery process and stretch/smash whatever was used or taxed in the workout.

Work on your Goats!

Depending on how much time you have to train and what the focus of the Strength Block is, you can do all of the above or take out certain pieces in the interest of time.  However, try to keep the pieces that you’re bad at and need to work.  We will never improve if we don’t work on what we’re bad at.

Give today’s Strength Block a shot and let us know how you do.  Post your results to comments and let us know if there are any questions.


4 thoughts on “How to do a Strength Block and Preparation vs. Competition – Share your thoughts/questions/results

  1. This weeks strength blocks include:
    Tuesday – Strict Press
    Thursdsy – Push press
    Friday – Shoulder press
    What is the distinction between Strict and Shoulder presses? Push press is clearly dip and drive.

    • Great question Ward! I will be more consistent with nominclature from now on. Strict Press and Shoulder Press are the same thing in my book. I’ll use shoulder press from now on. Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday are basic Strength Blocks. Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday are Olympic Lifting Blocks. Unless you need extra work on one area I would not do two blocks with the same movement. Try to choose based on what you need to improve as well as what you haven’t done yet this week. Great question!

      On Friday, November 14, 2014, Renegade Rowing wrote:


  2. Did “Nancy in the Boat” (sub OHS with 40# goblet sqts) a second time…it doesn’t get any easier.
    Total time=15:21 better my previous by 1:37.
    1:56.2/27 (did a power 10+ and realized that I did not push continue on the erg, AGH!!!!)

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