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

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Old 08-29-2010, 01:44 PM   #21
Chris Mason
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Re: Thoughts after 2 cycles of 5/3/1

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Originally Posted by Jared Ashley View Post
your point is valid but depends on goals.

I can and in fact have, more than once, added quite a bit more strength than that in 5 weeks. Problem is I find recovery becomes a problem and i become mentally burnt out... I start to dread the next week. I think this slower progression will help both the recovery and the burn-out.

As for my level of strength development, that also depends. I have found that my current numbers are close to my linear progression limit, unless I choose to eat to gain mass, which I do not wish to do. I want to add strength without adding mass and while maintaing metcon. This obviously slows progression considerably and severely limits the upper bound of linear progression.

Adding 25 lbs to CFT isn't a huge amount of gains in 5 weeks, but if I were to continue that over the course of a half-dozen cycles, it would start really adding up. 100 lbs in 6 months would be more than i've ever added in 6 months since newbie gains, and right now I'm only 22.5 lbs off my PR.

So you're correct, and I did say so in my post. If you want to REALLY pack on strength fast there are better programs out there. But if you're on the edge of linear progression limits and have goals aside from strength this may be a good choice.
You either followed the 5-3-1 program or you didn't? I'm not sure I follow the recovery comment. Are you saying you aren't trying to add weight, thus you are not following the program? The whole point of the thread is your thoughts about 5-3-1 after 2 cycles, right?

You just said above your goal is to add strength without body weight. That's what we are talking about, no?

Your reply doesn't make sense relative to the thread.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:04 PM   #22
Jeffrey White
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Re: Thoughts after 2 cycles of 5/3/1

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Originally Posted by John Stone View Post
I don't see why it isn't possible to do all of that -- I do. I do my assistance lifts, 3 metcons a week, and my eye is on YoY performance (3+ months in, many more to go) not 1-month and done.

Will I build pure strength as fast as if I dropped WODs? Maybe. Would I build metcon faster if I dropped strength? Maybe. But my goal is to improve across all fronts (modal domains et al) equally, and not focus on any one specialty -- and it seems to be working well so far, for my level of athleticism (admittedly low).
I get what you are saying, but I happen to disagree with it.

It seems that the most successful people in CF and CF games have a pretty serious athletic background.. Like Division 1, amateur, pro, special forces etc...and CF happens to be the cherry on top.

I think it's best to split the year up in cycles targeting short term goals and then hit pure CF for only a month or two.

Spent 3-4 month power and ily lifting ( like 5/3/1), 3-4 months with something like convict conditioning or gymnastics bodies another few months with some circuit things like javorek complexes, circuits and KB's and then you should be primed to just kill CF for a couple months...then take a little time off and start again.

Long post, slightly off topic, but I guess my point is that if someone is going to bother with 5/3/1 and states that the goal is to increase raw strength numbers, then don't worry about mainpage wods and accomplish your real goals and not worry about ideology for the sake of ideology.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:40 PM   #23
John Stone
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Re: Thoughts after 2 cycles of 5/3/1

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Originally Posted by Jeffrey White View Post
I guess my point is that if someone is going to bother with 5/3/1 and states that the goal is to increase raw strength numbers, then don't worry about mainpage wods and accomplish your real goals and not worry about ideology for the sake of ideology.

Right, but is someone actually saying that they want to build raw strength over all else? Most (all?) of the posts I have seen talking about mixing 5/3/1 with CrossFit are people (like myself) looking to increase strength while also increasing metcon -- not people looking to specialize in raw strength or raw speed. I personally want to generally get better at everything, at about the same time and pace (eg I don't want a 700 pound dead lift and run a 10 minute mile, nor do I want a 5 minute mile with a 250 pound dead lift -- I just want to increase my lifts AND at the same time decrease my times, all while not getting "fat" gaining weight).

Wendler's program gives results, it doesn't take much time out of the day, and it is easy to work in with WODs. It doesn't require single-minded dedication (like doing SS+GOMAD for pure strength gains). Heck, the assistance work can be done as a WOD in many cases. Basically, it just seems perfectly suited to adding strength while doing CrossFit.

To use your example: I am no "Division 1, amateur, pro" et cetera, and I am old, and I weigh a ton -- and even with all that, I feel I am making great gains across all areas of fitness by mixing 5/3/1 with CF. At the end of the day, aren't results the true litmus test?

Last edited by John Stone : 08-29-2010 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:09 PM   #24
Jared Ashley
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Re: Thoughts after 2 cycles of 5/3/1

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I can't help but feel that some of you are missing some key points of 5/3/1.

A "cycle" in 5/3/1 isn't like a typical say 12 week powerlifting cycle or something.

It's more of a wave program...3 weeks heavy, 1 week De-load and repeat for however long. It's meant to take you somewhere in a year, not in a month.

Also, imo, I think doing main page WOD's with 5/3/1 is cross-contaminating your goals.

Metcon isn't going to disappear overnight...once or twice a week is plenty to maintain it easily.

You should focus on doing assistance work to build up those lifts. Do some hill sprints and maybe KB Swings on some off days.

I've been doing 5/3/1 with the assistance work being (mainly) bodyweight only stuff and the gains keep coming and I look and feel great. I add some steep hill sprints once a week with something like a few rounds of burpees and Kb Swings.
My experience with metcon is contrary to your often-cited claim. It could be that for many, 1/week is fine, but for me I find my metcon DOES disappear quickly. After 1-2 months of 1/week my metcon performance drops considerably, particularly with respect to strength endurance. We must listen to our bodies. If you or others can get away with 1/week that's awesome, but I find I can't.

it does not have to be "cross-contaminating" my goals. Each serves a purpose (5/3/1 is for slow strength progression, CF is for metcon improvement). I want both. Doing both simultaneously will slow the gains of each, but that is different from saying doing both will prevent progress in the other. Also, I do not exactly do "the main page WOD." I do about 3 main-page metcon WOD's a week at 75% of the Rx'd weight.

I've played with doing metcons as assitance work and find I don't like it. Say I do bench, then a lift or two of assitance work. If I make up a WOD heavy with pushups, ring dips, and push-presses, I find my arms are completely shot and the WOD goes poorly; also so much strength endurance focus tends to reduce intensity and thus does not elicit the desired metcon effect (i.e. get the lungs and heart pumping like crazy and sustain it). I find just doing the WOD's in order provides a more balanced approach... sometimes it will happen to emphaisize the same muscle groups and sometimes it won't, and I have to deal with it either way. I perform better this way, get a better metcon effect this way, and honestly enjoy it more. I have not observed a reduced effectiveness of the strength-building aspect of the program doing this.

Doing hill sprints, KB swings, a few rounds of burpees, or whatever hasn't worked for me all that well in the past either. Doing almost exclusively short metcons has NOT had the effect in me of improving my longer metcon times all that much. It does tremendous things for my 5-10 minute timeframe WOD's, but then when I have to do something that takes 45 minutes or go on an 8-hour hike my focus in the short-term shows.

Your first comments are true, but I know that. I'm trying to make gains over a year, not in a month. It's just that I'm only 3 months in so far! I'm posting because a lot of people are asking questions about CF & 5/3/1 combos, and after 3 months (2 cycles) I feel I've learned enough to tell how my experience went to help other people make informed decisions. I'll have much better information after 6 cycles or 10 cycles, but that will take awhile!
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:22 PM   #25
Leslie Powell
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Re: Thoughts after 2 cycles of 5/3/1

Maybe this has been mentioned already, but one thing that's probably worth thinking about is that CFT may not be the best way to track gains on 5/3/1. Wendler talks a bit about this in the ebook: don't get hung up on a 1RM, because if your 5RM goes up, you're stronger.

FWIW, I've been running 5/3/1 pretty much by the book since January, started conservatively and did one reset to date. My 1RMs are all up, but my higher reps are *way* up. I know that as of today my reps on the last set of 5/5/5 for the press indicates a 1RM that's about 10lbs. heavier than what I can actually do (165 vs. 154). Not long ago, my DL numbers indicated a 1RM about 50lbs. heavier than actual (385 vs. 335).

That would all seem kind of pointless, except that my power clean 1RM shot way up (nearly 20lbs.) without a corresponding increase in max deadlift, or much power clean practice. Along those lines, kettlebell jerks have goon through the roof. So power and endurance are up out of proportion to 1RM.

Could be just because the RM tables aren't that accurate for everyone. Could be because I'm over 40 (rumor has it us old guys start to turn into girls when it comes to 1RM). Regardless, my CFT is lately a kind of a bad predictor of much other than absolute maxes. Strange.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:12 PM   #26
Jared Ashley
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Re: Thoughts after 2 cycles of 5/3/1

it's true... I've heard of and experienced the "compression of the top end" phenomenon, where maybe one's 1RM isn't that far above their 5RM or even 10RM. think because of the sets to failure with 5/3/1 this gets even more pronounced.

My squat illustrates this very well:

1RM: 270
9RM: 220 (about 81% of 1RM)

In theory the 9RM should be closer to 75% per typical tables, closer to 200 lbs.

I agree that CFT alone shouldn't be the only method of measuring gains... one of the things I like about 5/3/1 is that you're setting rep records most workouts, sometimes near 10 reps. it feels better than always going for a new 5RM.
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