Wendy’s Deep Wendler Thoughts


At the request of Brian PCF (though I had planned to do this before he asked), my deep Wendler thoughts.

– Needing to come into the box on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays made my workout schedule much more consistent than it had been in the past. I didn’t have any excuses to sleep in, skip days at random, or come up with excuses to not go. I had to be at the box Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Period. Even if the protocol didn’t work, it was valuable just for the schedule consistency.

– I spent the first couple of weeks thinking “I really should be stronger than this by now. My weights seem so puny compared to [put any PCF member here]” That, of course, was my ego talking. Erika PCF was a huge support and convinced me that all was as it should be. Thanks Erika.

– I will admit it felt weird to be doing “special” workouts during the strength times. Particularly the first 4 week cycle. I just kept explaining that I am one of Brian’s problem children and that he needs metrics from his below-average Crossfitters. 🙂 Folks seemed to get used my “special needs.”

– Explaining Wendler is somewhat complicated without spreadsheets and numbers to point to. Especially at 0530, when I can barely count.

– The max rep set is critical for gaining strength. It is also scary. Especially on Week 3’s 95% 1+. Embrace the fear. Keep going until form breaks (press), you just can’t lift anymore (back squat, deadlift), or you start hitting the “headache threshold.”

– Max rep sets work better when a coach is yelling at you encouraging you.

– Max rep sets also teach you the importance of breathing. Forget to breathe, breathe incorrectly, or strain your neck and you can expect a visit from the exertion headache fairy. She will make you and Excedrin Extra Strength really close buddies for 1-2 weeks.

– It appears that you are most likely to get a visit from the exertion headache fairy during back squat day. (Please see me and Christy 0530). I am certain Brian PCF would love to see better metrics to see if this assertion is true.

– When the number I was supposed to hit on any set was in-between what I could put on the bar, I estimated up. So if I needed to put 141# on the bar for my max rep deadlift, I put 145# on the bar. I think this helped with the strength gains.

– When there appeared to be too big a jump in weight between the 2nd and 3rd set, I increased the weight of the 2nd set so the 3rd set didn’t seem so daunting. This strategy seemed to work – at least psychologically.

– I liked already having a plan for what weights I need to use on a particular day. I’m still not particularly good at estimating what weight I need to use for a given workout. Walking in with a plan means I don’t have to guess or worry about how I think I feel.

– I also liked having at least a few exercises I could directly compare from week to week. It is tough to see improvement when you are in the middle of things and everything is “constantly varied”. Seeing improvement from week to week was very satisfying.

– I did Jon’s OLY class in the middle of all of this. I’m very glad I did it and strongly recommend the class – though maybe not during a Wendler cycle. Thankfully, one of the OLY weeks was during Wendler’s Week 4 deload. As it was, I just managed to stay away from over-training. 2 hour workouts (1 hour WOD, 1 hour OLY class), 4 days a week, 2 weeks. I was exhausted at the end. Remember: I came at CrossFit from the couch 14 months ago, have no prior athletic experience, and will be 40 in November. Your mileage may vary.

– The 8 week cycle seems to be the way to go since you have rep numbers to beat from the first 4 weeks. The second 4 weeks – not only did I have weights to use, but reps to beat. That 2nd cycle was where I started getting confident that this crazy plan just might work.

Thanks Brian PCF for letting me pilot this program for you. It helped a lot.

Starting numbers – yes, I was stalled for 6 months. Only bonus was that I had lost weight during that time.
– Back Squat 125# 1/18/2010
– Press 65# 1/20/2010
– Deadlift 175# 1/28/2010

Wendler 5-3-1 cycle May 31 – July 29
Started around 125# bodyweight. Currently around 117# bodyweight.

Ending numbers
– Back Squat 145# 20# PR
– Press 72.5# 7.5# PR
– Deadlift 195 20# PR


5 Responses to “Wendy’s Deep Wendler Thoughts”

  1. 1 Brian PCF

    Great work Wendy!

  2. 2 Erika - PCF

    Awesome to see how far you’ve come since that first Foundations class 🙂

    Keep up the great work.

  3. 3 Christy

    Holy moly! You are my inspiration board mascot! 🙂

  4. 4 Lisa L.

    Those numbers are great Wendy! Gives all of Brian’s problem children hope! 🙂

  5. Thanks! I’m looking forward to seeing how well the Wendler program works for everyone else.

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