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

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Old 09-27-2007, 06:27 AM   #1
Matt DeMinico
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Starting strength with limited time in gym

Typically when I'm doing the starting strength program (a typical day is 3 x 5 Squat, 3 x 5 Press, and 3 x max rep deadhang pullups, right now doing a version of this 3 days/week), I'm in the gym for about an hour and a half, most of which is rest time. Of course there's the warm up and cool down, but the majority of the time is sitting there resting. Not out of breath (Crossfit) resting, but giving the muscles time to recover resting. Only a few minutes between exercises, just enough to give the muscles time to recover.

My question is, do you think I'd have the same success if I laid out two bars and did, for example, back squat, shoulder press, back squat, shoulder press, back squat, shoulder press, then finished with the 3 x max rep deadhang pullups? That way my rest for my legs would happen while I was doing shoulder presses, and vice versa.

Or would this interfere too much with the recovery, and I wouldn't be able to maintain a straight across set of 3 at my 5RM?
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:42 AM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

Depends on the rest times. If they're shorter then you will definitely not get the same benefits because even though you're working different muscles, the work is distributed over the whole body which uses the same systems (CNS, cardiovascular, etc.) which will make it more like a metcon than pure strength work.

Also, straight sets are generally better because you're putting the stress on the muscles in a small period of time as opposed to a longer amount of time which does matter when you take power into account especially with potentially large hormonal response you can get from heavy squats and other compound exercises.
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:02 PM   #3
Rich Isom
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

since large muscle groups take 72 hours to fully recover after an exercise, are you sure you will be able to squat and deadlift 3 times in one week? I'd that that into consideration.

also hour and a half sounds like plenty of time for a workout, dont stress if you cant get a full workout in becuase of time just manage it again on a different day.
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:36 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

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Originally Posted by Rich Isom View Post
since large muscle groups take 72 hours to fully recover after an exercise, are you sure you will be able to squat and deadlift 3 times in one week? I'd that that into consideration.
1. Actually, protein synthesis drops off after 48 hours.

2. And yes, it's fine to workout the same muscles everyday.. heck even 2-3x a day if you can manage volume correctly.

3. Starting Strength is proven to be one of the best strength (and mass if you eat enough) gaining programs for beginning and intermediate lifters.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:05 PM   #5
Rich Isom
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

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1. Actually, protein synthesis drops off after 48 hours.

2. And yes, it's fine to workout the same muscles everyday.. heck even 2-3x a day if you can manage volume correctly.
I'd have to see proof of these. If so most colleges and text books have been teaching us wrong.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:19 PM   #6
Robert Basile
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

What colleges and textbooks are you referring to, Rich? Not working out without 72 hours of rest is "common knowledge" in the fitness world--i.e., it's wrong, but most everyone thinks it's right, like spot reducing or toning. Note that Steven said "If you can manage volume correctly." No, you're not going to be able to do a 1 RM on your squat and deadlift 6 days in a row, but you can still do the lifts if your program is effectively designed. And you're right, most people who tell you what they "know" about fitness are teaching you wrong. In my experience, fitness "knowledge" from the average person is just a parrot response to something someone else told them once, probably incorrect.

Off the top of my head, one of the Olympic lifting programs from Eastern Europe (Bulgaria?) had their guys lifting 6 days a week, morning and afternoon. Worked out well for them, I think.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:29 PM   #7
Rich Isom
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

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What colleges and textbooks are you referring to, Rich? Not working out without 72 hours of rest is "common knowledge" in the fitness world--i.e., it's wrong, but most everyone thinks it's right, like spot reducing or toning. Note that Steven said "If you can manage volume correctly." No, you're not going to be able to do a 1 RM on your squat and deadlift 6 days in a row, but you can still do the lifts if your program is effectively designed. And you're right, most people who tell you what they "know" about fitness are teaching you wrong. In my experience, fitness "knowledge" from the average person is just a parrot response to something someone else told them once, probably incorrect.

Off the top of my head, one of the Olympic lifting programs from Eastern Europe (Bulgaria?) had their guys lifting 6 days a week, morning and afternoon. Worked out well for them, I think.
It's always been common knowledge to my and some of my educators that the micro tears in a large muscle group need 72 hours to fully heal.

Yeah I do know that you can do other exercises but in a strength training program, something like squating heavy weight within that time would be considered over training.

I could be wrong, I'm always open to learning more but through what i've learned so far it makes the most sense in a strength training program to get near or fully repaired for good strength gains.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:36 PM   #8
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

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Originally Posted by Rich Isom View Post
I'd have to see proof of these. If so most colleges and text books have been teaching us wrong.
To (kinda) quote starting strength:

There's often two camps. One, brilliant laboratory scientist who tell us how they believe things should work based on known scientific theory. Two, coaches who have almost zero scientific background, but have been training athletes from novice to elite for 25+ years. The two often disagree, and usually the coaches are the ones who are right.

Rich: Basically, starting strength recommends different programs for a novice, intermediate, advanced, and elite athlete. Their contention (which has been proven successful time and time again in the results of umpteen hundreds (thousands?) of people who've followed it) is that a novice can stress their body adequately doing the type of workout I mentioned that it'll recover and supercompensate within 48 hours, then do it again, basically 3 days a week. Now if a novice did 5 x 5 of their 5RM squats 3 days a week, they'd probably start to burn out. Or if they tried 3 x 5 of their 5RM deadlift, same thing. Deadlift I do once per week (and I'm still feeling Monday's 1 x 5 deadlift today on Thursday, but that's mostly because I haven't done a heavy 1 x 5 5RM deadlift in a while). An intermediate will need to do higher intensity/volume some days, lighter on another, and medium on the other. It all depends on the programming, some intermediates will need 4 days a week, it all depends.

I'd definitely pick up the book "Starting Strength" (pick it up from ****************.com and pre-order the 2nd edition, which is due out any day now), and also get yourself "Practical Programming for Strength Training", its premise has been proven over and over in results.

Last edited by Matt DeMinico : 09-27-2007 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:05 PM   #9
Peter Dell'Orto
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

To save time, try alternating opposite motions. This is pretty common in weight training. So on your squat/press/pullup day, do your Squats straight through. Then, one set of your press, rest 1/2 your normal rest time, one set of pullups, rest 1/2 your normal rest time, press, etc. So if you normally rest 3 minutes, it would look like this:

A Squats 3x5, 3 minutes rest between sets
Shoulder Press 1x5, rest 90 seconds, Pullups 1x8, rest 90 seconds.
Repeat for 2 more sets.

You can do the same for Bench Presses and Dips, or Rows or Pullups. You could do Deadlifts and Shoulder Presses this way but it's not common. Some folks I know who are serious weight trainers (high weight, low reps, strength-focused) swear by this, because you get about the same rest overall and the workout takes a lot less time. If the rest isn't enough, you can up it a little more, and it'll still take less overall time.

Why not give that a go and see how it works? Take a couple weeks doing that, see how much it cuts down your workout time and if it cuts into your gains.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-27-2007, 08:15 PM   #10
Steven Low
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Re: Starting strength with limited time in gym

1. Protein synthesis: I can't find the study on protein synthesis rates after exercise anymore. All I remember is that I saw it on pubmed last.. if that's any consolation. I bookmarked a lot of important studies and threads on my laptop, but it got erased recently.

Anyway, I don't even think it really matters when it starts/stops because it's not a good indicator of when you should train anyway.

2. Working out muscles recently:

Here's a good example from my log on high frequency training on a 6 week mesocycle I did over the summer. I was working on my weighted pullups one day a week (Fri) while I was training basically my whole upper body (won't get into lower here) everyday Mon-Fri as well. Weighted pullups were basically my strength indicator.

I was doing sets of 4-6 triples and this is how the progression went over 6 weeks:

week 0 (45) -> 50 -> 55 -> 70 -> 75 -> 85 -> 90 lbs

Coincidentally, during week 3 (the jump from 55 -> 70 lbs) I started one arm pullup training everyday. Volume was kept pretty low.. about 15 reps per arm per day more or less. As much as it was a lot of CNS adaptation in there, there was obvious signs of muscular gain as well as I put on about 5 pounds over the whole cycle and didn't gain any noticable BF (I can tell when I do cause it goes to my stomach).

Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength and Practical Programming go much indepth into a lot of this stuff. It's not that scientists are wrong.. but the body is much more complex than just protein synthesis rates or whatever small indicators we are looking at. It adapts very quickly to the loads put on it.


------------------------------------

Peter:

I already talked about alternating opposite motions. It's possible to do.. but strength gains will be less because it starts pushing into metcon/energy system territory.

Last edited by Steven Low : 09-27-2007 at 08:30 PM. Reason: bah spelling mistakes
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