Farewell Coach Craig


It is with heavy hearts, but thanks to his help, heavy barbells, that we must say goodbye to one of CFNZ's original coaches, Craig Leonard.  Craig has been with us since our first location on Pilkington Road, and now it's time for him to pursue other interests.

His last class at RCF09 is Tue 23rd 6am, so hopefully you can get along to pick up one last bit of coaching wisdom and see him off.

It's a funny coincidence, that exactly one year ago today, Coach Craig wrote one of his rare blogs about strength training.  So we're reposting it again for your pleasure.

Thanks for everything Craig.


I get asked this question all the time – “How do I get stronger?”

Easy answer: Strength Division!
Now that the shameless plug for my class is over, we’ll get into how to approach it from a main class point of view.
In my opinion, there’s two main approaches that are the most effective at building strength for the big lifts (Deadlift, squat, press) within our class structure: A volume based approach and an intensity based approach.
First the volume – All the way to 11.
This method is looking at total weight lifted across all sets.  The easiest way to put it is to perform all sets at the same weight.
For example the classic 5×5 for back squat.
If we perform 5 working sets at 100kg of 5 reps, that’s 500kg per set lifted.  A total of 2500kg lifted over the entire session.  If you did 5 sets but slowly built up in weight – eg. 1 set of 5 at 60, 1 set of 5 at 70, 1 set of 5 at 80 and worked your way to 100 then the total weight lifted is 2000kg.  A bit less huh?
This approach is most beneficial for new comers and people who find the big lifts daunting as it provides multiple benefits:
1. It builds confidence under the bar.  The more you squat, the more comfortable you become with weight on your back.
2. It builds neurological efficiency – This ties into the point above but is a fancy way of saying that the body learns to recruit more muscle for the movement because you’re lifting more overall weight.
This method is not limited to the beginner though, any intermediate lifter can use it but they will need to utilise a load that is closer to their 1 rep max than a beginner.
 Next is the Intensity approach or Maximal Effort
This approach is very similar to the second example I gave above but geared towards the person who has been training a while.  The person who is not afraid to push it in the movement and has the technique to perform safely.
It involves building to a top end set.  The final set being the heaviest for the entire session.  In saying that the other working sets aren’t going to be easy but won’t be as heavy as the final weight lifted. When talking intensity with these movements it is defined as a percentage of an individuals 1 rep max.  So the percentage of your 1 rep max lifted is going to be greatest on the last set.  It has to be an all out set, the body will respond to the stimulus placed upon it and if this is ball-bustingly tough then you’ll come back stronger.
 People relatively new to these big lifts – specifically the deadlift and squat – will see the most benefits out of the volume approach.  As this will provide them with a decent base to build on as the continue training.  People who have been training a while will see benefits from both but will build more top end strength from the Intensity approach.
But how do I know what I’ve done before? – That’s the other common question.
Simple – Write it down!
Daz put up a blog post not that long ago about logging workouts.  This is the only real way of keeping track of your progress.
- Coach Craig
Fifth Day of Fitness today!  Drinks are on us.
And see you tomorrow for the Sixth Day of Fitness - Thors Day!  We'll be getting our strongman on, and of course, we'll have to swing a sledgehammer.....
Back Squat
5  x 8
8 DB Split Squat e/leg
8 DB Renegade Rows
8 OH Slamball Lobs
30s rest between each exercise
5 rounds
30 Russian Swings EM x 5
Burpee Box Jumps
AMRAP in 5mins
Back Squat
30 Russian Swings EM x 5
Double Unders
AMRAP in 5mins

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