I need more strength. It’s a rule of physics… It takes more effort to move a heavy load than a lighter load. To be the athlete I want to be, I need to move heavier loads. I need to move these heavier loads quicker and more efficiently. I’ve decided to start focusing on that.
I thought about getting creative with the title of this post, something like “I’m super weak and I need to get stronger!” or “I’m Getting’ Them Gainz Son!”. But nope, I opted for a standard title (shout out SEO!).
I am a CrossFitter. My overall goal of my fitness world is to be a better CrossFitter. That means, I need to finish my workouts faster to get a better time. After taking a long hard look at myself, ok really it was like a sideways glance for 3 seconds, I determined developing strength would be most beneficial towards this goal.
With CrossFit, you’re always racing against the clock. I want to take seconds and minutes off that clock. How would getting stronger (strength) help me go faster (time)?
I’m glad you asked. =)
Take Fran for instance. You all know that was my first real foray into CrossFit and you know I have done Fran a couple times. What sucks the most for me are those dang thrusters. I’m not very good at pushing a loaded barbell over my head. Why? Because I’m not very strong.
Let’s say the most I can lift over my head is 100 lbs, for discussion’s sake. If I’m doing multiple reps of, say, 85 pounds, that’s really close to my maximum and therefore I won’t be able to complete many reps before I have to take a rest due to muscle fatigue. Not cardiovascular fatigue, muscular.
Basically, my muscles are saying hey dude… we can’t take much more captain! And therefore, the suck occurs and I assume this position.
So I started this week doing Wendler’s 5/3/1 Strength program. This program uses set percentages based on your one rep max to complete prescribed rep schemes. I could try and explain it all here, but I found a website that breaks it down in summary form… so as not to plagiarize a plagiarization, just check out this link for all you need to know.
Seriously, read this so you understand the program!
Ok, you’ve got it now.
I’m doing the squat, bench press, deadlift, and press. My true 1RMs are, respectively, 215, 210, 385, and 115. These are fresh PRs as I obtained them over the weekend.
Definitely not any impressive numbers there. But that’s ok. I’m ok with that. I’m very much self-admittedly weak (hence the whole reason for this program and post) but I plan on changing that. I will get stronger. It won’t be easy.
But that’s ok.
I clearly have some strength imbalances that will hopefully work themselves out through overall body strengthening. I’m getting serious about mobility and trying to increase the quality of my tissue and work on my super tight hips and ankles and shoulders. (Thanks engineering job!)
I’m getting up and working out before work. I am not much of a morning person, but I’m motivated to get stronger. Of course, the beautiful fall weather has been pretty pleasant.. we will see what happens when the cold chill of winter gets here! And I’m only in my first week… I have months and months to go.
5/3/1 is a slow-paced program. There isn’t much variation and progressions a slow but consistent. And consistent is what I need. Let’s be real, I’ll never make the CrossFit Games and I probably won’t even make Regionals. I definitely will not be the next Rich Froning. But I can still craft myself into the best CrossFitter I can be.
Progress in the 5/3/1 is measured at a monthly pace. You increase your weights every month and repeat the same sequence of reps and sets that you already read about.
I’m going to do a monthly update and create a new tab up on the top of this blog where you can see my progress. Plus, it’ll hold me accountable to all of you readers. I’m also going to post my current CrossFit benchmark times as I discover them again.
This leads to the question, will I still be doing my box’s regular WOD programming? The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is, for the most part. I may cherry pick a few WODs here and there if they don’t line up with my strength training. For now, strength is going to take precedence and if there is a WOD that conflicts with my strength training, aka CrossFit 865 has deadlifts programmed on a day that I already trained deadlifts, I’ll either skip the WOD or find something else to do or another way to modify.
Haha, yeah right, like I would ever skip deadlift days!
Sorry for being shirtless… again… but that’s how I roll!
I’ve set goals for strength benchmarks that I want to meet. They are arbitrary for the most part, although my short term and long term goals stem from charts that plot an athlete’s weight versus the weight they should be able to lift for a given exercise at their given weight. Basically, I want to crack into the “advanced” category on these lifts at my weight.
So there you go. I’m supplementing my CrossFit training with some 5/3/1 strength training. Check my progress at this page. Be sure to follow me on Instagram where I’ll post photos and videos of the journey. While you’re at it, hit me up on Twitter too, and maybe even Facebook. Because, well… I like you.
I truly believe that getting absolutely stronger will be of most benefit to my CrossFitting. That’s almost 400 pounds on the bar above. Soon it will be more than 400 lbs. And then maybe I’ll be a little closer to not failing Fran…
Your Turn -> Have you ever supplemented an activity of yours with something to make you better at that activity?