Sunday 9.02.12

Remember, mark you calenders this Saturday, Sep 8th, we have a team competing at CrossFit Solano's Summer Slam!
If you have a moment, drop on by and cheer them on!

Now, a few wise words from Brad about our strength program for the month of September:

For the last two months we have been on a linear progression strength program that had us hitting the same four lifts every week: the Back Squat, Deadlift, Shoulder Press, and Power Clean. We have been aiming to add anywhere from one to five pounds to these lifts each week, working in the five-rep range. Some of you are beginning to hit the weights that are heavy enough that five reps is becoming difficult and are wondering how to proceed. There are a few different ways to tackle this issue.

Obviously we can't add weight to our lifts indefinitely. If we could, we all be 800 pound Deadlifters. We all reach a point of diminishing returns, where our results don't match the effort we put in. I will use the Back Squat as my example:

In the Back Squat we prescribe three sets of five reps each week, which is 15 total reps at your working weight (not including all your warm up sets). So if tomorrow you lift, say, 200 lbs for your work sets and you get five reps in your first set, 4 reps in your second set, and only 3 reps on your third set. You got three working sets in , but only 12 total reps. This is not uncommon when we're trying to add weight each and every week, and it doesn't mean the program isn't working. The first thing I would do is get your 15 reps. So do one more set of three reps to finish your 15 total.

Now there are many reasons why you may miss your reps on any given day: poor sleep, poor nutrition, what you did the day before, sick, dehydrated, or just a general lack of awesomeness on that day. So next week, rather than add (or lower) the weight, I'll stay at 200 lbs and try for 3x5 again. More often then not, the second time you'll get it and then you can add weight the following week. But let's say you don't get 3x5 on your second week at this weight. First, get your 15 reps in. Then John Welbourne, owner of CrossFit Football and CrossFit Balboa in Newport Beach, tells us to give each weight 3 weeks. So try 200 lbs again next week. If you get it, good. Add more weight the following week and start all over. If you don't get it by week three, it's three strikes and you're out. Time for a weight reset.

A reset is good because it allows you to address form deficiencies as you work back up, as well as gives your CNS a break from maximal loads. If you have to reset, don't think about it in terms of a percentage reduction, but think in terms of weeks. If I drop 25% from 200, my working weight is now 150. a 50 lbs reduction is the equivalent of 10 weeks of lifting (assuming 5 pounds per week). That's a huge step backward since you won't get near your 200 lbs working weight again for 2.5 months!

If you reset in terms of weeks, you'll know when you'll be back at this working weight, and 3-4 weeks is plenty for a reset. So at 5 lbs per week, a lifter who was up to 200 lbs for 3x5 would only want to drop to 180-185 tops. That way you'll know in 3-4 weeks you'll be back at 200 to try 3x5 again.

Resetting is an art, but a lot of the time a reset is not really needed. Think about this: at the end of September we will be testing our CrossFit Total again. That means you only have three more opportunities to get stronger in these lifts by then. What is going to help you lift more weight come total time, resetting now or taking each week and getting closer to 3x5 at a heavier weight? To each his own, but I personally will take three shots at a weight before I concede and reset. Let's make sure we are truly maxed out before resetting and let's set some huge PR's this month.

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