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Rest Day

Nicole Lifting

Happy Birthday, Brian D! Happy Belated Birthay, Jim R!

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2 steps forward, 1 step back…then 2 steps forward again
By Coach Fox

In the beginning, there was progress. Oh, sweet progress. You had just started working out and it seemed like for those first few months (or even  years!) nothing could stop you. Each time you squatted, more weight went on the bar. Each time you power cleaned, it got faster and heavier. You started to see visible muscle through ever-diminishing fat stores and life was good. So what happened?
When a trainee is new to the iron game any stimulus will do wonders for strength gains and physique changes. Call it beginner’s luck if you want. Those of you who have been at it for some time now may have noticed a “plateau”. Well, OF COURSE! If linear progression (adding weight to the bar each time you revisit a lift) worked indefinitely we’d all have 1000+ squats by now. Every so often a few things are necessary to allow making more gains.  Enter 2 steps forward, 1 step back.
- Make sure you have a de-load week programmed in (at CrossFit South Brooklyn call this Back-Off Week). Your body has been stressed for the last 4 weeks (good stress, but stress nonetheless) and it needs a break. Continuing to ask your body to work harder without rest is a recipe for a breakdown either now or down the road. It may be acute like a joint or soft tissue injury, or chronic and subtler like hormonal imbalances and fatigue. Any of these can hamper progress. You can’t be All Max Effort All The Time Gal/Guy and expect good things to keep coming.  De-load weeks are smart.
- When the next Press/whatever cycle comes along, don’t think you should start off at the weight you finished the last cycle at. Say you finished at 100 x 5 x 5. If you start at 90 or even 85 and add 5 lbs to each of the next 3 exposures you’ll have added 5-10 lbs to your previous best. Some athletes would KILL for those 5-10 lbs!
- When you hit a wall you need to re-evaluate and re-set your numbers, same principle as above. You’re on target to squat 300x5x3 but fail at rep 3 in the 2nd set and rep 1 in the 3rd set. You say, “I didn’t get enough sleep last night (and quietly think to yourself about last night’s toga party…), I’ll hit it next time”. Well, next time you don’t make all your reps either. Don’t just keep banging your head against the same wall. Take 10 – 20% off of that number and MAKE all your reps. You’ll get a training effect because you will actually be SQUATTING, not just attempting to squat. Start building up again from your new number and see where it goes.
Don’t be afraid to back off, and don’t hold on so tightly to your ego’s idea of what weight should be on the bar that it prevents you from training intelligently. Working sub-maximally allows you to focus on QUALITY of movement as well (that’s another article in itself though). Not sure where/when to reset your numbers? Just ask. 3 Cheers to progress.

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Reader Comments (15)

What he said. Word. Right on.

And other expressions of vigorous agreement. Thanks Fox!
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra
Did anyone see this article last month?http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/health/22stat.html?ref=nutrition

It is about injury rates in weight lifting. What is astonishing to me is that over the last 18 years fewer than 1 million hospital visits were generated by weight lifting. The article tries to make that sound scary but that is less than 50,000 a year when the current weight lifting population is estimated at 35 million which puts the average risk of going to the hospital in a year from weightlifting all the way down to 1/700 per person per year. That seems pretty damn safe to me.

Anyone have access to medical journals and want to help me get a copy of the real article "Epidemiology of Weight Training-Related Injuries Presenting to United States Emergency Departments, 1990 to 2007" in the American Journal of Sports Medicine July issue? (Looking at you Willy)
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm
Malcolm: You sure it is the July issue of this year?
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra
Samir sorry you are right. I just assumed July it is actually April.

Here is a link I cannot get past.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm
Malcolm: It's actually April (Am J Sports Med April 2010 38:765-771). I've just emailed it to you.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra
well said fox.

7amdeadlifts 5x3(75x5,95x5,135x5)155x3, 165x3, 175x3x2

this is the first time i've gone for heavy DLs in a long time. back just doesn't really like them. no where near my old numbers but i need to work my way back up.

then scaled back to 135 and did


DLpush up

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephaniep
should have read "175x3x3"whoops!
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephaniep
I like to believe weight training is self-regulating. When you have those bad days or weeks, you have no choice but to take some weight off the bar. It will still feel heavy but you won't miss unnecessary reps. Missing reps is just wasting your time, physically and mentally.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian D.
Thank you Samir for the study. Here are my notes.

Stylized facts from the recent report on weight lifting injuries.

Estimated 37 to 45 million people participating in weight training between 2006 and 2008.

This is estimated to be up 65% from 1998.

The data for this study comes from Emergency room visits between 1990 and 2007 at 100 hospitals. The study uses standard weights for these hospitals to upscale the sample to estimate incidence for the entire U.S.https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/NEISSQuery/home.aspx

Injuries are included from injury codes for weight lifting (3265), exercise (3299) and exercise equipment (3277) with naratives being read to confirm that the injuries are actually weight lifting related. Total adjusted sample size of 25,335 injuries.

For between population comparisons injury proportion rates are calculated. These look at the fraction of injuries of a certain type compared to total number of injuries in two different populations. I.e. the rate of sprains in female athletes as a proportion of total injuries to the rate of sprains in male athletes as a proportion of total injuries. These allow for some comparability when dealing with sub populations that are of unknown size but are on different in scales.

The total number that gets attention in the NY Times article is the up-scaled figure of 970,801 injuries. This is a synthetic number but probably pretty accurate as the sample size of 100 hospitals with a resonable weight should be very indicative of total behavior for the nation as a whole when dealing with something with 25K items in the sub-sample. This works out to an average of roughly 54K emergency room visits a year in the U.S. for weight lifting related injuries. Using the low estimate for participation this works out to 1 ER visit per 686 people lifting per year.

In the sample 82% of the injuries occurred in men and 90% occurred while using free weights. Especially the male female ratio is likely to be driven almost entirely by demographics of weightlifters.

With the high ratio of injuries from free weights it is worth noting that 65% of free weight type injuries were caused by dropping the weight on the person. Additionally foot incuries were almost 5 times as common in free weight lifters than those using machines. Interestingly head injuries were twice as common in those who were lifting with machines.

Only 8% of injuries were caused by overexertion and only 3% from lifting or pulling. Both of these causes increased with the age of the lifter while the risk of dropping the weight on oneself decreased with age.

The total sample contained only three fatalities. One from anoxia from a weight falling on a lifters neck and two heart attacks that happened while lifting in late middle age men. The article erroniously scales this up to 114 in the U.S. during the time period, but it is a statistically meaningless behavior as the magnitude of error for something with so few observations dwarfs the magnitude of the risk rate. Additionally I went and pulled the record from the NEISS database for the non-cardiac fatality (pretty easy to find when there were only 3 total fatalities). It is one 32 year old guy who died after dropping a weight on his neck while at home in 1991.

The article concludes that weight lifting injuries are increasing but appear to be increasing proportionally to the # of people lifting weights. I would add that the risk of an injury that requires a trip to the ER is very very low for weightlifting. What this article does not address are non-ER type injuries. I am curious for the people who work out at CFSBK who have gotten injured (not necessarily at CFSBK) how many have gone to the ER?
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm
Well said, Fox. I have had 1st hand experience at stalling on my lifts. It was initially humbling, but I have since discovered that it's failure that we are chasing all along. Embrace failure, back off some, and keep going. The name of the game is to stay in the game.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack
Been off the comments for a hot minute. I like this essay a lot. Thanks Chris.

Today's 7AM WOD involved ropes, wall balls and kegs. BE JEALOUS.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Rodbard
@Malcolm: No trips to the ER for me, but I did make an emergency appointment with a sports medicine doc. when I blew out my back last July.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra
"Roy" at the black box. i'm getting better at scaling these bad boys so i don't instantly kill myself.

five rounds scaled as follows:

10 deadlifts @95lbs (all but last set unbroken. thanks Jeremy!)15 box jumps @16"10 assisted-band pullups

My time: 18 minutes and change.

Cash out:

Six minutes of alternating 60-second row + 60-second empty-bar push presses.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
Hey guys, don't know if someone caught this already, but I was driving around today listening to a Robb Wolf podcast and he shouted out David for something he said about Long Slow Distance...thought it was pretty cool. I believe its #33 or so of his podcasts but I'm not sure.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoah
oh and happy bday to Brian D! hope you did something fun today :)
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

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