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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 05-29-2005, 06:54 PM   #1
Jim Aldridge
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Sometimes I play with the schedule a little to establish a baseline of comparison for my first month doing crossfit. Today, I tried Cindy (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats; as many as possible in 20 min.) I did 13 rounds (not as good as I was hoping) but the only thing really holding me back was the pullups. I could pop out the pushups and squats almost like I was fresh until the end, but after about round 5 I had to resort to sets of triples and doubles to get my 5 pullups. Is that normal? Is this workout designed to really hit the muscles in your back and arms while just using the legs/chest to keep your heart rate up?

If not, (i.e. if I am just exceptionally weak on pullups) in order to keep the rest of my body challenged throughout the workout do I need to up my number of pushups and squats, or drop my number of pullups?
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Old 05-29-2005, 07:04 PM   #2
Matt Gagliardi
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Jim, I think what you're seeing is pretty normal. Just keep the break (in the set of pullups) to a bare minimum. You might also benefit from switching up your grip every couple of sets ("commando", reverse, close, wide, alternate, etc.) to spread the fatigue around a little bit.
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Old 05-29-2005, 07:46 PM   #3
Matt Gagliardi
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Jim, to expand a bit on one of your questions...I think this workout is really designed to expose a weakness if it exists in either legs, chest or back. Heavier people with limited leg strength will have problems with the squats eventually. Lots of folks are weak in the chest and will fail on pushups. Then there are those who're going to be exposed with pullups.

You're just in the somewhat unenviable position of finding out where you're behind, and having to catch up a bit. No biggie. Remember that you also just did a WOD yesterday that was pretty pullup focused, I wouldn't expect that you'd be back at full strength today for a run at Cindy.
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:24 AM   #4
Larry Lindenman
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This workout also punishes you for higher bodyfat. People would be amazed if they knew how much their WOD times would improve just by dropping non-functional mass (fat). This is another reason dialing in diet is so important.
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Old 05-30-2005, 02:15 PM   #5
Joshua Newman
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As a counterpoint to Larry's post: for smaller crossfitters, gaining additional functional mass seems to be just as helpful.

I'm up about eight pounds of muscle since CF + Paleo/Zone, and while the tradeoff of additional strength but additional weight seems to be largely a wash for pullups and other BW exercises, it makes a huge positive difference on thrusters and other weight-bearing work.

While I suspect I'll never toss around the bar with Josh Everett's ease, being able to survive unbroken thruster sets on Fran, for example, also amazingly decreases time.

Which, I guess, is at the core of Matt's point: most all of us have some 'catching up' to where we'd ideally like to be, and there's nothing we can do to rush the process. We've no choice but to eat well and WOD hard, day in and day out, trying to at least feign some patience as we improve bit by little tiny bit.
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Old 05-30-2005, 03:20 PM   #6
Ross Hunt
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Joshua,

Your post points in an interesting direction by singling out pull-ups on the one hand and thrusters on the other.
Do you think that a too-low bodyweight reduces pressing strength more than pulling strength? What does your experience indicate?
To all - I'm particularly interested in the experience of light, short guys; with respect to both my upper and lower body, my pulling strength exceeds my pressing strength, but I suspect that lever lengths - and training - may have skewed it in this direction.
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Old 05-30-2005, 05:45 PM   #7
John S. Powell
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Ross,

As a real low-weight guy (5'10", 145 lbs), it's my impression that my pull is better than my push. Hard to really compare, but I feel alot less "behind" the rest of humanity in movements like DL, SDHP, and weighted pullups. In things like overhead presses, benches, squats, etc., I am probably farther behind. There's not a whole lot of evidence for this, and I'm second guessing what I just wrote. But, it may be true.
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Old 05-30-2005, 06:24 PM   #8
Pat Janes
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I'm exactly the same @ 5'8", 140#, my pullups (weighted or non), DL etc are more advanced than pushups, bench, squats.

I do feel, though, that after almost a year of CF, that it's starting to "equalise" somewhat. My DL and pullups have improved a little over the last year, but squats and bench have improved dramatically.

As for things like thrusters, I'd love to have a little extra mass to put behind the bar, but while only getting lighter in the last year, I'm finding thrusters easier and easier (relatively, OK?).


As for the original question, Jim; I'll mostly side with Matt. You've found an area that needs work in pullups, so don't reduce the volume of pullups you're going to do. But do try to manage rest intervals etc to do as many as possible.

Also, don't be afraid of using negatives, jumping pullups. They'll help you to build volume and maintain intensity, while still working "most" of the movement.
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:49 AM   #9
Larry Lindenman
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At 6'00 / 200 lbs my pushing is better than my pulling! I think I had a training dominance of push exercises for 15 years prior to doing the WOD. Good point Joshua (I've never thought about it going from the other way).
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:02 PM   #10
Joshua Newman
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Ross-

What a great question! In my case, it seems I'm flying against the grain, as my max on weighted pullups and weighted dips is about equivalent. (I can, however, do more unweighted pullups than dips, though I suspect that may be the result of kipping on the pullups - I'll have to test that.)

My broader suspicion is simply that there are more unweighted pulls than unweighted presses. Handstand pushups, as one of the few unweighted presses, make an interesting example, as I suspect littler guys hold an advantage on that exercise despite it being a press.

I'll definitely be pondering this one for a while.
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