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Old 08-29-2006, 02:19 PM   #1
Chris Fisher
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Kind of a long post.

I've been working since June to improve on my upper-body strength; namely in max number of push-ups and pull-ups. The program I was following wasn't exactly the WOD, but it was real simple and sort of followed the Grease the Groove theory. However, throughout August improvement started to level off, and within the past 2 weeks has completely stopped. I'm even struggling on some of the workouts just using the same number of reps.

My workout is below. I'd be greatly appreciative if anyone of you guys have some ideas on how to improve/alter/throw out my schedule.

MWF - Pullups & Abs. Currently 5x55 pushups and 5x120 abs (5 different exercises, crunchs, flutterkicks, etc).

T,TR,Sat - Pullups. I've been working backwards trying to finish a pyramid. Currently I do 8,9,10,9,8,...3,2,1.

Every week I've been trying to bump up what I do by 25 pushups, 50 abs, and whatever was next in the pullup pyramid. Was working great, and I made some real improvements but nothing recently. Any ideas?

Thanks,

-Fish
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:27 PM   #2
Nick Cummings
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You have been doing this for three months and now you progress has stalled correct? If so consider taking some time off or low volume, say a week, and then modifying your workout. It sounds like you could use some focus on maximal strength and possibley metcon. Think about following the WoDs for a few weeks or some other program that you have interest in.
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:54 PM   #3
Chris Fisher
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I just came off a week of rest, and I already took one in mid-July.

Not sure, what metcon or maximal strength is. Can you explain?

Thanks
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:23 AM   #4
Michael Leach
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whats your goal? you say you want to increase upper body strength, but if you're doing 55 pushups in 1-set, you're working on endurance, not so much strength.

personally i'd rather do one planche pushup than 55 (or 100 or whatever insane number) pushups.

i'd work on elevated pushups, pseudo planche pushups, planche work, etc... and start doing weighted pullups if you're doing an insane number of regular pullups too.

just my 2 cents :-)
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:32 AM   #5
Martin Schap
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Metcon= metabolic conditioning. As in workouts like Fran where you go very hard and fast on resistance exercises. As I understand it, these types of workouts impact your metabolism, thus the benefits accrue over a longer amount of time than just what you spend exercising.
Maximal strength= raw brute strength. Usually this is measured as 1RM (one rep max) which is the amount of weight you can lift just one time.
As Coach Dan John says, all training is complementary, so if you want to increase max pull-ups and push-ups these will help more than you might think. Also, you might experiment with set and rep schemes on the pull-up and push-up routine.
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:07 PM   #6
Chris Fisher
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I wasn't very clear in my first post. My main goal is to increase the number of reps I can do for push-ups and pull-ups.

My ultimate goal is to pass the SWCC (Special Warfare Combat Crewmember) Physical Fitness Test. To be competitive in training I need to be able to do 100+ push-ups in 2 minutes, followed by 100+ sit-ups in 2 minutes, followed with 20+ pull-ups with no time restrictions. I am obviously not there yet.

Whether I should be working on strength or endurance to achieve this is a bit unclear to me. However, I'll give the Metcon's a shot (I always did like Fran). If you have any further suggestions I'd appreciate it.

Thanks again, this site rocks.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:30 PM   #7
Gorm Laursen
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The NASA push up program looks cool. I haven't tried it yet myself, as I'm currently focusing on other goals than push ups, but here it is:

Take your max rep push up, for instance 50, divide it in two, that'll be 25. Then you perform this number of push ups every hour on the hour for 10 hours a day. Each day you add a rep. When you can't keep doing the prescribed reps anymore, you back off on the reps, for instance 5 rep less per set, and instead decrease the set intervals, so you'll be doing the push ups every 55 minutes. Every day you work on the same number of push ups, but cut off 5 minuttes between sets every day. When you can't keep up anymore, you take a day off and test your new PR and begins again. Keep adding reps in the same fashion as the first cycle. So it's essentially two cycles: one adding rep within a fixed timeframe between sets, and another cycle where you work on time between fixed rep-sets.

So this is how the program could look like:

Current max rep: 50
1st day: 25 push ups every hour for 10 hours
2nd day: 26 push ups every hour for 10 hours
3 ...: 27 ...
4 ...: 28 ...
...
7th ...: 31 push ups. Now I can't do every set fully, so I back off to 26 reps per set and begins altering time between sets instead.
8th day: 26 push ups every 55th minute x 10
9th day: 26 push ups every 50th minute x 10
10th ...: every 45th minute ...
...
12th day: 26 push ups every 35th minute. Now I can't keep up anymore, so I take a rest day, test my new PR and begin all over.

This is out of memory, the original program may be slightly different, but the main idea is switching between two parameters: reps per set and time between sets.

The same program may turn out to be compatible with pull ups as well.
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:43 AM   #8
Martin Schap
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Gorm
That NASA program looks very cool. Very much in the spirit of GTG.
Chris
Have you tried any different set and rep schemes? How about putting together a program that includes pull-ups, pushups and abs every day in a 3 on 1 off format? This has worked extremely well for me in my pull-up numbers, as I can now consistently hit 20 dead hangs if I go in rested and in the high teens if I've been doing other stuff. I don't know my push-ups as I usually don't test them.
Another thing that helped me was that I would do 20 pull-ups and 60 push-ups divided into two sets of each exercise several times a day most days. I usually wouldn't do anything before my regular workout, but then I would do max pull-ups (say 17) then push-ups 3x however many pull-ups I got (in this case 51) and then do another set to make up the difference, so in this example it would just be 3 pull-ups and 9 push-ups. The key is that you barely get any rest, so pretty soon I was hitting a set of 20 deadhangs at least once a day. Sorry for the long post.
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:51 AM   #9
Martin Schap
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Oh. I also meant to say something about set and rep schemes. One reason you hit a plateau is possibly because you just need to be practicing each move more. The push-ups and pull-ups on separate days is very bodybuilder. Another possible reason is that doing the same thing every workout only produces results for a limited time before you get used to it and it gets harder to see progress. The NASA idea sounds good to me, or you could also go to some other % based plan. For example, go light on some days and harrder on others by doing 10 sets of 30% of your max on one day and then 12 sets of 75% of your max on others. Something like that. Or if you really want to hit it hard you could go 10 days doing something like 300 push-ups and 100 pull-ups every day, but with every other day being GTG and the other days being do the reps as a single long workout until you're done.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:22 AM   #10
Chris Fisher
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For NASA, would a three hour break in the middle of the day really reduce it's effectiveness?

I've got a stretch of classes about that long every day and the profs aren't real big on people just dropping down and doing pushups... ;)


I'll look into the % workouts too.
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