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Old 08-09-2010, 10:51 PM   #1
Lisa Hsu
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stronger first or faster first?

Hi all,

Question about both programming and goals. My eventual goal is just to be badazz in general. Strong and ready for anything. I've been at Crossfit for nearly 6 months now (3x/week) and I've made gains along a number of venues, but all in strength and not really in speed. I am relatively obsessive about form and try to make sure I always have the gas to do something before I go for it, which means I rest kind of a lot. I've had some near misses with respect to drops and back tweaks and I don't want that to happen. My heart seems to explode with effort and then I can't control my limbs effectively unless I stop for a bit, which is annoying when I am always one of the last people to finish.

Anyway, so what makes sense to try to improve first...next time I feel capable of going up a weight in a metcon, should I do it? Anytime I push myself in weight I slow way down because I'm trying to control this big heavy thing. Or try to blow away my expected times? When I do that, I feel like a wimp and like I cheated.

Also, my box does entirely metcon workouts, and I am wondering what you guys think about that.

Thanks!
Lisa
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:48 AM   #2
Brian Bedell
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

Hard to answer this question as it is totally dependant on YOUR own personal goals. If you wish to be stronger, simply adding weight in your MC is a bad way to do it. You need some dedicated strength training. Conventional wisdom is that you should work on strength first as it is slower and harder to obtain, but stays with you longer. It is comparatively "easier" to increase your MC conditioning.

As for what I think of your affiliates programming, what do YOU think about it? If you want to get stronger, and they don't offer strength work...it does not sound ideal for your goals.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:38 AM   #3
Brent Eno
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

Brian is spot on.

You say you've had some near misses, so you have some knowledge as to what you can handle. You simply have to base the amount of weight you use during a workout of those experiences. You and your trainer are the only ones that knows what you are capable of right now.

It is very odd that your box does no traditional strength work. I would talk to the owner and explain your concerns and goals. If your main goal is speed, you should be doing olympic lifts, power cleans, and sprints. If the owner disregards you or won't help you with your goals, you should probably move on. I realize that affiliates can't tailor a specific program for every client, but if they really are running ONLY metcons, then you are not getting everything that you need.

Last edited by Brent Eno : 08-10-2010 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
Mark Tibbetts
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

honestly - the way i go about it is say your working on a wod and are doing the most weight your capable of while still completing the wod - work on speed at that weight. I look to increase my speed on said wod by atleast 45sec-1.5mins then I increase weight. Thats just how I do it, seems to work well. Ive been feeling like the higher speed at the same weight also makes me stronger, where as stronger first makes me slower......good luck
Mark
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:43 PM   #5
Alexander Stuart
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

As mentioned above, if you want to work on speed-strength, you need to develop your oly-lifts, sprints, and jumps.

Paradoxically, you might want to try lowering your load on metcons to improve your speed, or lower the reps to the point where you can blast through them unbroken. I have had clients do Fran at 7-5-3, at their limit for unbroken reps, just to get that stimulus of a real sprint.

Also, playing with the rep scheme to make sprints out of each round could improve your speed as well. For example, instead of Angie (100 PullUps, 100 PushUps, 100 SitUps, 100 Squats) do ten rounds of 10 reps each exercise, resting a minute in between in order to keep the pace as high as possible.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
Lisa Hsu
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

Thanks guys. When I started at my box they did strength, but apparently stopped. I hear from other Xfitters in the box that it was because the majority of clientele weren't interested...but I am! So maybe I can do some myself. I didn't really realize they had stopped though because I didn't know there was a difference. I just went to work out and did what they said - it's only been from reading the boards that I realized what I was doing was metcons only and no pure strength.

I was the 2nd last to finish today. As usual. Sigh. I am consoled by my weight increases but not totally.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:42 PM   #7
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

When you say speed do you mean momentary speed which is largely determined by strength and rate of force production or the time it takes to do a wod which is largely determined by strength endurance and cardio capacity?
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:36 PM   #8
Lisa Hsu
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

Largely the latter. Though my movements aren't the fastest either, my main limiter is the need to rest too long and too often to be fast at completing wods. My strength endurance is lacking...I can only go fast if I do wimpy weights that do not test my limits. The power output is largely ok, but is rapidly followed by an explosion in heart rate which prevents me from doing long unbroken strings because I have to rest to get the HR back in line in order to produce power in a controlled manner again. My general progression for every WOD is being able to do 10X unbroken, then 8, then 5, then 3, then 2....etc. Result: slow WOD times.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:54 PM   #9
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Hsu View Post
Largely the latter. Though my movements aren't the fastest either, my main limiter is the need to rest too long and too often to be fast at completing wods. My strength endurance is lacking...I can only go fast if I do wimpy weights that do not test my limits. The power output is largely ok, but is rapidly followed by an explosion in heart rate which prevents me from doing long unbroken strings because I have to rest to get the HR back in line in order to produce power in a controlled manner again. My general progression for every WOD is being able to do 10X unbroken, then 8, then 5, then 3, then 2....etc. Result: slow WOD times.
Don't think of them as "wimpy" weights.

A while back, my affiliate did "speed Fran." Fran is 21-15-9, 95# (65# for women) thrusters and pullups. We did it three times: 1st with PVC, 2nd with 11# medicine balls, then with 14# medicine balls. (Men's weights were a little heavier. Rest as long as needed between, penalty for exceeding the target time, which I think was 4:00 each round for women.) Believe me, there was nothing even a little bit wimpy about that workout.

Point being that you can still get a brutal workout with weights that are too light to "test your limits." (Although 14# gets pretty @#$% heavy by the last round of your third Fran of the day...)

Ultimately, it's up to you. More weight makes it more of a strength workout, less makes it more of a cardio workout. Most people recommend that you do both. Doing both would also give you a chance to put up some fast times. No one at your box should care, but it might make you feel better.

Katherine
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:35 AM   #10
Anthony Giurato
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Re: stronger first or faster first?

Could you do some WOD's where weight and/or form doesn't play much of a factor? Running and rowing repeats comes to mind. With running and rowing, there isn't any breaking up of reps, and there isn't as much worrying about injury and form. It's just 3, 2, 1, Go and there is only one way to score yourself, how much time it took.
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