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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 02-14-2009, 08:42 AM   #1
Steven Webster
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Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

The other day my body seemed to be saying 'Oh no! Not more heavy front squats' and it let me know about it. On the second working set with 75%1rm, I gave up after 2 reps; had hardly touched the squats today. Time for a change of plan. This day I switched to the back squat.

First set 1x20 back squat (nothing too tough... 1x10, 3 breaths, then 1x5, 5 breaths 1x5) Good, I could feel my calves burning. Next was 5x3 deadlifts for speed, followed by Romanian deadlifts. 2x6. Tried to get more but my grip always goes first. Hmmm... still not satisfied. I never, ever do leg presses but today was different. Better keep it light. 6 plates- 1x10- too light. Same with 8, 10 and finally 12 plates, which was enough... 40 reps total (Brought my knees near shoulders to avoid slightly bulging stomach).

Ok still not satisfied... lets try some more back squats; 1x10 too light, added a couple of 15 kg discs and cranked out 12 with about 65% 1rm; decided I should leave some in the tank for Monday. Didn't want to be too tired. Finished off with 2x8 ghetto ghrs on a situp board. I'm still not much better at these after 5 years.

So, maybe leg presses contributed to about 10% of the total stress, while pretending to be just over 6 tonnes of volume, was really 1, but still, I couldn't crank out a few measly sets at the start yet felt better and better with a bit lighter weight and a lot more work.

I wonder if my legs get switched on after a certain amount of work. I certainly don't feel quite so drained if I keep the intensity around 75%.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:46 AM   #2
Lurene Grenier
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

Lack of intensity + wild lack of training plan = No progress on the upper end

See 'Starting Strength' by Mark Rippetoe for corrections.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:57 AM   #3
Steven Webster
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

Basic Training plan at the moment is (excluding abs overheads chins):

monday 3-4x5 back squat (ascending sets) 1xwhatever backoff,
3x3 powerclean
3x5 deadlift and 5x1 ascending

friday 3-4x5 front squat
4x1 front squat (dead-stop)
5x3 speed deadlift

is that a poor set-up you think?

(I have read Starting strength a few times, but now look to crossfit forums for information. Practical programming maybe in pipeline at some point)

Last edited by Steven Webster : 02-14-2009 at 09:02 AM. Reason: starting strength
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:02 AM   #4
Lurene Grenier
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

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Originally Posted by Steven Webster View Post
Basic Training plan at the moment is (excluding abs overheads chins):

monday 3-4x5 back squat (ascending sets) 1xwhatever backoff,
3x3 powerclean
3x5 deadlift and 5x1 ascending
You might want to split your deadlifts and powercleans to be on different days.

Quote:
friday 3-4x5 front squat
4x1 front squat (dead-stop)
5x3 speed deadlift
I don't see any overhead work (press, push press, push jerk). And I'd question the need for a speed deadlift. Are you only working out monday / friday?
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
Steven Webster
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

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Originally Posted by Lurene Grenier View Post
Are you only working out monday / friday?
I'm 35 years old, born a 'hard gainer' with small limbs, currently walk four hours a day in my job, plus like running and fell running when I get the chance. Suffice to say, I run up against a lot of obstacles, and need as much recovery time as I can get.

What's wrong with speed deadlifts anyway? I like speed work, it's fun. Also, while I agree that consistency is crucial, training same, but different is also a factor. A couple of veterans I know of would tend to agree.

(I am self taught power cleaner- although I don't find them particularly taxing I am careful not to overdo it because I have no coach.)

Last edited by Steven Webster : 02-14-2009 at 09:40 AM. Reason: work
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:49 AM   #6
Steven Matheson
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

Call me dense, but I am lost? What does the OP want to know? If doing leg press warmed him up better than other exercises?
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:03 AM   #7
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

As intensity increases volume decreases, it's pretty simple
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:59 AM   #8
Steven Low
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

You need to be doing linear progression probably. What your height, weight and lift numbers?

SS has a program in the back. Your volume is more than what is prescribed in the program.
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:12 AM   #9
Steven Webster
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

35 yrs old 5'8" 185lbs

What I was asking is why I tire out so easy with a measly two or three sets at higher intensity, but not with marginally less weight. The best workouts I recall are ones with more moderate intensity and higher volume. How come I can do loads more and respond better with higher reps and bigger volume. I feel less tired that I would with the heavy workouts. Maybe my body is better suited to higher volume, unless maybe the muscles get switched on with greater volume at moderate intensity.

Sample workout from last year- 5 sets with 225- 1x15 1x14 1x8 1x7 1x6 (50 reps total)

I am not asking how to get stronger, although my front squat is stuck on about 255 (Haven't lifted much over 230 for a while).

Last edited by Steven Webster : 02-14-2009 at 11:19 AM. Reason: *sigh*
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:25 AM   #10
Phillip Garrison
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Re: Why can I do so much more work with moderate weight, so little with heavy weight?

There isn't a perfect correlation between High rep low weight, and low rep high weight. If you can do 10 reps with 150lbs, it doesn't automatically mean you can do 300lbs for 5 reps. Different muscle fiber types with different fatigue rates, different strength/power curves. It's the same concept in sprinting. A 12 second 100 meter run doesn't correlate into a 48 second 400 meters or a 1;36 second 800 meters.
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