I read over your post again. I forgot to mention I did see an improvement in a 15RM squat. I did it as an accessory exercise on ME day. My previous best was 275, and I ended up getting 300 for 15 reps. So that was an improvement. I must say doing a 15RM back squat is about the most miserable thing in the world.
Also a workout I did that I was extremely impressed with was the CrossFit Football WOD "Religion" It is:
Max Reps Back Squat at bodyweight or you can scale up to 225(which I did)
7 Burpee Box Jumps, 20"
This is probably one of the most painful workouts. I did 44 reps with 225 the first round. Now I will say I don't think I made it past 11 reps on the following 4 rounds, lol. I think I was walking a little funny for about 5 days following. I wish I had done it pre-conjugate style strength cycle but I can say I with little doubt that I would have been about 15 reps shy of that had I done it before I played with this stuff.
You can also split the SWOD and WOD up if you'd like. I have a guy that's been with me for a little over a year. He's 50 years old, about 6'3", with the frame that you would expect from a marathon runner. He comes in to my lunchtime class and does the Strength Work coupled with some extra skill work, then comes back at my 7.15 class to do the WOD. He started with a 5RM deadlift of 205. He just pulled 335 for 3 reps 2 weeks ago. I love it when we get 20 something year old that's spent a ton of time on hypertrophy work and has the appearance of "Strong", only to get outlifted by a 50 year old that looks like he should be standing on the podium of an ultra marathon.
Yes it is very very hard to do group strength training with mixed groups. I've tried it multiple ways. I started with trying to do 2 days a week with strength work, followed by a short metcon.
That worked well but everyone would always ask me how I did on the workouts. I felt bad by saying I didn't do it and that I trained a little differently. I realized there were a lot of people that were willing to put in the extra work. I felt like I was shorting people on their training by having them do a program that I wasn't following myself.
I've always thought that if it's not good enough for me, then it's not fair to push it on others. If people are willing to put in the extra work and train hard, then I'm willing to give them a program to suit their needs.
Then I quickly realized it was a nightmare to try to have a real strength program and WOD in a 60 minute class. Some people were all about it, others are drawn to the appeal that you can warm up, learn a skill, cool down, and stretch in 45 minutes. They just don't have the time or don't want to put the time required to do it. That and some people were past their potential on the level 1 program, requiring a more complex method... which definitely doesn't fit into a 60 minute class. You can't forge elite fitness, or elite anything by working on it for 10-20 minutes a day.
That's when I arrived at the come early method. We've been doing it for quite a while and it works extremely well. I think one of the keys to doing it is to push people to work together. If there are 3 males following the level 1 or 2 program and they show up at the same time, we have them work together instead of all taking their own bars. It keeps that competitiveness, allows more eyes to be on the lifter, and builds stronger ties between members.
The other big plus is that you can work it to an individual clients goals. Depending on how many days they come a week, their fitness goals, etc.. we recommend certain strength days a week. Some people aren't going to come 4 days a week, or can't handle the volume of 4 SWODs and 4 WODs on top of it. So for some, they do 3 WODs with 2 of them having SWODs before hand. Some come 4 days and do 2 WODs and 2 SWODs, only doing one a day. We just explain that for our level one that Monday and Thursday are Push Days and Tuesday and Friday are Pull, and that there needs to be a balance between the two.
Something I've found to improve skills is monthly challenges. Every month we have some sort of challenge that is designed to improve one's ability in 30 days. Some examples have been double under challenge, and walking on hands. Usually after the warm up we will dedicate like 5-10 minutes to skill work. I usually pick something that everyone wants to do, but won't put the time in on their own to improve. It works really well.
If you would be interested in giving this a try with your members, every week I'll email you the SWOD/WOD plan so you'll know if you need to make any substitutions due to space, equipment, etc... That goes to any other affiliate owner that would be willing to give this cycle a try.
It will look like
Wed - Rest or Mobility or Longer Conditioning WOD
Sat- Rest or longer conditioning WOD
Mon- DE upper / WOD
Tues- ME L/ WOD
Wed- Rest or Mobility or longer conditioning WOD
Thur- ME upper/ WOD
Fri- DE Lower/ WOD
Sat- Rest or longer conditioning WOD
The WODs will accommodate both L1 and L2.
I won't be posting all of the workouts in advance on here. Just check the website, www.crossfitfairbanks.com
(W/F/S). I usually update it between 8-9 p.m. Alaskan Standard Time. We are four hours back from east coast. Someone already emailed and said they would be following a week behind to cover some of the issues mentioned.