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Old 05-08-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
David Meverden
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CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

As promised, I’m posting an update regarding the Wendler's 5/3/1 CrossFit hybrid program I’ve been on for 10 weeks. This will be a long post because I love numbers, figures, and experiments. If anyone else has been doing a 5/3/1 program mixed with CrossFit I’d love to have your results documented here also.

I’d like to do this for a couple more cycles, at which time I fully intend to post another update.

What’s 5/3/1?
Wendler’s 5/3/1 is an intermediate lifting program that is detailed HERE (WFS) for a reasonable price. It has the lifter focus on one lift each day he/she is in the gym, doing primary sets and then assistance work. As the month progresses the sets get heavier and shorter with a deload week at the end before the cycle starts again with more weight. One thing of note is that the last set of each day (except deload week) is max reps. Wendler includes several versions of his program and supports a ton of flexibility in assistance work.

Why am I doing 5/3/1?
Some people will feel that this program is overkill for me, as I’m not extremely strong. They are probably right that I could make faster gains on some other program. Unfortunately, I am not skilled enough to create that program (I tried to create my own strength programming and made very marginal gains), and I cannot use CFFB or CFSB as written because I cannot guarantee more than 3 days a week in the gym. Given these realities, and the fact that CF metcons blunt recovery too much for pure strength 3 day/week programs (thinking SS novice workouts or texas method, which additionally would have made the workouts way too long) I decided to try a version of Wendlers 3 day/week program. Wendler’s program is also good because it is flexible, fun, and gives constant feedback because of the max reps on the last set.

What is my background?

I can give a more detailed breakdown if people are interested, but right now I’ll give the short short version.
5’11” tall, 27 years old currently about 192 lbs w/ probably 11 or 12% BF.
When I started CF 2 years ago I was 165 lbs with maybe 10 or 11% body fat and a 665 CrossFit Total.
CF made me stronger (CFT 730), two months of GOMAD SS (link WFS) made me a bunch stronger (CFT 860), and then a year long uphill slog using CF and additional barbell lifting got me somewhat stronger still (CFT 900). After some disappointing gains and frustration and then some weight (and strength) loss while getting ready for a competition I decided that I needed to follow a more organized lifting program. I choose Wendler’s with short CF metcon workouts.

So what exactly has been my routine?
I added short metcons to Wendler’s 3 day per week plan, which uses a 5 week cycle. Typically Monday, Wendesday, Friday, I would go to the gym, do a heavy barbell lift (rotating between Press, Deadlift, Bench, and Squat), do a short metcon, then do one to two assistance exercises for the lift of the day. If I could make it in on Saturday I would do a longer metcon with no additional strength work. First week in the cycle as an example:

Monday: Press, 3x5. Short metcon. Press as assistance 4x 8-10. Chinups 4x~10
Tuesday: Rest
Wendesday: Deadlift 3x5. Short metcon. Good mornings 4x 8-10. GHD situps or toe touches. 3-4 x 8-10
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Bench Press, 3x5. Short metcon. Bench as assistance 4x 8-10. Dumbbell rows 4x 8-10
Saturday: Rest or Longer metcon (if I was working on Saturday I did not workout)
Sunday: Rest

Monday it’s on to back squats—for which I used higher rep back squats as the assistance exercise--then Wednesday it would be back to Press and so on. I like this 3 day a week setup because
1) It’s easy to fit into one’s schedule (I would sometimes have to switch to tues-thurs-sat, or even mon-tues-thurs in a pinch due to work issues)
2) The five week cycle lines up with my 5 week rotating shift work schedule
3) It ensures lots of time for recovery

Workouts typically took around 1.5 hours if I tried not to shoot the breeze with people at my box. Fitting everything into 1 hour was possible but took a definite effort.

Diet:
I ate mostly paleo plus a bunch of whole milk. Other exceptions to paleo were eating out (1-2 times a week?), sometimes oatmeal or granola with breakfast, and ice cream at night. I tracked what I ate with FitDay. My goal was at least 3500 kcal on days I worked out, with around 3000 on other days. Averages:
Calories per day: 3314
Grams fat per day: 185 (49% of calories)
Gramss Carb day: 249 (29% of calories)
Grams of Protein per day: 187 (22% of calories)
Supplements: Fish oil and vitamin D.
Post Wod Nutrition: Usually sweet potato and whey protein powder
Weight: Went from around 188 to around 192 as measured in the morning. Wasn’t able to see any fat or muscle changes.

What were the strength results?
Pretty good considering the limited time commitment, but not earth shattering. I have done 2 full cycles over 10 weeks and got the following results:

PRESS: 140 x 6 ==> 145 x 7
DEADLIFT: 345 x 6 ==> 370 x 5
BENCH: 195 x 5 ==> 205 x 6
SQUAT: 285 x 4 ==> 300 x 5

The CFT improvements were not as good as these largely, I think, because after my december CFT I lost a little over 10 lbs, so some of my time on 5/3/1 was regaining strength lost when I lost the extra weight.
12-21-10: CFT 900 (335 BS, 170 SP, 395 DL) at a body weight of 200.
5-6-10: CFT 915 (340 BS, 170 SP, 405 DL) at a body weight of 192.
So I’m stronger now lb for lb, but am not much stronger than my former peak.

What about my metcon?

My metcon has been good. I don’t have a ton of numbers, but I did just set a 12 second Helen PR (8:05 with butterfly pull-ups and KB swings that don’t go quite as high as a full American swing) over my score from 2.5 months ago, which I’ll use as evidence that my metcon has not diminished.

Conclusions and thoughts:
1) I like Wendlers program. It’s fun. My plan is to stick with this for 2 more cycles, then do another CFT to get another improvement number not confounded by weight loss.

2) I started out using a larger variety of exercises as assistance: dips for press, DB bench for bench press, and lunges for squats. I found, though, that I did better just using higher reps of the original exercise.

3) I have had a real ***** of a time trying to get my freakin' press to go up. Making some progress now, but slowly.

4) I really like good mornings as a back assistance exercise. My back is not the weakest link in my deadlifts or squats now.

5) MY BOTTOM LINE: This program is good if you can’t making it into the gym 5 days per week, but I’d try a more linear program first. If you can sustain gains on something more linear you will make faster gains than on this program.


Hope that helps people!
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:08 PM   #2
Craig Freel
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

Thanks a lot for this. I just started this and am planning on doing every other day (so first and third day of WOD cycle). Will likely alter/shorten/skip WOD depending on how I feel and what comes up.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:10 PM   #3
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

Good write-up.

If I can make a suggestion, I think you should do 10 cycles of 5/3/1 and then do a CFT. Then you'll see some improvement. 5/3/1 has been proven to work if you stick with it, so I don't see the need to test your total all the time. Just do what Wendler says, and you're in good hands.

If you read Wendler's Q&A over at EliteFTS, a lot of his answers is him telling people not to be impatient and that 5/3/1 is a long term commitment. - Two cycles won't get you very far, but twenty will get you strong as ****.

It's an intermediate-advanced periodization that will work for pretty much anyone. Just slowly.

(Doing 5/3/1 myself. Starting my third cycle next week and I intend to test my total next December.)
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:27 PM   #4
Ryan Hoegner
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

Starting 5/3/1 on Monday. Looking forward to it. My "metcons" will be the CrossFit Footballs WOD's and a little running.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:43 AM   #5
Tamara Cohen
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

Thanks for this, David. I'm reading the ebook right now. I ditched the SS idea once I found out I'd be competing at Regionals, so I'm still working on what I want to do after Regionals. 5/3/1 is inherently more appealing to me than SS, but my affiliate is starting their own hybrid program this summer.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:24 PM   #6
Leigh An Jaskiewicz
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

The program is not just for intermediate or advance lifters. Jim has used it on many beginners and novice lifters. And they have made great gains, me being one of them.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:00 PM   #7
Brian Gregory
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

I have also started incorporating Wendler's 5/3/1 with Crossfit type metcons. My schedule looks a little different than David's and was wondering what other's thought of the volume. Mainly if it looks to be too much for long term, and still be able to make progress. I know the only way is to do it and see, but just wanted opinions. I am currently in the deload week of first cycle.

Schedule looks like this:

Mon - Back Squat, metcon
Tues- Press, metcon
Wed - Rest
Th - Deadlift, metcon
Fri - Bench, metcon
Sat - Metcon (optional and maybe longer >20min)
Sun - Rest

Metcons are programmed (by me) and also picked (from other websites), to work on weaknesses and to also supplement the lift of the day (keeping in mind the recommended assistance lifts). Generally trying to keep metcons under 15 min and usually under 10 min. During deload trying to keep metcons, if doing them at all, under 7min and using heavier weights. On 2nd or 3rd Deload weeks, depending on how I feel, I will take the entire week off with no lifts or metcons.


My current BW is 170-175#, Numbers starting the program are:

Back squat 350
Shoulder press 160
Deadlift 405
Bench Press 260

I will update and let you guys know how the program goes for me. I plan to do this long term if all goes well.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
Paul Eichengrun
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

David, what you've come up with sounds similar to Coach Rut's Max Effort Black Box (MEBB). http://coachrut.blogspot.com/ (WFS)

Three days a week, 5-3-1 strength lift then short metcon. I've been doing it for the last three months and love it.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
Jordan Wallace
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

I have done a few cycles of this and it works awesome. My deadlift went from 140x1 to 140x15 in 2 cycles, and my squat from 105x1 to 105x10.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:17 PM   #10
Jamie Rufe
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Re: CrossFit & Wendler's 5/3/1 hybrid results reports

Hi there,
I've been using the 5/3/1 program since last August and have seen great improvement in my lifts. I just finished my 7th cycle and still haven't plateaued on any lifts. My CFT went up by a 100 lbs! I think the program works really in the first few cycles, but I'll mention one caveat: as you progress into the later cycles, the third sets become more and more taxing as the weights and reps increase, so you'll need to make sure you allot enough rest time between your 5/3/1 and metcon.

In any case, I think the key to this program is patience and sticking to it long term.

Good luck!
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