The question has come up several times in the past 3 days and I felt like answering it publicly rather than a single email at a time. I understand the different pulls that an athlete experiences every time they lace up the sneakers. Some of those questions may be---what's my weakness, what did I do yesterday, what's on the CrossFit main site, or what's on the board in the gym. One thing that I notice lately is how many different supplementation programs are permeating the CrossFit culture. There is Football, Endurance, Mobility, Strength Bias, Westside, Gymnastic, and now Strongman. How are you supposed to decide how to spend your valuable time? The answer is low-tech. Look inward and analyze your weakest link...then supplement your CrossFit workouts with that modality. Also, you need to remember that building strength takes a lifetime. There is no 12 week program that will leave you "strong." Getting stronger is an accumulation of thousands of reps over a lifetime. Some of the strongest people I have ever met have never lifted a barbell. They are salty old plumbers, carpenters, and mechanics. I remember at my very first strongman contest the boys from Dieselcrew had the Thomas Inch Dumbbell on hand for everyone to play with. If you don't know what the Inch DB is it's a 173 pound hunk of iron with a 2.5" thick smooth handle. There are very few people in the world who have ever lifted the DB with one hand and pressed it overhead. Athletes and spectators tried all day to budge the DB off the ground with one hand and NOBODY succeeded....except this gray-haired gentleman. He strolls up the DB casually, grasps it in his hand, and deadlifts it up to his waist. As if that wasn't impressive enough he placed it on the ground and repeated it with his other hand. I asked him what weightlifting experience he had and he responded, "zero." He was a plumber who'd been working his vice-like grip every day since he got into the trade.
My belief is that CrossFit.com should be everyone's home base. That is where everyone should start. After you've completed your CF wod you should supplement it with one of the programs that will aid your weakest link. If strength is your goat then I would scale the lighter CF wods up using heavier weight and sacrificing speed for pounds moved. We had a member at Hybrid that was a decent MetCon athlete and he approached me about getting stronger. My prescription was to add a vest to body weight workouts, supplement strongman tools where possible---using an axle instead of a barbell, and not worry about the clock. Whatever was on the board we would generally add weight to the movements which would slow him down considerably. His strength gradually began shifting but he did lose some of his MetCon. A year after we began this "program" he throttled back on the weights and his MetCon took off!!
Finally, one of the most important lessons to learn is to listen to your body. When you're feeling good add a workout to your daily routine. When you're feeling wrecked don't be afraid to take a rest day. If you look long term---lifetime---it's not nearly as daunting as programming a 12 week cycle.
Can the answer be this simple? Lift heavy things often.