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3-4 Warm-Up Sets
Deadlifts: 1x5
5lbs heavier than last week


2-3 Warm-Up Sets
Speed Deadlifts: 55%x1x8 every :30

Post loads to comments.
DL e2/6 compare to 2.2.2

3 Rounds NFT of:

6 Romanian Deadlifts, slightly heavier than last week
6 Heavy Single Arm Dumbbell Presses

2:00 Plank, add weight if necessary

If you need to, use a hook grip on the RDLS.
For the Dumbbell Press, start with your non-dominant arm and don't let your stronger arm exceed the reps and weight of the former. Get TIGHT
While this is not for time move quickly between each station.

Last Year David promised to do 15 Burpees during each rest period and the entire workout in a 20lb weighted vest if he hit his fundraising goal

Sign up for Fight Gone Bad 2012 Today!

Training vs. Testing

by Coach Noah
Originally Posted 8/1/12

All last week attempted One Rep Maxes (1RMs) here at CFSBK.  People moved some impressive weight, beat old PRs, and gained insight about their training and their performance.  Going forward into Crush Week, now that many of us have some experience exploring the outer margins of our strength, let us discuss what testing is, as opposed to training, and where both of these concepts fit our development as Crossfitters.


When we train a skill or movement, we perform with a direct and focused outcome.  At CFSBK we mainly use a “linear progression” model for our strength training, which allows us to slowly and steadily increase our strength and avoid plateaus.  We mix this with conditioning and muscular endurance training that is designed to complement our strength training while drawing from a deeper pool of movements and time domains.  Our training is never random- our coaches spend a good deal of time and energy to make sure that each movement we do in the gym makes us stronger, more mobile, and works to address weaknesses and imbalances.  At CFSBK we train submaximally 90% or more of the time- basically if it is a workout without a “Girl” or “Hero” name or a One Rep Max test, consider it training, and handle yourself accordingly, as described below.

Good training is generally submaximal, which means we use loads or rep schemes that are lower than our absolute ability.  Training submaximally is great for a number of reasons.  It allows us to train with proper technique, avoid injury, and recover better.  Training submaximally also lets us “own our exercise” and perform our reps with good speed, authority, and confidence.  

Your own training should draw on these concepts.  Your training should be submaximal, with an eye on the larger outcome your training session will have on your general fitness.  During training, failure should be nearly non-existent (I will discuss this further at the end of the article) and we should reflect about what today’s work means to our greater plans both before and after our training session.  We should leave each training session feeling that we accomplished our goals and are moving forward with our bigger plan.


Testing is the rare and exotic unicorn in direct opposition to the common utilitarian draft horse of training.   Compared to training, testing is rare.  At CFSBK we have programmed crush weeks, during which we will program more “named” workouts, or generally tougher workouts that are related to the training cycle we have just completed, with an eye on testing how effective our training has been.  Unlike training, where we have a full understanding and direction for our daily toil, a day of testing can be a bit of a wild card.  Coach Jeremy has referred to it as a “performance,” and just like on the stage, sometimes during a test we bring the house down, and some days we fall flat.  Part of the value of training lies in this mystery and our reaction to it.

Why train so frequently and test so rarely?  Testing taxes your body and has little progressive effect on your system.  Moving extremely heavy load or at breakneck speed can lead to diminished accuracy in technique, technical misses, and is extremely taxing on our CNS.  Incessant testing leads to poor recovery and less adaptive stress on our system.  Adaptive stress fuels growth, so the more we test, the less we grow.

Why test at all then?  Tests are necessary for benchmarking our progress, identifying weaknesses, and gaining experience and confidence in performance under pressure.  The very reason the “girls” and “heroes” are referred to as “benchmark” workouts is that we should only perform them every so often as a yardstick for our strength and conditioning gains.  Don’t be the guy who does Fran every friday.  That said, every so often you should pick a workout and say “I’m gonna really get after this” and lay it all out there.  It’s best to make sure it’s a workout we do semi-regularly so you will have some comparative data, and it’s good to pick a workout that incorporates movements you have been working on during your training so that you can reward your hard work with progress.

Failing and Bailing

This conversation is a long time coming, and an attempt to clean up some lax training habits and psychology that have become a bit too hardwired at the gym.  The difference between training, where we very rarely fail, and testing, where we very well may fail, necessitates a discussion of when, why, and how failing/bailing should occur.

During training we should virtually never fail.  We should be working submaximally, with a plan, and in control of the weight.  Part of our plan is a plan to succeed.  If we do fail it should be a technical fail- lost balance in a squat, hitting ourselves in the chin during a press- a mistake.  Repeated failure during a training phase is a not-so-subtle message from our CNS that we are training too hard and need to back off or deload entirely.  During a 6-8 week training phase you should be able to count your missed reps on one hand, with fingers to spare.

During a test, we may very well fail as we brush up against the ceiling of our strength, conditioning, and skill.  This could be as simple as not being able to stand a squat back up after taking it down, or can be biting off more than we can chew in a WOD and realizing that we either won’t be able to complete it at all, or at least not before the next equinox.  These failures will inform our training going forward, as they set concrete benchmarks about what where we currently stand.  A missed lift or slow metcon shouldn’t be a cause for frustration, demonstrative shouting, or thrown weight belts, but as useful data that will inform our next training cycle.

Bailing is a luxury that weightlifters went without for many years.  Bumper plates are an invention of Olympic Weightlifting, where technical misses occur fairly often due to the high skill demand of the movements.  Powerlifters for years toiled away in “iron gyms,” without the ability to bail every time they got stuck in the hole.  This week we had everyone get spotted during 1RM attempts, and asked that they hang in there and finish their lifts, even if it had to be with the aid of the spotter.  Fighting through a rep is a learned skill, and often the feeling of “oh no, this will never go up” can one second later become “I’ve got it” with the application of a little tenacity.  The converse is true- people can become so comfortable bailing the bar that the second their squat feels less than stellar they toss if off their shoulders.  While there are some WODs and specific workouts where a (CONTROLLED) bail is ok (Grace for example) these bails usually happen at the TOP of a lift so the athlete doesn’t tire out or have to fight through a suboptimal position. Learn to fight out a rep, finish what you start, and don’t get comfortable with the idea of bailing the bar.

The Takeaway

The best athletes have a larger view of their training, and don’t simply walk into the gym each day without a plan, throw some weight on the bar, and see what they can do.  Careful planning, listening to your coaches and your own body for feedback, and picking your times to test a lift or skill will all lead to greater success, faster recovery, and less injuries.

James Hobart Split Snatches Heavy Doubles
The History of Fitness

Reader Comments (16)

I think I left my watch on the floor during open gym. If anyone finds it in the morning, can you put it somewhere for me? It's a black polar digital watch, maybe near the front of the gym.
Kevin M.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin M.

good to get back in there this weekend. squats, bench, assisted pistols. Sore already.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJR

Between you and me, I think the inventor of the plank is paying DO every time someone has to do one this cycle. ;)

Speed deadlifts at 120, RDLs at 130, DB press at 30. Glad I went with 30 and not 25.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

1. Thanks La Rosa and Ellie for pointing out the creep arm, now it just stares at me all the time. Gross.

2. Stella - I think you're on to something re: The Plank.

3. Question for the CFSBK masses! I'm on the hunt for a CRM package that can be utilized with Square for iPad. It has to be compatible with Quick Books.. am curious if anyone is currently using anything such as this OR may know someone who is that I could perhaps ask? The interwebs can only guide so far. Shoot me an email at: julie.barnard "at" gmail.com if there is knowledge to share! Thanks bunches

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJules

6am with McDowell and D.O.

Speed deadlifts at 215# w/ thin green band. First rep wasn't fast enough for D.O. Remaining reps felt better. RDLs at 245#. Using the hook grip eliminated the grip strength issues from last week, but hurt my thumbs something fierce. DB press at 55# was good. The planks were evil. Just evil.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Kev, I found it last night. It's in the lost and found.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

Awesome! thanks, Noah.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin M.

speed deadlifts at 185 and a new blue band, then RDLs at 185 and presses with a 40# DB. Planks were broken into far too many sets but certainly illustrate what I need to work on...

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

Anyone have a handyman they can recommend ? Needs to be able to install a ceiling fan and do some other basic carpentry/repair type tasks.

Hit me at mignyc (at) gmail dot com.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichele ma belle

7PM class today, and good thing since I don't think another body would have fit on the floor at 6.

Banded deads at 165 with blue band. Worked on setting up tight for the pull and speed all the way through.

4x NFT
6 Romanian DL at 175 (felt great)
3e Strict DB press at 50 (was balance and stability more than anything, but the last sets seemed easier since we were so tight in the middle from the RDLs and planks, as Laurel pointed out)
2:00 Planks (first three unbroken, the last one broke me, bad. had to drop to the floor twice before we were counted out)

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

OK, it only took me 1/3 of the month of September to come up with a goal. That goal is: 10 minutes of mobility work, every single night before bed. I need it BAD.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Squat: 225x3x5
Press: 110x2x5, 8
Clean: 185x3x3

Went very light on the squats because of my right knee. Need to at least make it to the total. everything felt"ok" just a bit tender we'll see how it feels in the morning. Press felt heavy can't believe "eye of the tiger" only got me 8 reps. Clean felt much better than last weeks debacle. Still some technical issues but what else is new. As an aside apparently there was a raging debate at work about whether I'm getting fat or getting muscular. Of course non of the participants know what a barbell looks like so I'm sure it was very entertaining. There was no resolution BTW.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeroy Green

DIY: Pull-up development, week 4 exposure 2.
3x6 strict
5x5-6 kipping

Deadlift: warmed up to 245x5. Heavy but room for 5#-10# next week.

Wod @ 150# RDL, 45# DB and broken planks. Crazy how much easier the DB presses were on my dominant side. Barley got through them on the left but could have gone up 10# or 15# on the right.

September 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Jones

Hit the DLs at 155 and the Romanian ones as well there. That was 55% of my max but I felt I could have gone a little heavier. 40# dumbbell I think should have been 45-50.

I'm I the only one who didn't mind the planks?
We got to use all our forearm.

I too have started to stretch now at night, mostly because my right Achilles is starting to hurt around my heel and I need it for Ragnar.

Some great work being done today by both the new folks and some of the regular 7amers.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith W.

The weather was just right for enjoying a little outside activity at the 7 pm class. David took us out and encouraged us all to kiss each other!

I missed last weeks deadlifts. Haven't done it in awhile and was surprised to find 115 pretty easy. I'm getting stronger! I'm cautious adding weight and sometimes leave feeling like I should be doing more weight, but with the planks and the db presses I definitely feel it all now.

I went unbroken on all four planks! Keep them coming. I started with the 20lb db, by 3rd round I took the 17.5 knowing my left arm couldn't take it anymore. The weight disappeared so I made the last round with the 20lb thanks to my warm up partner Justin cheering me on. Thanks Justin!

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

5pm with D.O.

(pre)WU: 700m row, inchworms, then 3x(1:00 jump rope, 20 KB swings @ 20kg, 20 hollow rocks)

Deadlifts felt heavy, but I was feeling a bit out of it yesterday. They still went up, but clearly getting soft. Bigger chest, chin in the right place. All duly noted for next time.

[95x5, 145x5, 185x4, 215x3] 245x5

RDLs at 150, standard grip feels best. 1 plank unbroken, 5 total fouls. Presses at 40lbs. Felt better on my right side than left, though I'm pretty ambidextrous so go figure.

September 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterRyan

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