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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 07-10-2003, 06:10 AM   #1
tom hunter
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I'm new to the whole crossfit style of exercising. I started with the WOD for 7/8/03 (squats followed by 800m runs). My questions are; When a weight isn't posted, what quideline should be used to determine the weight to use? For instance 50-60% max.
Also what tempo should be used on lifts such as squats, deads, dips, pullups, bench press.
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:35 PM   #2
Robert Wolf
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Location: Chico  CA
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Initially just use a weight which you can finish the WOD. Start light! There will likely be some exercises wich are new and will require some form work. Once the form is near perfect then start adding weight and intensity. Read ALL of Coach's posts. many will discuss the topic of work rest management. This adresses ideeas like tempo and loading as well and is far more art than science and is where your personal expereince comes in. Find postings of folks who are in your age/weight cohort and use these as guidelines.

Keep the questions comming.
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Old 07-10-2003, 07:10 PM   #3
David Wood
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A brief follow-up to what Robb said: when he said start light, he REALLY meant it . . . particularly if you've been doing "weight training" in the past.

My apologies in advance if what I'm about to say doesn't apply to you, but here goes . . .

If you've lifted weights before, you may be fairly strong within the traditional bodybuilding recommendation of "3 sets of 8-10 reps". Most people who do this kind of training take pretty much all the rest they want between those 3 sets . . . five minutes or more / set is not uncommon.

At that rate, you will be noticeably stronger than the average man on the street . . . but you will be horribly unprepared for CrossFit. (I speak from experience here, believe me.)

I generally find that most (but not all) CrossFit workouts (if they don't specify a particular load or percentage of bodyweight to use) are meant to be done as fast as possible . . . you take as little rest as possibe between rounds or sets.

This kind of training is designed to (a) stress and train your anaerobic system maximally, and (b) develop your ability to produce "power" (amount of work done divided by the time needed to do that work).

I've generally found that, for me, maximum performance (most weight lifted divided by the time required to lift it) comes when I take a reasonable guess at what I think I "should" be able do for the specified workout . . . and then go to about 60% - 75% of what seems "reasonable". (As I get more experience with CrossFit, I've learned to adjust my initial guess, so now I only need to go to 80% of what seems reasonable.)

As you noted, this may well be only 50% or so of a 1RM in that particular lift . . . or less, depending on the specified workout.

I haven't tried the WOD that you started with (yet . . . I work a couple of days behind, so I'm planning on doing it tomorrow morning). I weigh 160, and can generally do 315 squats for triples without too much trouble . . . but that workout looks like 135 - 185 to me. (Actually, I'm going to try it with my BW . . . wish me luck.)

One last point that Robb hinted at but didn't make completely specific . . . a lot of the CrossFit workouts are built around Olympic lifting (Snatch, Clean and Jerk) and the preparatory movements for them (DL, Clean). If you're not familiar with those movements, it's really worthwhile to take the time to learn them well (get coaching, if possible, or get the videotapes from World Class Coaching (

And welcome!

Dave Wood
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:16 AM   #4
tom hunter
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Thanks for all of the replies guys. I come from a bodybuilding/powelifting type background. most of my workouts come from the Testosterone site from coaches like Charles Staley, John Davies and Christian Thibadeau so I am famiiliar with most of the olympic/power movements. I figured I'd have to go light so I only used 135. Believe me that is plenty especially when you do 800's in between squats.
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