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Patrick Haskell 04-29-2008 09:30 AM

Starting over with Starting Strength
I started CF last Spring and followed along faithfully for 6 months before the cold and eventually an iced over garage floor discouraged me. I managed maybe a dozen workouts in December and January plus a dozen days on skis, then started CF back up in March, before a brutal FGB was followed by a 3-week bout with the flu.

I was doing alright before the winter, but some of the heavy strength-based metcon WODs, Diane & Linda especially, crushed me. So, I decided to take up a SS cycle and do some aerobic base-building work on the side, before jumping back into the WODs, hoping that improved strength would help me get beyond scaled versions of the fat girls.

Don't know how often I'll update this, but I'll put this up there to keep me honest, since I don't have a workout partner pushing me. Thanks in advance for any feedback, constructive criticism, and motivation.

Patrick Haskell 04-29-2008 09:38 AM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
After 8 days with the flu and a week of recovery, I thought I was doing alright, went skiing in Utah for a couple of days, took a red-eye home and found myself laid out for another week and a half. This time, I decided to take it slow before stressing the system heavily.

I fasted for day and a half (Monday-Tuesday 4/21-22/2008) to clean out the system (not by choice, but it seemed like good timing anyhow).

Last Wednesday (4/23/2008), I ate a high calorie (3100), otherwise zone-friendly diet for the day: 35-25-40 (F-P-C), and tested the system to see where my energy levels were. (Most of the previous month, running up a flight of stairs would leave me winded.)

CFWU x 2 (x15) sub supermans for back-x
Jump rope 5 minutes
OHS 45x15
25#DB x 8each
TGU 15#DB x 8each

Things seemed good to go. Just one more fun workout before SS.

Patrick Haskell 04-29-2008 09:49 AM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
Friday, 4/25/2008

Hike and ski Tuckerman's Ravine - Mt. Washington, NH

It was my trip to Mt. Washington last year that motivated me to finally check-out the Crossfit site that a skier friend sent me a link to back in 2005. A day of chasing a kid less than half my age and a skier about my age who got in more than double my days on skis and probably 10x as many days of earned turns in the mountains. I was definitely the slow one, but by the end of the 9 mile, 5,000 vert. foot day, despite carrying a heavier pack, my LSD stamina showed through enough to remind me that 10 years ago, I used to be in pretty good shape and that doing something about it might be a good idea.

A year later, despite being off the Kool-Aid for over 3 months, Crossfit was still paying dividends, as I left my (admittedly slower) companions behind and managed a 6 mile, 4,000 vf day without feeling half bad. The objective this time around, improve on last year's performances, keep CFing through the winter, and see how that affects my LSD hobbies.

Patrick Haskell 04-29-2008 10:05 AM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
Monday, 4/28/2008 - Starting Strength.

I've had this workout planned for a month. Where I didn't have a prior 5RM, I estimated a 5RM from prior 1RM and adjusted down 5-10 pounds. Wasn't sure how well this would work starting the program so close to my limits.

Jump rope 100 time
Dynamic stretching.
15 Air squats.

Back squat: 45x5-75x5-115x5-155x3-185x2 195x5x3

Press: 45x5-65x5-85x4-95x1 100x5x2+100x4 (last rep fails)

Deadlift: 115x5-165x3-215x2 245x5x1

Max rep kipping pullups 24

Form on the work set of deadlifts was ugly. I had trouble resetting the back and holding it, even though the weight didn't feel especially heavy and I did multiple 5xsets at this weight last month, so that was a touch odd. Flexibility work (yoga) will definitely supplement the low-intensity aerobic work that I'll be doing on the off days. That might help. After 5 days of good eating, yesterday was work-supplied carb-heavy food that left me feeling weak and achy prior to the workout. A better diet should help, too. I don't drink milk, so Rip's dietary recommendations won't work for me. I'm going to sub an extra cup of nuts (and a bunch of water) in place of the gallon of milk. It's just as convenient, the calories and P-F-C balance are similar, and these days, the cost is just as good, too.

Starting at reasonably high weights might prove troublesome, but I'm going to keep at it unless somebody chimes in and convinces me that I'm wasting my time. I'll drop down 5 pounds on the press and hope that my body will respond to the stimulus of simply picking up the barbell again and that I'll start making progress pretty quickly. Squats felt good and the weight was light enough for me to make form corrections as I went, so those will go up. Deadlifts will likely stay the same for another workout until I prove I can do them right.

Patrick Haskell 04-30-2008 06:45 PM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
Wasn't sure how going straight back into the squats would feel, since I was still walking a little funny, but once I warmed up all was good.

w/u Jump rope, air squats, dynamic stretching

back squat 45x5-75x5-115x5-165x3-185x2 - 205x5x3 (pretty solid)

bench press 45x5x2-75x5-95x3-115x2 - 135x5x3 (too easy)

Practiced 2nd pull - hi hang and low hang power clean with 15#s

power clean 45x5-75x5-95x3-115x2 - 125x5x2 (ugly) 65x5x3

The weight went up easy enough but my form was abysmal and I was muscling it. My jump had all the explosion of someone standing in a sand pit. I really need to work on this. Any ideas for drills? I felt OK about cleans last year, but when it comes to getting the bar up high enough for a power clean, I can really see just how much is lacking in the second pull.

Did two sets of 20 pullups to finish up.

Patrick Haskell 04-30-2008 06:49 PM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength

Originally Posted by Patrick Haskell (Post 301478)
I don't drink milk, so Rip's dietary recommendations won't work for me. I'm going to sub an extra cup of nuts (and a bunch of water) in place of the gallon of milk. It's just as convenient, the calories and P-F-C balance are similar, and these days, the cost is just as good, too.

Make that a pound of nuts for similar protein. The nuts (almonds in my case) are much higher on the fat content but much lower on the carbs, most of which is fiber anyway, so I like the sub. I'm actually doing a half pound, since I can't grock another 2,500 calories in my diet. If I feel hungry and plateau, I may go for more.

Patrick Haskell 05-03-2008 03:53 AM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
Jump rope, CFWU, except dips

Back squat 45x5-75x5-115x5-165x3-195x1-215x5x3
Press 45x5-75x3-95x2-103x5x3
Deadlift 115x5-165x3-215x2-255x5

After reviewing Rip's recommendations for SS programming, I decided to bump the weight a bit on the press and DL, despite missing a rep and showing poor form, respectively, on my last time out. The decision paid off, as I was clearly stronger on the press and was able to improve my DL for some, although my back didn't stay locked out for all 5 reps. Had to rest a few breaths after rep 4 on the DL to ensure proper form on the last rep.

I started out at high enough weights that I'm getting near my 5RM on all these lifts at the end of week 1. There's still room for improvement with continued work, but I was yelling my way through last reps on all of them. I'll reduce my weight increases on the squat and will keep inching forward on the press. For the DL, it's time to get my undersized plates up on blocks. The extra 3-inches of pull that I need to do really challenges my ability to set my back after the first rep. With that change, I'm pretty sure I can keep increasing the weight and improve my form at the same time.

Pushing to my limits on the back squat is definitely put me in the market for a good bar and bumpers. My 15# bar already has a little bend on one end, and I'd hate to break it when I start dropping heavy weights on the floor with regularity (not that it wouldn't be cheap to replace when my wife finally follows through on her threat to join me in the garage). The CF routine of irregular heavy lifting of weights limited the amount of crashing the bar has done until now, but Rip's routine (to say nothing of the olympic lifting that is likely to be my next project) is probably too much for it.

Patrick Haskell 05-04-2008 12:19 PM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
After my last power clean session, it was clear the lift needed some extra work, so I decided to hit it a day early in the SS cycle and give it the attention it deserved.

CFWU, jump rope and mobility drills
15# bar, dozens of power cleans from high hang, low hang & below knees
45# bar, power cleans x5 from high hang, low hang & below knees
65#, power cleans x3 from high hang, low hang & below knees
power clean 65# x 5
95# low hang power clean x 2 - power clean x 2
power clean 115# x 1
power clean 130 x 5 x 3

Was paying so much attention to form through the first two work sets that they were brutally hard. It was more like a deadlift and hang power clean. The last set, I integrated it and sped it up, and despite being the end of the work, it was much easier.

Also did my first CF WOD since starting back up. It's only 50 burpees, after all.


Patrick Haskell 05-05-2008 07:12 PM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
Feeling pleasantly sore in the traps today, letting me know my clean form cleaned up pretty good yesterday. Defintely felt the explosion better and look forward to working on the power clean more.

Having done the cleans yesterday, today was a little easier, which was good given the pizza dinner that left me a bit weak. Leaving out the now-standard warmup:

back squat 220x5x3
bench 155x5x3
pullups 10x0#-15#x5-25x5-35x5-40x3

Squat felt wobbly; bailed out several times onto the front of the foot. As has been the case these last few times, the last set was actually the easiest. I may need to warm up more (mentally at least). I felt weak and wasn't sure I'd get that first set of 5 up, but by the last set, I knew I could do it and even managed to have better form. Going up 20# in the bench has me where I should be. I'll follow Rip's advice of small increases from here. Weighted pullups need work. They'll probably figure prominently in this cycle.

Richard Vanmeerbeek 05-06-2008 02:45 PM

Re: Starting over with Starting Strength
Hey Partick,

Good to hear from you. I understand your concern about adapting already perfect programs and I really do not intend to do that. Those programs should be followed religiously because they're really meant to work that way. But I just want to have something easy to follow during my exam session, get in the gym, do my sets, and leave. I'll follow the "Practical Programming Advanced Novice Program" exactly as it is, the front squats are prescribed on the 2nd day in that program, and the deadlifts and cleans are only done on that day as well. And Rip says that you are aloud to increase the sets of DLs, that's why I chose 3 x 5 instead of 1 x 5 :)

I chose to add ring work (mainly MUs) on the days I bench press, instead of doing strict dips work, and handstand work on the days where there are shoulder presses. And I just want to have a short metcon rush on the weekend, to maintain my current level (I wouldn't be surprised if it actually improves), or a 5k.

I'll check on your log, my program starts next Monday !


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