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Old 08-22-2010, 01:52 PM   #12
Brian Wilson
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 9
Default Re: Real Data - Looking for Improvement

Intro and Background:

First, thanks to everybody for contributing here, it's much appreciated.

I began Wendler 531 on Monday 100419. My baseline tested 1RMs were from Nov 2008 and were:

Squat 335
Press 160
Deadlift 418

I substituted Power Cleans for Deadlifts and didn't do Bench Press for the first 16 weeks. Starting on week 17, I put Deadlifts in and also added Bench Press.


Using both a 1RM Test on Week 10 and the formula Wendler writes about in his ebook:

Theoretical 1RM = (Weight * Reps * .03333)+Weight

I came up with the following graphs to show my progress over the last 18 weeks:

Tested 1RM: 355 at Week 10
Current Theoretical 1RM: 386 at Week 18

Test 1RM: 167.5 at Week 10
Current Theoretical 1RM: 184 at Week 18

Comments on the Data

As Gant points out, I hadn't done a ton of Squats, Press, Deadlifts, etc., over the course of my Crossfit career. So a novice affect could certainly be at work here.

I was very excited to see a 20 lbs PR on my Squat and a 7.5 lbs PR on my Press after only 10 weeks. What was even more exciting however, and you can see this clearly in the graphs, is how my lifts have taken off even more since then.

Comments on Assistance Exercises, METCONs, and General Compliance with the Program

I have not been diligent in completing the Assistance Exercises or METCONs (what Jim Wendler would generally consider "Conditioning") during the last 18 weeks. I have tended to mix in METCONs at my box or Assistance Exercises, but never both in the same day.

I have never missed a Squat day, but I have skipped 4 out of 18 Press days.

I find the general Wendler Template fairly easy to follow and am much more diligent and excited about my training then before. My box follows a basic Monday/Squat, Wednesday/Press, Thursday/Deadlift template, but it was difficult for me to come in on those days because (psychology of the athlete being what it is) my perception was that I was bad at those movements (true) and that I wasn't getting any better (partly true prior to Wendler 531).

The Back Off week has been a tremendous boon to me psychologically as well. I've found myself much more recovered mentally and itching to get to heavy squats and even (god forbid) hard METCONs by the middle of the Back Off week.


My full Wendler Tracking Sheet

My old Lifting PRs

Power Cleans, Deadlifts, Bench Press

Just like (seemingly) 90% of those that try Wendler 531, I had to change something. I decided I wanted to do Power Cleans vice Deadlifts so I could improve or maintain some "speed strength".

I went into Wendler 531 with a 225 PR in Power Clean and when I retested at Week 10 it was 235 lbs.

Reading more into this issue, I found that doing the Wendler Template for Power Cleans was pretty dumb (duh!), and if performed should be done after Squat or Deadlift and according to Prilepin's Table or a similar periodized program designed for the Olympic Lifts.

For right now I'm just scrapping the Power Clean and putting Deadlifts in. Because of the great progress I've seen, I decided to add Bench Press in as well. This will also give me another day that I can work on my pressing strength and especially Handstand Pushups (HSPU) as assistance exercises, as I am terrible at these.


Couldn't be happier with my decision to try Wendler 531. Every aspect of my training (including METCON performance relative to my cohort) has dramatically increased. I'm fired up to get to the gym because I see tangible progress and I have high hopes that those big numbers that I saw other Crossfitters putting up (400+ Squat, 500+ Deadlift, BW Press) are within reach.
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