Strength Gain questions for someone new to the site!
I apologize in advance for the length of the post.
I have been doing Crossfit for about 1 year and enjoying it tremendously. I have seen great results in times and weights compared to where I was before I started. I perform OK on the metcon workouts that are bodyweight and/or light weight such as Fran. I find my area of greatest weakness is my pure strength. Therefore I feel it is time to get a little more serious/focused on increasing my strength. If possible I would also like to keep my overall /metcon performance where it is if not improve.
I have done a lot of reading including Greg's Mass Gain program as well as some of the starting strength strings on the Crossfit board. The more I read the more I get confused. Which is why I have these questions. But first, a little about me:
33 years old, 165lbs, 5'10", approx. 12% body fat
split snatch 150lbs
I am currently on a 17 block zone program as recommended in the Crossfit Zone article for my size.
Now the questions.
1. I want to get my numbers up on all of my lifts. Is that a strength gain or a mass gain or are they both the same. Can you gain the same amount of strength without a large mass gain. I am not against a mass gain but I am also not trying to gain mass just for the sake of gaining mass.
2. Would I be better starting off with the starting strength program or the Mass Gain program. Do each of the programs have different strengths and weaknesses or will they both accomplish the same goal.
3. I have a schedule that allows me to workout twice in one day. Is it reasonable to plan on doing the WOD, metcon, bodyweight exercises in the morning and the strength exercises at night.
4. In terms of nutrition, I understand that it is key and have been trying to clean up my diet which I will continue to do. In terms of quantity I understand that an increase in intake is required for a strength gain. Is that as simple as upping my zone blocks from 17 to 20 or 25 or higher? Or, keeping them at 17 and only increasing the fat or increasing fat and protein? Or, a combination of each, and if so are there any guidelines. I do better when I can follow something very direct and strict.
5. Supplements - I am currently taking 2500 mg of EPA/DHA a day. Is that enough or does it even vary with changing to a strength gain workout. Is there any other key supplement that I should be taking such as Creatine (Kre-Alkalyne vs Monohydrate, etc...) or others. I am not interested in loading up on 12 different supplements just for the sake of extra minute gains, however if there is something that is key for strength gains that would be great to know.
Thanks in advance for your help
I am in a similar position some of your answers are in a thread called mass and strength in this section.
doubleing up on trainig programs will be counter productive without doing a lighter version of both.
Mass = eat more + workout less/lift heavy
Double workouts + metcons = skinny
Focus on mass or performance only...trying to do both will not get you results you are looking for
1. Identify your goals. What is it that you want to accomplish? Prioritize them. For example, strenght is fairly vague. Do you want to have a 300 lbs bench, 400 lbs squat and 500 lbs dead for example? Do you want to be able to knock out freestanding handstand pushups? If you "like" metcon... why is it that you want to get better at that? Do you REALLY want to gain weight? You don't have to if you want to get stronger you know.
Really focus on specifics. A workout that has no direction won't go anywhere fast or well.
2. We can build something around that. Or use a prior existing program. Like MOD said you can't do too much at once.
You are probably a little advanced for SS... actually no I take that back there's a huge discrepancy between your squat and your deadlift. Squatting a lot would be good for you.
In general: Eat a lot and eat clean. Sleep well. Lift heavy.
Don't worry about too much supplements as long as you have fish oil. If you want you can add creatine or BCAAs if you really want some more performance... but you don't really NEED anything else.
a bad program pursued with enthusiasm is better than all the scientifical equivocating in the world. contrary to what you may have heard...this shit is simple. it ain't easy but it's simple.
Thanks for the replies.
I am looking to get strong in functional movements. So while I would like to improve my lifts, I don't want to do it at the expense of getting fat and significantly slowing down my metcon abilities. i.e. current 1rm on deadlift is 375, I would like to be able to achieve 400-425 which is 2.5x bw. My goal is to be able to hit the recommended weights set out in the Crossfit skills chart for the top level, same as the starting strength chart for the top level.
I think it has finally hit home that I shouldn't be doing 2 workouts a day, one heavy and the other metcon but instead focus on heavy lifting since that is my goal.
In terms of programs, I am considering the starting strength vs. the mass gain. Is one preferred over the other. It appears that the mass gain is more comprehensive in that it has you doing more types of exercises during the week. The examples given in SS only have you repeating the same 3 exercises.
In terms of nutrition, is there any guide in terms of the amount of calories I should be taking. I realize that I will need to eat more. I am currently on 17 blocks which has given me energy while slimming me down. Do I simply up the number of blocks to 20 or 25?, do I keep the clean carbs low while only increasing fat and/or protein?
I would also like to get strong and if I can do that without gaining a huge amount of weight even better. Not sure if that means a different approach to lifting is required or to dieting?
Thanks for your help
You seem kind of like you've got a lot of goals you're chasing at once. If you want to get really, really strong and eclipse that 400lb DL with a bit of weight gain, then SS is for you. It's got more than 3 exercises, so I'm a little confused by that statement.
Then again, Mass Gain could be for you also if that's more appealing.
Is it necessary to add a lot of weight while getting stronger? No. But it makes it a hell of a lot easier.
Focus on getting ridiculously strong, then take off whatever excess weight gain that's accumulated.
Either way, more food, less activity and heavier weights. Simple but not easy.
Otherwise, you'll take forever getting your strength to where you want/need it to be.
I guess that means no more Metcons either. In terms of frequency per week, SS is only 3 days with the 3 exercises per day, i.e. squat, press, pullups. Mass gain is 5 days a week with oly lifts thrown in as well. For pure strength gain is 5 better than 3 if i am lifting heavy?
Has not been mentioned yet so I'll throw it out there...
Have you looked into Coach Rutherfords Maximum Effort Black Box method of stength gain?
It might interest you. I personally am going to go through the SS the Mass Gain programs first.
You are already lifting quite a bit more than me so I would think maybe one full cycle of MEBB (takes 36 days) and then the Mass gain might be an option. This way you will get a great idea of your 1RM for whatever lifts you choose to use during the MEBB. Simultaniousely you can hang onto a little of those preciouse WODs while you are preparing for your intensive strength phase.
I am currently reading SS. I must say that it is extreemly instructive as to proper lift technique. You may have already read it, if not do so before any program you chose.
There's more exercises in it than you listed.... like bench, deadlift, power clean....
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