View Full Version : CF WOD vs PM WOD vs RUTMAN WOD

Ari Kestler
02-15-2008, 05:32 AM
Sorry if this is a bit overlapping with the other 2 threads, but I can't seem to really find the answer to my question without significantly hijacking the other threads...so what exactly is the difference between each of these? What are the long term goals? What are some of the drawbacks?

I'm a fairly novice lifter (random BB routines for a year, SS for a month, before deciding I really want to start CF already)...I started CF about 2 weeks ago. Needless to say I can barely finish the WoD even scaled (most scaling involves cutting everything in half)after I do the CFWU...I'm entertaining the idea of cutting down the CFWU until I'm not totally gassed after it....but that is a separate issue...

Despite not being able to finish the WODs, I haven't been extremely sore the next day but I'm on a 2:1 schedule because by the end of the week it does take it's toll on me. I feel really good though.

My main goals are to improve my strength and stay "fit" whatever that means, for now I'll stick to the definitions set out by both of these communities... so after looking at Rutman's WoD I'm beginning to think that maybe it's a better WoD for me initially to develop the strength I need... I was on a SS program for a few weeks and it was working but it became too monotonous and I like the full body feeling I get from CF and the fact that it's dynamic... Should I just stick with CF? I've sort of discounted the PM WOD because I don't have that much of an interest in OL at this point in time...but I'm open to your thoughts...


Garrett Smith
02-15-2008, 05:53 AM
My first suggestion is to cut down on the CFWU. It's a bit much, IMO. Especially if you're gassed after it, which then means you don't have much effective strength to apply to your WOD. It also sets one up to be ripe for overuse injuries, doing the same exercises, in decently high volume, day after day after day.

Ari Kestler
02-15-2008, 06:53 AM
What would you suggest instead? On certain days that were heavy pull ups/dips I was doing 1km row warm up and/or 1/2 mile run warm up followed by some stretching and mostly just working on difficult movements with light weights (OHS, Jerks, etc)....

Should I just scrap the CFWU and do this?

Mike ODonnell
02-15-2008, 07:23 AM
ahhh youth.....someday you will want those joints working better! Just remember....the warranty on your body runs out around 30....that's when you focus more on longevity and not killing yourself with doing everything there is.

My first advice...slow down. It's not a race. You seem to be skipping around way too much on the routines. Pick a focus and go with it for a while. You mentioned strength. People do the SS routine for months and months to build up a good base, nothing comes that quick. Being fit is subjective to the person and their goals. If you can't recover...then you are not doing yourself any good. Nutrition of course plays a huge role in all this.

So start with something you want to improve on and go from there. Keep with it for a month at least, review progress and change something up if you want. If you are not seeing progress then you are either overtraining or underrecovering.

If you want to be "fit", go ride a mountain bike, do 400meter sprints, do a CF metcon, etc (once a week, twice a week)....find something that fits your lifestyle and enjoyment factor, but make sure it doesn't hamper your recovery from your main focus of training (whether it be strength, muscle gain, or whatever)

James Evans
02-15-2008, 07:59 AM
Listen to MOD.

Why do you want to do CrossFit as per the WOD of the day on the main website? Rutman's posts are his take on CF. Training Rut style Monday, Wednesday and Friday leaves you time to do something else. Like MOD says, go for a bike ride, if you like running, get out and run.

When I first came across CF 4+ years ago, my initial response was damn, you've got to be strong to do most of this stuff. I guessed I was just a nancy boy at the time. Since then and the influence of Starting Strength I think I've been vindicated. I'm still a nancy boy though.

Go away and get really strong for a year and come back to it if that is what you want. Alternatively I would recommend the following:

1. Read through all the archives on Rutman's blog and look at the variety of his workouts. The max effort stuff he has been posting is not necessarily that typical. The exercises are usually some of the easiest to master, use the most readily available equipment (ie dumbbells), usually give loading based upon bodyweight etc. I like this and I'm grateful I don't have to master gymnastics (more fool me perhaps). You don't have to do the workouts on a given day, you've got the whole resource available to you. Just try and mix it up, don't just do the stuff you find easy.* Work your weaknesses.

2. Read the stuff at www.rosstraining.com for a different take and some more ideas. Indeed read widely but don't try and do everything.

3. Google simplefit and go the website. I think this is a superb introduction to CF style training. I used it last year after a shoulder injury when I found myself barely able to lift a 14kg db (I can press 30K+ and snatch 40k with dbs normally) and collapsing after about 4 push ups. These progressions ( I think it's Kevin Mckay I have to thank) worked wonders and they have improved my pullups no end. This year I have repeated the programme with a weighted vest and for the first time in my life I can do clap pullups. I think a muscle up is probably not out of the question if I put my mind to it - although not where I train because I'll drive my head through the ceiling... But I reiterate that I cannot recommend these progressions enough. They will give you a very good foundation.

4. If in a few months you decide you want to focus on getting really strong, or taking up powerlifting, oly lifting, kettlebell long cycle etc. then do it. You might just hate everything!

*I think you can look at Rut's wods and think, hmm, that looks easy. Don't.
Actually, I know a lot of people get stung like that with the main CF workouts too. There isn't necessarily a sting in the tail but you'll get a very decent workout.

Allen Yeh
02-15-2008, 08:21 AM
*I think you can look at Rut's wods and think, hmm, that looks easy. Don't.

Ditto this sentiment.

Ari Kestler
02-15-2008, 10:21 AM
All of you bring up valid points. I suppose the biggest problem is that I don't really know what my goals are. I sort of woke up one morning last year and decided I want to be in better shape and I want to be healthy. After a bunch of reading and searching, I found Crossfit. I always went to the gym, but never really had a routine that showed significant results. It was much easier for me to focus on diet and fine tune my nutrition so I sort of ran with that. Now that I feel really good about that, it's time to really start improving the other part of the equation. Again, I really have no clue, I read all the forum posts, and stats, and CF definitions and I think, these seem like good goals to try and work towards. Why? I have no idea. But for now, if they get me into the gym and in a healthy program, and make me feel good, I might as well go with it. As much as I don't like to admit it, a good part of this workout desire is vanity and narcissism at it's finest, but I guess I see nothing wrong with this if it gets me to the gym.

So some of the bench marks that are tossed around here are 1.5BW Bench, 2BW squat, 2.5BW DL, I don't know what a valid pull up bench mark is, but I want it. I want to be able to do muscle ups, and not just a few, I want to be able to do a lot of HSPUs and maybe some other gymnastic/BW movements. I'd also like to be mobile enough that if I need to run a few miles or do some sprints I don't have a heart attack. I don't anticipate ever running >3 miles or enjoying it, but if I had to, I would want to know that I could. I want to be faster and stronger than 99% of the people I come into contact with daily.

The superhero and girl workouts are fun, but right now I don't have a desire to have a sub 3 minute fran, but I could see how working on a sub 3 min fran also directly fits into my general strength goals, it's with this sort of logic that I decided I should do CF and I'll get stronger eventually...now though I'm beginning to think maybe a Strength training routine with fewer metcons might be better. I don't really know. I also know that routine is my enemy after about 4 weeks. I sort of reach a breaking point and need to do something different or just get tired of the same routine and my intensity goes down, so this was also the appeal of having someone (CF/PM) choose my workouts for me. It left the thinking part out of it. You guys know more about this than I do, so that makes sense to me.

For the next 5 months, I'm mostly just studying and attending class, so assume I have an unlimited supply of time, energy, food and sleep. Sure life is stressful, but manageable. After these 5 months, I will start clinic and I will have much less time, much less sleep, and cooking everyday interesting foods will be more difficult, possibly lending itself to less healthy eating (doubtful, but possible)...

So what do you suggest I do for the next 5 months?


Mike ODonnell
02-15-2008, 11:18 AM
So what do you suggest I do for the next 5 months?

Switch to decaf.....

Really you will find what you want. Strength is always a good base to start with. Just remember more focus should be on recovery and nutrition....without that all your training will not get you much in return. Whatever you pick...stick with something you enjoy....as consistency is the real secret to long term results.

James Evans
02-15-2008, 11:37 AM
So some of the bench marks that are tossed around here are 1.5BW Bench, 2BW squat, 2.5BW DL, I don't know what a valid pull up bench mark is, but I want it. I want to be able to do muscle ups, and not just a few, I want to be able to do a lot of HSPUs and maybe some other gymnastic/BW movements. I'd also like to be mobile enough that if I need to run a few miles or do some sprints I don't have a heart attack. I don't anticipate ever running >3 miles or enjoying it, but if I had to, I would want to know that I could. I want to be faster and stronger than 99% of the people I come into contact with daily.

There you go, you've got some goals. Start ticking them off. Get some coaching, work out what you can do now and how far you've got to go.

Shooting for a 2.5BW DL is so much more tangible than "I want to tone my arse" or "I want guns that woman will swoon over". But I bet, unless you go all Westside, you'll look all the better for it afterwards. Vanity should be a motivation but I believe you should train for function and let aesthetics be a welcome by-product.

Greg Everett
02-15-2008, 11:57 AM
The CF WOD is attempting to cover all the bases. No long term planning, just varied ass kicking.

The PM WOD is entirely planned in advance to reach very specific goals - improving technique and strength in the O-lifts, improving general strength, and maintaining a reasonable base of metabolic conditioning.

Rutman's WOD is like a lower-volume CF WOD with a bit more regular emphasis on strength, and with some seasonal variation (e.g. more strength work in the winter).

Ari Kestler
02-15-2008, 12:12 PM
Thanks for the clarification, so I guess all of this talk and the fact that most of my goals involve massive increases in strength would suggest I follow Rutman's WoD...

Greg Everett
02-15-2008, 12:38 PM
If you're goal is massive strength increases, you'd be better served by a genuine strength program, more along the lines of starting strength or similar. Even the PM WOD will do pretty well for that.

Ari Kestler
02-15-2008, 12:53 PM
Was considering the mass gain template...

Kalen Meine
02-15-2008, 10:39 PM
Did you top out on Starting Strength after a couple recycles, or just got bored? I did the same thing the first time around, and CF was a kinda piddly experience as a result. So, I actually listened, drank my milk, got my sleep, and kept adding 10lbs and a drop set when I couldn't do that, and lo and behold, all the CF stuff I've attempted for grins in the meantime has been a totally new ballgame. How much do you weigh, how tall are you, and what are the ballparks for 5RM on the big three/five/whatever lifts? I mean, thus far you've listed strength goals, and admitted you're a wandering beginner. Maybe some time under the bar with the 5's and in the fridge are still in order.

Ari Kestler
02-16-2008, 12:10 PM
You bring up valid points. I don't think I plateaued before just getting bored. Maybe I should look into starting it again and giving it the attention it deserves. I'm 5'9" 170 lbs and my 3RM are: Bench 185, Squat 185, DL 205, SP 105. I have only recently begun learning cleans and snatches so I couldn't even tell you what my RM is for these... SS may be the answer for my Squat and DL numbers, I'm only interested in getting my bench up a little higher, not that much, I haven't benched in months and have been doing a decent number of push ups and dips so I'm not especially eager to bench every week or sometimes twice a week on SS....moreover I'd really like to improve my pull up numbers also so that was why I was considering a different strength program other than SS...one possibility I have been thinking about was SS and GTG pull ups 5 days a week or something....still kinda thinking things though...any other ideas are much appreciated.

Another alternative might be just doing the Strength cycles of the mass gain template...what do you think about that?

Kalen Meine
02-17-2008, 02:42 PM
Yeah, your assessment is, by my amatuer reckoning, about right- your bench is fine for a novice to intermediate lifter your size, but your squat is something more like a 10-rep backoff set than a max, and your deadlift is properly a warmup. Presses are weird, but they can always stand to get better. If you didn't gain a pound, you should be able to tack on at least fifty pounds on your squat and a hundred on your dead by just doing your fives three times a week. And assuming you're lean-ish, a little poundage probably wouldn't do any harm. Milk. Squats. Milk. Squats....

And don't be afraid of a big bench. It's only a problem if it's big because it's easier than squatting, hip at your gym and you chickened out of heading to the rack, which I suspect from the numbers might just have happened a couple times;-)

Pullups? Sure, everyone can stand more pullups. The days you don't deadlift, do three limit sets after everything. If you get 10 or twelve on each one, do weighted one workout, unweighted the next. And sure, do some on trees when you get up from your desk. It's just that pullups have more characteristics of an assistance exercise (albeit a super-functional and useful one) than they do a core lift, and they probably should be treated somewhere in between the two. Do more, don't wear out your back before you deadlift, and all will be well.

You're not really strong enough to be doing a heavy-triple, percentage-based program, IMO. 3x3 @ bodyweight isn't going to do much.

You mention you're just now learning the clean, and your squat and dead are low- do you feel comfy about the technique? I know the first time around I chickened out because the squats started feeling really heavy, and I got spooked, thinking my technique was solid when it was actually pretty sorry. Do you have the books and have you read them-and tried the experiments and stretches, and then read them again?

Squats and milk, my friend.