After a rest day Monday, and a moderately tough CF workout on Tuesday night (snatch complexes, and 100 reps each of pull-ups and box jumps), I woke up feeling tired this morning. Because of an obligation after work today, I either had to work out this morning or not at all. So, I drank a cup of really poor quality hotel coffee and headed to CrossFit.
After our warm-up, which cruelly contained more pull-ups, the strength work today was deadlifts. I was expecting deadlifts next Wednesday and strict presses today, so this caught me a bit off guard. I was hoping to structure my training a bit to go for a deadlift PR next week. Our rep pattern this morning was 5-5-3-3-1-max, starting at about 65% of our one rep max. This is not an ideal rep pattern to get a PR and I felt tired from last night, so I decided to just concentrate on the lifts as programmed.
Here are my first four rounds:
3x305# (math error - should have been 295)
At this point, I felt pretty good, so rather than finishing at 335 and 355, I decided to jump up a bit. I did one rep at 365# and I struggled a bit. But, I was now committed to at least taking a shot at my PR, which stood at 385#. I'd failed at 405# a few weeks ago, so I opted for an attempt at 395# this morning. I took about four minutes rest after my 365 rep, and I also removed my shoes - a trick that allows you to pull the bar a little bit less distance.
With the gym owner/coach cheering me on, I nailed the lift, and I'm sure I could have done 405# today.
From there, we did a main workout of power cleans and hand-stand push-ups (I do an easier variation on these), but my deadlift PR had me thinking about something I'd read recently on a web forum devoted to lifting as much weight as possible.
First, to be honest, a deadlift of 395 is barely entry level for a serious male lifter, especially the guys who focus purely on power. But, for a 50 year old male who has been lifting about 5 years, it's a respectable lift.
On the forums I was reading, I found an anti-CrossFit thread. Basically, the summary of the thread was as follows:
CrossFit makes women lean, strong and really good looking
CrossFit makes men skinny and they never get strong
CrossFit injures everyone over the age of 35 who tries it
I won't disagree with the first point at all.
I don't even want to discuss the last point.
It's the second point that is interesting to me.
First of all, after a year-plus of CF, I am not skinny (the people on that forum consider skinny to be an insult - a crime against the gigantic muscles that lifters want to have). But, it's the strong part that surprises me.
Before I started CrossFit, I was doing lots of strength-focused work on the primary power-lifts - squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
I started lifting regularly early in 2007. Late in 2009, I got my deadlift to 355. And, 10 months later, when I started CrossFit, I'd actually regressed somewhat in the deadlift. My squat was stuck at 275#. My bench press was stuck at 185#. It took a while to re-gain my strength, but here is how my deadlift has progressed since I started CF:
10/2010 - Started CF, deadlift max below 355 and 335 was tough
5/2011 - 365#
6/2011 - Repeated 365#
8/2011 - 375#
9/2011 - 385#
1/2012 - new 3-rep max of 355#, missed 405#
2/2012 - new PR of 395# and 405# is imminent
Since joining CF, my squat has gone to 320# from 275#. We don't do bench presses very often, so I have no idea where I am on that list. In just over a year of CF, my deadlift has increased 40 pounds - over 11%. During the 50th (and now 51st) of my years on this planet.
So, while I'm not going to be winning any power-lifting meets, I have definitely gotten stronger while doing CF. Now, if only I could get skinnier...