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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mariana recently completed the on-ramp. Look for her in our normal classes.
Bart breaking the 6 minute barrier on "Cherry" with a 5:42 after his on-ramp, good to have you with us.

A well spotted back squat has two spotters each moving with the lifter and ready to respond at any down ward movement. Pay attention!

Nate's a tough workout, no question, but it's pretty short. Becky, Jarrett and A.J. getting after the pain.

Back Squat

This morning we're going to talk about heavy days and squat days. A subject particularly close to my heart. Let's start with today:

What today is is called "A progressively loaded 5 rep max". Which means that with each set I'm going to try and add weight until I can do no more weight. This day calls for 5 others may call for 3 or 1. Either way the work is the same. Sets for a projected max of 315 will look like:

235x5, 265x5, 285x5, 305x5, 315x5

In this case the old 5rm would have been either 285 or 305. We're looking at a total poundage of 7025 lbs. moved today before adding in body weight. With an assumed body weight of 210 it's 12275. Notice that in this working set, I've prescribed larger jumps earlier in the set. This holds true for any heavy day were you know your maxes already. For a workout were I don't know your maxes we'll prescribe ten pounds jumps till a degradation in form.
The other way a heavy day can be done is "Sets Across". What this means is that I'll have a weight beneath a 5 rep max and will do all the sets at this weight. For this workout with a 5rm of 305 I'd be looking at 295 or 285 to do my sets at. This means that my sets would look this:
285x5, 285x5, 285x5, 285x5, 285x5 or 285x5x5
Even with 285 the total poundage before body weight is 7125 already 100 lbs more than the progressively loaded one. With 295 its 7375. A good question is why progressive loaded is prescribed instead of sets across. I believe that what HQ is looking for is 5 heavy sets of 5. Ultimately working for that new 5rm whether we reach it or not is going to be better a workout than sets across. With this we're going to be creating peak power for the prescribed amount of work, Crossfit is about intensity in this example weight equals intensity. If we're specifically in a strength training program than sets across is going to allow more accumulated poundage and more gains for this goal, namely strength. Remember Power= Intensity=Results
Here's an interesting thought experiment: My total weight with progressively loaded 5rm squats is 12275, this divided by my body weight of 210 is equal to 60 body weight squats, for arguments sake we'll say in the same amount of time it took me to do the reps of 5 without rest. Does the more weight I lift on heavy days equate to better performance on body weight movements? In other words: Does strength trickle down?
High Bar Back Squat (HBBS) vs. Low Bar Back Squat (LBBS): Everyone knows the high bar, it sits on your traps and requires a more upright posture to go deep enough. The low bar sits on the spine of the scapulae and recruits more prime movers, mainly the hamstrings and adductors. We've seen that people can move more weight with the LBBS, it is rather uncomfortable, but ultimately More Weight=More Power=More Intensity=More Results.
I've practiced both, and the difference in movements is extreme. In a HBBS, to go A** to Grass requires a lot of flexibility and core strength as well as good reserve of low back strength, olympic lifting shoes helps as well. It is a much more skill based squat than most people realize. For Crossfit, were the transference of a High Bar Back Squat to Olympic lifting is negligible, we will probably use the Low Bar Back Squat. Feel free to discuss.
Expect to see more about all this in the future.


  1. Rest Day today. And a haircut.


    Not a good day. Snatches were off and missed a 115 clean. Walked away from that one.

    FS 155x3x5
    Clean DLx 185x3x2 with straps
    Snatch Push Press 95x5x5

  2. Ryan, thanks brotha. f50 is ridiculous, you smoked it man!

    Rest for me today. Yip Yeehaw!

  3. "Nate's a tough workout, no question, but it's pretty short" Since when did 20 minutes qualify for pretty short? Paul, you should stuff a pine cone in your ear and hold it for 20 minutes and then make qualified statements like 'its tough, but short'....
    I should be happy - I did 1.5 time more than my previous nate.
    See you clowns in the eve

  4. haha. V. you are so funny. Yeah, that was a tough one. Great job on improving 1.5 times more than the last!!!

    Ill be there in the am at 7 if you are up for it!

  5. Taking the day off - didn't expect to - but didn't rest well last night and I'm a little sniffly today. Probably the result of two children with colds.

    One of the things I'm starting to really realize now that I'm back on the CrossFit train is rest and diet are key. Nate saw me the other day almost lose my shit during Jackie. Prior to that workout at 4:00, I had eaten a couple of Halloween Kit-Kats and a handful of almonds - nothing else. Yesterday - I ate well, and could tell a huge difference. This might sound like common sense to alot of you - but to me, diet is not something I've given a whole lot of thought to...until now. I felt like complete A@@ during Jackie - have to try harder with the nutrition! I'd be interested to hear some of your thoughts on diet - what seems to work, what's easy, etc.

    On to not-so-serious stuff, some of you may have seen this, but I thought I'd post the link. Laughed my butt off:


    WARNING - F-bombs galore...

  6. Vilas,
    Of all things in this epic post you focus on that? You buy new shoes yet, flat foot? How could I miss a chance to give a subtle dig to our Nate? It was just too easy.

    Great video.