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Old 02-24-2009, 03:03 PM   #1
Daniel Olmstead
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Default For your consideration: a 12 week strength cycle

This is a draft of a programming post for my training blog that I'm hoping to get some feedback on from you folks. If you have any thoughts, critiques or questions, I'd love to hear 'em. I'm intending to start this in March.


Six months ago, I started an open-ended experiment in Intermittent Fasting, designed to cut off all the fat I gained in a relatively unsuccessful "bulking" cycle. The IF was a great success, taking about 10 weeks to get down to < 10% bodyfat. It was also burning me out tracking everything so diligently, so I decided that I would just "coast" a bit with my CrossFit programming, going to my affiliate (CrossFit EastBay - CFEB) regularly but turning my focus to developing my climbing technique and trying to finish off the Level II skills.

Well, I'm now climbing 11a and finally got my lead card, and I've knocked off several more Level II's, so I think it's time for another change in direction. I feel as though the limiting factor in most of my workouts is still my strength, so I intend to embark on a 12 week hybrid strength cycle.

From past experience, I know that I don't like the rollercoaster methodology of weight training (ie, bulking and cutting). I hate feeling fat, I hate dieting, and I hate watching my climbing and met-con performance plummet from carting around a bunch of fat. In this cycle, I hope to achieve some increases in strength without gaining a lot of weight and losing a lot of conditioning. To that end, I will combine low-rep strength routines out of CrossFit Strength Bias (CFSB) with regular metcons, as well as combine a high-protein, high-fat diet with intermittent fasting.

GOAL
  • A higher CFT: increased 1RM numbers in Deadlift, Squat, Press and Bench.

PROGRAM
  • Five workouts a week. two strength, three affiliate, plus regular climbing.
  • Strength days: each day will either be Deadlift and Press or Back Squat and Press. The rep scheme can be either 5x3 or 3x5 (basically depending on mood), ascending sets with the goal of raising the max weight in each lift each week (2-10 lbs). I'll finish up with gymnastics practice (primarily muscle-up and handstand progressions).
  • Affiliate days: whatever the scheduled workout with CFEB is. Typically a metcon, could also be strength. If an affiliate strength day too closely overlaps with a strength day, I'll do a short metcon on my own.
  • Sample schedule might look like this:
    Wednesday: CFEB - Helen
    Thursday: 5x3 Deadlift & Press, followed by campus board and forward rolls
    Friday: AM Climbing, PM CFEB - 3 rounds, 400m , 21 thrusters, 15 KB Swing, 9 Pullup
    Saturday: CFEB - 100 KB Snatches for time
    Sunday: 3x5 Squat & Bench, followed by false-grip pullups
    Monday: Climbing
    Tuesday: Rest day

WHERE TO BEGIN?
  • Current 1RM numbers: Squat 190, Deadlift 300, Press 105, Bench 150
  • Current 5RM: Squat 170, Deadlift 265, Press 95, Bench 140
  • Based on these numbers, it seems like I should start here:
    Squat: 135
    Deadlift: 225
    Press: 75
    Bench: 115

DIET
  • Daily goal: 2500-3000 calories, 50% Fat, 30% Protein, 20% Carb
  • Not paleo, but all real food. Plenty of dairy, VERY limited grains and sugars
  • Fast at least 16 hours, four days a week
  • Quart of Kefir a Day. Homemade from whole milk.

SUPPLEMENTATION
  • 4 x Fish Oil/day
  • 1 x Multivitamin, Glucosamine/Chondroitin, and ZMA
  • Creatine Monohydrate? I'm on the fence about this one.
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
Gant Grimes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Olmstead View Post
GOAL
A higher CFT: increased 1RM numbers in Deadlift, Squat, Press and Bench.
You need to broaden your goals or narrow your program.

Unless you're one of those guys who loves to complicate things (and there are many), you should squat, press, and deadlift two to three times a week and do a couple reasonable metcons a week. Climb as often as you like, and eat good food.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:17 PM   #3
Steven Low
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What Gant said...

And you should have at least 2 days of PURE rest per week IMO... especially if you're going to be doing some two-a-days.

I prefer the handstand or other skill work as warmup or before WODs/workouts but that's up to you.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:14 PM   #4
Dave Van Skike
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honestly, i wouldn't call it a strength cycle because there's a bunch of other stuff in there. looks like a shopping list. unless the numbers you listed have been arrived at after 3-9 months of pure 3 day a week lifting, I don't think you need a "cycle" per se. You need a goal and a plan.

Here's a strength cycle. It's a simple plan for getting Strong in the course of 12 weeks. This one is from Jim Wendler but the basic arrangement of percentages and reps is very old school.

you squat, bench, deadlift and press. you're doing one big lift each session and no more than two assistance lifts. Wendler actually suggests just doing a ton of back off sets with the main lift. So, if you squat 3x5 working up to 85% this means 5 sets of 10 afterward with 50% of your max. it's hard but it works.

Week 1. Warmup, 75%x5, 80%x5, 85%x5
Week 2. Warmup, 80%x3, 85%x3, 90%x3
Week 3. Warmup, 75%x5, 85%x3, 95%x1
Week 4. (deload) - 60%x5, 65%x5, 70%x5

this is essentially four waves.

Each wave has 4 workouts:
A. Squat + assistance
B. Bench press + assistance
C. Deadlift + assistance
D. Military press + assistance

Example:
Week 1: A1, B1, C1
Week 2: D1, A2, B2
Week 3: C2, D2, A3
Week 4: B3, C3, D3
Week 5: A4, B4, C4
Week 6: D4, etc. ...

You're working up to a big but gettable top set each session. the key is to start with reasonable numbers and on the top set of the day, go for the max # of reps you can get. don't stop at 5 reps if you can get 6, rep pr's are very good mentally.

base the percentages on 90-95% of your actual (tested) 1RM. so if you back squat 405 you base the percentages on 90% of that, 365. after each 4 weeks, add maybe 10-25 pounds to the squat and dead numbers and no more than 10-20 to the press and bench.

repeat 3 times and that's a 12 week cycle. there about ten jillion other ways to do this but I've seen first hand this arrangement work with 20 year old D2 football players and 60-70 year old women.
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