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Gant Grimes 06-02-2008 11:02 PM

Hybrid programs
 
1 Attachment(s)
Several months ago, I had some conversations with Garrett Smith and a few others regarding the potential benefits of increased strength and gymnastics programming and shorter metcons sessions. I embarked on a 12-week project where I was going to do a mixture of gymnastics, Olympic lifting, and slow lifting with limited metabolic conditioning. All metcons were to be kept under 10 minutes, and most of them had a strength-biased. We suspected that 1) strength is the most important aspect of metcon, and 2) excessive metcon is unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.

Going into the project, I was a 33 year old trainee with a little over a year of CF. I was reasonably strong (total in the low 900s) and decently fit (upper quartile in most exercises in logsitall), but nothing special. I had enough “time in grade” to test the program without having to worry about skewed results due to the novice effect. In other words, I was a pretty good lab rat.

It didn’t take 12 weeks to see results. Within the first month I hit 7 PRs spread across several domains, strength, metcon, and mixed metcon (death by pullup). After 8 weeks, I had a cheat day because Murph came up. Despite only having run about 2.5 miles to date in 2008, and not having done anything over 10 minutes in two months, I ran my first sub-40 Murph. I “cheated” again two weeks later, setting a 2 round PR in Cindy although I had done very few pushups or air squats in the past weeks.

Over the course of the project, I ate mostly Paleo (I say mostly because I took substantial liberties with dairy, ice cream in particular). In Zone terms, I was probably consuming ~ 26 P, 12 C, 40-50 F. I didn’t measure.

I unofficially ended the project last week with PRs in the CFT and deadlift. Over a 10.5 week training period (45 training sessions to be precise), I hit 21 PRs in strength, metcon, and mixed workouts. Several of those broke long-standing PRs. A couple of them broke PRs set during this project.

I am making no conclusions beyond what worked for me. And what worked for me was a blend of strength, power, and gymnastics training with short, intense, and usually heavy metcons. I didn’t have to put up with sore joints like I did doing pure strength work, and I didn’t have to deal with a fried CNS like I did doing pure CF. It’s a nice blend that kept me interested and focused every training session. I also recovered well (Saturday was an optional training day; I often skipped it, giving me a 4 day training week). Incidentally, I dropped body fat and increased my LBM over the last several months.

I am attaching my results below for those that are interested in this sort of thing. I will also post three templates for hybrid training programs. For more detailed information, look at my training log (linked below) started on March 17.

I will continue to train like this because it has been extremely effective for me. It might work for some of you, too.

----------

[U]PRs @ ~186 lbs BW: [/U]
107.5 kg (236#) power clean
110 kg (242#) split jerk
Fran (4:17)
Grace (3:40)
Death-by-pullup (19 rounds + 7 pullups)
Helen (8:52)
100 kg (220#) hang power clean
Elizabeth (8:25)
305# bench press
120# weighted pullup
77.5 kg (170#) OHS
105 kg (231#) thruster
Murph (38:52)
Fran (4:03)
122.5 kg (269#) front squat
30 MU's (6:16)
Cindy (26 rds + 5 pulls)
82.5 kg (181#) snatch
125 kg (275#) front squat
1019# CrossFit Total
451# deadlift

----------

I will attach three hybrid programming templates (along with commentary) tomorrow (I owe several of you an email; give me another day).

Charlie A Nilsson 06-02-2008 11:45 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Hmm... looks very interesting :)

Looking forward to the templates, might come in handy for my own programming for the summer.

Nice list of PRs :pepper:

Steven Low 06-02-2008 11:52 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Great post Gant.

I've always been one of the proponents of higher strength = better applicability to fitness so I think it's great that your results are showing as such. Interesting that it's on a more strength biased program as well.

Hmm, well CF has indeed become a bit more strength biased anyway so we'll see.

Derek Maffett 06-03-2008 12:05 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Very interested in this.

Ash Sinclair 06-03-2008 05:07 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Hey Gant,


great post, thanks for sharing mate. I'm very interested to read more about it. I would love to have a crack at this myself :)

Susie Rosenberg 06-03-2008 05:22 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant, I just love reading about your "experiments"---first, your Tabata data, and now this.

You write that this experiment "ended." Do you have another direction in mind?

If nothing else, it shows that gains are made when we vary the demands we put on our bodies. Certainly, that's built into the daily structure of the Crossfit program. I haven't followed the sequence of WODs closely enough over the time I've been around, so I haven't perceived larger cycles imposed upon (emerging from) the WOD sequence.

One thing I do know is that really elite athletes have seasons in which they train to a peak, so there is seasonal periodicity built into their programming.

There are two ways to "go at" Crossfit: as a fitness program in progress is a side benefit, and as a sport in which performance uber alles.

For those folks whose [I]sport[/I] is Crossfit, more attention to seasonal periodicity---larger patterns of training variability----might be useful. I'd be interested if you took on an endurance running or cycling program next!

Susie

Benjamin Walsh 06-03-2008 07:39 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Very interesting. Thank you.

Alexander Kornishev 06-03-2008 08:11 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
I was closely following your log Gant and was amazed at your results (congrats on joining 1000 club!). I was doing something very similar on my side. I started a bit earlier than you and used slightly different combination of heavy lift, gymnastics, Olympic lifts, KB, short metcons and different schedule (I think your schedule is more efficient though). But I can confirm everything you experienced, increased lifts, faster metcons times during long/short WOD (Murph is under 30 min, Fran is under 3 min...). I tried to switch back to Home Page WOD only and progress stopped almost immediately. And finally the most important it is much more fun to workout like that.

Tirzah Harper 06-03-2008 09:00 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Glad you posted this. I'm taking a month off of longer-than-five-minute metcon per consult with Dr. G (and doing some other things for my adrenal system), and it's good to hear that your metcon capacity increased, not diminished, with a similar pattern that I'll be working on this month.

Ben Moskowitz 06-03-2008 10:21 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
If we subtract endurance and aerobic conditioning from the fitness equation (which it seems like you did) we get...? Just curious, how long were your workouts?

I'm also curious as to how this compares to more focus on speed-strength a la CA WOD.

Roelant Bergen 06-03-2008 11:05 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Hey Gant,

from what I remember, you also practice Intermittent fasting. Did you do so as well for this protocol?

Patrick Haskell 06-03-2008 11:27 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Good stuff, Gant. Thanks for putting this together. I'd been following your log since the end of the tabata protocol and liked the look of the programming, but I hadn't really integrated it to see how quickly you've been progressing. I've been leaning toward adopting this sort of programming myself, so it's interesting to see your results.

I question, however, whether you've really come out of the novice phase for all aspects of this. Simply the comparison of the OHS PR and the even heavier snatch three weeks later suggests a pretty solid case of CNS adaptation typical of a beginner/intermediate stage (using Rip& Kilgore's developmental categories, not reflecting on your athletic prowess). The gains on the CFT and Murph, on the other hand, where you're almost certainly out of the novice stage, could be somewhat more compelling. To shave 10 minutes off an edurance-based WOD without doing metcons of much more than 10 minutes is pretty strong support for your approach and is consistent with the CF approach to endurance training. However, Looking back at your CFT from last June, you jumped ~35#s in 11 months, progress which might have been there for you if you followed the main page WOD rather than treating yourself as a career lab rat.

Interesting stuff, and I'm not challenging your programming decisions, just trying to get your perspective on how you came to settle on this approach rather than some other. For example, have you given any thought to whether a programming routine closer to the main-page WOD (e.g., MEBB) might provide similar or better results at this point in your development. Care to experiment on yourself further? ;)

Júlíus Magnússon 06-03-2008 12:00 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant,
It's funny... I'm experimenting with just about exactly the same thing these days. Or was, before I got sick almost a week ago (still just sucking it up at home).

My idea was a 3 days on, 1 day off cycle that consisted of 3 to 4 workouts over the course of the three days.

One, and never more than one, of these workouts would be a short metcon. (Nothing over 20 minutes.)

Another one of these workouts would then be a ring workout, working on the levers, muscle-ups, some push-ups or weighted dips, maybe, and stuff like that.

Then, one or two workouts in the cycle would be a strength workout, usually a ME one with three to four lifts, at least one of them being an olympic style lift (wether it's power cleans, clean and jerks, hang squat cleans, overhead squats, et cetera).

Then, something I've been slacking on is I was going to be working on handstands and planche progressions most days as well, while still making sure to make every fourth day an absolute rest day.

I haven't been doing this long enough to say if it's working or not but it's encouraging to see what something similar did for you.

Brandon Oto 06-03-2008 12:03 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
There are additional interesting remarks in the parallel thread at Pmenu: [url]http://performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2560[/url] wfs

Don Reynolds 06-03-2008 01:01 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant, what do you think of using alternating Tabatas for the metcon workouts?

Alexander Kornishev 06-03-2008 01:35 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Brandon Oto;323925]There are additional interesting remarks in the parallel thread at Pmenu: [url]http://performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2560[/url] wfs[/QUOTE]
Thanks Brandon!

Gant Grimes 06-03-2008 02:12 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Susie Rosenberg;323664]You write that this experiment "ended." Do you have another direction in mind?

If nothing else, it shows that gains are made when we vary the demands we put on our bodies. Certainly, that's built into the daily structure of the Crossfit program. I haven't followed the sequence of WODs closely enough over the time I've been around, so I haven't perceived larger cycles imposed upon (emerging from) the WOD sequence.

One thing I do know is that really elite athletes have seasons in which they train to a peak, so there is seasonal periodicity built into their programming.[/QUOTE]

My experiment is over in the sense that the question has been answered to my satisfaction. I will continue training this way.

Yes, I have something very interesting coming up ;). It's more for someone else's experiment, and it's a little crazy. It will potentially be helpful to many people.

The evolutionary fitness guys like seasonal training, and so do I. Once spring hits, I'm on on the road, in the pool, and on the water. It's good for the body.

[QUOTE=Ben Moskowitz;323847]If we subtract endurance and aerobic conditioning from the fitness equation (which it seems like you did) we get...? Just curious, how long were your workouts?

I'm also curious as to how this compares to more focus on speed-strength a la CA WOD.[/QUOTE]

Total workout time averaged an hour and a half, mostly because I was bringing a new guy along. My time under the bar was much shorter. Since I was doing circa max weights, I often rested 4-7 minutes between sets.

You can view length of metcons in the attached spreadsheet. I didn't count Tabatas as metcons because of all the rest. Of course they have an undeniable metcon character which is hard to discount. So put it on my tab if you must.

I did the CA WOD, and it's a great program. However, I needed a little more variety, and I certainly needed more metcon. I'm going to talk to Greg about this; he may not have to write off metcon like he does.

To be sure, I viewed metcon and strength as 1 and 1a. I also viewed strength as the biggest contributor to metcon performance. I just approached metcon development a little differently.

[QUOTE=Patrick Haskell;323893]I question, however, whether you've really come out of the novice phase for all aspects of this. Simply the comparison of the OHS PR and the even heavier snatch three weeks later suggests a pretty solid case of CNS adaptation typical of a beginner/intermediate stage (using Rip& Kilgore's developmental categories, not reflecting on your athletic prowess). The gains on the CFT and Murph, on the other hand, where you're almost certainly out of the novice stage, could be somewhat more compelling. To shave 10 minutes off an edurance-based WOD without doing metcons of much more than 10 minutes is pretty strong support for your approach and is consistent with the CF approach to endurance training. However, Looking back at your CFT from last June, you jumped ~35#s in 11 months, progress which might have been there for you if you followed the main page WOD rather than treating yourself as a career lab rat.

Interesting stuff, and I'm not challenging your programming decisions, just trying to get your perspective on how you came to settle on this approach rather than some other. For example, have you given any thought to whether a programming routine closer to the main-page WOD (e.g., MEBB) might provide similar or better results at this point in your development. Care to experiment on yourself further? ;)[/QUOTE]

Very good question! I remarked in my log a few months ago that I finally felt like I had moved out of the novice phase. Obviously that's very important to this experiment.

CNS adaptation is a good point, and I considered that. However, you'd realize the OHS<-->snatch PRs are a poor example if you actually saw my snatch! That 82.5 kg was a power snatch (75 is almost a muscle snatch for me). I have no balls and cannot get under a bar for the life of me. I called it snatch (instead of P-Sn) that day because I started out doing the full versions. When the weights get heavy, I drop out. Unfortunately, my power clean and power snatch numbers are lower than their full version counterparts.

OHS by itself was due to CNS adaptation and novice linear progression. I sucked at these--and still do--but the gains were incredibly rapid.

My CFT last June was due to three things, muscle memory (coming back from 8 years off the iron), Starting Strength, and a healthy appetite. Last summer I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now. Over the course of the last 11 months, I didn't get anywhere near those strength levels (my Jan. 1 CFT was in the 800s). So although my current CFT is only 30 pounds heavier that last summer's, it was more of a roller coaster than a progression. There's been quite a bit of body comp change, as well.

I've done the MEBB and a modified MEBB. This works better for me and my needs. Ultimately I do this because I really, really enjoy it. It's nice just to take your time, lift some heavy iron, and tear up a short metcon. Of course I'll still do the Filthy Fifties, Evas and other things that hurt so good because I'm a masochist.

Gant Grimes 06-03-2008 02:24 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Roelant Bergen;323872]Hey Gant,

from what I remember, you also practice Intermittent fasting. Did you do so as well for this protocol?[/QUOTE]

Yes. I credit IF with a lot of my body comp change and general happiness throughout this program.

My PM workout log (someone linked to it) has a few more comments on IF. I generally did 3-5 15-16 hour fasts per week. I usually ate before I worked out but not always. I believe I set the burpee PR 23.5 hours into a fast.

[QUOTE=Don Reynolds;323949]Gant, what do you think of using alternating Tabatas for the metcon workouts?[/QUOTE]

Depends on the Tabata. Obviously I like them, but I didn't count them as metcon because of all the rest (and my Tabata sprints were pretty weak after the first couple rounds). For purposes of this experiment I charged through every WOD with little or no rest.

If you look at my workout template, which I'll post this afternoon, you'll see that I don't do that much metcon. There were a number of weeks where I only did 3 metcon sessions. So yeah, if you feel like you need more metcon, you could certainly work some Tabata in.

Scott Allen Hanson 06-03-2008 02:42 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant,

Thanks for all the data. Maybe you should change your initials to "BB". Looking forward to seeing your programming template.

Gant Grimes 06-03-2008 03:20 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[B][U]Program notes
[/U][/B]
• These programs will increase static strength, explosive strength, and limit strength. This increase in strength will lead to substantial improvements in metabolic conditioning.
• Metcon should be short and intense. Keep it under 10 minutes (usually under 5). Keep it heavy, and keep it functional. Select workouts that require very little rest. [B][COLOR="DarkRed"]Scale reps, rounds, or time before scaling weight![/COLOR][/B] (This might be the most important bit you'll read on this). This is key to the neuroendocrine response we’re looking for.
• Use KB’s, tires, farming implements, stones, boat chains, and sledgehammers liberally. Sprint often (Tabatas, 100s, 200s, 400s). Full body exercises (cleans, thrusters, swings) are great. Use couplets and triplets. NO chipper workouts.
• The exercise order and selection promotes increases in strength and, if you eat for it, lean mass. Everything you do on this program packs a substantial neuroendocrine wallop. Pick your metcon exercises accordingly. You should be shaving twice a day on this program.
• Eat more protein. If you’re Zoning, increase protein intake by 2-4 blocks and fat by 8-16 blocks. Do not increase your carbs (I have accounted for them in the fat increase).
• Go heavy, go hard, or don’t go at all. The volume is low enough, and the metcons are short enough that your CNS should be stable throughout the program. If you need a day off, take it. Don’t tear your body down while it’s trying to build itself up.
• Eat lots of red meat. It’s just better. Consuming large quantities of blood-soaked animal tissue puts you in a better frame of mind to train like this. If you eat eggs, eat whole eggs.

[B][U]Programs
[/U][/B]

• There are three programs.
• The 3/1 program. I designed one for people who like the 3/1 CF schedule. Personally, I think 6 workouts in 8 days is a bit much. But you wanted it, so here it is.
• The novice strength-biased program. This is a 3/1/2/1 schedule. I got used to training like this doing the PMenu WOD, and I like it. It’s also an intermediate programming scheme discussed in Practical Programming. I wrote this program because I train with a guy who doesn’t need to do as much OLY lifting as I do. The power versions of the OLY lifts are done. There is also an extra day of push presses or rack jerks. If you train on Saturday, just do a regular WOD (this can be a little longer). If you train with weights, keep it light and drill some OLY lifts.
• The intermediate/advanced strength-biased program. This is my personal program. Saturday is optional. This is where I drill OLY by doing assistance exercises (snatch balance, tall cleans, etc.) and get on the rings. Or I get in the canoe, go mountain biking, or play a little judo. Saturday is not a hard training day for me. So yeah, I pretty much train 4 out of 7 days.

[B][U]Other concerns
[/U][/B]

• Do other stuff. It’s summer time. Walk, swim, play softball, ride a bike. Whatever. Don’t pass a bar, set of rings, or rock ledge without pulling yourself up on it.
• Substitute if you feel the need. I refuse to miss Murph or Filthy Fifty. If one of your favorite WOD comes up, do it.
• Deadlift every week. They’re good for your soul. Cool down with reverse hypers 2-4 times a week. They’re good for your deadlifts and thus good for you soul. Your back will thank you.
• 5 minutes a week of KB long-cycle clean & jerks has profound effects.
• Read Christopher Sommer’s article on front lever progressions (also has planche progressions).
• Read up on the Bulgarian method.
• Squat low for training. If you’re a guy, try to tea-bag the platform. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll be able to lift in a CFT when you only squat to regulation depth.

[B][U]Sets, reps, and exercises (sets x reps)
[/U][/B]

• Welcome back to linear progression! We’re going to get stronger every week. Linear strength progression works a little differently in a program with gymnastics and metcon, so pay attention to what’s happening. I have borrowed heavily from Rippetoe, Everett, and Louie Simmons in designing this.
• OLY lifts should be 5-8 sets (or more) of singles or doubles. Look to Coach B. or the PMenu for additional programming ideas. You have to be careful with your loads and volume on this stuff. It can sneak up on you.
• The slow lifts should start with 3x5 (including dips and pull-ups). Drop to 3x3 after 6 weeks or whenever the volume becomes too much. You may also want to mix in some 5x3, 5x2 or 7x1. It’s your program! Eventually you’ll almost exclusively be doing either 1) med volume/high intensity or 2) low volume/stupid intensity!
• Only do one work set on the deadlift if you’re working with max numbers.
• Mix sets across with progressive loading. You can do 3x3 across one week and 5x3 progressive (working up to a 3RM). Do progressive loading at least once every third time for each lift.
• Work in some ME/DE days as necessary. We’re all about speed and power. I mix in plenty of box squatting so I can squat frequently. It helps your deadlift, too. Reverse hypers help everything.
• Deadlift every week (it’s worth repeating). If it tears you up like it does me, mix in some rack pulls and halting deadlifts. I love 3x6 snatch grip deadlifts off a 4” box.
• Substitute OLY lifts as needed. Play with the full and hang positions to optimize results. If you’re on the advanced program, do the full version at least once a week.

[B][U]Bottom line[/U][/B]

• Go fast, go heavy, and go hard. If you're doing sets across, increase it every time. Don't reset if you fail at 5, just drop to 3. If you're doing CF ME work (5 triples, 7 singles), go for a PR every time. Metcons are short, heavy, and functional. Don't rest.

*****
[IMG]http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k216/gantgrimes/wod1.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k216/gantgrimes/wod2.jpg[/IMG]

Adam Budke 06-03-2008 03:59 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Great post Gant, and thanks for the templates plus instructions! It's nice to see something dumbed down to my level of understanding. I'm starting day three of the program I've been pestering you about.

Thanks again,
Adam

Roey Gilberg 06-03-2008 05:15 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant,

I've been following the mainsite WODs for a while now and I've definitely been looking to phase out some metcon work and focus more on OLY lifts and gymnastic strength, so first of all thanks for posting this.

I'm thinking about following your 3/1 strength template, and I have a few hopefully quick questions:

--In doing a WOD to finish off your program for the day, what do you typically do? Create your own based on things you'd like to work on? Or would you recommend just plucking one from the mainsite, as long as it satisfies your metcon conditions (short, heavy, functional)?

--For handstand practice and front lever practice, do you use the combined 60 second set format layed out by Coach Sommer? How much of this work do you do before moving on to the lift for that day?

--You say sprint often...where would this fit in with regards to the template? Into a WOD?

I realize that these templates are customizable in a lot of ways, but I'm just hoping to get a better feel for how you approach them before I embark.

Thanks...

Joey Powell 06-03-2008 07:03 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant, I want to echo some sentiments.

1. Reverse hypers...Do them Get to where you can do at least 1/3 your max back squat for 3 sets of ten. If you can only do them with body weight because of lack of equipment, then do them anyway.

2. Powerlifts- do them HEAVY (>90%) or do them FAST (<60%)

3. Medium intensity with medium weight (think BB style) equals increase muscle mass that can slow you down by body weight and slow you down by dampening your fast twitch.

4. Don't drag out the Met-Cons!! Suggestion for scaling: Watch the videos of the fastest guys and time the segments. Choose a weight that will get you moving at similar speeds. This will get you to the promise land faster than grinding pathetically with heavier weights doing sets of 8-10 to get to 21. See number 3.

Time Speal's thrusters on the 2:05 Fran for the first set. <30sec Now choose a heaviest weight that you can move that fast or within 10%. You will move up faster with less overuse injuries and safety errors.

If it takes you over 35 sec to do the first 21, then the weight is to heavy.

If it makes sense to use the RX'ed weight for some reason, atleast know why you chose to do this other than to do the weight "as RX'ed" and do it S-L-O-W!

Roey Gilberg 06-03-2008 07:21 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Joey Powell;324147]Gant, I want to echo some sentiments.

4. Don't drag out the Met-Cons!! Suggestion for scaling: Watch the videos of the fastest guys and time the segments. Choose a weight that will get you moving at similar speeds. This will get you to the promise land faster than grinding pathetically with heavier weights doing sets of 8-10 to get to 21. See number 3.

Time Speal's thrusters on the 2:05 Fran for the first set. <30sec Now choose a heaviest weight that you can move that fast or within 10%. You will move up faster with less overuse injuries and safety errors.

If it takes you over 35 sec to do the first 21, then the weight is to heavy.

If it makes sense to use the RX'ed weight for some reason, atleast know why you chose to do this other than to do the weight "as RX'ed" and do it S-L-O-W![/QUOTE]

In Gant's notes, he said to scale reps, rounds, and time before scaling weight (in fact it's in bold I believe). It seems like he's saying that if I can't come close to doing 21 reps of 95# thrusters in a decently quick amount of time for Fran, I should keep the 95# and just do less reps. Or is that what you're saying too and I'm just misreading...?

Joey Powell 06-03-2008 08:02 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
That is what I am saying based off of the principle and experience that moderate weight / moderate volume, is best suited for building mass through hypertrophy. If you don't need more muscle mass, then avoid this range. It DOES NOT coincides with FAST or HEAVY. It is moderately slow and grinding.

Jeff Martin the master of scaling... and who CrossFit trusts to scale for the CF main page through his website, Brand X, I would bet, would concur based on advice he has given and results his people see.

If you are turning those 21 reps into 3 hypertrophy sets of say 10-7-4, you are not doing yourself an favors in maximizing performance over time. The fastest times, that weight is moving explosively, and you can't do that effectively with <70-75% of 1RM. Needs to be closer to 40-50% and executed quickly concentrically and eccentrically.

Now if you are trying to build midline stabilization or, isometric strength and flexibility in the arm joints by moving a heavier weight, then go ahead. But know why you are doing it.

Better to start with say 65lbs and accomplish the first 21 thrusters in <35 secs and then add 5 lbs every time you can accomplish this. In by your 7th try you should be well with in the <4 min range, assuming your pull-ups are fairly strong.

Plus, with a heavier weight, you will vasalva, for the whole rep to protect your spine, but with a lower weight you can slip in two breaths per thruster, rather than one, because you will not need to protect your back as much. This makes a HUGE difference in thrusters. Breath exchange at the the top and in the hole.

This doesn't just go for Fran either. It goes with any MET-CON where you are grinding through high #s of reps per set.

The hypertrophy that accompanies moderate weight / moderate volume is not conducive to much that we consider athletic.

Gant's reasoning makes sense too in the sense that less reps you hopefully would try to move FASTER and for lower volume thus, perhaps, changing the type of hypertrophy.

Gant Grimes 06-03-2008 09:07 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Roey Gilberg;324163]In Gant's notes, he said to scale reps, rounds, and time before scaling weight (in fact it's in bold I believe). It seems like he's saying that if I can't come close to doing 21 reps of 95# thrusters in a decently quick amount of time for Fran, I should keep the 95# and just do less reps. Or is that what you're saying too and I'm just misreading...?[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=Joey Powell;324180]That is what I am saying based off of the principle and experience that moderate weight / moderate volume, is best suited for building mass through hypertrophy. If you don't need more muscle mass, then avoid this range. It DOES NOT coincides with FAST or HEAVY. It is moderately slow and grinding.

Jeff Martin the master of scaling... and who CrossFit trusts to scale for the CF main page through his website, Brand X, I would bet, would concur based on advice he has given and results his people see.

If you are turning those 21 reps into 3 hypertrophy sets of say 10-7-4, you are not doing yourself an favors in maximizing performance over time. The fastest times, that weight is moving explosively, and you can't do that effectively with <70-75% of 1RM. Needs to be closer to 40-50% and executed quickly concentrically and eccentrically.

Now if you are trying to build midline stabilization or, isometric strength and flexibility in the arm joints by moving a heavier weight, then go ahead. But know why you are doing it.

Better to start with say 65lbs and accomplish the first 21 thrusters in <35 secs and then add 5 lbs every time you can accomplish this. In by your 7th try you should be well with in the <4 min range, assuming your pull-ups are fairly strong.

Plus, with a heavier weight, you will vasalva, for the whole rep to protect your spine, but with a lower weight you can slip in two breaths per thruster, rather than one, because you will not need to protect your back as much. This makes a HUGE difference in thrusters. Breath exchange at the the top and in the hole.

This doesn't just go for Fran either. It goes with any MET-CON where you are grinding through high #s of reps per set.

The hypertrophy that accompanies moderate weight / moderate volume is not conducive to much that we consider athletic.

Gant's reasoning makes sense too in the sense that less reps you hopefully would try to move FASTER and for lower volume thus, perhaps, changing the type of hypertrophy.[/QUOTE]

I knew my comment would quickly bring us to this place. And I stand by it.

Joey's right. Jeff Martin is a fine man and a wonderful coach, and he would disagree with me (and has). A number of people--maybe most CFers--disagree with me on the scaling argument. That issue has been covered in several threads, some recently, and they are easily searchable.

I will say this: every time someone breaks a record, the community rushes to scale their workouts to achieve the new target time, and that's unfortunate. Most here will agree that conditioning is far easier to obtain than strength. If that's the case, why be so quick to scale? If a person can't do Fran as rx'd, he needs to get stronger. Scaling it down to the point where he can do it in 2 minutes does nothing for his strength; he is simply a fit person who is still too weak to do Fran.

Should AFT now scale his thrusters to 92.5# so he can shave 14 seconds off his time? Should Bainbridge scale to 85# so he can knock 40 seconds off? Is a 2:05 Fran what we should all be shooting for? I don't think so. Before 2:05 was 2:17. Before that 2:30, 2:42, and so on. If I recall, a sub-3 Fran is a fairly new thing. I imagine a sub-4 Fran was a big deal five years ago. My point is that the Speals, AFTs, OPTs, and Josh E's of the world didn't get where they are by scaling.

Of course, I don't advocate grinding it out a large weight that you can't handle. The metcons in this program are designed to have you lifting 1) heavy weights 2) as fast as you safely can 3) with little or no rest.

In the Fran example, the no-scale camp might have you do rx'd weights in 8 minutes. The scaled camp would suggest doing a light weight, say 65#, in 3 minutes with no rest. I'm saying you keep the weight heavy for you, maybe 80# for 15-12-9 with no rest in around 3 minutes. I think you'll get more out of doing it this way.

Like Joey says, under no circumstances should do weight that is too heavy for you for high reps. If you injure yourself you can't train. Then you're no good to anybody.

This is not a mass gain program per se, at least not sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. If someone wants to tweak the sets/reps/rest time schemes, then by all means...these are certainly the exercises to do it. In that case go with a little lighter weight on the metcon and some increased volume (still keeping the times low).

This program will net you some pretty good myofibrillar hypertrophy if you eat enough. You might only gain a pound or so, but it will be hard, firm, worthwhile muscle.

PS I hate Fran for the simple fact that it's overemphasized by the community. A quick check of logsitall tells the story. Too many people doing Frans, too few deadlifting.

Gant Grimes 06-03-2008 09:21 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Roey Gilberg;324086]--In doing a WOD to finish off your program for the day, what do you typically do? Create your own based on things you'd like to work on? Or would you recommend just plucking one from the mainsite, as long as it satisfies your metcon conditions (short, heavy, functional)?
[/QUOTE]

Look at my log. My rule when I was doing this was "nothing over 10 minutes." Sometimes the main site WOD fit the bill (Elizabeth, Helen, Fran). Others you can cut down (half Cindy, 3 rounds of "Quarter Gone Bad"). Most I just made up with exercises that fit my goals (I happened to like most of them). Add some of the functional implements into your metcon and you'll see what I mean.

[QUOTE=Roey Gilberg;324086]--For handstand practice and front lever practice, do you use the combined 60 second set format layed out by Coach Sommer? How much of this work do you do before moving on to the lift for that day?

Yes for front lever. I'm moving through the progressions. On handstands, I suggest spending some time holding a handstand and some time working on a freestanding one. I'm a long way away from that.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=Roey Gilberg;324086]--You say sprint often...where would this fit in with regards to the template? Into a WOD?[/quote]

Usually in a WOD. Because of my 10-minute rule, I used a lot of 200s (since 400s ate up so much time). 100s are nice, too.

Start walking to get more places. Than run. Jog to your car. Run to your mailbox. Take a soccer ball, kick the damn thing, run to it and kick it again. Just run, man.

[QUOTE=Roey Gilberg;324086]I realize that these templates are customizable in a lot of ways, but I'm just hoping to get a better feel for how you approach them before I embark.[/QUOTE]

I approach them by attacking. Keep it heavy, short, and intense. Lift heavy crap off the ground, over your head, or carry it for a distance. Listen to your body and feed it what it needs. If you do that, you can't go wrong.

Jeff Martin 06-03-2008 09:46 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Just a thought, everyone always argues about scaling, and the discussion usually involves scaling down. Scaling works both ways though. I would tell someone who went sub 3:00 on Fran that it was time to repeat that with 100#'s.

Joey Powell 06-04-2008 02:34 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant, The point of Met-Cons is not strength focus. No where did I say scale it down to a 2 minute Fran. What I am talking about is getting up to the prescribed weight and attempting, avoiding sacroplasmic hypertrophy the fastest way. Once bar speed is at its most productive speed and maintainable, increase the weight. So similar to Jeff chimed in, once you cannot move faster in order produce more force over time, then increase the weight. If you are moving light loads fast, like you mentioned in the above posts, then strength is being developed dynamically with starting strength, acceleration strength and even strength endurance, without the CNS mapping slow movement.

Guys that are more on the slow twitch to average end struggle with these kinds of events, and find it hard to improve rapidly without first lowering the weight and mapping the movement with quickness.

When you lower the reps you are then doing modified "Heavy" Fran, with "Scaled" weight. Totally, valid, but it is not meant to see the same result.


Either way, Gant, good work. You continue to lead the charge.

Brandon Oto 06-04-2008 05:24 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
On the subject of reverse hypers, unfortunately there are very few of them around. Anyone think it would work to lie on a high bench and hold a dumbbell between your feet?

Gant Grimes 06-04-2008 06:08 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Joey Powell;324278]Gant, The point of Met-Cons is not strength focus. No where did I say scale it down to a 2 minute Fran. What I am talking about is getting up to the prescribed weight and attempting, avoiding sacroplasmic hypertrophy the fastest way. Once bar speed is at its most productive speed and maintainable, increase the weight. So similar to Jeff chimed in, once you cannot move faster in order produce more force over time, then increase the weight. If you are moving light loads fast, like you mentioned in the above posts, then strength is being developed dynamically with starting strength, acceleration strength and even strength endurance, without the CNS mapping slow movement.

Guys that are more on the slow twitch to average end struggle with these kinds of events, and find it hard to improve rapidly without first lowering the weight and mapping the movement with quickness.

When you lower the reps you are then doing modified "Heavy" Fran, with "Scaled" weight. Totally, valid, but it is not meant to see the same result.


Either way, Gant, good work. You continue to lead the charge.[/QUOTE]

I think our messages have gotten crossed.

I realize the point of metcons is not strength focus. I am actually doing all this strength training to improve my metcons. I got on this program because my sport involves throwing 200-lb. guys around for five minutes at a time, so the strength-focused metcons make sense for me.

I'm glad Jeff chimed in. To be clear, when I start beginners, I always have them scale (they're probably mad because I'm really conservative with them for several weeks). I'm an advocate of scaling, but I like to sneak some strength in earlier (I have a guy that's front squatting 230 but still needs to use 75# thrusters to maintain speed). So I'm with you there. I just find that giving guys an extra dose of the iron helps them scale up faster.

Again, I'm not here to discuss what should or shouldn't work. I'm here to share what happened to me (and is happening to others who are doing this). Strength-biased workouts with short metcon sessions (as heavy and fast as you can safely go for 3-6 mins.) translates well to metcons like Helen, Elizabeth, Cindy, and Murph.

[QUOTE=Joey Powell;324278]When you lower the reps you are then doing modified "Heavy" Fran, with "Scaled" weight. Totally, valid, but it is not meant to see the same result.[/QUOTE]

Exactly! And that's the result I'm after (provided the weight is still moving quickly). It has worked well for me.

Alexander Kornishev 06-04-2008 06:13 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE=Brandon Oto;324330]On the subject of reverse hypers, unfortunately there are very few of them around. Anyone think it would work to lie on a high bench and hold a dumbbell between your feet?[/QUOTE]

My gymnastics coach had me to do something similar to reverse hypers lying on the pommel and raising my legs, it was hard enough even without additional weight, but plates can be attached with a strap if needed (like in Coach Sommer's article about hanging legs raises). And some other ideas here w/f safe
[URL="http://www.bodyessence.ca/Pages/Main/explosivemovements.html"]http://www.bodyessence.ca/Pages/Main/explosivemovements.html[/URL]
swiss ball variation seems more like cardio bunny version though :D

Patrick Haskell 06-04-2008 06:20 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[QUOTE]provided the weight is still moving quickly[/QUOTE]

And that's the crux of the matter and probably the point where most of us here would agree is the minimum standard for scaling for the shorter metcons. Failing to meet that standard would defeat the dynamic effort power-generation that helps make these metcons such excellent training tools.

For my own programming, my typical ceiling on metcons is 20 minutes, based on similar logic to yours, but with different goals in mind, as my sports are mountain biking and skiing, which involve longer sustained efforts than Judo (and have different strength requirements). It's hard to turn down the occasional chipper, too, but that's not a rational programming decision, it's just because the workouts look so cool.

Joey Powell 06-04-2008 09:47 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant, so you are advocating moving from the speed-strength realm to the strength-speed realm, as I now understand you. fair enough.


This is where I got confused with your advice...

[QUOTE]If a person can't do Fran as rx'd, he needs to get stronger.[/QUOTE]

agreed, but I argue increasing weight to "heavy" in a met-con is not the best way.

[QUOTE]The metcons in this program are designed to have you lifting 1) heavy weights 2) as fast as you safely can 3) with little or no rest.[/QUOTE]


"Heavy" weights would generally be catagorized toward the 1-3RM range. The RX it appears you are giving, is still using light weight (<60% of 1RM) based on the sheer number of reps you are saying to accomplish with a fast bar speed, though heavier than those regarded with [U]speed-strength[/U] (<40%). So the barbell is still moving fast, but the lean on the teeter-totter pushes to the [U]strength[/U] side, as opposed to the [U]speed[/U] side, and the effects of fatigue (and slowing bar speed) are/should be mitiged by lower reps.

So would it be fair to say to the group that you are not advocating HEAVY weight(s) in the sense that it is not approaching maximal?

I say this because many people will look at the rep scheme you propose, and being the "go-getters" that they are, will use it as a guide to choose a weight they will be close to, or at, failure on by completion of the set. However, with those reps required at the weight they choose, such action would put the athlete SQUARELY in the mod heavy/mod volume range which we appear to agree is not necessarily productive for our application or general athletisism.

Steven Low 06-04-2008 10:02 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Are we actually looking for a metcon effect here or do we want strength bias metcon? I think Gant is looking for the latter.

If the person doesn't need FITNESS for his/her job like police, firefighting, military then I would contend "do it as rx'd" to help build up the strength required to do it as rx'd faster. Yes, it's not *as* metcon. Yes, it will get the person towards rx'd weights generally faster.

I recognize that we're still scaling here if the metcon has the tendency to go outside of 10 minutes; just not scaling it so much that it goes into that sub-5 minutes or faster range unless you're already doing the workout rx'd.

To maximize intensity (or power rather) with bar speed we need a weight of approximately 40-50% 1 RM. IF we use a moderately heavier weight 60-80%, there is a tendency for "more" strength gains as opposed to the broad spectrum fitness gains you would get from scaling it down to the 40-50%. However, as Joey said there is also a tendency for sarco hypertrophy; however, this effect should be mitigated by the extra strength and skill work outside of the short metcons. Sarco has the ability to be converted into myofib hypertrophy fairly easily -- probably cause there is space to put more myofibrils instead of having to grow myofibrils AND expand the muscle to accomodate them (this is along the lines of why stretching tends to help increase muscle mass via fascia stretching).

Based on Gant's results with his lean muscle gain, I'd say overall it tends to promote good muscle gain and definitely faster strength gains to help do the metcons faster. Well, I have been one of the proponents that strength carries over VERY well into metcon. The conditioning aspect is very easy to develop, but the strength is harder which is why I tend to recommend that. So in accordance with the above "black box" (well, I tried to explain it some), that's why I would recommend it over dropping the weights down to maximize fitness... if the person does NOT need fitness of course.

Justin Herring 06-04-2008 10:19 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Question about your excel sheet: how do I read the metcon? For instance, on March 17, it says "Metcon" and lists "3:51." But what was the metcon? On other days it shows a PR that indicates a WOD (like Fran), but is there any indication what the Metcon is on a daily basis?

Also, what do the notes (H) (M) (L) mean next to the lifts?

Thanks.

Gant Grimes 06-04-2008 10:20 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Joey, I just got a Mac at the office and don't know how to cut and paste with the damn thing. I'll put my comments in bold. Please bear with me.

"Gant, so you are advocating moving from the speed-strength realm to the strength-speed realm, as I now understand you. fair enough."

[B]Pretty much. I'm approaching this from "I need to grab someone my size and move them around until I can do it very quickly" rather than "I need to move someone around quickly, and I will do it until I can use someone my size."[/B]

This is where I got confused with your advice...

agreed, but I argue increasing weight to "heavy" in a met-con is not the best way.

[B]I understand. I'm advocating using rx'd weights as quickly as possible, provided the bar is still moving. I prefer to scale reps before weight if I can. There are enough bodyweight metcons to make up for this.

The OLY lifts and the ME/DE work in the slow lifts tightens up a lot of the metcon shortcomings you think are going to happen in this scheme.

Assuming it can be done at speed with little rest in roughly the same time frame, I'd rather a guy do a 15-12-9 Fran with heavier weights than 21-15-9 with lighter weights.

Please note I don't cherry pick Fran like many do; I even skip it occasionally, so this isn't going to come up more than 4-6 times a year.[/B]

"Heavy" weights would generally be catagorized toward the 1-3RM range. The RX it appears you are giving, is still using light weight (<60% of 1RM) based on the sheer number of reps you are saying to accomplish with a fast bar speed, though heavier than those regarded with [U]speed-strength[/U] (<40%). So the barbell is still moving fast, but the lean on the teeter-totter pushes to the [U]strength[/U] side, as opposed to the [U]speed[/U] side, and the effects of fatigue (and slowing bar speed) are/should be mitiged by lower reps.

So would it be fair to say to the group that you are not advocating HEAVY weight(s) in the sense that it is not approaching maximal?

[B]That's right. When I describe "heavy" metcon, I'm not referring to near ME. In fact, I'm referring to as heavy as you can do something and still keep moving. I pick my exercises then pick my weights. For example, Monday I decided on 5 rounds of 10 KB swings and ring pushups. I figured that 32kg was the most I could handle on swings without rest and 10 pushups was about the most I could manage on the rings over the five rounds. It worked out. Sometimes they don't.

That's why I don't like chippers. There's usually something in there that you suck at that slows you down. Say I suck at wallball and K2E. Instead of trashing my filthy fifty on those things, I'll do a WOD with something like 5 rounds of 10 wallball and 10 K2E. If I can manage 10, then I can do it quickly with little rest. I've gotten a good metcon workout with relatively heavy weights (because I suck at them), I've attacked my weaknesses, and I've gotten a good neuroendocrine response from a short, power-packed metcon.[/B]

I say this because many people will look at the rep scheme you propose, and being the "go-getters" that they are, will use it as a guide to choose a weight they will be close to, or at, failure on by completion of the set. However, with those reps required at the weight they choose, such action would put the athlete SQUARELY in the mod heavy/mod volume range which we appear to agree is not necessarily productive for our application or general athletisism.
[B]
Are you referring to sets/reps in the strength training or the metcons? I'm not sure. I like rounds of 10s and 15s for metcons at whatever weight you're able to use. I may not understand the question.[/B]

Jared Ashley 06-04-2008 10:28 AM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant,

Thanks for another great thread on another experiement... I read about the tabata project as well. You continue to inspire, and your programs are well thought out and provide a crossfit-like balance of gymastics, power, brute strength, and metcon, but IMO at a more advanced level than the main-page WOD.

I think your beginner program fits the sport I train for (4-way formation skydiving) well. The gymnastic/grip strength/balance aspect will highly benefit the exit (imagine trying to hang by one hand and one foot in an off-balance position outside an aircraft travelling at 90 knots for 10-20 seconds:evilsmile). The benefit of pure power and CNS/body awareness in freefall cannot be overstated.

I like the short, heavy metcon concept as well... much easier to truly be "intense" when you know it'll be over in 5 minutes vs. when you're looking at another half-hour of pain. Since you're into nearly 100% aerobic energy by 2 minutes into a metcon, it makes sense that in 5-10 minutes you'll challenge the hell out of all 3 energy systems... it goes back to the rule that you can usually get 80% of the benefit from the first 20% of the work, provided intensity is *truly* maximal.

Keep it up and thanks again.

Joey Powell 06-04-2008 01:52 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
[B][QUOTE][B]Are you referring to sets/reps in the strength training or the metcons? I'm not sure. I like rounds of 10s and 15s for metcons at whatever weight you're able to use. I may not understand the question.[/B][/QUOTE][/B]

Reps in the MET-CON. Since the weight must move quickly, then the weight must move quickly for up to 15 reps. This implies that the weight may, perhaps, need to be selected such that the athlete could execute a 25-30RM (if not more) with that weight as an independent event. This may help the athlete select a proper weight in order to keep with the intent of your RX. Follow?

As a side note I agree with your RX, of more weight with less reps still executed [U]quickly[/U]. I just have the opposite problem, I move weight just fine (and people), but I just don't move quickly, so that my focus is more Speed-Strength/Explosiveness.

I am renound for grinding through moderate weights closer to my 1RM and have nothing to show for it, but a lot of extra muscle mass and fast twitch fibers which have dampened over the years, due mostly to inappropriate training methods based from lack of knowledge.

Since maximal strength and strength endurance are not an issue for me, but speed is, that is my reasoning for keeping the weight light and fast. So anything that might lead to me pushing into the weight range that will slow down the movement, I avoid. If it does not possitively effect my Fast Twitch and CNS, I ain't doing it.Either HEAVY or FAST only, and it is paying off.

My questions were based off of my understanding that you were saying keep the RX weight and push through the 21 reps and damn the bar speed or the sets it took to accomplish that number of reps. This I know does not work effectively and gets people overuse injuries if their minds are well stronger than their bodies. Common experience in my line of work.

Thanks for clarifying.

Jamie J. Skibicki 06-04-2008 02:56 PM

Re: Hybrid programs
 
Gant,

I saw the post over at PeformanceMenu as well. I was reading through the description of the programming and it seemed that if I added in an ME day or 2 to the PerformanceMenu WOD and did some gymnastics progressions on the days with no Metcon, I would get pretty close to your program. I really don't want to design a program from scratch, so I thought this might be a good way of going about it. Am I close or way off base on this one.

Great work, both in your fitness and experiment.


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