Workout of the Day

Heavy Days


If you’ve ever skipped a day of training that called for a small volume of maximal effort repetitions (for example: Back squat - 3,3,3,3,3) because you thought it wasn’t worth your time or didn’t apply to your fitness, this post is for you. Read on.

If you’re the type to always show up on heavy days, good on you. Read on for confirmation of why you’re making the right decision.

Strength and power, both trained with heavier loads and lower repetitions, are foundational for health, functionality, and performance in general.

Let’s consider a few hypothetical situations where you may think heavy days aren’t worth your time, and consider why this isn’t the case.

1 - My goal is weight loss.

While lifting heavy weights for low reps may not be a conventional association with weight loss, it is, in fact, a valuable tool for losing weight. First and foremost, lifting heavy weights for low repetitions is not the primary stimulus for gaining muscle, a common fear among those interested in losing weight. Moderate weights performed for moderate to high repetitions provide the strongest hypertrophy (muscle-building) stimulus. Second, heavy days provide a potent stimulus for increasing metabolism, a valuable piece of the weight-loss puzzle. Third, if you increase your strength -- the primary focus of heavy days -- you will build capacity for greater power output in other elements of your training (medium and longer duration workouts, for example), enabling you to get more from the rest of your training and have better weight-loss results.

2 - I’m already strong enough.

Unless you have some world-records next to your name, this probably isn’t true. Generally, this sentiment comes from folks who struggle with stamina and endurance efforts and assume that the best solution is to continually hammer away at more stamina and endurance efforts. While training stamina and endurance directly is absolutely necessary to improve in these physical skills, strength and power are foundational to both as well. Consider this: if you struggle to move a 95lb barbell for 15+ reps overhead and the heaviest weight you can move overhead is 185lbs, you will undoubtedly improve your capacity to move a 95lb barbell overhead for 15+ reps by increasing your max overhead weight to 275lbs. Put another way, when a 95lb barbell is ~35% of your 1rm, it will be far easier to move for higher reps than when that same 95lb barbell is ~50% of your 1rm. Often, those who believe they are “strong enough” are the people who need strength more than anyone else.

3 - I don’t get a good enough workout when we only lift heavy.

There are two considerations here. First, your definition of a “good workout” is flawed. Sweat and heavy breathing (two common, albeit misguided markers of a “good workout”) are generally the byproduct of aerobic efforts and hotter weather. Defining your fitness by these metrics is both short-sighted and self-limiting. Second, you may be missing the intention of a heavy day. Our training is based on high intensity, and that intensity comes in multiple forms. On some days, that intensity will mean 15 minutes of non-stop movement, and will include plenty of sweat and breathing. On heavy days, we pack the same high-intensity into very low volume efforts. What this means is that you should be working at the fringes of your capacity. If you find yourself feeling unchallenged on heavy days, chances are that you’re phoning it in and not applying the intensity necessary to get the best results from your training. Remember, you get out what you put in. Done properly, a heavy day leaves your system just as taxed and presents just as much physical and mental challenge as a high-rep, high-intensity conditioning effort.

I’m proud of the culture at CrossFit No Boundaries and our general embrace of heavy days. Our community sees the immense value in this specific form of training as it fits into the broader scope of general physical preparedness. If you’ve been on the fence or find yourself among those who don’t see the value in heavy days, I hope you caught a glimpse of what you’re missing. Let’s get stronger together!

- PS


  • Sumo deadlift - 5,5,3,3,3,1,1,1,1,1


  • For quality, 8 mins of:

    • 20 goblet cossack squats (10/side)

    • 20 SL RDL (10/side)