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

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:06 PM   #1
Carl Israelsson
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Starting Strength question

I recently purchased Starting Strength and Practical Programming. So much material! I'm taking a 2-month hiatus from CF to do a SS-type program. The only strength training I am familiar with is the model from the WOD such as "Back Squat 5-5-5-5-5". For this particular WOD, I do up to 5 warm-up sets and then start the first workout set with a weight I know I can handle for 5 reps, upping the weight each set to find my 5RM for the day. If for example I fail on the 4th rep of the 4th set, I'll lower the weight for the 5th set, trying to complete 5 reps. In the programing model in SS, the warm-up for the squat part of a workout is approached in the same way as do for the WOD above. However, the workout or "work sets" or supposed to be done with the same weight, 3-across, 5-across etc.. As I understand it, each set is to be done with the same weight and all reps are to be completed in each set.

Should the sets be getting much harder as you proceed across, the last set decidedly harder than the first which in comparison would be relatively easy, or should the first set be quite difficult and rest taken as needed in order to complete all the reps for all the sets with the same hard starting weight? I'm confused as to know when to move up in weight, if for example I start with 150lbs. on the first set which is very easy. But by the 5th set I'm not able to complete the 5th rep, wouldn't the first set really just be considered a warm-up set to my real attempt?

Any clarification would be appreciated. I know that some variability can exist in how I go about doing this and if I'm complicating a simple program feel free to say so.

Thanks for the help,
Carl
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:27 PM   #2
Leslie Powell
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Re: Starting Strength question

Others will probably have more helpful things to say, but it's worth noting that you can take pretty long rests while doing SS. 3 minutes between sets isn't excessive at all. For me personally, that's long enough to keep the last set from becoming impossible, even with a difficult first set.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:30 PM   #3
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: Starting Strength question

Read the books. Owning them is not enough.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:37 PM   #4
Carl Israelsson
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Re: Starting Strength question

Thanks Leslie. I suspect that the intention is to start with what is basically your 5RM and then suck it up and do 5 sets of it, resting as needed. Rip mentioned in the back of SS (thank you Julius for you contribution, and yes, I have read them) that very advanced athletes take up to 10 minutes between sets.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:57 PM   #5
Jose Michael Robledo
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Re: Starting Strength question

When you start a cycle you really need to pick a weight that will allow you to keep increasing the weight from workout to workout. If you start too heavy you will hit a sticking point early on, so underestimate when starting. This is mentioned in the book, but it is alot of info. I have read both books and still find things that I have missed.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:05 PM   #6
Jay Cohen
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Re: Starting Strength question

Carl
Let's use back squat.

Say you can get 200 for 5 reps, for 3 sets, so lets pretend that this is your first SS workout, your max is 200.

Bar x 5(reps) x 2(sets)
95 x 5 x 1
135 x 3 x 1
185 x 2 x 1
200 x 5 x 3 -- this is your work set, stay at weight do not add.

Next work out, warm up weights stay the same, but work set jumps to, say 210 or what ever.

Weights increase 3 times per week, rest is between SETS, not REPS.

Read the book again, it's not that hard to figure you, see also new blog by Tim D. http://****************.wikia.com/wi..._Strength_Wiki

w/f/s
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:05 PM   #7
Matt Thomas
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Re: Starting Strength question

+ 1 to Jose. Don't start with a weight that's going to be too hard for you to do by the last set, to the point where you won't be able to do it. Eventually, as you up the weight from workout to workout, you will get there and hit a point where the first set is REALLY hard and the last set is REALLY REALLY hard. That's how it worked for me anyways.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:21 PM   #8
Carl Israelsson
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Re: Starting Strength question

Thanks guys,

You answered all my questions. I have 2 weeks of rest/rehab before starting this so I'll have time for some re-reading. Thanks for your patience.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:27 PM   #9
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Starting Strength question

When you do the CF Back Squat 5x5, you have no idea what your 5rm or even 1rm is. On SS, you will know what you did 2 days ago (because you will write it in you log) so you won't have to try to find your weight. You will just add to the weight you did previously. I would pick a weight that is challenging, but not too difficult for the above mentioned reasons.

All the queastion you asked are in the book, so read it again. If you get all reps for all 3 sets, you raise the weights, 10 -20 lbs for the squat and deadlift, 5 or less for the other 3 at first. As you progress, you will need to lower the increase, 5 lbs and 1 lb respectively.

If you are good at squats, what Jay suggested doing, lowering the reps as you go up in weight, is fine. If you aren't good at squats, you need to do 5 reps for all set including warm up because you need the practice. I will say I oocassionally use a wieght heavier than my work set for 1 or 2 reps. Example, if I'm doing 335x5, my last warm up might be 355x1-2.

Also, you keep mentioning 5 sets. Squats, bench and press all use 3 set, deads use 1 and Power Cleans are 5 sets of three. The reason for this is it much harder to get stuck with 3x5 than 5x5. Rip just had a discussion on this at strength mill.

Yes you are complicating a simple program, but everybody does.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:54 PM   #10
Steven Quadros
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Re: Starting Strength question

I recommend that you start off quite a bit lower than your current five rep max, not only to give yourself a chance to ramp it up as time goes by, but also to give yourself a chance to work on technique before the concentrating on just finishing the set takes precidence. You'll have plenty of time to add weight making 10 lb jumps, but the chance to work on technique will not be there once the weight gets too heavy.

I'm launching my second run of starting strength after almost a month of little to no heavy lifting, and have noticed my strength is still there after my time off for the most part, as 205 this time feels waaaaay easier than 205 during my first run. My technique is also quite a bit better too, as, even though I'd read the book 15 times through (at least the squat chapter), there is still much to learn.
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