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

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Old 12-20-2014, 06:49 PM   #1
Colin McLafferty
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The Strength Base Linear Progression

Hey all,

Iíve spent the past year and a half writing this book because most training books Iíve encountered deal only with the training aspect. When I started out, there were so few reliable resources out there about recovery, programming and the whole lifestyle so I wanted to go deeper than just giving people a program. That lack of info is actually how I found the CF boards and grew here with them.

Ironically, most people are interested in THE program, so here's the one I created.

Day 1 Day 3 Day 5
3x5 Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench 3x5 Press 5x3 Power Clean
1x5 Deadlift Guts Set: Press Guts set: Squat
Guts Set: Squat 3x 8-12 W back extension 3x8-12 W back extensions

Days 2, 4, 6 and 7 are rest.

Youíll see the format is the same basic layout as Starting Strength except for the guts set. I first encountered these sets in Greyskull LP and then again in 5/3/1 and have found them to be a gigantic asset to my training and the training of my athletes. Iíd stall on other intermediate programs without the guts set but with it, my progress continued, numbers went up and even my physique started looking better. I am a believer in these sets so I incorporated them into the program. I also think they bring some much needed intensity and hypertrophy to new novice trainees.

I didnít want to get too crazy with assistance since this is a novice program. Weak low backs is what I see, consistently, every time I have a new client squat. For that reason, I prescribe back extensions but give some other options for assistance, focusing on upper body pulling and triceps development.

Iíd like to know what you all think and what your results are if you try the program. Check out my book if youíre interested--www.gumroad.com/thestrengthbase (WFS) Iím very proud of it and a lot of the lessons I talk about there come from hard-won experience of years doing Crossfit by myself in globo gyms around the country.
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:08 PM   #2
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

No pullups or rows?
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Old 12-20-2014, 10:32 PM   #3
Shawn M Wilson
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

Well in before the lock.

I don't know. While simple sure it has progression written over it for a beginner and possibly for an intermediate. I think better results have been shown from a program with a max day and what not.

If it works for you great, but man I would be bored out of my mind. That and I would need to sell my garage full of stuff.
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:17 PM   #4
Colin McLafferty
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Blair Robert Lowe View Post
No pullups or rows?
I do give athletes the option of working in chins, pull ups and rows as assistance. Weak low backs and weak upper body pulling are the two main things I see in most all trainees. But weighted back extensions are the only mandatory assistance on this program.

Shawn, yeah I actually max frequently since I've become an intermediate. I wrote this with the idea that these are rank novices coming in and I don't want them maxing as often until they get some experience. This is actually a pretty entertaining strength program(a relative term) since most feature 3x5s or 5x5s and not much else.

But honestly, I am tired of straight up program books so I didn't write one. This is just a piece of what's in there but I thought it would be the part that was most helpful to the most people looking for some variation in novice programs.
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:35 AM   #5
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

I think it would be more than easy enough to set up a week where a beginner tests maxes after 3 or 4 weeks. Do this for 2-3 cycles or until things start to plateau and have a backoff week if they aren't already doing one. Cut volume that week, don't bump weight, add in some other stuff (sleds, prowler, conditioning stuff).

I only say 3 because 4 months straight might be a bit boring as **** for a beginner.

Test Squat and on one day, PC on another, and DL on the last You might even be able to test PC and DL after each other with a short break or one of the presses but you'd have to figure out what to do on the third or middle day.
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Old 12-25-2014, 10:32 PM   #6
Damon Stewart
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

Just about anything will get a novice stronger. Would love to see more great intermediate programs, after Bill Starr it's all pretty much been one big rehash for novices.
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Old 12-26-2014, 07:31 AM   #7
Colin McLafferty
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

That's an interesting thought Blair. It certainly could be done but most coaches throw their hands up when testing 1rms for novices comes into the conversation since it won't be a true 1RM. Is establishing a 1RM linked to the layout of the remainder of the program or is it just for the reasons most people would want- curiosity, progress, etc,>

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Originally Posted by Damon Stewart View Post
Just about anything will get a novice stronger. Would love to see more great intermediate programs, after Bill Starr it's all pretty much been one big rehash for novices.
That's true, but not everything will get the novice stronger in the most optimal way. That's what I'm trying to do here.

I agree with you about the intermediate programs. You have your heavy/medium/lights and your boring time-consuming 5x5s. That's why I like GSLP so much and why I wrote a breakdown of my experiences on it in the program review document. It takes less time than most intermediates and is actually fun.
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:52 AM   #8
Shawn M Wilson
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Damon Stewart View Post
Just about anything will get a novice stronger. Would love to see more great intermediate programs, after Bill Starr it's all pretty much been one big rehash for novices.
I think many great intermediate programs have been listed.

I think back to my collegiate years and seeing what takes place now in those locker rooms today and we see a few common things (that many programs employ)

Train heavy
Train fast/explosive
Train accessory lifts

It sounds simple but there is a lot of truth there.

We can help a "newbie" get stronger with just the 3 core lifts.

At a point one has to realize the need to hit the weak areas and the more specialized muscle groups to see a better continue strength gain. I have taken guys who stalled out on DL and squats while following the same programs they always do, added back/core work and a few other exercises and seen them quickly start going up in strength/weight again.

Teaching to explode quickly when lifting also helps with the power and pushing through those "sticky" parts.

After riding those gains out for a long time (years) one hits the advanced/elite wall which I'm not educated or experienced enough to bother posting my thoughts on.

I think the problem is most people try to build strength around their crossfit vs crossfit around their strength goals.

Using smaller, quicker WODs to work with the workout.

The guys and gals who have figured this out are the ones we go "wow" about.

They train strength and skills during the non competition portion of the "crossfit games cycle and change it to the more tank/maintain strength as the games get close.

Honestly if someone wants to be in regionals and has a chance, than from when the open is over and they are not in regionals they train str and skills with limited cardio (smart and around str) and 2-3 months before open switch to more cardio and maintain strength.

Just my 2 cents so take what you want.
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Old 12-27-2014, 02:33 PM   #9
Russell Greene
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

"They train strength and skills during the non competition portion of the crossfit games cycle and change it to the more tank/maintain strength as the games get close.

Honestly if someone wants to be in regionals and has a chance, than from when the open is over and they are not in regionals they train str and skills with limited cardio (smart and around str) and 2-3 months before open switch to more cardio and maintain strength."

Do you have any evidence that the top CrossFit Games athletes don't train conditioning much during the off-season?

Every training schedule or documentary I've seen for a CrossFit Games champion or top-place finisher suggests otherwise. That includes the Mikko Salo, Kristan Clever, Graham Holmberg, Jason Khalipa, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Rich Froning documentaries as well as Julie Foucher's training plan in her book, Jason Khalipa's published training program, etc.

Here's Jason Khalipa training at the track in his off-season with an endurance coach: http://journal.crossfit.com/2013/10/chrishinshaw.tpl (w/f safe)

Camille regularly posts track workouts during the off-season, also programmed by an endurance coach: http://instagram.com/p/syknFgFjl4/?modal=true

You can watch documentaries about Rich's training here: http://journal.crossfit.com/2014/03/...ayatoffice.tpl (w/f safe)

and here: http://games.crossfit.com/video/days-life-rich-froning (w/f safe)

No one would argue that CrossFit Games athletes don't lift heavy weights regularly, but to say that they avoid training endurance and stamina at any point is to ignore a growing mountain of evidence.
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Old 12-28-2014, 07:43 AM   #10
Shawn M Wilson
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

I'm not saying they "ignore" crossfit stuff but having coached with a games competitor and worked out with her and other regional athletes once the ts k was built and the mindset to push through pain was there it came down to improving strength and technique.

Did she do "crossfit" workouts? Sure but they were short ones with a long one maybe every 2 weeks to just hold on to what they have. She lives at the gym so can do the volume and work required. The big change came when she realized she needed more strength instead of an engine that won't quit.

That took a change in programming.

I am not saying an engine isn't important (if anything the games shows us the power of the engine) but so often a person is lacking strength and technique/skills.

Building strength and ones engine is very difficult to achieve at the same time without burnout and risk of injury. Can it be done? Sure. Is it difficult for the masses? Yes.

I got a coach I know who for two years can place high in the rankings for anything cardio wise... But when it comes to weights he gets crushed. The 1 heavy day a week downy cut it and the constant metcons and WoDs prevents him from getting bigger and stronger. Toss in the fact I think he could stand to eat 500+ more calories a day but who am I to judge.

I can't talk about the elite guys and gals and what they do now. They are where they are and are trying to maintain and add the little they can year round.

For a person starting off it is a totally different amount of volume and work and chipping at the base to get where they want.

My good buddy who is in the masters has complained for 3 years that at every competition he gets killed by guys stronger than him. Again I preached the need for more str, less metcons. Finally this last year he dropped from his box and follows a str based program with less WoDs and more str. He has put on size and strength and did better at his last competition because now he has an engine and strength.

the last competition I judged a guy 2 month into crossfit killed it. He had little skills, a good tank (collegiate athlete) and amazing strength. When he pulled 455 for 5 after doing 425 and 445 x5 all in under 8 minutes you know he has strength. He made every weight event look easy compared to guys who struggled with the bar.

Again I'm talking about average/intermediate people. Let's be honest for a guy if you don't have a basic level of strength getting to regionals won't happen. Yes it is easier for the smaller guys who can kill the body weight wods and do wall balls, DU and muscle ups for days but when the weight gets heavy they fall so far behind.

I am not saying do away with conditioning completely, simply lower the length and amount and focus on more strength and skills as an intermediate lifter.
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