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Old 10-06-2014, 03:20 AM   #1
Colin McLafferty
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Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

Hi all,

As someone trying to max my push ups, sit ups and pull ups as part of a long-time goal, I've researched a ton, on this site and elsewhere, on how to increase my two-minute maxes in those exercises. Everywhere I looked on this site and elsewhere recommended grease the groove.

After a bunch of experimenting, I've found that grease the groove was good but not the best method, especially for timed max rep tests like those on PFTs and employers' fitness tests. In GTG, you perform multiple sets of 50% of your max throughout the day. The problem is that 50% of your max takes only 20-30 seconds to perform. This is too short a duration to prepare for a true max repetitions set or for a two-minute test. You need more than a 30-second stimulus to increase medium duration muscular endurance.

After seeing my numbers go up very slowly on GTG, I created a hybrid method of grease the groove and tabata that has worked really well and that I consider superior to GTG. I call it Greasy Tabata.

Numbers from six weeks of Greasy Tabata:
Push ups 113 (from 100) Sit ups 100 (from 86) Pull ups 27 (from 20)

Here's the program I used:
Administer two-minute or max repetition tests in all the exercises. Then...

Day 1:
6x50%

Day 2:
2x tabata

Day 3:
2x tabata OR mixed method*

Day 4:
Rest

Day 5:
6x50%

Day 6:
2x tabata

Day 7:
Rest

You can find the full post here but I've included some of the details below


http://www.thestrengthbase.com/blog/...s-in-2-minutes (WFS)


Some interesting findings:
-Older clients (40+) had particularly slow results with just grease the groove and required an infusion of Tabata before making much progress. GTG progress after two consistent weeks was either 0, an average of 5% or regression.

-Tabata plus GTG is the only thing that increased my pull ups and sit ups. Perhaps I'm an anomaly, but GTG alone has never worked for me on either exercise. Push ups are definitely my strongest area, so that may have something to do with it.

-Using Tabata intervals is much less miserable than GTG. You're done in four minutes and only have to worry about doing something twice a day rather than six+ times a day.

I'm sure this can be modified a bit for personal needs, but the program above is exactly what I used and got results with. I hope yall find this useful.

The fine print:
*Every two weeks, administer yourself a two-minute test. Readjust your 6x50% set accordingly depending on what your max set is every two weeks.*All sets should be performed as quickly as possible as if you were taking the real test.
*This may be used as a standalone program for bodyweight fitness or can easily be mixed in with your regular programming.
*On day three, you may choose to perform standard 2xTabatas or the mixed method: 1xTabata and 4x50%. I did not use this method on myself or clients so I cannot attest to its effectiveness. I do believe it would give you a good stimulus on both ends of the spectrum. If you choose to use the mixed method, complete the Tabata early in the morning and the greasing throughout the day.
*Rest can be split up as needed by your schedule. I recommend a rest day for every two to three days of training.
*Keep a scrap of paper with you and record the number of sets you do each day. You will forget if you don't write it down. During Tabatas, record how many reps you get in each set during the rest periods. Your overall Tabata reps should increase as well as your individual sets, over time.
*I recommend performing regular sets of band pull downs and lacrosse ball rolling for elbow injury prevention. Only perform this program for six weeks at a time to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
*Consult a doctor before starting any physical fitness program.
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:08 PM   #2
Nic Nakis
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

I'm planning to try the "Greasy Tabata" with 1/2 BW Thrusters in November.

Any tips on applying it to a weighted movement?
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:51 AM   #3
Colin McLafferty
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

Awesome Nik! I will get back to you later on because am in a rush at the moment.

It appears this thread was victim to the "lost posts" issue last week, weird.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:09 AM   #4
Nic Nakis
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

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Originally Posted by Colin McLafferty View Post
It appears this thread was victim to the "lost posts" issue last week, weird.
As far as I can tell, every thread on the board lost all posts from 10/12 - 10/19.
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:12 AM   #5
Colin McLafferty
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nic Nakis View Post
I'm planning to try the "Greasy Tabata" with 1/2 BW Thrusters in November.

Any tips on applying it to a weighted movement?
My main question is, what's your main reason for choosing thrusters? Do you want to max a 2 minute thruster test, do you simply want to get better at them, or is it something else?

If you're going for anything other than a timed max rep test, Id recommend easing up on the volume. The big eccentric component lends itself to massive doms. Let me know what you're going for and I'll get you specifics.

I'm starting this up for another four week cycle of push ups, sit ups and pull ups today.
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:58 PM   #6
Nic Nakis
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

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Originally Posted by Colin McLafferty View Post
My main question is, what's your main reason for choosing thrusters?
Well, that's a long story.

Back in 2006, my coach Dave Werner at CrossFit North came up with a system of "athletic skill levels". The idea was to organize a series of skill tests or benchmarks in a progressive manner that would help to prioritize training with a well-rounded general fitness approach. I served as a guinea pig as he developed these, and I had always intended to finish working my way through them, but it got delayed a few years.

Since 2011, I've picked these up again and been gradually marking off the skill tests and moving up through the levels. I'm at the point where I can do a few things from Level 4, almost all of Level 3, and Levels 1 & 2 are done and tested out of. The only skill test from the lower levels that still looms over me (like a cloud of doom) is...

45 unbroken thrusters at 1/2 bodyweight

So, I just want to accomplish this to prove to myself that my core stability, overhead pressing strength, and work capacity of my hips are up to par. I gotta do this so I can let myself move on to new challenges.

And of course, he updated the entire system in 2013, so I have a slew of new skills to contend with now...

All the info on the athletic skill level system can be found here:
http://crossfitseattle.com/athletic-skill-levels/
(work family safe)
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Old 10-22-2014, 03:06 PM   #7
Clint Harris
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

What's the definition of an unbroken thruster ?
Does it count if you do one every 5 seconds, or a set of 5, then rest in rack, another set ? Just don't put it down. Whilst it will suck, it doesn't seem that bad - strategy is the answer ...... however, if it is stringing them together "fran style" like you will be in the tabata, then good luck!!! What a gasser.

Seems to me, doing 1 extra a day or every day or 2, like the burpee challenges, would be the way to go.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:41 AM   #8
Nic Nakis
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint Harris View Post
What's the definition of an unbroken thruster ?
Does it count if you do one every 5 seconds, or a set of 5, then rest in rack, another set ? Just don't put it down. Whilst it will suck, it doesn't seem that bad - strategy is the answer ...... however, if it is stringing them together "fran style" like you will be in the tabata, then good luck!!! What a gasser.

Seems to me, doing 1 extra a day or every day or 2, like the burpee challenges, would be the way to go.
Unbroken, as in don't set it down. On those big sets, I'll usually rest a bit in the rack or overhead, but those positions still fatigue me.

The problem I have with the burpee challenges (adding 1 rep per day) is the accumulated fatigue and soreness when you get up in numbers. I could try it with a rest day every 4th day or something like that, otherwise I end up moving poorly.

I'm hoping to tackle this once and for all in November, but if I don't get it, I'll keep trying different methods.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:53 AM   #9
Clint Harris
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nic Nakis View Post
Unbroken, as in don't set it down. On those big sets, I'll usually rest a bit in the rack or overhead, but those positions still fatigue me.

The problem I have with the burpee challenges (adding 1 rep per day) is the accumulated fatigue and soreness when you get up in numbers. I could try it with a rest day every 4th day or something like that, otherwise I end up moving poorly.

I'm hoping to tackle this once and for all in November, but if I don't get it, I'll keep trying different methods.
I hear ya on those challenges.
Some of this could be mental too. Between now and then perhaps some mental conditioning will help. Change your language and thoughts to always reflect that you will do this, in fact, you've already done it. Visually see yourself doing this - even sitting on the couch. "go to the movies" -- Jack Nicklaus
Then embrace the beast when he shows up and giterdun.

Good luck man.

Maybe another way would be to do a set of 40 thrusters at a weight you can do. For example, 75#. Next week/session, break out the PR plates and use 80#. Then next time session, do 85# all the way up to 90-120 etc wherever your BW is. Obviously not back-back days, but is also another way to progress - the weight rather than reps.
Maybe practice doing 80 wall balls unbroken or something too - wall balls suck balls but are one of those exercises that we can always do twice as many than we think or feel we can.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:21 PM   #10
Colin McLafferty
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Re: Greasy Tabata: best method for maxing BW movements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nic Nakis View Post
45 unbroken thrusters at 1/2 bodyweight

So, I just want to accomplish this to prove to myself that my core stability, overhead pressing strength, and work capacity of my hips are up to par. I gotta do this so I can let myself move on to new challenges.

And of course, he updated the entire system in 2013, so I have a slew of new skills to contend with now...

All the info on the athletic skill level system can be found here:
http://crossfitseattle.com/athletic-skill-levels/
(work family safe)
Ha, I used to have this document saved on my desktop! I was able to escape the cloud of doom by realizing I had to be a ton stronger to even start accomplishing some of them. I'm probably strong enough now that some of these could achieve doomcloud status again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint Harris View Post

Maybe another way would be to do a set of 40 thrusters at a weight you can do. For example, 75#. Next week/session, break out the PR plates and use 80#. Then next time session, do 85# all the way up to 90-120 etc wherever your BW is. Obviously not back-back days, but is also another way to progress - the weight rather than reps.
Hm, that sounds good in theory but significant weight progression probably won't go like that. Maybe he'll be able to achieve that for a week or so, but then he'll hit 85 and peter out early.

Now that I know what you're shooting for, I'm confident Greasy Tabata will work for you. The biggest contribution it will give you is the ability to knock out a ton of thrusters early. I hit 113 push ups in two minutes, but I bang out 70 in the first minute and spend the entire next minute getting 43.

GT lends itself to building up your ability to do lots of the movement quickly.
After some time on GT, I bet you your biggest challenge will be grinding out the last 15 miserable reps. At that point, it's just endurance and grit.
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