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Old 03-19-2010, 11:13 AM   #11
Gavin Harrison
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Donnelly View Post
I'm not getting why everyone's jumping on the 5/3/1 bandwagon. I've heard a lot of people are making great progress on it, but isn't it just slow, sensible, dedicated progression? It sounds to me like the "magic" part of it is that it forces you to swallow your ego and accept that things take time, which you could do with other programs too. Similarly, the "magic" of Starting Strength is that it forces newbies to do useful lifts with consistency and a gradually increasing poundage.
Yes but.. it really takes the thinking out of program design, for a lot of goals. Everyone seems to want to "do SS with conditioning" or whatever, well... 5/3/1 has conditioning built into the program, from there it's just deciding how much weight you want to allocate to conditioning vs strength vs .. etc. In that sense it seems a fair recommendation for someone who has less homogeneous goals.

If everyone recommended SS, Bill Starr, Practical Programming, etc the next question would be "when/how much/how often to do conditioning? I really want to keep the awesome conditioning I already have from crossfit, preferably by keeping the 3 on 1 off cf.com schedule on top of SS, thanks!". With 5/3/1 it's just buy and READ the book, the answers are in there. There's a chapter in 5/3/1 about "5/3/1 with conditioning" it's called "North of the Vag". It's also non-retarded programming for the average gym rat, but then again, so are a lot of things.

To me, other programs almost expect the reader to think critically way more than I'm willing to assume people will..
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:52 PM   #12
Brian Wilson
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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.

Data

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.

References

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.

Conclusions

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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Old 08-25-2010, 12:20 PM   #13
Brian Wilson
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 9
Default Re: Real Data - Looking for Improvement

I created a Wendler 531 spreadsheet with some additions to what's commonly out there:

-Rounds work sets to closest 2.5 lbs
-Automatically calculates weights for 24 weeks
-Graphs Theoretical 1RM based on last sets

For more info, check out the explanation video.

To download a copy of the Potomac Crossfit Wendler 531 Spreadsheet, click here.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:52 PM   #14
henry whitaker
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 30
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This spreadsheet looks very helpful. Thanks for posting and congratulations on your gains.

It would be interesting to compare how you would have progressed if you had tried a straight linear strength progression and then jumped into 5/3/1. I agree with you that some or all of your strength gains so far may be because of the novice effect -- but heck, gains are gains.

It would also be helpful to have an idea of the frequency/kind of metcons and assistance exercises, nutrition, etc. Did you change your eating?

Incidentially, I believe that most people recommend doing the quick lifts before doing the slow ones if you are doing both on the same day. Also, Wendler himself recommends using the 5/3/1 scheme for cleans, but I have not found that to be productive.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:42 PM   #15
Gant Grimes
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,373
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Wilson View Post
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.
Those numbers ain't from Crossifttin'.

Good work, bud. Stay the course and lift heavy weights with consistency. Congrats on your gains.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:10 AM
Jarod Barker
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