the spaz of fitness has arrived

Strength Stagnation

In Training, Uncategorized on April 5, 2012 at 11:25 am

Early in my CrossFit career, I cried during a 15-minute attempt at a 50-lb Grace. Though I’d manage the occasional clean, 80% of my attempts were misses, my hands were scraped raw from the coarse metal grip, and my forearms had all but lost the ability to even hold onto the bar. Hard as I tried, I could not drop under the weight after the second pull. My O-lifts still leave so much to be desired, but these days, I’ve found that I’m always happy to start my day with some Olympic lifts.

This morning involved a handful and snatches, followed by cleans and jerks, followed by bench presses (because I’d missed Wednesday’s 5/3/1 programming).

Though I’m happy with my olift progress, I’ve definitely hit a plateau in power lifting. For strength work, our box follows Wendler’s 5/3/1 template. Right now, my “theoretical” one rep max for the bench press is about 10 lbs above bodyweight. Today, I barely managed my theoretical “5 rep max” for 4 reps. I was fresh from a rest day, felt relatively energized, but still the weight was heavy. I can’t decide if I’ve reached an asymptotic point of the programming– where, until I just plain get heavier, my bench won’t go up any further. But also, I’m a little frustrated with my 5/3/1 progress in general. For a few months, I did a “ladder” version of the 5/3/1 template, which involved doing each of the prescribed sets twice, and then taking each set to failure. I stopped because… well, 1) it’s really time consuming and meant that I had to do my workouts outside of normal WOD times because I couldn’t warm up with the rest of the group and, 2) a friend pointed out that it was probably overkill. However, those months were the only period in which I saw substantial strength gains– leaps and bounds compared to the rest of my training time. Now that I’m back on the standard 5/3/1 template, it seems like I’ve stagnated again– no real progress on any of my lifts. I just looked at my deadlift, and last week I did 9 reps with the same weight I’d lifted for 10 reps a month ago… Time to reevaluate. I’m not sure what/how I should change… With strength, I still have a hard time gauging if I’d doing too much or too little– and it’s especially confusing when conventional wisdom says do less but I’ve only seen gains with doing more.

No metcon this morning because I’m hoping to make the striking class tonight.


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