PRs Aplenty at the Winter 2017 EAD | CFAH Powerlifting Meet.

Congrats to All Competitors | Watch for Info on the Spring 2018 Powerlifting Meet

The months of dedicated training, steadfast commitment, and perfected technique paid off for the 25 athletes who competed at the Winter 2017 EAD | CFAH Powerlifting Meet.  Athletes rang the PR Bell throughout the morning amid cheers from fellow EAD | CFAH Athletes, and family & friends. All competitors earned bragging rights, with the top three men and women who posted the heaviest combined loads across the Back Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift taking home a trophy. The December 9 competition culminates the Fall 2017 Strength & Conditioning Cycle programmed by Coach Kate.

Congrats to the podium finishers (from left): Christine B, Sara M, Sammy Jo, Nick J, Mike E, and David K. Check out more photos from Saturday’s event on the EAD | CFAH Facebook Page.

Saturday’s event ran similar to an “official” Powerlifting meet, but in a much friendlier and far more familiar environment. Check out the Deadlift portion of the event on the EAD | CFAH YouTube Channel. Athletes competed in divisions based on gender and weight class athletes. Athletes in the 40-plus division received a handicap in increments of five years (40-44, 45-49, and so on). Job well done by Saturday’s competitors: Adam, Alex J, Ann Marie N, Beth R, Casey J, Christine B, David K, Eitan, John S, Jonathon B, Julian, Julie M, Lauren K, Lucy, Mike E, Michelle G, Mike Mu, Nic G, Nick J, Nina, Bob Da, Sammy Jo, Sara M, Tom H and Todd N. Thanks to Coach Kate for running the meet, and Coaches Web, Jeff, Jim and Jason for serving as judges. A special shout out to Hannah A for taking pictures.

What’s Next

The Strength & Conditioning Cycle for December will be similar to the recent cycle, with the new cycle programmed by Coack Kate launching January 2. The Winter months are the perfect time to focus on Strength & Conditioning. The programming is always featured as part of the daily workout posting. Not sure if the Strength & Conditioning class is for you? Check in with an EAD | CFAH Performance Coach.



January Olympic Lifting Seminar Athletes Post Significant Gains.

Submitted by Coach Alida. Train with Alida in one of the following classes based at Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights:
> Monday, 5:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m., CrossFit
> Wednesday, 5:30 a.m., CrossFit
> Saturday, 7 a.m., Olympic Lifting Seminar

Register Today for the March 15 – April 5, 7 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Olympic Lifting Seminar

The Elite Athletic Development | CrossFit Arlington Heights January Olympic Lifting Seminar concluded Saturday, and the results were fantastic! The six athletes who participated worked hard on cleaning up their technique and can now approach the Olympic Lifts with much greaterconfidence. On the final Saturday, the athletes maxed out on the Snatch and Clean & Jerk and we saw new PRs and high percentage lifts being hit with much better technique.

Registration is now open for the March 15 - April 5 Olympic Lifting Seminar. Space is limited ... register today.

Registration is now open for the March 15 – April 5 Olympic Lifting Seminar. Space is limited … register today.

If you are in class with Steve S., Tim F., Talya, Bob D., Jim T. or Juan you may notice their improved technique, or you may see their new PRs being added to the Wall of Fame and wonder “Is this Olympic Lifting Seminar for me?” The answer is a resounding yes! The Olympic Lifting seminar is designed to help athletes of all levels, from those who are fresh out of Training Essentials, to those who have been training for a few years and would like to take an in-depth look at their technique in order to add pounds to their 1RM, or increase efficiency while doing the lifts in WODs.

The seminar is a four-week commitment and is designed to take you back to the basics, and build a solid technique foundation before adding weight. There is a strong focus on positioning and making sure you understand where your body should be in relation to the bar during each phase of the lifts.

During the first week, the focus is solely on the Snatch. Athletes will be lead through a series of exercises with an empty bar or PVC learning the “double knee bend” technique, the method that is taught at all USA Weightlifting seminars, and is employed by nearly every competitive Olympic Lifter. During the second session, the focus shifts to learning the technique for the Clean & Jerk. Once again, the athletes will move through the exercises with an empty bar or PVC, to make sure they are concentrating on technique and not the weight. At the end of these two sessions, athletes will perform a series of strength building assistance exercises that reinforce the positioning that was just taught. The third session continues the focus on assistance lifts. The assistance lifts can be used to focus in on specific weaknesses and help to build strength during the pull or catch phases of the lifts. The final Saturday is max out day! Athletes will be given the opportunity to test their improved skills, and shoot for a new PR or the ability to hit their old PR with confidence and perfect technique.

Still have questions? Talk to Coach Alida to discuss how the Olympic Lifting Seminar will support your training goals. The seminar is run on Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. -8:30 a.m., and is limited to six athletes.

Alida Bray started her training at EAD / CFAH in one of the very first Fitness Boot Camp classes. She soon transitioned to CrossFit, where she quickly feel in love with the barbell and is now a seasoned Olympic Lifting. Alida is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Concept 2 Certified Indoor Rowing Instructor, USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.

Up Your Strength Game In 2014.

Contributed by Coach Scott. Train with Scott in one of the following classes based at Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights:
Strength & Power l Wednesday, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or Friday, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Skills & Strength Intensive / Advanced WOD l Sunday, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
CrossFit Boot Camp, Sunday l 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

BodiStrongAre you ready to up your training game? Whether you are new to training or an advanced athlete, participating in the Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights Winter 2014 Strength & Power cycle at least two classes per week will positively impact your fitness and performance. Guaranteed.

The eight-week Strength & Power cycle (January 13 – March 7) is divided into goal-specific “mini-cycles” programmed to develop absolute strength output, or drive your 1RM in the Back Squat, Front Squat, Overhead Press, Bench Press, and Deadlift. Programming will also increase proficiency in several key functional movements, including Chin Ups, Pull Ups, Dips, Grip Strength, and carrying heavy loads across long distances. This is a shift from the past few Strength & Power cycles which concentrated almost exclusively on increasing power output by training the Olympic lifts. The Clean & Jerk and Snatch are still included in the January – March cycle, but will be programmed to contribute to total body strength … and ensure interested athletes are properly prepared for the CrossFit Games Open slated to start in March.

StrongThe benefits of strength training are many, and include:

  • Positive change in body composition
  • Increased muscle mass (turn into a calorie burning machine)
  • Complete more “work” during CrossFit classes (more repetitions and more weight)
  • Attempt new movements with new strength (more Rx and fewer scaled WODs)
  • Increased ability to generate force (other activities become easier)
  • Improved sports performance (sprint faster, jump higher, and hold your ground)
  • Increased confidence
  • Ability to improve all other areas of fitness

If you’ve not participated in a previous Strength & Power cycle, now is your chance. If you’ve been a regular to the Strength & Power classes, you’ll find the new programming physically and mentally challenging, and a great opportunity to accelerate your progress.

Editor’s Note: Visit the EAD / CFAH Athlete Center to access the 3-2-1 Goal Training Plan Template and Goal Planning Worksheet. Use both tools to organize your first quarter training performance goals.

Scott Mezzano is an EAD / CFAH / CFAX performance coach. He earned his BS & MS, Exercise Science, from Western Illinois University. He is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and holds certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine and USA Weightlifting. Scott is a Fitness Education adjunct instructor at McHenry Community College.

New Strength & Power Cycle Lifts Off July 2.

Coach Josh & Coach Ashley demo Clean Progressions.

The new Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights / CrossFit Axis Strength & Power Cycle begins Monday, July 2 and concludes Saturday, July 28, the first day of the 2012 London Olympic Weightlifting event.

The four-week Strength & Power Cycle will focus on the Olympic Lifts — the Clean & Jerk and Snatch. No previous Olympic Lifting experience is necessary — the nationally-certified Elite Athletic Development Performance Coaches will provide expert instruction, and class structure will provide ample practice. Every athlete will benefit from training the Olympic Lifts, and based on previous Strength & Power Cycles, athletes will improve form and mechanics, build confidence and achieve a variety of performance goals.

Athletes ready to commit to the July Strength & Power Cycle should schedule their training as follows:

Mary Kate is just one of the doznes of athletes who committed to the May / June Strength & Power Cycle and hit PR after PR the week of June 25 -- on her lifts and across MetCons.

  • Monday l Train Strength & Power
  • Tuesday l Rest Day. If you didn’t train Monday, programming will repeat today
  • Wednesday l Train Strength & Power
  • Thursday l Train Strength & Power
  • Friday l Rest Day. If you missed Wednesday or Thursday, programming will repeat today
  • Saturday l Train 8 a.m., Advanced MetCon Class
  • Sunday l Rest Day.If you missed Saturday, programming will repeat today

July Strength & Power classes will include movements and lifts which support the Clean & Jerk and Snatch, along with a few other surprises, making for a robust training session. Resist the siren song of the MetCon for the next four weeks, and if you’re a runner, closely monitor your mileage … even consider taking a few weeks off. Remember: over-training is as detrimental to achieving your performance goals as under-training.

Finally, athletes are encouraged to actively recover after training sessions. Take advantage of our Sport Yoga and Mobility & Recovery classes, be sure to foam roll regularly, and if you’re game, even hop in an ice bath.

If you have any questions about the July Strength & Power Cycle, be sure to check in with Coach Josh, Jim, Karen or Becky.

Weigh In: What are your  performance goals for the July Strength & Power Cycle?

Note: Due to the July 4th holiday, week 1 programming will be different than weeks 2 -4.  Check the WOD posting each day for more information.

May / June Strength & Power Cycle Athletes Celebrate Almost 200 PRs.

Contributed by Coach Karen & Coach Josh

Seven weeks. Dozens of athletes. Community support. Experienced coaching. Disciplined programming. Skill focused. And almost 200 PRs.

The May / June Strength & Power cycle was the longest to date, and the results posted by CrossFit Arlington Heights athletes of all experience levels were well worth the work … and wait. So many athletes logged their best 1 Rep Max on Power Lifts (Back Squat, Deadlift, Shoulder Press, Front Squat & Bench Press) we ran out of space on the white board. (scroll down to see lift PRs)

The PRs didn’t stop with the Power Lifts. The increased strength and power gained over the seven-week cycle parlayed into PRs for the 400m Run, Mile Run, 500m Row, the EAD Baseline, the girls — “Karen”, “Helen”, “Annie” — 50 Barbell Burpees, and just about every category listed on the Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights Wall of Fame. And thanks to the Pull Up Progression Intensive which ran concurrent to the Power Lift cycle, many athletes completed their first Dead Hang Pull Up, with more still thisclose. And if that wasn’t enough, how about aesthetics? Body composition improved (lean muscle mass to body fat), and many athletes report they need (yet another!) shopping trip to replace too-large clothes.

Finally, athletes logged PRs on their Baseline 1 Rep Max for the Snatch and Clean & Jerk — even though those lifts were only occasionally trained during May and June. The Snatch and Clean & Jerk will be the lifts of focus for the upcoming July / August Strength & Power Cycle.

The next Strength & Power Cycle begins Monday, July 2 ... just in time for your July - August - September performance goals.

The athletes who PR’d last week shared a few behaviors. They:

  • Suspended Disbelief. Committing for seven weeks to the Strength & Power Cycle challenged the training norm for many existing and new athletes; it’s tough to leave your comfort zone. You took the risk, however, and it paid off big — both in overall strength and metabolic conditioning.
  • Ate “Clean”. Not every athlete ate strict Paleo, but they were mindful of dietary choices and looked at food as fuel for performance.
  • “WOD Snacked”. The athletes experimented and fine-tuned their pre- and post-workout snacks for optimum recovery.
  • Scheduled Active Recovery & Rest. Whether taking ice baths, spending a bit of extra time with the stretching rope or foam roller, attending Sport Yoga or the Mobility & Recovery Workshop, athletes took time to rest and recover.
  • Focused on Form, Technique & Mechanics. You trusted us when we asked you to back off (way off, in some cases) the weight you wanted to lift, pushed aside that little voice calling you a wimp, and re-loaded your bar to weight you could lift with precision.
  • Banished “No Pain, No Gain”. Not every training session ends with you a sticky, sweaty, breathless mess, or unable to move in 48 – 72 hours.
  • Progression, Not Perfection. You can’t PR every lift, every time. Period. Many of you fight this on a regular basis, and you leveraged this Strength & Power Cycle to exorcise the “all PR, all the time” demons.

Weigh In. What was the highlight for you over the past seven weeks? What are your goals for the upcoming cycle? What’s different about how you feel about barbell movements today vs. when you first started? If you haven’t committed to a Strength & Power Cycle, why not? Let us know what is on your mind …

EAD / CFAH / CFAX athletes logged more PRs during June than space on the white board.



May Strength & Power Classes Target Powerlifting Movements.

Steve G. preps for a max effort lift.

Contributed by Coach Jim

“What’s next?” was second only to “Wow!” at the conclusion of our very successful April Olympic Lifting cycle. After a recovery week, we’re ready to start a new Strength Cycle which will build upon the improved technique and increased power development gained during April. And what a cycle it will be as the evil genius behind Elite Athletic Development’s programming has prescribed traditional powerlifting movements.

Strength gains made from committing the to May Strength & Power cycle will improve every aspect of your training, and therefore, your overall results. In more than 40,000 hours of training athletes of all types, we can honestly say that we have yet to see anyone who couldn’t benefit from getting stronger. We often have a bit of a challenge convincing athletes new to the EAD experience that they were meant to lift heavy objects, but once they see and feel the results, there’s no turning back.

Ask any of the athletes who committed to the April Olympic Lifting cycle about the value of the EAD Strength & Power classes. The feedback will be overwhelmingly positive. Better yet, just look at the athletes who committed; the results speak for themselves. From our vantage point, enter into the next four weeks with the following in mind: lift heavy, eat smart, get adequate rest and do it consistently – then go out and get a new swimsuit.

Here is how the major lifts and days of the week will look for the next 4-6 weeks:

  • Monday (Back Squat)
  • Tuesday (Deadlift)
  • Wednesday (Shoulder Press)
  • Thursday (Front Squat)
  • Friday (Bench Press)

The plan calls for choosing one of the two pressing movements (shoulder press or bench press) based on where you feel you need the most improvement and for you to use the other press day as a rest day or to integrate a MetCon workout. A very important aspect of this programming is for all athletes to take at least two days of rest during the strength cycle. While it is relatively easy to gauge the intensity of a MetCon workout from elevated heart and respiratory rates, strength workouts don’t always feel so taxing when you are done, but still stress the body in a manner that requires more recovery for maximum adaptation.

Those athletes that recently completed the CF Total and 1RM lifts in the bench press and the front squat will have logged current numbers to use as starting points for the cycle. For those who have not, EAD Performance Coaches will be happy to work with you to establish proper loads going forward. As with all programs, consistency is paramount. Look at your needs, goals and schedule availability and then commit to a weekly schedule that you can stick with.  Here are a few examples of how you could schedule:

Sample Athlete Week

  • Monday – (Back Squat) S&P
  • Tuesday – (Deadlift) S&P
  • Wednesday – Off/Rest and Recovery Day
  • Thursday – (Front Squat) S&P
  • Friday – (Bench Press) S&P
  • Saturday – MetCon
  • Sunday – Off/Rest and Recovery Day

Sample Athlete Week – Weekdays only

  • Monday – (Back Squat) S&P
  • Tuesday – (Deadlift) S&P
  • Wednesday – MetCon
  • Thursday – (Front Squat) S&P
  • Friday – (Bench Press) S&P
  • Saturday – Off/Rest and Recovery Day
  • Sunday – Off/Rest and Recovery Day

If you have any questions about the May Strength Cycle, be sure to grab a performance coach. If you’re ready to commit to four solid weeks of powerlifting movements, post your goal for the cycle in the “Comments” section below.

April 2012 Oly Lift Cycle Finishes Strong.

Submitted by Coach Josh S

Phil with a strong Jerk.

This weekend marked the end of our April Olympic Lifting Strength Cycle, and every athlete who committed to the four week program posted a PR, whether measured by weight increase, technique improvement, or appreciation of the value of the Snatch, Clean & Jerk and Front Squat to functional movement and overall fitness.

Geno mvoing toward a Clean & Jerk PR.

A wide range of EAD / CFAH / CFAX athletes took part in the cycle. Some athletes followed the programming exactly as posted, some could only make it a couple times a week, and some were new to the  lifts and dedicated four weeks to perfecting form and technique. Even if you only glimpsed over or heard weights dropping during one of the Strength & Power classes, it’s likely that the cues “feet in” and “fast elbows” still echo in your head.

Overall, results were impressive. Some athletes increased weights on all lifts when compared to the baseline lifts in early April. Some athletes improved their stability and positioning in the bottom of a squat, or gained comfort catching and locking out heavy weight overhead. Some athletes corrected poor positioning and bad habits picked up before they became part of the EAD / CFAH / CFAX Community. And every athlete gained new respect for the importance of proper lifting technique, and recognized that the past four weeks just scratched the surface … Olympic lifting takes years and years to master.

Gina sets up for a Snatch.

Ultimately, the past four weeks have been part of our continuing journey — as individual athletes and and health & fitness community — to break through barriers, whether real or self-imposed. When the EAD / CFAH / CFAX performance coaches collectively look back on the April Olympic Lifting Cycle, we most remember that we issued a challenge, and each and every person who accepted the challenge stepped up and simply destroyed it.

The investment you made in yourself — the blood, sweat and tears (yes, we saw all three); time; practice; listening; accepting suggestions; working through frustration; pushing past fear; supporting each other; trusting that when we told you what you learned previously was unsafe or simply wrong; and more — contributed to an environment where we saw every athlete committed to get better than the day before. And for that, we couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of you.

John O' on his way to a PR.

We’d like your feedback. When you look back over the past four weeks, what was the biggest surprise? What made you most proud — of yourself or a fellow athlete?  If you didn’t participate in this cycle, are you considering the next cycle? What would you like to share with us about this experience? We’re ready to hear what you have to say…


Week One in Review: April Olympic Lift-Focused Programming.

Contributed by Coach Josh

The week started for some with excitement and others anxiety, but by Saturday almost every athlete anticipated the PRs they will post  April 28 as we focus our Strength & Power programming exclusively on Snatches and Clean & Jerks, and movements to support the Olympic Lifts.

Athletes quickly recognized how jam-packed the one-hour Strength & Power classes would be with a combination of instruction, skill development & practice, and lift progressions. All the performance coaches appreciate how attentively you listened and stayed on task – and that you were willing to stay a few minutes after to complete the lift cycle when programming ran long.

Maggie is on board with lifting heavy s***.

Feedback from Week One was positive, and it was great to hear how many of our woman – many who never touched a barbell before becoming part of the Elite Athletic Development Community – are excited to give real Strength & Power training their full attention for the month of April. We know that women absolutely love the confidence they gain in all areas of their life by lifting heavy s***.

It was also great to get a chance to talk up the benefits of Olympic Lift training, which include a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, increased lean body mass, and decreased body fat.  Research also supports that this type of programming will improve athletic performance in sprinting and explosive jumping (aka vertical jumps). And let’s not forget the most important factor of them all: Olympic Lift training, especially in a community filled with so many great people, is fun. It goes without saying how unbelievably supportive you were to each other, and how that support helped people overcome mental and physical barriers. There may be only one person holding the bar, but there is an entire community lifting the weight.

We encourage athletes who want to improve their Snatches and Clean & Jerks follow the prescribed schedule to get the best benefit of the training cycle.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday — Lift training
Friday – Make-up Day OR Active Recovery, including stretching, foam rolling, Coach Karen’s Sport Yoga class, Coach Becky’s Mobility & Recover Workshop, or a long walk
Saturday – Lift (8 a.m. Advanced WOD)
Sunday — Complete and total rest day

Each Monday starts a new phase of the programming which builds from the previous week’s work. If you haven’t already done so, mark your calendar for Saturday, April 28 where we will put a month of training to the test with 1RM lifts.

If you missed Week One, don’t fear – just get on board the week of April 9! Also be sure to track your lifts in your training log.

What did you think about Week One? Let us know!

New Athlete Starter Package Now Available.

Now is the perfect time for new athletes to try Elite Athletic Development l CrossFit Arlington Heights l CrossFit Axis. Experience a workout community where people care about you, and create health & fitness programs with your goals in mind.

Know someone who has been thinking about giving EAD a try? Let them know that the time is right … right now!

We’re offering athletes new to our results-based health & fitness community a great special offer to kick-start their training. Each athlete who signs up November 7 – December 31 will receive the following for a $75 investment:

>  A custom, Elite Athletic Development training log

>  A premium CrossFit Arlington Heights tee shirt (men’s & women’s cuts)

>  Three Elite Athletic Development Movement Essentials™ classes — the ideal way to learn the nine fundamental CrossFit movements, plus another 15 or so movements used regularly in our MetCon and Strength & Power classes

>  One free MetCon or Strength & Power class

>  A free, Elite Athletic Development 3-2-1 Goal!™ consultation with one of our nationally-certified performance coaches

This package is valued at more than $200. Know someone who might be interested? Please have them call 847.394.8110 orl email Coach Karen.

3-2-1 Goal!™ Workshop Registration Now Open.

Workshops are scheduled for Dec. 5, 6 & 7. Register today.

Registration is now open for the December Elite Athletic Development 3-2-1 Goal!™ Workshop for January – February – March goal setting and optimum class mix planning.

We will offer two different workshops in December: one for athletes who attended the September workshop (2.0), and a second for athletes who are new to the goal setting process (1.0).