This question seems to come up a lot. I will use power cleans as an example, when you see the program written as 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 that means after you do a skill transfer work on the bar and maybe 2 warm up sets you begin your first set of 3. For example, say your max weight on a 3 rep power clean is 100 kilos, start with skill transfer work like a Burgener Warm Up and then move to your first warm up of 50 kilos where you complete 3-5 reps. Then you go to 60 kilos and perform 3-5 reps. Now you are ready to begin your sets. Your first set is 70 kilos and you perform 3 reps. Your next set is 80 kilos, and your 3rd 90 kilos and hopefully it is all going well. Now you have decision to make, you have 2 sets left and your 3 RM is 100 kilos. Do you shoot for 95 & 100 for your next two sets? Or do you try for a new PR? I would hope you are feeling good, got plenty of rest, had something to eat before you trained and ready to make a jump. So you decide to go for 100 kilos and you complete 3 reps. Now you have 1 set left and you are in new territory, do you take 102.5, 105 or 110? I would say 2.5-5 kilos is a good jump. I would be happy with a 5 lbs increase, but I rather have 10 lbs. Make the decision and go for it. You might fail and only got 1-2 reps but at least you went for the PR. No shame in missing an attempt.
There is nothing wrong with missing a weight or failing on a max attempt. I have been beaten by the weights many times. We actually keep score on this, somedays it is Weights-1, John-0 and the weights get the victory. Other days…a new PR and I get back to even with Weights-1, John-1.
But what if it is written 5×3? That means the program asks you to do 5 sets of 3 reps at the same weight across the board. Say my 3 RM power clean is 100 kilos and the program asks you to do 5 sets of 3 reps at 100 kilos. So do the same work up, skill transfer with the bar and some reps at various weights building up to 100 kilos and go for it. Usually, you will see the notation Set New PR or add 2.5 lbs, that means you should try to do your 5 sets of 3 reps at a new PR, so if my old PR was 100 kilos and it says to set a new PR, then I would complete all 5 sets at 101.25 kilos.
Now that this is out of the way, what about the 5 RM of Deadlift? When it reads Deadlift 5 RM the program is asking you to only pull 1 set of 5 reps at a new PR. Usually it will ask for you add 10 lbs or just set a new 5 RM. Say your 5 RM Deadlift is 100 kilos, I would warm up up the same way as the Power Clean, some skill transfers with the bar then start adding weight. I would pull 1-3 reps for the first few and start pulling singles until you get up close to your new PR. At that point load the bar, step up and go for broke with a new 5 RM. The reasoning behind this is, you fatigue much faster on a Deadlift than a Squat and you only have so many pulls in you, so don’t waste them in warm ups. Use all the strength and energy to set a new 5 RM.
For my max efforts I found when I decreased the volume on my DL and ramped up intensity my numbers went up. However, we have contrasting days where volume is high and intensity is lower. This would be seen in dynamic pulling like Power Cleans, Power Snatches and Clean Pulls. We only Deadlift heavy once every 7-10 days because Deadlifts are very taxing on our CNS and can take at least 7 days to recover (I had heard this articulated very well until I sat at dinner with Dave Tate). Sometimes you will see a 5 RM Deadlift and a Deadlift in a metabolic conditioning workout. Usually that is a sub-maximal weight we are asking you to lift dynamically, think high volume, low intensity. Another thing to remember, the metcons are programmed for the Professional level and for strong people so if the weight that is prescribed is 105% of your 1 RM DL, then you need to scale it back. No harm in scaling.
You can make comments, ask questions and have dialogue in the post to comments section of this entry.
If you have other questions please submit them to email@example.com.
The idea of this site is the best idea ive seen in a long time, im beind you all the way, JayBird thank you.
Thank you very much for explaining the underlying thinking behind the 5RM DL, and the other lifts as well. This is very helpful in stepping up the plate in the gym and knocking it out.
Best programming I have ever followed.
big thing now seems to be the realization that we can’t be chasing pukie and new PRs week after week. overtraining is both worse for you and easier to get to than we (definitely i) initially thought. i’m a diehard CF Football follower and have seen great results in strength, endurance, body comp, etc. etc. my question– how would you suggest introducing deloading weeks, off weeks, rest, periodization, etc. into following the CF Football WODs. Thanks so much for the awesome programming!
I build periodization into program with the numbers and/0r percentages; the way we cycle programs and changing of movements aids in this.
I think where people get caught up in always feeling like they have to set a PR or beat their last time in the gym. This a great mind set/goal but this does not always happen. The reason the program is written the way it is for example Power Snatch 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 is because I want you to do 8 doubles on power snatch. I am not asking you to set a new PR but do your best on that day. Somedays you will set a new PR and other days you will get crushed. The Bulgarians did a great job of this when in workout #1 they would come in and work up to a 1 RM, then come back later that day and work off of the numbers from the morning. They would find their daily 1 RM and then work off 80-90% for 2-3’s. That is the best form of periodization I have seen. Their coaches could watch a few lifts and know if their lifter was going to make a PR or needed back off. But those lifters had spent years and years working up that volume. Most people do not have the time “under the bar” to be able to handle that volume and end up overtraining very quickly when try to work off of the Bulgarian template. John Broz’s guys from Average Bros gym have followed this model to the letter and are creating some amazing lifters. But our goal is to create better athletes not just better lifters.
With this being said, there is nothing wrong with taking a week off in between training cycles. Or skipping a Saturday if you feel beat up. I have even taken an extra rest day at the beginning of the week and gone 5 days in a row. Hopefully, the way the numbers are programmed, met cons workouts are laid out and the sprint days programmed you should be fine. However, not everyone is wired the same and you might need extra rest time. If you read up on the Russian’s and WSB’s version of GPP, they state the goal of GPP is get an athlete in better physical shape to recover faster from increased training volume. By increasing GPP their bodies could train more often and recover faster, thus make more progress. With CrossFit.com the challenge is the workouts and people use increased strength to increase their score or decrease time in a WOD. In CrossFit the WOD is the game day. Where as WSB uses GPP to increase conditioning so they can train more often and increase strength, so they can squat 1000 lbs. CrossFit Football uses increased strength and conditioning to make you a better athlete in your sport. We use the CFFB tools to train for something bigger, like on the field performance: the training is not goal but the means. With all this in mind, if the training is taking away from field performance or you are not recovering enough to be successful then you might need to cut it back to make it fit your needs. At the end of the day you should listen to your body. But as a wise man once said “there is not such thing as over-training, just under-recovery.”
cool, really appreciate. after wrapping up my college career, i play hockey 2x/week in a competitive men’s ‘beer’ league, so regular CF and it’s version of GPP just didn’t seem to fit the demands of hockey. CF Football has proven to be a great fit for my sport and it’s fun as hell to lift heavy weights and run through a short met-con, sprint, slam things, etc. having just attended a robb wolf paleo seminar, overtraining, cortisol increase and adrenal fatigue have been on my brain in light of GPP/mixed modal training, especially a theory that he threw out on the general athlete having 8 or so max efforts per year. just wanted your thoughts on periodization, rest, etc. within the bounds of CF Football and it makes sense. thanks again!
[…] SOME STUDY MATERIAL FOR TODAY, DONT KNOW WHAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 5X5 AND 5-5-5-5-5 IS??? HERE YO… […]
What are your thoughts on reverse pyramid training rep schemes (such as described by Martin Berkhan on his website)? Thanks!
[…] Read 5rm, 3-3-3-3-3, 5×3 […]
[…] here’s a quick guide on CrossFit Math. 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5, 5×5, 5 rm, what’s the […]
[…] 3, 3, 3, 3…5×3…5RM – Talk To Me […]