Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Start at about 90% of where you left last cycle.
Performance: 90% x 1, 70% x 10
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30 Calorie Row
50 Wall Balls 20/10, 14/9
30 Calorie Row
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Gym Etiquette: Lift Offs
Always ask your partner if they want a “lift off” when sharing a rack during bench pressing. After the first one to two warm-up sets, many people prefer having an assist out of the rack. A little help often makes finding and getting into a good start position over the sternum a bit easier. Figure out which of you wants to do the 3-2-1 count down, then use a switch grip and gently assist them out. A really aggressive lift off can be a little jarring, so aim for smooth movement.
News and Notes
- UPDATED STORM NEWS: Tuesday’s 6 a.m., 7 a.m., and 8 a.m. classes are all canceled because of the blizzard. We’ll be running a normal schedule of classes from 10 a.m. onwards unless things get crazy. Stay tuned on here and social media (Facebook and Twitter), and don’t forget to RSVP.
- Happy belated birthday, Justin T.!
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Planning Your Lifts Before and During a Cycle
By Noah Abbott
Next week we will begin a new training cycle at CFSBK. As per usual, our Fitness track lifters will follow a Linear Progression (LP), since it’s the safest and quickest way to build strength. Many of us have run multiple LP’s, and feel confident picking their starting weights for the new cycle, but for those of us with less training time at CFSBK, or who have had weights pre-selected for them in the past, this task can seem daunting.
Every cycle, the coaches encounter people who choose poorly. It’s obvious to us in the first or second week that the lifter in question was too ambitious with their opening weight, as the grind, struggle, and often fail right out of the gate. There are numerous reasons this might happen. If it’s because you’ve got a big ego and still think you’re as strong as when you won the 2nd Team All County Badminton Doubles State Championship, well, just don’t be such a dingus. If it’s because you are unsure of where to start, here’s two approaches you can try, using a lifter who finished their last squat cycle at 150x5x3:
One approach is to pick where you want to finish the cycle, and count backwards from there in small, sustainable jumps. So, our lifter wants to finish this cycle at 160, a 10# PR for sets of 5. Counting back in 5# jumps (and assuming a 6 week cycle), our lifter’s cycle would look like this:
Week 6: 165
Week 5: 160
Week 4: 155
Week 3: 150 (Last cycle’s final week and current PR)
Week 2: 145
Week 1: 140
Generally, we begin our cycles after 2 weeks “off” (Crush and Backoff weeks) so starting right where you left off will mean everything is immediately heavy. Conversely, planning to PR by a very slim margin means you are basically lifting all the same weights you lifted last cycle over again, and not pushing into new territory or past your comfort zone. Try and balance your ambition with a sober sense of the reality of the situation. I generally like to see lifters hit last cycle’s final weight at around the midpoint of the current cycle. In 6-week cycles that would be Week 3 or 4—I’d bias towards Week 3 if you are sticking with a lift from the preceding cycle and everything went smoothly. I’d shoot for Week 4 if you’re planning a lift you haven’t seen in a while (bench press, etc.) or if things last cycle were a little jagged towards the end.
Another approach is to back off a set percentage from where you finished or failed. Generally, 90% is a good starting place when considering resetting a linear progression.
Using our theoretical lifter as an example: 150*.9= 135. So our lifter would begin the cycle at roughly the same place as they would with the Count Backwards approach. 90% works well if it’s a lift you saw and trained in the last cycle, but if its been a while since your last exposure, I’d suggest knocking down to 85% or so.
Art, and Science
Despite all of these numbers, planning your lifts is both art and science. Both of these approaches are simply ways to get a rough estimate of where to begin, and numerous factors can inform the raw data. With time, you get a better idea of your starting points and can work by feel a bit more. Always begin conservatively, and if things feel ridiculously easy don’t be afraid to take slightly bigger jumps in the first few weeks before tapering things as the weight begins to stack. Be brave. Many a lifter gets to the edge of their discomfort tolerance and swears there is no way they can possibly progress forward. Trust that each week you will be a little bit stronger, and don’t be afraid to try and fail, especially in the last week or two of the cycle.
As always, if you have any questions, ask a coach sooner rather than later. Now go out there and get to clangin’ and bangin’.