Powerlifting (SoCal Strength Club)

Where is the brute squad? We ARE the Brute Squad!  Come get strong with us!  The specially programmed classes and coaching use the Conjugate style methodology for proven, time-tested results.  Our coaches and programmers are CFL1 and L2 Certified, CrossFit Powerlifting Certified and CrossFit Weightlifting Certified.

Schedule and Pricing

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 5:00am, 8:30am, 5:30pm
  • $50 for members

To sign-up contact richard.estes84@gmail.com 

strength club



Coach Tyler Rau of the SoCal Strength Club wrote up this Q&A to address some frequently asked questions regarding that group of athletes at the power racks that we affectionately refer to as “The Brute Squad.” If you have any questions that aren’t addressed here, by all means, post a comment and one of our coaches or members will answer for you! We are all one family at CrossFit SoCal and we want to make sure you know all there is to know about the options available to you and the best path to achieve your goals. So let’s get on with it!

The SoCal Strength Club (aka SCSC) is a strength-biased program designed by SoCal coaches Tyler Rau (myself) and Rich Estes. We have three coaches implementing the program: myself, Rich and Johan Van Niekerk. It is modeled closely after Louie Simmons’ “Conjugate Method” which was created and is implemented at Westside Barbell in Columbus Ohio. Simmons’ method has produced some of the greatest powerlifters the world has ever seen, including squat world-record holder A.J. Roberts, who you may have seen around CrossFit SoCal, helping guide our coaches and coach our athletes in SCSC. Our club has more of a CrossFit focus than traditional conjugate, but we follow a basic template of 2 days of max effort work — one each of upper body and lower body — and 2 days of dynamic effort (speed) work, again upper and lower. We spend about 1.5 hours a day, 4 days a week working very, very hard to become stronger, faster, more efficient athletes.

Anyone. Next question. Ha! But seriously, we encourage people from all walks of life to give SCSC a spin. We don’t call it “Brute Squad” because it’s only for brutes. We call it that because no matter where you are coming from physically, if you spend the time with us and commit to the program, you will earn the title of Brute, I promise you. We’ve coached a broad range, from people who could not squat under any weight at all to people who could squat 2-3 times their bodyweight. We’ve coached people who could get a senior discount on their coffee to people who can’t even vote yet. The real question for most people is do you have the time? Are you willing to commit to this level of training? If so, no other question regarding your current abilities or strengths is relevant. We will get you where you want to be as long as you commit to yourself as much as we plan to. And when I say “we,” I mean the entire club, not just the coaches.

Our goal with all of our athletes is to teach and train simultaneously. We work very closely together, and we often need to share bars, racks and weight and move efficiently while doing so. In order for this to work well, our athletes need to become active participants in the coaching process. We all need to think like coaches and feed off each other’s knowledge and energy in order for this style of work to be efficient and effective. This way, when a new person comes into our club, our athletes can help bring them along as much as the coaches, if not more so. Also, this work is a big dose of SUCK sometimes, and having a club member you trust grunting and whimpering beside you makes it a little more bearable.

SCSC is a big dose, and it takes a time commitment, as I mentioned above. The goal of our Elite Fitness classes is to get an optimal dose of work done in a 1-hour period. If you have one hour to spend at CrossFit each day, and that’s all the time you can put in, then Elite Fitness is THE path. It is an excellent program and the best possible way to spend your hour. Also, as mentioned above, there is a good deal of hustle and bustle in SCSC that if applied to the masses would ensure nothing but chaos and ineffectiveness. See the next question for more on this…

That’s part of what makes SCSC unique, and why we can’t logistically apply a full-blown SCSC program to the masses. Using bands and chains is known as “accommodating resistance.” Without this type of resistance added to a barbell in any given lift, the lift typically becomes easier the closer you get to the finish. Your leverages change and you gain an advantage. Think about how much you could squat if you only had to unlock your knees and drop 3 inches. That part of the squat is easy. With bands and chains, that part of the squat becomes just as hard as the bottom of the squat, because the tension or weight has progressively increased as you’ve further stretched the bands or raised the chains off the floor. Setting up this type of resistance is a special type of challenge, and it takes some time especially for newbies. Again, why the club atmosphere is so important — we all help each other get ready to rock on this stuff. Trying to do this in a 20-person Elite Fitness class would be chaotic, ineffective and time-consuming, and you need those special power racks the SCSC uses to apply these methods properly.

You’ve probably noticed dynamic days popping up in Elite Fitness classes now, too, right? That’s awesome. On a dynamic day, you typically lift 60-65-70% of your 1RM as fast as possible for a set number of reps. SCSC typically does 40-45-50% and adds 20-25% of accomodating resistance (bands or chains) to make up for the missing weight. Why lift such light weights? Let’s break it down. You probably expect that you work harder in a heavy session, right? Let’s say in a session going for a 1RM squat, with your 1RM squat being 200lbs, your workout looks like this: 5 @ 65 / 3 @ 95 / 1 @ 115 / 1 @ 135 / 1 @ 155 / 1 @ 185 / 1 @ 195 / 1 @ 200. That’s a good amount of work, huh? Add it up, you just moved 1,595 lbs! And let’s say you were busting your hump and did that all in 15 minutes. Ok, let’s look at a dynamic day for the same 1RM. In SCSC, it would typically be 12 sets of 2 reps, with one set per minute, and we’ll say it’s week 1, the lightest week of a 3-week wave. 60% of your 1RM is 120 lbs. In 12 minutes, you’re going to squat 120 lbs 24 times, and by the way, we’re all gonna be encouraging you to go faster… let’s do the math: 2,880 lbs. That is almost TWICE the weight you moved in your max effort workout, AND 3 minutes faster! Case closed!

We max out on the lower body on Monday, and the upper body on Friday. The secret sauce is this: We change that movement each and every week. You’ll never do the same max effort lift in a 2-week span, or likely even a 3 or 4-week span. For example, some of our toolbox for lower body: Back squat, front squat, box squat, camber bar squat, zurcher squat, deadlift, defecit deadlift, sumo deadlift, good mornings … and we haven’t even got into foot position yet! We rotate, the movements so your body is always moving in a slightly different way. This helps to avoid overtraining by making the same muscle groups work in a different manner.

We do curls sometimes! Aahh! Yes, when we are done training the large muscle groups and compound movements, we often target specific weaknesses. Our coaches monitor the group as a whole, and often similar symptoms arise across the board. Maybe we all need tricep work, maybe our delts look weak, low backs, hamstings… well, we’re gonna spend some extra time and hit those areas specifically so we get every last drop of power out of our bodies. And yes, your biceps are an important part of your arms, and they should be trained like any other muscle. A strong bicep means a strong dynamic stabilizer in your bench press. A strong grip means a bigger deadlit. Curls help your biceps, they help your forearms, they help your grip and they help build strength in your connective tissues. If anyone tells you curls are worthless, I have some reading material for them.

Well, for one, some do. Also, for the most part, we’re not powerlifters. We’re CrossFitters who use a powerlifting program to be better CrossFitters. We DO have some athletes who do not do metcons because it’s not in line with their goals. Yes, we can slice and dice our program to meet most any need. Talk to us about what you want, we have a lot of knowledge in these brains and if we don’t let it out it gets cramped in there.

Contact me, Rich or Johan through Facebook, comment here, or ask Krista or any other coach. We’ll get you set right up. And if you just want to try it out sometime, swing by! We’re not jerks, we love new people and we’d love to give you a try before you buy. Please, please, ask us questions! We’re a friendly crew and we all love training and making ourselves and the rest of the club stronger.

1 thought on “Powerlifting (SoCal Strength Club)

  1. Pingback: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 | CrossFit SoCal, CrossFit in San Diego since 2005

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s