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

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Old 09-07-2011, 11:22 PM   #11
Andrew Bell
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

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Originally Posted by Daniel Frankel View Post
I was having a discussion with my coach, and was asking him about a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout to use as the rep scheme for a heavy day. He was explaining to me that he wasn't sure exactly how beneficial it is compared to a 5-5-5, or 3-3-3-3-3 type rep scheme. His reasoning was two different points:

1. The heavier you go, the greater a margin for error you have in your form. Certain things like OHP you just wont be able to get overhead, and youll rerack it, but something like a deadlift where your back would likely round much more from a 1RM attempt than a 3RM attempt, would have a much greater risk for injury.

2. You will see better strength increases with 5's and 3's, but 1's are really more for ego. This one I would understand to be obvious, as someone doing only 5's will get much stronger than that guy who just does a couple heavy singles to hit a new 1RM every heavy session.

I was curious to hear peoples thoughts about what he told me, and what the benefit of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout would be.
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Old 09-08-2011, 12:32 AM   #12
Preston Sprimont
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

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Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
As Chris mentioned the idea is that singles help built absolute/maximal strength. The heavier the weight you lift and the less reps you can do with it, the more muscle will be activiated to lift it. A lot of this will be neurological adaptation--training as many fibers to contract at once.

If you can only squat a weight for 1 rep, you used all the fiber you are neurologically able to activate. If you can squat a rep for 3 reps, on that first rep you used less muscle fibers than you would on a 1 rep max. After rep 1 some of the fibers fatigue, so you might use some that weren't used in the first rep, and then some others by the third rep as others fatigue--but usually not as much as an 1RM. A 1RM primarily increases neurological strenght. A 3RM will help with neuro strength but will also help build strength endurance--of course not as much as a 20 rep squat would.

This falls into the thinking that Grandma can lift a car off a child in an emergency. Normally, her neurological system prevents using a large percentage of her muscle fibers (to protect the body), but if the motivation is there she can use 100%. Of course when you use 100%, you get less endurance since all of your fibers were used at once and can't rotate to keep an activity going. By doing heavy singles you get closer to using 100% of your fibers at once (I think the best athletes get near 85-90% use).

So Westside uses Max Effort lifts to build your aboslute strength through neurological gains and some muscle gains. But, also uses the repetition method to build strength endurance and build muscle. And finally it uses the dynamic method to get muscles to produce force quickly.

Rippetoe makes a good argument for 5's, and if you were only going to work one rep range, it's a good choice. But if you are training a couple times a week, you are not forced into one rep range. 5's have a heavy load so they'll recruit a lot of fibers per rep (not as much per say as a single), but will also fatigue the muscle metabolically as well and neurologically--so you get a blend of neurological strenght gains and mass/muscle gains. I think 5's start to slow for more experienced lifters because 3 heavy sets of 5 (near 5RM) can be tougher on the system than 2-3 singles near 1RM.

So if a 1-1-1-1-1-1 was the only workout you'd do, my question is does it match your goals? If you want to get stronger but keep the same relative bodyweight and don't need strenght endurance, then you can base your program arounds 1-1-1-1-1-1 all the time--not too far off from the Bulgarians.

But, if you are like most of us on this board, we want strength, conditioning, leaner but bigger size and the ability to do metcons. So you probably need to train different ranges and energy systems. CF programming attacks this and so does Westside. Periodization programs address it in blocks. Wendler 5/3/1 does it by rotating rep schemes over weeks. GSLP does it by doing 5's', sets to failure and additional conditioning work.

Also, some argue that if you build your max strength it allows the rest of your strength to follow. If I train my body to activate more fibers then I might be able to use more fibers on 5RMs and 10RMs so I can handle heavier weights for those exercises.
Great post, Robert.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:19 AM   #13
Daniel Frankel
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

Guys, thanks for the info. I will continue to use 1's, along with 5's and 3's for my heavy days.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:33 AM   #14
Simon Edmundson
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

I've performed a 1-1-1-1-1 deadlift workout every week for the last 10 weeks. Varying from floor, boxes (just below knee) or deficit. Then followed each workout with a 3 set amrap at 60% 1RM. Done the same for box squats as well. Recovery has been fine and was still able to WOD 4x a week, press, bench and pull sled.

My deadlift has gone from 245kg (540lb) to 262.5kg (579lb) in the 10 weeks. Also gained 20kg (44lb) on my squat.

I always had somebody watching my form and they would call no rep if my form was failing on a rep. I was belted up and was able to keep good form on all but 1 or 2 reps in the 10 weeks. My form fails worse when doing 5-5-5-5-5 because the number of reps it too tiring/taxing at heavy weights.

Westside barbell go heavy singles every week with upper/lower splits. 1-1-1-1-1 will give more strength in a shorter time however it does little for rep strength. That is why I did high rep speed pulls, stopping when bar speed slowed too much. If your CNS is being taxed too hard your not varying the lifts enough and if your not recovering quick enough your not resting or eating enough.

Just my experience
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:46 AM   #15
Donald Lee
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

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Buy the rest of this book and know more than it sounds like your coach knows. wfs
Do not buy that book. You will gain almost nothing from it, at your current stage of knowledge.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:00 AM   #16
Donald Lee
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

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Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
As Chris mentioned the idea is that singles help built absolute/maximal strength. The heavier the weight you lift and the less reps you can do with it, the more muscle will be activiated to lift it. A lot of this will be neurological adaptation--training as many fibers to contract at once.

If you can only squat a weight for 1 rep, you used all the fiber you are neurologically able to activate. If you can squat a rep for 3 reps, on that first rep you used less muscle fibers than you would on a 1 rep max. After rep 1 some of the fibers fatigue, so you might use some that weren't used in the first rep, and then some others by the third rep as others fatigue--but usually not as much as an 1RM. A 1RM primarily increases neurological strenght. A 3RM will help with neuro strength but will also help build strength endurance--of course not as much as a 20 rep squat would.

This falls into the thinking that Grandma can lift a car off a child in an emergency. Normally, her neurological system prevents using a large percentage of her muscle fibers (to protect the body), but if the motivation is there she can use 100%. Of course when you use 100%, you get less endurance since all of your fibers were used at once and can't rotate to keep an activity going. By doing heavy singles you get closer to using 100% of your fibers at once (I think the best athletes get near 85-90% use).

So Westside uses Max Effort lifts to build your aboslute strength through neurological gains and some muscle gains. But, also uses the repetition method to build strength endurance and build muscle. And finally it uses the dynamic method to get muscles to produce force quickly.

Rippetoe makes a good argument for 5's, and if you were only going to work one rep range, it's a good choice. But if you are training a couple times a week, you are not forced into one rep range. 5's have a heavy load so they'll recruit a lot of fibers per rep (not as much per say as a single), but will also fatigue the muscle metabolically as well and neurologically--so you get a blend of neurological strenght gains and mass/muscle gains. I think 5's start to slow for more experienced lifters because 3 heavy sets of 5 (near 5RM) can be tougher on the system than 2-3 singles near 1RM.

...

Also, some argue that if you build your max strength it allows the rest of your strength to follow. If I train my body to activate more fibers then I might be able to use more fibers on 5RMs and 10RMs so I can handle heavier weights for those exercises.
This is not technically accurate.

In trained individuals, full motor recruitment occurs at 80-85% of 1RM; thus, sets of 5-8 reps that are above 80% 1RM (depending on where they fall in the 80-85% 1RM range) will have full motor recruitment from the very first rep.

Neurological improvements in lifting come from both intra- and intermuscular coordination. For maximal strength, we tend to look more at intramuscular coordination. Intramuscular coordination involves three factors: motor recruitment, rate coding, and synchronization.
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:53 AM   #17
David Hare
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

I'd recommend reading Rip's Starting Strength. He addresses this in the Programming section.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:31 PM   #18
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
This is not technically accurate.

In trained individuals, full motor recruitment occurs at 80-85% of 1RM; thus, sets of 5-8 reps that are above 80% 1RM (depending on where they fall in the 80-85% 1RM range) will have full motor recruitment from the very first rep.

Neurological improvements in lifting come from both intra- and intermuscular coordination. For maximal strength, we tend to look more at intramuscular coordination. Intramuscular coordination involves three factors: motor recruitment, rate coding, and synchronization.
Can you help make it techinically accurate? Not trying to be snotty, just asking to learn.

Based on your response, I get the impression you can get as much or more out of an 80-85% lift as you can with a 95-100% lift in regards to training response--getting stronger. What process occurs that is different in the 80-85% range to get to the 90-95% range? Is is better coordination? Better synchronization, rate coding or something else? I have a very basic idea of those concepts. You report a better one, so help me out.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:09 PM   #19
Donald Lee
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

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Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
Can you help make it techinically accurate? Not trying to be snotty, just asking to learn.

Based on your response, I get the impression you can get as much or more out of an 80-85% lift as you can with a 95-100% lift in regards to training response--getting stronger. What process occurs that is different in the 80-85% range to get to the 90-95% range? Is is better coordination? Better synchronization, rate coding or something else? I have a very basic idea of those concepts. You report a better one, so help me out.
Besides the recruitment, what you already know is probably correct.

Let's say you get full recruitment at 85% 1RM. Then, to do a rep at 90% 1RM, the agonist muscles or prime movers have to fire more rapidly (rate coding). They also have to fire in a more synchronized manner.

Although we get full recruitment at sets of 5 reps, the SAID Principle still applies with regards to displaying maximal (1RM) strength. The neuromuscular coordination for a 5RM is different from that of a 1RM due to differences in velocity and acceleration. The same movement can recruit different muscles if it's performed slowly vs. quickly.

Obviously, the neuromuscular coordination differences are accentuated in more technical activities. This is why you'll often see Olympic weightlifters attempt to lift in the same exact manner regardless of how heavy the weight is, and also why they usually train closer to their 1RM. Powerlifters have to train with singles at some point before their competition, due to the neuromuscular coordination differences between a 5RM and a 1RM lift.

However, this doesn't mean explosive work or assistance work doesn't transfer to maximal strength. Personally, I prefer the way Mike Tuscherer of Reactive Training Systems applies bands, chains, explosive work, etc.

IMO, unless you're training for Powerlifting, doing singles is unnecessary and not optimal for strength gains. I hope nobody sees this post as a bashing of Westside.

If I'm prodded, I could write more, but I am by no means an expert yet in motor learning and all that complicated jazz.

As a tangent, Siff wrote that in general, strength improvements go in this order: 1. intermuscular coordination 2. intramuscular coordination 3. muscle cross-sectional area.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:58 PM   #20
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Benefits of a 1-1-1-1-1-1 type workout?

Would this mean doing singles is creates a more specific training response--getting better at doing singles/absolute strength but not a large response to increasing speed or increasing strength endurance?

Therefore 5's might have broader training responses--some improvement in absolute strength, some improvement in strength endurance?

In another words, singles are more of the specialist and 5's are the jack of all trades.

If a twins bench 200lbs each and can do 160lbs for 8 reps.
If one trains singles for a cycle he can boost his bench to 250, and maybe get 200 for 8 reps.
If the other trains fives for a cycle, he can boost his max to 225, but get 205 or 210 for 8 reps or more?
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