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Old 12-26-2007, 09:15 AM   #1
Alex Europa
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Talking Rave for Starting Strength! (Long)


On our last CFT (Nov. 28), I had just a terrible day in the gym, which was the culmination of about a month of frustration that I had gone through. Everything felt heavy and I just felt "off."

I almost felt like my nervous system was going crazy once the weights started to get "heavy." I described the feeling to a friend of mine by relating it to your first ever set of ring dips, all the "noise" your brain is throwing out deteriorates technique, form, etc... and severely limits output.

I had started using the standard MEBB cycle about a month prior to this but almost from the start, I wasn't comfortable with the setup. Due to the fact that only one exercise is focused on per 3-day cycle, and there was so much rotation going on, I never felt like I was able to a fully grasp the system. I was in way over my head; I read all the relevant Performance Menu issues and thought I had a decent plan, but I just couldn't get settled in.

Now, I AM NOT trying to say the the standard MEBB system doesn't work. Many people have used it with great success. However, I feel like it wasn't appropriate for my level of skill in the big lifts. One could argue that I didn't stick with it long enough, but...


I happened to stumble upon a very detailed thread/FAQ about Coach Rippetoe's Starting Strength program on the forums (I know, I know...). I was intrigued, so I downloaded the PDF and started reading. I was instantly captivated and knew THIS was what I needed to reach my goal of meeting the CF North "Advanced" level criteria; or more specifically the strength aspects since I have nearly ever other box checked. I immediately went to the Wichita Falls site and ordered the 2nd edition book and eagerly awaited its arrival. In the meantime, I started an SSBB program as follows:

MetCon, SS "A", MetCon, Rest, MetCon, SS "B", MetCon

In the last month, my weight has stayed at a steady 185-lbs, but I have DEFINITELY filled out, especially in the shoulders/upper back/chest area. My previous 5RM on the bench press was 185, 3 days ago I completed the Rowing/BW Bench Press WOD as Rx'd. I NEVER would've imagined that was possible before starting my SSBB.

Now for the real fun stuff, today's CFT was great! I managed to put up 335-lbs on the squat - a 60-lbs PR, 150-lbs on the press - a 5-lbs PR, and was 20-lbs shy of my 385-lbs deadlift PR. The deadlift was only lower because I shot for the moon and went for 405 and drained myself in the process. No harm though, considering these results were after only ONE MONTH with Starting Strength.

I definately feel back on track and plan to continue to use the program until I stall out several times and am unable to continue making linear progress from workout to workout. At which point, I will switch back to strictly following the main page and see where my fitness goes from there.

THANK YOU COACH RIPPETOE! Not only am I a better lifter and CrossFitter now, but my level of knowledge has increased exponentially and I've already started helping out some of the other local CrossFitters by giving them cues and fix their lifts as well.

*Sits back and sips on his pitcher of Kool-Aid


EDIT: For more information, refer to my training log below.
CrossFit Barbarian Fitness / Flickr
"Every man dies. Not every man truly lives."

Last edited by Alex Europa : 12-26-2007 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:58 AM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Rave for Starting Strength! (Long)

MEBB template is variable to the point where you can be doing 3-4 lifts (basically like Starting Strength) during each 3/1 cycle.

I'm suprised if your goal was strength that someone didn't recommend Starting Strength. I know I always do, and I know about the 34365465 page thread since I used to post over there a lot too. Although I stopped because people there don't listen and learn very well. Shrug.

Good progress though.
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