Sunday, 26 July 2009
A Rest Day post by Dallas
In keeping with the sentiment of June 22nd’s “We All Want To Be Stronger” post, we’re starting a deadlift and press cycle tomorrow. Yes, I know that CrossFit’s program is constantly varied. But it’s my contention that some physical characteristics have more impact on general physical preparedness (GPP) than others. And I believe that strength is a gateway to improving GPP faster than focusing on, say, balance or coordination. I’m not proposing a comprehensive hierarchy of importance, but for the 603, strength matters.
For the next few weeks, we’ll be performing a 603-modified progressive wave cycle. We start at an arbitrary (easy) weight, then add weight for a few workouts, then drop a little weight for a workout or two, then add again… so the overall trend, of course, is more weight. I originally encountered this program in Pavel Tsatsouline’s Power To The People (PTP), but have seen various iterations of it elsewhere over the years. From here on, I’ll simply refer to it as the 603’s PTP Program.
Here’s how it goes: we are going to deadlift and press 4 times per week. No, that’s not a typo. This is not an intensity-driven program. It is a frequency-driven program. In fact, I do not want you going anywhere near failure. Your body adapts and gets stronger when you stress it and then let it recover. How quickly you make progress on any individual aspect of fitness is limited by how often you can stress that system and still recover between workouts. This is, in some senses, the opposite of CrossFit’s maximal-intensity approach. It’s a maximal-frequency program, but at an intensity and volume low enough that you are always able to recover sufficiently. You with me so far? Good. Let’s look at a hypothetical program.
Since we recently did a 1RM for both the deadlift and press, it’ll be easy to get a rough estimate of where you should start. We’re going to do two (and ONLY two) work sets of 3-5 reps. Do your two deadlifts sets first, then your two press sets. Start with 3-5 reps at 60% of your 1RM, and then do a second set of 3-5 reps at 90% of the weight you used for the first set. You’ll add 2-5 pounds with the same rep/set scheme for most workouts, gradually building strength and familiarity with complex movements.
603’s Sample PTP Program – Deadlifts
Deadlift 1RM: 200 (I like easy math. So should you. Round to the nearest… whatever. Don’t get too carried away with fractional plates or tiny percentages. Remember, this is a quality-over-quantity program.)
Workout 1 - 120# x 5 - 110# x 5
Workout 2 - 125# x 5 - 115# x 5
Workout 3 - 130# x 5 - 120# x 5
Workout 4 - 125# x 5 - 115# x 5
Workout 5 - 130# x 5 - 120# x 5
Workout 6 - 135# x 5 - 125# x 5
Workout 7 - 130# x 5 - 120# x 5
Workout 8 - 135# x 4 - 125# x 5
Workout 9 - 140# x 4 - 130# x 5
Workout 10 - 135# x 5 - 125# x 5
Workout 11 - 140# x 4 - 130# x 5
Workout 12 - 145# x 3 - 130# x 5
This takes us through roughly 3 weeks. Basically, it’s a 2-steps-up, 1-step-down pattern. This pattern is highly flexible based on how you’re feeling, and will require a little more input from you as far as when you go up, and when you go back down. I’ll give general guidelines on up/down, but I’m not going to tell you how much or by what percentages. Start with that 60% of your 1RM, and go from there. If you get to the 4th workout, and the weight was effortless on the 3rd workout, go up instead of down. But… I want all the reps of all the workouts to be gorgeous and easy. In that same vein, if you stayed up late and missed a meal or two the previous day, drop down a few pounds, and don’t beat yourself up for it.
You should not be sore from these workouts. In fact, the first few workouts will be strangely… easy. It does get harder, though. Don’t discount the frequency at which you are performing these movements. Four to five times a week is a LOT. I’ll continue to program buy-ins, cash-outs, Olympic lifts, gymnastics, and some tasty met-cons, but the primary thrust of the next 4+ weeks is: get stronger. A LOT stronger. Don’t overreach, get greedy, or lose patience. This is a slow progression, but very effective in building strength. With a stronger pull and press, you’ll find other previously-challenging activities somewhat… easier. Huh.
Feel free to post questions, but I’d also encourage you to do a little research of your own on linear or progressive wave strength cycles. You might not want to actually do what you find, but it’s good to learn about other (non-CrossFit) training options.