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

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Old 03-08-2011, 05:58 PM   #1
Lauren Fleeman
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Realistic Strength Goals

A little bit of background...I'm 5'2 and weigh between 115-120lbs. Currently I do the Crossfit main site WOD's but have been wanting to add more strength training to my workouts. I'm completely new when it comes to just focusing on building strength and I'm leaning towards starting Justin Lascek's program. Given my size, what are realistic goals that I should aim for when it comes to these exercises below? And, how would I know when to go up in weight, do you push through if you get stuck?

Back squat
Front squat
Deadlift
Press/Bench
Clean & Jerk
Snatch

In the past my numbers were: (I'm not sure what would be accurate as of late)
Press-80lb
Push Press-90lb
Push Jerk-70lb
Back squat-200lb
Front squat-135lb
Deadlift-175lb
Clean & Jerk- don't know
Snatch- new at this, 65lb

I'd like to set realistic goals for these that I can aim for and any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

If you're doing the 70s Big program you go up in weight every workout....you start with weights that aren't too difficult and do 3 sets of 5 reps (or 5 sets of 3 reps for power clean, or one set of 5 reps for deadlifts) and increase the weight by 5lbs for each workout. So if you start squatting 135lbs for 3 sets of 5, the next workout will be 140x5x3, then 145x5x3, and so on. You'll want to increase deadlift by 10lbs per workout so it keeps pace with your squat gains, and you may find yourself needing to cut down to 2.5lb gains on bench and press so you're able to sustain progress. You shouldn't get stuck for the first few months unless you start too high or make your jumps too big.

The fact that your squat is 25lbs more than your deadlift probably means one of two things--you're not squatting to full depth, or your deadlift form needs some work. Posting some video to digital coaching would make it easy for us to tell.

Either way, with a few months of being consistent on this program you should be able to get up somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5BW squat, 2BW deadlift, BW bench, BW power clean, and .75BW press. Those would be your 1RM numbers, so your 3x5 or 5x3 (or 5RM deadlift) would be somewhere around 80-90% of those.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:49 AM   #3
Lauren Fleeman
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

Eric,

Thanks for answering my questions. I think my squat and deadlift numbers are what they are because of both reasons you stated. When I get to heavier weight with the squat, I don't go down all the way because I'm afraid I'll get stuck in the hole esp. if I don't have someone spotting me. When I deadlift with heavier weights my back wants to round out and I know that is a NO NO.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:07 AM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

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Originally Posted by Lauren Fleeman View Post
Eric,

Thanks for answering my questions. I think my squat and deadlift numbers are what they are because of both reasons you stated. When I get to heavier weight with the squat, I don't go down all the way because I'm afraid I'll get stuck in the hole esp. if I don't have someone spotting me. When I deadlift with heavier weights my back wants to round out and I know that is a NO NO.
The solution to both problems is to get stronger, not to cheat the reps.

I've found this strength standards chart helpful:
http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLi...Standards.html

The numbers you posted are already pretty decent for your size, although they aren't "real" if the full ROM isn't there.

Katherine
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:27 AM   #5
Lauren Fleeman
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

Great! This chart helps a lot. Question about it, what if someone reached the elite level at that point do they continue on? Is there ever a stopping point?
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:48 AM   #6
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

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Originally Posted by Lauren Fleeman View Post
Great! This chart helps a lot. Question about it, what if someone reached the elite level at that point do they continue on? Is there ever a stopping point?
What are your goals? At some point, you won't be able to continue without increasingly specialized programming, which necessarily means giving up some other aspect of your training.

The ultimate "stopping point" is the world record for your weight class. But you're unlikely to get there doing Crossfit programming.

Katherine
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:13 PM   #7
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

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Originally Posted by Lauren Fleeman View Post
Great! This chart helps a lot. Question about it, what if someone reached the elite level at that point do they continue on? Is there ever a stopping point?
Worry about that when you get there....sorta like I'm not going to spend much time right now worrying about what I'll do after I win two Super Bowl MVPs.

As for your earlier questions, a linear progression works because it introduces incrementally larger stresses to your muscles and CNS, which adapt by coming back stronger by the next workout. As such an extra 5lbs on the next workout (and 5 more after that, and 5 more after that...) won't really feel significantly heavier for you. You'll still probably have to grind out rep 5 of set 3, but you'll come back stronger two or three days later.

So make sure you start with manageable weights that you can do with good form and full range of motion without much difficulty for the first few workouts. Rip's general rule of thumb for determining your starting weight for work sets is to do a set of 5 with an empty bar, add 10lbs and do a set of 5, and keep repeating til the bar speed slows down. Then do two more sets of 5 at that weight. That's your first day of work sets. Squat in a power rack or with bumper plates and you don't have to worry about what to do if you get stuck in the hole--you'll just shrug it backwards and pop your hips forward. Squatting shallow isn't the answer because you won't fully involve your glutes, hamstrings, and hips til you go below parallel, so you'll limit your ability to get strong by not going to full depth.

Definitely don't get in the habit of deadlifting with a rounded back from the beginning--if so it's unlikely you'll ever learn to do it right. If you can't get in a good setup position you've probably got some mobility issues that Kelly Starrett's stuff would help with.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:47 PM   #8
Andrew G. Greenberg
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

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Originally Posted by Lauren Fleeman View Post
Great! This chart helps a lot. Question about it, what if someone reached the elite level at that point do they continue on? Is there ever a stopping point?
Well, for us normal human beings, it takes more time than we have on this Earth to reach our genetic potential. So I wouldn't worry about reaching the end. The great thing about strength training is that you can improve in some way your entire life. There is no end.
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:29 AM   #9
Lauren Fleeman
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

LOL thanks guys. I'm not planning on setting any world records, but my question about if there is ever a stopping point was out of curiousity.
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:54 AM   #10
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Realistic Strength Goals

Not really, but it depends on your goals. For example if I ever got my squat up to 500lbs and my deadlift up to 600lbs, I'd probably be happy with my strength numbers since my goals are GPP-focused and don't include setting any powerlifting records. My GPP would be better served by focusing on other areas and types of training. If I wanted to keep improving on those strength numbers I would have to do some very specific strength training, to the detriment of the other 9 components of fitness.

But as I said before, I'll worry about that when it happens. For now I've still got plenty of progress that can be made in pretty much every area, and I can keep getting stronger without neglecting my conditioning and everything else.
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