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

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Old 08-14-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
Jo Hsu
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Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

I posted this in the designated CFSB thread, but haven't received a response, so I thought I'd pose it here as well-- I hope that's all right. Regarding CFSB:

After following a more novice-based linear progression for the past five months, I've plateaued on all my lifts enough times that I would like to switch to a more intermediate training program. I've had my eye on CFSB all this time, and am eager to start, but I do have a couple of questions.

My cleans have always been a bit lacking-- in technique, and I just need to work on explosive power rather than lifting slow. I'd like to incorporate cleans, and thought about subbing them for front squats in this program. Would that be all right? Or are the front squats a very specific supplementary lift for the back squat, and would I possibly be detracting from back squat gains?

Additionally, why does the program choose the press over the bench? I feel like, because the bench uses more muscle groups (or larger/stronger ones?), it might be more advantageous to train the bench. However, I'm also more dissatisfied with my press than my bench, so it may behoove me to continue working on my press... Yet also my press stalls out so much more frequently and easily than my bench, so I worry that my time would be better spent on the bench press. (Sorry for the convoluted train of thought). Do you have any advice?

Finally: How do you go about selecting a starting weight for the high-rep protocols? (such as 12=>15 or 10-7-4)

Thanks, all!
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:20 AM   #2
Dylan Forbes
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

Firstly what are your lifts at and how long have you been lifting for? What attracts you to CFSB?

And any strength program that doesn't include bench is doing it's followers no favours at all.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:00 AM   #3
Graeme Moore
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

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Originally Posted by Jo Hsu View Post
I posted this in the designated CFSB thread, but haven't received a response, so I thought I'd pose it here as well-- I hope that's all right. Regarding CFSB:

After following a more novice-based linear progression for the past five months, I've plateaued on all my lifts enough times that I would like to switch to a more intermediate training program. I've had my eye on CFSB all this time, and am eager to start, but I do have a couple of questions.

My cleans have always been a bit lacking-- in technique, and I just need to work on explosive power rather than lifting slow. I'd like to incorporate cleans, and thought about subbing them for front squats in this program. Would that be all right? Or are the front squats a very specific supplementary lift for the back squat, and would I possibly be detracting from back squat gains?

Additionally, why does the program choose the press over the bench? I feel like, because the bench uses more muscle groups (or larger/stronger ones?), it might be more advantageous to train the bench. However, I'm also more dissatisfied with my press than my bench, so it may behoove me to continue working on my press... Yet also my press stalls out so much more frequently and easily than my bench, so I worry that my time would be better spent on the bench press. (Sorry for the convoluted train of thought). Do you have any advice?

Finally: How do you go about selecting a starting weight for the high-rep protocols? (such as 12=>15 or 10-7-4)

Thanks, all!
As far as I'm aware, CFSB was developed by Jeff Martin et al in direct response to people at their box lagging in terms of leg/squat strength. That's why the program is very squat-centric. Another prime focus was to increase strength with an eye on improving metcon times, which is why you won't see benching here.

If your goal is general strength, I wouldn't recommend CFSB. It's a very specific program for a specific purpose.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
Jo Hsu
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

I'm 5' 2.5", 109lbs. I'm going to take this week to text my one rep maxes, but right now here's what I know:

Deadlift: 195 x 5
Back Squat: 125 x 5
Press: 67.5 x 5
Bench: 92.5 x 4
Power Clean: 85 x 2

For bodyweight stuff, I can do about 8 max strict pull-ups before I need to drop off the bar, and 7 ring dips before I fail.

I've been following a linear strength program for 5 months now and all my lifts have stalled multiple times and my gains are decreasing substantially. Moreover, since I've been doing the program for about 5 months, I feel it's time for a change-- physically and for my mental well-being. I like CFSB because it's not too complicated, but introduces some variation. In addition to training strength, it incorporates lifts for high-reps, which (for better or worse sometimes) we have to do in CrossFit-- and ever since I've gotten stronger, I haven't been able to carry that intensity for multiple reps. Right now, I'm happy that I've gotten stronger in the past few months, but my endurance (which wasn't spectacular to begin with) has crashed horribly. I still want to get a little stronger, but am no longer in such a hurry as I was before. I've noticed that I'm not very good with producing "power" behind my movements-- like exploding at the bottom of a lift, or any of the O-lifts... or sprints. I just don't move fast or powerfully-- it makes me feel like I always leave something in the tank-- like I'm not accustomed to recruiting all my force potential at once... if that makes sense. I've been trying to navigate a lot of this training stuff myself, and I tend to self-diagnose and I worry that I overthink or misinterpret things. Any recommendations are welcome.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:09 AM   #5
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

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Originally Posted by Graeme Moore View Post
Another prime focus was to increase strength with an eye on improving metcon times
^ that's particularly why CFSB appeals to me. I can do 65 lb thrusters, and have been for a while now, but I still think I would crawl my way through Fran... Basically, I've gotten stronger than I used to be, but I still have a ways to go, but I've stalled out on my linear progression program, and I'm pretty unhappy with my metcon endurance... If anyone has any suggestions for alternative programs, I'd welcome them.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:27 AM   #6
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

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Originally Posted by Jo Hsu View Post
Finally: How do you go about selecting a starting weight for the high-rep protocols? (such as 12=>15 or 10-7-4)

Thanks, all!
There are programs that will help, but I recommend the trial and error method. Start with 50% and see how many reps you can do on your first set. If you can get 15 reps, then do 12 for the second and 9 for the third. Then next time you do the same exercise, adjust accordingly.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:13 PM   #7
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

I think my biggest argument against CFSB would be the fact that people have been "voting with their feet" over the last few years and choosing CFFB, GSLP, 5/3/1, or conjugate CF programs rather than CFSB at a rate of about 100 to 1.

If you've been stalling out on a linear program, I don't see any reason why CFSB would be a silver bullet for you.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:34 PM   #8
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

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I think my biggest argument against CFSB would be the fact that people have been "voting with their feet" over the last few years and choosing CFFB, GSLP, 5/3/1, or conjugate CF programs rather than CFSB at a rate of about 100 to 1.

If you've been stalling out on a linear program, I don't see any reason why CFSB would be a silver bullet for you.

Eric, I'm not looking for a "silver bullet" or a miracle solution... I've just been doing this program for 5 months now and am looking for a little variation, hoping that will jar me out of my plateau. CFFB is very similar to the 70s Big linear progression that I was following, and GSLP is still a linear progression... my hesitation with conjugate is that (from my limited understanding) they seem to incorporate a lot of variations in the lifts and I'm inexperienced enough that I worry I'd do them wrong and misapply them... as for 5/3/1, I could consider that... but perhaps add power cleans into the program, and work on heavy metcons?
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:39 PM   #9
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

I think you misunderstood me a bit--I'm not accusing you of looking for an easy way out, it's just that I don't see CFSB as doing anything better than the other choices of strength programs.

If you're repeatedly stalling out at just over bodyweight for a 5RM squat, I think there are more things at play than your choice of program.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:42 PM   #10
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Re: Questions about CrossFit Strength Bias

Perhaps... but I don't know how to address these other things on my own. I've tried accessory work because I know my left leg is weaker than my right (box step ups and single leg deadlifts). I should be eating enough since I'm still gaining weight (which is less fun with slower gains on the lifts)... I'm sleeping fine, resting a bit more since the lifts started stalling out, hoping that would help...
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