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Old 05-03-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
Joshua Ruwet
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Help in program decision for strength.

I almost hate posting this as I know it seems like there's enough info out there I should be able to figure it out...but I'm counting on the good graces, wisdom, and experience from you fine folks

In any case, my goal is to get stronger to be able to WOD and see some gains. My biggest focus is on upper body...which seems to be really weak. I really, really enjoy the WOD's at my gym but realize I'm not making significant gains mainly due to lack of strength, especially upper body. So, I need a simple to follow plan that I can stick with for awhile. I'm leaning towards Wendler but will take any/all input.

For ref, I'm 5'11, 37yrs old, 172#. Started CF approx year and a half ago after doing NOTHING for several years and stayed skinny-fat at 178#. Never been a real athlete per say but always active. Sports/games interest me but gyms turn me off...which is why I think CF in a group atmosphere has really stuck.

In last year I dropped 6# and 1.5" off my waist. I currently WOD 4x times per week (bad week is 3, occasionally go 5x). Time is tight with work, marriage, and raising 4 small children...and gym is half an hour away. I enjoy trail running but am battling posterior tibial tendonitis...so running is out right now and I'm becoming good friends with the C2 rower at the gym (Don't tell the rower but I'm really looking forward to breaking up) Nutrition is so,so = try to eat clean and eat a lot. Not always easy as I'm on the road quite a bit for work.

Here's my 1RM best I can tell from prior lifts: Deadlift 320# (Did 3RM of 305# recently); Press 95# (I know - horrible. May be higher but haven't done strict press in a long time); Squat 235#; Bench 145#; can do 10RM of dead hang pull ups; max weighted dead hang pull up is 53#

Again, my goal is to get stronger to then be able to return to WOD's and make better gains...especially in WOD's involving weight overhead. So, a 4-day/week program that would build strength w/o completely losing metcon is ideal. May be able to squeeze in 5x/week but it would not be consistent.

Would it work to do heavy lifts 2x per week with WOD's in between? Truthfully, I really enjoy the social aspect of the WOD's and realize it is large in part what keeps me motivated. However, I think I am disciplined and dedicated enough at this point to make changes/sacrifice to see some gains.

Appreciate any input/feedback from you old pros out there. My apology for the long post.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

If you want to get stronger you need to focus on strength work and make your conditioning the supplementary work, not the other way around. That typically means heavy lifting 3-4x per week. And you're unlikely to suddenly lose your metcon going that route unless you're talking about purely bodyweight stuff after a big weight gain. Your performance on any metcons that involve tossing weight around (i.e. Fran, Helen, Grace, etc.) will likely get much better.

5/3/1 works pretty well on a 4x per week lifting schedule, and you can add metcons in on 2 or 3 of those days as long as they're intelligently programmed. But it's more of an intermediate program so it won't have you doing each lift quite as frequently as you would on something like GSLP, which would have you squatting 2x per week, deadlifting 1x per week, and benching and pressing 3x every 2 weeks in addition to doing weighted pullups, curls, and any other plug-ins that fit your goals. Conditioning on GSLP or 5/3/1 would fit the same mold...i.e. short, intense, uncomplicated movements, and not 100+ reps of a single exercise. So with GSLP you'd be lifting 3x per week and doing conditioning 2-3x per week, some of which will match up with your lifting days.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:15 PM   #3
Joshua Ruwet
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

Thanks for the feedback, Eric. Agree - metcon would only be to supplement and only if done intelligently.

With that said, would you think I'd see greater strength gains from GSLP than Wendler at this point? Simpler programming is better for me if that helps.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:19 PM   #4
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

They're both pretty simple, but I'd say the linear gains of GSLP (and the fact that you wouldn't have to worry about percentages) make it easier to follow and would produce faster gains in your situation.

I'd recommend picking up the 2nd edition e-book they just released over on the Strength Villain site--I haven't read it because I have the first edition, but from what I've heard it goes into great detail about the million ways you can modify the base program to fit specific goals.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:07 AM   #5
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Ruwet View Post
...but I'm counting on the good graces, wisdom, and experience from you fine folks
Mistake #1. You do need a lot of help.............
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:56 AM   #6
Craig Horstman
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
I'd recommend picking up the 2nd edition e-book they just released over on the Strength Villain site--I haven't read it because I have the first edition, but from what I've heard it goes into great detail about the million ways you can modify the base program to fit specific goals.
definately does. in the first edition he layed out 1 or 2 programs. in the 2nd there are at least 3 strength layouts as well as oly, layouts for powerlifting, layouts for females, as well as a little more on plug-ins and exercise description. excellent book and well worth the money.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:33 AM   #7
Dave Traeger
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

Josh - the cf box you go to, how open are they to you doing alternative programming? As in, some of them are 'follow our wods only!'.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:16 PM   #8
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

You have a HUGE imbalance in your deadlift vs. press. This likely suggests that you deadlift a lot more than you press. So...press more, ideally as part of some strength program.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:45 AM   #9
Joshua Ruwet
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

Bought the book! Fantastic. Going on vacation this week and plan to start on my return. Pumped to see where this takes me.

@David - Yes. My box is set up for individuals wishing to pursue their own program. I pay for the elite membership to have open access to the gym and equipment.

@Dimitri - I know...very imbalanced. Looks like this will be addresses in GSLP where DL is 1x per week and Bench or Press is 3x per week.
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:38 AM   #10
Jeremiah C Johnson
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Re: Help in program decision for strength.

I was in the same boat man. I couldn't lift squat when I started Crossfit. The most humbling part for me was that I could lift pretty well on machines so I thought I would kill WOD's....HAHA! Anyway I can't sing the praises of 5/3/1 enough!!!! It is absolutely amazing how I am flying through the weights. I had to retest my 1 rep max twice in the first 2 months of starting the program because I beat my max during WODs! Last week during a WOD I squatted 3 reps of 10# more than my 1 rep max. I had to retest my one rep and found it was up almost 20# in two months. Crazy. Now, I also WOD 5 times a week and I do a ton of supplementary work. My best advice to you is buy a set of rings (good ones) hang them in your garage and learn to love them. There has been no other supplementary tool that has worked better for me.

Also, if you want it, I have a Wendler 5/3/1 template in an Excel spreadsheet that all you have to do is plug in your 1 rep max for each list and it lays out 16 weeks of lifting (weights and reps). It is so easy it's ridiculous.

Keep at it man! You'll get there!
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