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Old 08-21-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
Tamara Cohen
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Thruster strength cycle

I'm looking for opinions on a 10 week strength cycle for thrusters. I just started a 10 week strength cycle for deadlifts also. Started CF on June 3. My goal is to do the WOD 4 times per week, plus another day that is pure strength. I may also have a private session worked in somewhere over the course of the week, which would be Oly lifts and/or POSE technique.

I picked thrusters for an overhead lift because 1) I loathe them, and 2)I want my dang Rx'd Fran for the level 1 cert on November 21, no matter how unrealistic that may be. The last several months of CrossFit have taught me that anything is possible.

I did the WOD today at 6:00 am and then went back to find a 1RM thruster at 11:00 am.

PR for 1RM thruster = 90 lbs
PR for 1RM power clean = 100 lbs

I should note that I was working from a 5RM thruster of 55 lbs. I had never put a thruster of more than 55 lbs up before. My max power clean was 75 lbs, but that was back in June, I think. I've since done a WOD with 20 power cleans at 75 lbs, so I knew I could go higher. I can definitely go higher than 100 lbs on the power clean, but I wasn't actually going for a PR on that. It was just that once I hit 75 lbs, I was having to PR my clean in order to PR my thruster...odd, haha. Once I was done with the thrusters, I figured I might as well slap another 10 on and get to an even 100. I stopped there because I was exhausted and thrilled.

So, if I am aiming for one day a week that is pure strength - deadlifts and thrusters - how should I set up a 10 week strength program for thrusters, given that my short term goal for them is an Rx'd Fran of 45 thrusters at 65 lbs? The deadlift cycle is once a week, 5x5 and starts at 65% of my 1RM. I don't know if that's the best programming for the thrusters with my Fran goal.

Also, I have only done Fran ONCE, and that was 2 months ago right after I started...and I did it with 35 lbs.

Last edited by Tamara Cohen; 08-21-2009 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
Eric Lester
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

I am thinking you might get more benefit from doing front squats and push press instead of thrusters for strength. Otherwise your leg strength will only grow as much as you can put overhead. I think you are selling yourself short.

I've never considered a strength program with thruster max as the goal. We'll see what the pros think.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:00 AM   #3
Bo Schmidt
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

My suggestion would be to do something similar to the CFSB. You want to be efficient at high reps for Fran as well as increase your strength. If possible, I think this would be effective:

3x5 Thrusters, increasing weight per week (linear progression).

2-5 min rest

10-7-4 thrusters (3 sets total) with a challenging weight, 1 min rest between sets.
The following weeks use the same weight, but increase reps when able: 12-9-6, 15-12-9, 21-15-9 ( la Fran).


Another useful addition would be 1 back squat strength session per week. This will dramatically increase your leg strength, thus make the thruster much easier (I highly recommend this). The ability to do heavy thrusters are primarily strong legs and posterior chain. It's also the best strength building exercise. And Rip swears by it. It's important to remember to pay close attention to your current recovery capacity while adding these exercise, to not overtrain.

You'll get your RX'ed Fran by November, no doubt!

Last edited by Bo Schmidt; 08-21-2009 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:00 PM   #4
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

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Originally Posted by Eric Lester View Post
I am thinking you might get more benefit from doing front squats and push press instead of thrusters for strength. Otherwise your leg strength will only grow as much as you can put overhead. I think you are selling yourself short.

I've never considered a strength program with thruster max as the goal. We'll see what the pros think.
I was going to start with back squats instead of deadlifts, but Shanna was worried that my back squat would surpass my deadlift. I wanted the back squats so that I can get the heck out of the hole with heavier snatch and cleans. But, Shanna is right, so deadlift first. Then, the question became what to do overhead...and, my Fran goal is what influenced the decision. Otherwise, Corey voted for push press. I guess in the long term, the question is...which transfers better push press to thrusters or thrusters to push press. And, you already know that I'm caught up in this short term vs. long term goal debate. Maybe it's stupid for me to care about Fran and the cert, but I do.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:06 PM   #5
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

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Originally Posted by Bo Schmidt View Post
My suggestion would be to do something similar to the CFSB. You want to be efficient at high reps for Fran as well as increase your strength. If possible, I think this would be effective:

3x5 Thrusters, increasing weight per week (linear progression).

2-5 min rest

10-7-4 thrusters (3 sets total) with a challenging weight, 1 min rest between sets.
The following weeks use the same weight, but increase reps when able: 12-9-6, 15-12-9, 21-15-9 ( la Fran).


Another useful addition would be 1 back squat strength session per week. This will dramatically increase your leg strength, thus make the thruster much easier (I highly recommend this). The ability to do heavy thrusters are primarily strong legs and posterior chain. It's also the best strength building exercise. And Rip swears by it. It's important to remember to pay close attention to your current recovery capacity while adding these exercise, to not overtrain.

You'll get your RX'ed Fran by November, no doubt!
Thanks, Bo. I like this plan, plus it gives me my back squat. I guess I just have to figure out where to start with weight with the thrusters...any ideas on that?

I have 3 awesome coaches, and they are very conscious of overtraining. I have generally been doing the WOD on M/W/F. If I have time, I do a fourth WOD on T, Th, or Sat. Sunday is always an off day. So, strength and/or privates would most likely be either later in the afternoon or in the evening on the same day that I've done a WOD. That gives me two full rest days and sometimes three.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:14 PM   #6
Eric Lester
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

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Originally Posted by Tamara Cohen View Post
I was going to start with back squats instead of deadlifts, but Shanna was worried that my back squat would surpass my deadlift.
Doing heavy front squats will build up your midline to keep you from dumping forward or coming off your heels when you get tired.

My thought anyway.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
Eric Lester
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

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Originally Posted by Eric Lester View Post
Doing heavy front squats will build up your midline to keep you from dumping forward or coming off your heels when you get tired.

My thought anyway.
Meaning front squat in addition to deadlifts, not a replacement for.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:43 PM   #8
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Lester View Post
Doing heavy front squats will build up your midline to keep you from dumping forward or coming off your heels when you get tired.

My thought anyway.
But, you still think front squats and push press instead of thrusters? I should do a 1RM front squat. I don't think I've done front squats since June, and my 3RM was 70 or 75 lbs. Obviously, I would destroy that right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Lester View Post
Meaning front squat in addition to deadlifts, not a replacement for.
Yeah, I gotcha...I know you're a decently smart guy .
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:42 PM   #9
Bo Schmidt
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

Nice, that workout cycle looks great.

I see two efficient ways of determining starting weight:

1. Choose the weight by intuition. You have SOME idea of what weight you can handle 5 reps with (or whatever rep-range). Go a bit below that and see how you do. Increase weight next session. You'll reach the weights that provide stimulus for progress within 1-2 weeks.

2. Play it by percentages. As women's neuromuscular activity differ from men's (they can lift more reps at a higher percentage relative to their 1 RM) you generally have to do more reps at a given percentage than men to disrupt homeostasis. I haven't been able to find a document or picture of it on the internet, so I created an excel sheet for you with the percentages from Practical Programming by Rippetoe and Kilgore p. 246. Hope you can use it
In practice:
For your 5 RM thruster, go with 90% of your 1 RM thruster. That would be 81#.

For your 10 reps and more, I'd recommend playing it by feel and up the weight the next session.

Let me know how it goes
Attached Files
File Type: email Adaptive Stimulus for Women.xls (18.0 KB, 315 views)
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:13 PM   #10
Ryan Whitley
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Re: Thruster strength cycle

Aren't thrusters meant to be used as a conditioning exercise? I think it would make more sense to do deadlifts and a variation of the press (push, jerk, etc) if you are trying to get stronger.
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