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Old 09-17-2015, 07:23 AM   #1
Anthony Giurato
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Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

After being a long time home CrossFitter/lifter with varying degrees of success, I have started going to a box. I've loved it so far, and I do feel much healthier all over, even compared to my previous attempts at lifting and metconning at home.

What I am lacking by going to my box 3x a week is strength work. I'd say that 60% to 80% of the workouts of my box consist of a warm-up -> technique -> one strength exercise -> metcon. The other days cut out a strength exercise in favor of a longer metcon. This means probably 2.5 heavy lifts a week with CrossFit.

My typical CrossFit week looks similar to:
Mon - CrossFit
Tues - CrossFit
Wed - Low to moderate intensity steady-state
Thurs - CrossFit
Fri - Off

My solution has been to do a heavy lifting day on Saturdays with 2 or 3 heavy lifts followed by a short metcon or auxillary work. I tend to favor Cleans followed by a (bench)press. But weeks like this one where I did heavy snatches on Thursday, I'll replace cleans with squats. Basically, I'm trying to fill in the gaps.

So here is my main question: What set/rep schemes are best in this type of scenario? I typically do 4 or 5 sets of increasing weights and work up to one heavy work set. Things like 185 lbs, 225 lbs, 275 lbs, 315 lbs on my last squat day. For strength I'll do singles, triples, or 5's. For power movements like cleans I'd do singles, doubles or triples instead.

Am I best to go heavy with singles, get volume with fives, or somewhere inbetween with triples? I think I remember reading on 70's big that Justin specifically prefers triples for press over 5's, so it could vary by exercise. Also, giving me the answer of "vary it up" works fine too.

My numbers are moderate: 245 lbs clean, 170 lbs press, 315x3 squat. At 225 lbs, I think I have plenty of room to go up before needing a more focused program.
My goal is to slowly increase my strength numbers, while not being afraid to throw in the towel any days where I need to.
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:10 PM   #2
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

Something like a 3/5rm makes it really simple. On the other hand, sometimes it's not enough volume. It can be good to go heavy yet limit volume in a way.

You could always work to a heavy single and do backoff sets. Some people like to do 3rm, 2rm, 1rm, backoffsets. You can even tack on some volume sets of 8-12 after some backoffsets with doubles, triples, fours, or fives.

3 sets of 5, 5 sets of 3, 10 sets of 3 , 5 sets of doubles. Whatever.

I wouldn't sub out cleans for squats. Do both! A Squat, a pull, and a press. That pull could be DL or could be a snatch or clean.

For snatches or cleans working to a heavy triple or double is fine without backoff. Even possibly 4's which suck. Or something like 3-2-1 then doubles or triples at 80-85% of that HeavySingle. Like 3-5 sets of doubles, or 4 sets of triples.
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:38 PM   #3
Chris Mason
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

Why do you feel that the 2.5 heavy lifts as you say at your box are not sufficient to increase your strength?
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:30 AM   #4
Anthony Giurato
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

It is simply an assumption. At that rate, I'll likely get in one upper body lift and one lower body lift a week. In the past I've felt like I've done much better when I do each at least twice a week. Even if some of the strength workouts are quite a bit lighter than what I could be doing, I felt like it keeps my body used to moving heavy weight.

I plan on get a 5th workout in on Saturdays regaurdless. Since CrossFit typically gives me 3 high intensity conditioning workouts and I may do one other low intensity conditioning workout on my own, I think making Saturday a heavy lifting day would be a good choice.

As I said above, my decisions are just based on assumptions that I have. That and the fact that if I had to choose between using Saturday to increase my cardio or strength, I'd pick strength.

Last edited by Anthony Giurato : 09-30-2015 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:14 AM   #5
Chris Mason
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Giurato View Post
It is simply an assumption. At that rate, I'll likely get in one upper body lift and one lower body lift a week. In the past I've felt like I've done much better when I do each at least twice a week. Even if some of the strength workouts are quite a bit lighter than what I could be doing, I felt like it keeps my body used to moving heavy weight.

I plan on get a 5th workout in on Saturdays regaurdless. Since CrossFit typically gives me 3 high intensity conditioning workouts and I may do one other low intensity conditioning workout on my own, I think making Saturday a heavy lifting day would be a good choice.

As I said above, my decisions are just based on assumptions that I have. That and the fact that if I had to choose between using Saturday to increase my cardio or strength, I'd pick strength.
You need to also keep in mind your have a limited overall ability to recovery and benefit from high intensity exercise. Strength training is VERY high intensity.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:27 AM   #6
Anthony Giurato
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
You need to also keep in mind your have a limited overall ability to recovery and benefit from high intensity exercise. Strength training is VERY high intensity.
That part I know (I've read the boards for a long time). What I don't know is at what point would more work be detrimental. CrossFit Football has a workout scheme that involves:
  • 7 heavy lifts a week, spread out over 4 days.
  • 5 short to medium length, high intensity metcons.
If I remember correctly, it also involves doing the same weight for 3x5 and is a smooth linear progression.

Ignoring my Saturdays, I am doing
  • 2.5 heavy lifts a week, spread out over 3 days
  • 3 high intensity metcons of varying length
  • 1 moderate intensity steady-state row or jog
The heavy days typically are 5 sets of 1, 3, or 5, but they are ascending sets. Comparing that to my days when I was doing SS, it seems much easier and less taxing that sets across. I do realize that it isn't fair to directly compare two different programs like this. But it does seem like there is a very big difference in volume.

Does my logic seem Ok that I should be able to handle a lifting day on Saturdays and see a benefit? I sometimes feel a bit beaten up on Thursday or Friday, but after taking Friday as a rest day I feel good to go on Saturday.

Last edited by Anthony Giurato : 09-30-2015 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:20 AM   #7
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

With something like an ascending 3 or 5rm, you actually accumulate nearly the same amount of volume at possibly a higher intensity than 3's or 5's across with a working weight. However, this generally requires more than 5 sets.

I mean, with 5 sets, only your last 2 sets is probably truly getting heavy.

For 5's, going down that could be 315, 290, 255, 210, 165. If that was based off a #362 squat, that means #315 was done at 87%, 290 at 80%, and 255 at 70%. Yes, those are some pretty big jumps as well. So only 2 heavy sets and 1 medium set. That's #6175.

A 5x5@75% would be #6,785 just in workset poundage not including warmup sets for another #3,150 of poundage. That's 40% more poundage than an ascending 5rm for 5 sets.

Err, it would be about 4,000 pounds of work for a 3x5 instead of a 5x5 (TM). Still, #1000 pounds more of work with work sets across.

Going from squatting once a week to twice a week is a BIG difference. That's twice the frequency. From twice to thrice, well besides starting to enter the bullocks another squat day phase, it's 50% more. And so on.

There is something to be said about less squatting volume with ascending sets if you're gonna have to hit a metcon after. But for a strength/volume focus, it definitely makes a difference.
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Old 10-01-2015, 06:03 AM   #8
Ludovic Deguy
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Giurato View Post
That part I know (I've read the boards for a long time). What I don't know is at what point would more work be detrimental. CrossFit Football has a workout scheme that involves:
  • 7 heavy lifts a week, spread out over 4 days.
  • 5 short to medium length, high intensity metcons.
If I remember correctly, it also involves doing the same weight for 3x5 and is a smooth linear progression.

Ignoring my Saturdays, I am doing
  • 2.5 heavy lifts a week, spread out over 3 days
  • 3 high intensity metcons of varying length
  • 1 moderate intensity steady-state row or jog
The heavy days typically are 5 sets of 1, 3, or 5, but they are ascending sets. Comparing that to my days when I was doing SS, it seems much easier and less taxing that sets across. I do realize that it isn't fair to directly compare two different programs like this. But it does seem like there is a very big difference in volume.

Does my logic seem Ok that I should be able to handle a lifting day on Saturdays and see a benefit? I sometimes feel a bit beaten up on Thursday or Friday, but after taking Friday as a rest day I feel good to go on Saturday.

CFFB is biased towards the demand of the sport of football, ie : short and intense.
So the volume of strength training is high because of this bias.
What are your goals ? To be really strong ? To be a well-rounded crossfit athlete ?

If this is the option 1, you may need to back off on your conditioning and start to follow a real strength program.

If this is the option 2, lifting very heavy twice a week is enough to see progress and let you enough time and energy to work on your conditioning and on your skills.
IMHO, a well-balanced Crossfit program will include each week :
- lifting heavy twice
- working on your power/speed twice
- working on your skills or/and conditioning almost every day

Last edited by Ludovic Deguy : 10-01-2015 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:10 AM   #9
Anthony Giurato
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic Deguy View Post
CFFB is biased towards the demand of the sport of football, ie : short and intense.
So the volume of strength training is high because of this bias.
What are your goals ? To be really strong ? To be a well-rounded crossfit athlete ?

If this is the option 1, you may need to back off on your conditioning and start to follow a real strength program.

If this is the option 2, lifting very heavy twice a week is enough to see progress and let you enough time and energy to work on your conditioning and on your skills.
IMHO, a well-balanced Crossfit program will include each week :
- lifting heavy twice
- working on your power/speed twice
- working on your skills or/and conditioning almost every day
My goals are more biased towards strength. However, I am seeing great overall health and well-being gains from doing my CrossFit classes. The variety and motivation seem to be better for me lately than picking a program (CFFB, 5/3/1, etc) and lone wolfing it. So I'm hoping that my Saturdays can simply help supplement a bit more strength work.

When you say lifting heavy twice a week is enough, do you mean "one press and one squat/deadlift" is enough, or do you mean something like "one bench and squat day plus one press and deadlift day"?

Saturdays can be as light as one big lift followed by auxiliary work, or as heavy as 3 big lifts. It's more fun to pick just one lift and work up to a heavy 1, 3, or 5 rep max and call it a day. But I'll add some more volume if that will help me overall.

FYI, this week only had us work up to a 1 rm on front squats. The other two days I went happened to just be longer metcons without any strength, and they included a lot of pressing volume. So on my own, I'd likely pick deadlifts or RDL's along with some form of pull-up or row to do on Saturday.
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:07 PM   #10
Andrew Bell
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Re: Additional (heavy) lifts rep scheme

Drop one day of long met con without strength, and do 2-4 heavy lifts on Saturday without the met con. Basically swapping one long met con for more strength work which is what it sounds like you want.
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