Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Add 1-5 pounds to last week’s exposure.
Performance: 5/3/1, 1 Week, 75%x5 85%x3 95%x1+
Use training max. Need a Wendler refresher? Check out these resources:
5/3/1: How to Build Pure Strength T Nation
Better Than Before: A Review of 5/3/1 Jim Wendler
Post loads to comments.
5 Rounds For Time:
20 Russian Kettlebell Swings
15 Wall Balls
50-35-15 Reps, For Time:
Kettlebell Swings 53/35
Wall Balls 20/10, 14/9
Post time and Rx to comments.
Wall balls: everyone’s favorite exercise!
News and Notes
- An article Coach David originally published on Breaking Muscle is up today on his blog Inside the Affiliate. ICYMI, check out “How to Prevent CrossFit Injuries: A Guide for Coaches and Athletes.”
- The bathrooms and showers at 608 are still out of commission, but should be fixed in a couple days. Thank you again for your patience, and we’ll keep you updated!
Warming Up Wisely
By Noah Abbott
Originally posted on 12.16.2011
Each time we walk into the gym, we are confronted with a certain amount of work for the day. For many, this is one of the greatest pluses of working out at a “non-traditional” gym—you don’t have to think about programming or planning. Upon walking in the door and looking at the white board, we are given a prescription: exercises, rep-and-set schemes, even target weights, be they relative (70% of 1RM) or absolute (225#/185#).
Despite the seeming absolutism, each day there is as much unsaid information and room for improvisation and interpretation as there are set parameters and instructions undoubtedly scrawled illegibly and supplemented with original art from the Osorio Stick Figure collection. The way we warm up for each lift and WOD is our own time to acquaint ourselves with the given exercise, practice form and execution, and familiarize our body with the (often heavy as all get out) weight we are about to move.
In the “real world,” when given a task, most people will start by hashing out a plan of attack before jumping into the deep end. If we were to fix a broken table leg, we would plan out what tools we needed, sketch a few ideas, acquire materials, set out a work space, and make sure we had enough beer to get us through our clumsy Bob Villa imitation. If given a project at work, we would brew a pot of coffee, do some internet research, sketch a few outlines, vent to coworkers about how unfair it was that we had to do this shit, call home and say we’d be home late, and then maybe get to work. I propose that before any endeavor in the gym, we should practice a similar amount of introspection, practice, and slow familiarization with our task at hand. The beer and the bitching are up to you.
Position, Balance, Tension, Focus
Our first consideration when beginning our warm-up sets is to use lighter weight repetitions of a movement as practice for the relatively high skill movement to follow. A good rubric to follow is to begin with an emphasis on position and balance in our first few sets and transition to emphasizing tension and focus as the weight begins to increase and we near our work weight. To illustrate this concept, let’s use the squat (our most familiar and important lift) as an example.
During your first two or three warm-up sets (always starting with an EMPTY BAR), while the weight is light and manageable, try to dial in your position. Where are your feet and hands set up? Are they too close or far? Is your rack tight and centered? Are you reaching proper depth as you squat, are your knees shoved out, is your back in a good, safe position at the bottom? Think about these concepts, and begin to fix the feeling of proper positions in your mind. Your lifting partner is an invaluable resource at this time, as they can cue you on some things you can’t see. Ask them questions, and use their feedback to inform your lifting.
Once your positioning feels okay, quickly check in on your balance. What part of your foot is bearing your weight at the start of your squat, does it shift at the bottom or remain constant? Is your bar path straight and balanced, or is it wavering or shifting? Your partner is helpful here as well, although some elements of balance, especially in your feet, can be so subtle that they are tough to perceive. If you can’t sense your balance due to your shoes, consider removing them—going barefoot is Tre Paleo.
Now that we are Properly Positioned and Badassedly Balanced, let’s work on tension and focus. As the weight begins to increase, shift your inner gaze to getting TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. Are you making sure to get a full, deep breath before you lift? Are you staying tight at the bottom of the lift? Are you holding that breath at the top and staying tight and controlled at the top of the lift before your next rep? Check in with your partner, and don’t get offended if they say you’ve gone soft, this isn’t Menace II Society, G.
Finally, its time to get focused. Are you often suprised when your warm-up sets feel really heavy and slow, and then your heavier work sets feel faster and relatively light? If so, you are probably not truly focusing until your work sets, which can be both dangerous and prevent you from reaching full potential. Treat your last few warm-up sets exactly like a work set. If you have a ritual during your work sets—stamping feet, Monica Seles grunts, weeping uncontrollably—perform it during your last few warm-up sets. Prime your central nervous system for the task at hand, and your work sets will feel even easier and more controlled when you get there. Also, as you near your work sets, cut the chatter and jokes (what my grandpa called “grab-assin”) and go to your Squatty Place. Find your Power Animal, Chi, or Inner Ronnie Coleman, get centered, and then attack the bar.
Weight Go Up, Reps Go Down, or “The Two Trains Passing In The Night Theory of Warm-ups”
Numerous times I have had an athlete come to me and complain that their first work set of, say, 100 pounds for 5 reps, felt incredibly heavy and slow. I walk over to their rack to watch their next set, and before they even begin, I spot a whiteboard where this dutiful soul has recorded their warm-up sets. It reads: 45×5, 55×5, 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 95×5. As this point I begin sounding like Foghorn Leghorn as I stammer and sputter (I say, I, I, I say, boy!) and explain that a warm-up scheme like this means that before their very first “live” squat they have already moved over ¾ of a ton of weight!
Our first few warm-up sets, while the weight is light, should mimic the repetitions we plan to use when we work, or can even be slightly more. We can use these sets to get more mobile and comfortable in the positions we will need to hit when we work. As we begin to increase weight, we should drop the repetitions. We have already achieved Supple Leopard/Panther/Aardvark status due to our dedicated mobility work, standardized warm-up, and our first few light warm-up sets. Now we just need to accustom our body to the feeling of moving heavy weight. As we get close to work sets we should drop the repetitions to singles or doubles in an effort to not fatigue ourselves before we really get started. A warm-up set for the same reps at 95% of our work weight is just a neglected work set, sitting alone and unloved in our log book and condemned to a lifetime of second class Squatizen status.
If we warm up with intention (Position, Balance, Tension, Focus) and with a plan (dropping the repetitions as we increase weight), we are most of the way there, but there are still a few ideas to consider. First, as Fox likes to say, “You are your own Peyton Manning.” I assume he means 2010 Peyton Manning (a cool and introspective leader who is confident changing playcalls on the fly and makes funny commercials) and not 2011 Peyton Manning (a spinally-fused ghost who haunts the sidelines of the NFL’s worst team looking like he wants to stab his teammates, yet still makes funny commercials). Listen to your body, and be prepared to add in some extra warm-up sets if you feel cold, wonky, or want to practice something. If something feels sticky or sore, do some mobility work or foam roll a bit between warm-up or work sets. You are Peyton Manning! (Minus the peanut shaped head.)
Also, keep in mind that lifts using smaller muscle groups (think: Beach Muscles) will fatigue faster than those using your larger muscle groups (think: Yo’ Butt) Don’t go overboard warming up the Little Guys, they are generally simpler lifts anyway, and you’ll find yourself fatigued when you work. You can linger a little bit on the Big Mommas, which have higher muscular endurance and can be trickier to nail down.
Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Hopefully, now that you’ve suffered through some decent information wrapped in a bunch of bad jokes, you’ve got a better understanding of the general concepts that drive a good warm-up. If nothing else, when warming up, make sure you have a plan. Think about what you want to accomplish with your warm-up, and use that time to get yourself ready to succeed. A lackadaisical warm-up inevitably leads to spotty and uneven results. Make your warm-up a dress rehearsal for your lifts and then break a leg. On second thought, don’t.
Jason Statham’s Training Secrets Men’s Health
On Chicken Tenders Guernica
Tell us about YOUR warm-up ritual.
6 AM class because I'm jet-lagged.
Press 60x5x3 with the football bar. YAY, I can press! NickDowell made fun of me for doing the "Rippetoe press" (you have to move your head a lot more with the football bar than with the regular bar so it doesn't hit your chin) but I don't care. I'm just so happy to be able to do something with both sides of my upper body!
WOD fitness rep scheme with one-armed 16 kg swings and 20" box jumps, 7:22. I think I probably should have done 20 box jumps/round as they are not as hard as WB. I didn't want to do the performance rep scheme because grip is the limiting factor with one-armed swings, and I knew it would go bye-bye pretty quickly with the sets of 50 and 35.
6am with NickDowell plus a nice contingent of 6am visitors!
Press: 45×5, 55×5, 60×3, 65x5x3
Nick pointed out that the bar was getting out in front of me on the warm ups, so I focused on keeping it close and these moved well.
Perf WOD: 9:37 rx. I rested a little more than I should have, but thanks to Stella's encouragement, I pushed it at the end.
6am for the first time ever with Nick & McDowell. Took me moving away to finally get to a 6am class AND I made Aileen go with me!
Press: 3×5 @ 68#, this all felt pretty decent all the way through
WOD: fitness style 16kg & 14# in 7:30something I think
Loved getting to stop by the gym and workout a couple times on this trip and see everyone! I've never been so happy to work out. Miss you mucho CFSBK coaches & people!
Yesterday I PR'ed the clean and jerk at 78# !!! It helped to be paired with Richard who was going much higher than that, made it look so easy, and inspired me to try more weight. It also feels like after a year, the form on these more complex moves is finally clicking and starting to move really well.
A very easy 51# press today thanks to Mcdowell telling me to move my grip in closer. Felt like five pounds lighter so I am excited to jump a bit more next week.
And great (and hilarious) article Noah, thank you!
Michelle B says
6:30am SC ♥
LBBS: 137.5lbs 3 x 5
A bit high on some. Feeling pretty tight today, but the weight felt doable.
Press: 57.5lbs 3 x 5
I failed last week on the last two reaps of each set, so I went for it again. I was surprised that the bar was moving somewhat fast.
Deadlift: 170lbs x 5
Heavy and tired by the time these came around. Not sure how, but I got it off the floor all fives time.
I started a new 'block' of training this week so things are going to be a bit different and it's kinda exciting!
45 x 10
135 x 5
185 x 4
205 x 3
225 x 2
235 x 1
240 x 1 (high)
235 x 1 (high)
220 x 4 x 2 (8RPE, 9RPE)
215 x 4
Ugh. Not sure what happened here. I was going for a single at 8 but somehow just was not getting low enough. Maybe it's because I haven't had anything this heavy on my back for a long time and I got in my head. Not sure. Anyway, I finally figured it out on my sets of 4 and I felt like if I tried the single again at that point, I would have gotten it quite easily. Think I'll add a warm-up set of 95 x 10 next week and see if that makes a difference and maybe do less sets/reps as it gets heavier.
Competition Bench Press (pause)
75 x 4
95 x 3
105 x 2
115 x 1
125 x 1 (7.5RPE)
130 x 1 (8RPE)
117 x 4 (8RPE)
120 X 4 (9RPE)
115 x 4
Yay!! My 1RM from Iron Maidens was 135# so I guess I must be stronger now. 🙂 Glad that spell of bad benching seems to be over. That 'back-off' week helped, I think.
135 x 4
185 x 4
205 x 4
215 x 4(7RPE)
225 x 4 (8RPE)
230 x 4 (9RPE)
4:30 lifts (thanks McD and Ro for space)
Allie B says
12 pm class: made some new friends
Press 53#, was bummed I missed the fifth rep of my first set. Helpful advice from Fox about bar path- moving head out of the way on the way up and using the dynamic breathing. Helped a lot!! Made all reps on the next two sets.
Wod in 7:25: 14# ball to… 8.5 ft target, kind of cheated the 9 ft target on a few reps.16kg kettlebell. Wish I would have gone for performance, or used a white kb.
QOD – I generally get all my gear together, which as someone who lifted solely in Chuck Tailors and cotton shorts and a tee shirt for years and years and now has special shoes/wraps/belts for everything, is comical for me some days. I look at my notebook and write all my warm ups and work sets down for the day (or if it's an Olympic lift, a ball park number I should hit) while downing my pre-workout drink (if I'm taking one that day). I row for a few minutes or do one of the SWUs. I use warm up sets on a barbell to practice, or at this point reacquaint my body with the movements and positions I'll want to be in in my heavy sets. I am all business when lifting during class time and have been known to bark at a few folks on a shared rack with me for not having a plan or for generally lolly gagging…
Then, I lift. I usually try to remain calm and happy while lifting but occasionally I channel some anger on to the bar.
Strength Cycle at noon today!
LBBS @ 157.5 5×3
Used Mel Lloyd's magical belt and holy moly it helped so much! Last set was really great and couldn't help but smile on the last rep for the right depth and everything feeling great!
Bench @ 90 5×3
Ok thank goodness I have finally hit this weight! I just need to get my legs back a little more to drive and control at the bottom and not get the chest bounce. Otherwise, this was an amazing PR for me because I have been waiting/wanting to hit this weight for awhile, I tried to do this during Iron Maidens practice and it wasn't working for me AT ALL and failed a bunch at the time. Woo hoo strength!
@ginacatto – Great that you made it in. Sorry I missed seeing you in class!
I was determined to get in today after 3 days off — even tho I felt kinda drained and nauseous by the time I got there.
Warm up x2
4 c2b pull ups
10 push ups
65×5 for rep-out (95%) they felt pretty solid but missed the 6th
Wall balls 14#, 9'
KB swings Am 16 kg
Felt okayish during WB (5 sets of 10), but once I got into the swings I felt like I could hurl at any moment. Took lots of rest. 11:42 and couldn't fathom rocking in a hollow position for the cash-out, or even standing up to do curls.
I feel better now tho!
Had extra time so did a back off set of 5 reps @ 53#.
Fitness WOD in 9:37 with 20kg KB and 14# wall ball to a 9' target.
First two sets of swings unbroken, then done in two sets. Wall balls unbroken the first round, then fell apart. I no-repped myself about 10 times on these. I was below the target on a bunch and had a few air balls too. Wall balls are a constant struggle.
5:30 with McD and Ro
Last one or two reps felt a little grindy but good. Could have maybe hit 10 if I really pushed but I wanted to keep a little somethin somethin in the tank.
Perf WOD rx'ed.
Well that little somethin somethin went away VERY quickly on the round of 50 wallballs HOLY MOLY THOSE SUCKED!
WOD in 14 flat, my legs are shot today.
Broke it up in 2 sets for the swings and 4-5 sets for the wallballs