Looking for post-beginner programming advice
First post here! Thanks, Greg, for the great book and video and for the wealth of material you've put here on the site. I've been enjoying the starter program for the past few weeks and I am trying to figure out where to go now that I am finishing that up. Some background:
After years as a prototypical back-bis/chest-tris/stairmaster gym-goer, the past few years have taken me on a path similar to one many others have tread: from P90X, to Crossfit mainpage starting mid-2009, to Crossfit Invictus starting late 2010 to present. I'm not sure but my vague recollection is that I found Invictus after Greg mentioned them somewhat favorably for those of us who insist on doing Crossfit-type stuff. Some stats from the past 6 months (weights are in pounds because I'm waiting to see if that whole metric fad takes hold long term):
-6'4", 213, age 44, pretty lean, eat fairly strict paleo, no major mobility defects/injuries
-BS 285 (high) 300 (low)
-strict press 160
I hesitate to even mention my oly numbers because my technique has been so deficient that they don't tell us much, but: power clean 200, full clean 210, power snatch 145, full snatch 135, c&j 190. I have been videoing myself and have come to learn that I am having a lot of trouble staying on my heels and keeping the bar close (will start another thread with video on that).
I am thinking my numbers in the slow lifts will not frighten anyone here, but are at least OK relative to where I am on the Oly lifts. So my goals at this point are to improve in the Olympic lifts and variants (including squatting), as a means for continuing to build overall functional strength and power. I have no plans to compete in weightlifting. I work out alone in my basement at the only time I can, first thing in the AM. I have about 60-75 minutes to work with, start to finish, and have been using a 2 on 1 off, 3 on 1 off schedule with good ability to recover. I enjoy the Invictus programming as my "home base" or "default" programming and will probably go back to it (perhaps following their "competition" programming, which programs quite a bit more Oly work), but I am willing to forego most or all conditioning for at least 2-3 more months to do a dedicated lifting phase.
Given all of that as background, and recognizing that I still have technique issues to sort out, out of these programs which would be the best program for me at this point?:
-current Catalyst program that just started this week
-strength cycle: http://www.catalystathletics.com/wor...php?cycleID=28
-strength by feel: http://www.catalystathletics.com/wor...php?cycleID=38
-classic/position cycle: http://www.catalystathletics.com/wor...php?cycleID=37
-intermediate program from Greg's book
And if you know any reputable coaches in Nashville I'd love to know where to find one. USAW site lists a club but it has no web presence whatsoever.
Thanks in advance!
Given what you wrote I'd say stick with the classic or intermediate program. Right now your strength isn't limiting you on the lifts it's your technique. Focusing on that you will see your c+j and snatch numbers go up. It's fun to go with a strength cycle but at this point you'd be reinforcing bad habits.
Would you like unsolicited goal adjustment tailored to your current position as a masters athlete?
You need to get stronger. I understand that you don't want to compete in the Olympic lifts, which is fine, though I think everyone should compete in something, even if just for fun. But you need to get stronger. I have a 49 year old woman who is 6' 220 pounds and can high bar bs 242 pounds. She squats twice a week and started lifting for the first time in 2010.
Your technique probably needs work, especially since you can power snatch more than you can snatch. But working on technique doesn't exclude getting under the bar, shutting up, and lifting. If I were you, I would simplify the workouts:
Cleans , full squat clean, from the floor, hang, or boxes; do one for four weeks then change it up. 3x3, 2x3.
Front squats 5 sets of 3.
Push press 5 sets of 5
Snatches,floor, hang, or boxes. Do something different than you do for the cleans. 2,2,2,2,2, 1,1
Back squats, 5x5
Bench press or floor press, 3x8
Curls or chins, hands supinated (toward you). 5x5
Snatch 2,2,2, 1,1,1
Clean and jerk 2+1, 2+1, 2 +1, 1+1 x 3
Back Squat 3,3, 2,2, 2
Do these sets as heavy as you can make them. And by heavy, I mean heavy. I cannot concieve that you train as heavy as you can. Training alone with little exposure to real strength badassery generally limits people. You are capable of doing more than you think you can.
Take at least one day off between training. Train heavy for three weeks, then on week four do no lifts over 80% of your best. If you do the above workouts in 60-75 minutes, you will load and lift, load and lift, so you won't need much conditioning those days. On your off days, do some conditioning, either sprints, kettlebells swings, or barbell complexes.
As for strength goals, you can pick whatever you want, but I would make squatting 400 and cleaning 300 sometime in 2013 your goals.
And eat some potatoes. No one ever got strong without eating potatoes.
The strength by feel cycle will let you do what Mike suggests and really choose your weights according to how you're feeling day to day, which is generally good when you're in the stage you're in. Sometimes at that point trying to use %s just holds you back. That cycle has a lot of strength work (e.g. squats, pulls/DLs, pressing).
OK, thanks. I was thinking that the classic/position cycle had enough "strength work" that I might see some gains there even though that is not the primary goal of that program. But Greg, I take it you agree with the advice to bias toward strength at this point rather than technique, although I expect you would not suggest that is any excuse for me not to correct my technique flaws and that you would agree with Allen's point about not reinforcing bad technique. Assuming that's so and assuming I will use the strength by feel program, do you have advice on striking the right balance between pushing the weight enough to get the intended benefits of a strength program, vs. being too conservative and performing reps that are solid but not heavy enough to elicit improvements in raw contractile force of the muscles? Stated another way, when establishing rep maxes or "heavy singles" does that mean going as heavy as possible for that day with good, though not flawless, technique? It seems that in the classic/position cycle the advice would be the inverse: the goal is always hitting every rep with perfect technique, even if that requires using the same or even less weight than the previous week.
I intend those RMs to be the heaviest you can do that day fairly correctly and without failed reps.
Yes you have to get stronger, but getting stronger and improving technically are not mutually exclusive. Push the basic strength work as hard as you can, e.g. squats, pressing, pulling exercises, and use a more "technical max" with the classic lifts and variants to ensure that your progress is coming from actually getting better rather than just doing the lift shittier.
Treating the classic lifts and variants a bit differently from the lower-skill strength-building work makes a lot of sense. Will do. Thanks again!
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