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Thread: Convict conditioning transition and progressions? page

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    Neilfenstein's Avatar
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    Convict conditioning transition and progressions?

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    A bit of background, I have been doing SimpleFit for over a year and a half and I love what it has done for me so far. However, I struggle to get beyond level 5. This is not a problem I am performing tons of reps and still feeling good from it but I think I need to mix things up a bit and learn some new things.

    I have recently read convict conditioning and like the fact there are more moves and therefore an extra challenge. I don't want lose the progress I made on SimpleFit or necessarily give it up totally. So I am considering doing them both because I will start at the start with CC. I imagine the very early workout on CC will be more like active rest. Performed on my off days.

    I don't really know how to approach the starting of the CC though. Paul wade suggests that you should take a month for each progression but the progressions are split in to 3 and seem to ramp up fast. I don't really get how I can progressively work towards the progression level, any advice?

    I like the idea of going through the progression to learn and strengthen my body differently to how I started SimpleFit. Is there any one who has gotten to level 4 or 5 on SimpleFit and transitioned to CC and can give me some comparisons or advice?

    Thanks guys!

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    The way I've done CC is basically like this: If the first progression felt really easy, I'd go ahead and start on level 2. I think the idea is to at least try every exercise. If you feel nothing, go ahead and move on. But if you do the exercises at the proper cadence, you'll probably start much lower in the progressions than you think. So for sure try all of his progressions at least once, and find the "lowest" one that has you working, even a little bit. But remember that the cadence is key. You can probably bang out a ton of push ups on your knees, but you'll probably be surprised at how hard they are when you're controlling the cadence.

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    Neilfenstein's Avatar
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    So should I be aiming for the progression standard amount of reps no matter what and then if I cant do them just score what ever I can?

    For instance I have just done the incline push ups and did progression level (at the correct cadence) 40, 40 and 40 if I could not do the first round at 40 say 25 would I just aim for intermediate on my second round?

    I don't really get the way you are supposed to gauge what to aim for without just going for the most reps straight off.

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    Also I managed the reps, but, the cadence meant that I had a bit of twitching in my arms during the last half of the second set and during the third. I didn't suffer loss in form or cadence but concerns me as to whether or not I am doing everything right. Which leads me to, am I right in thinking short pauses during sets is ok with proper rest between sets is ok, yeah? How long should the between sets rest be?

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    DSR84's Avatar
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    On the amount of reps/progression standard: Set sensible goals for yourself. If you can't get to the progression standard, make your work sets go until you can feel "the burn" for your last few reps without going to failure. This will require some intuition on your part, and don't be upset if you set need a couple of week to really feel it out and see what you can do. Going by your example, if you could only get to 25 reps on your first set of inclines, I say do two more work sets and see how close you can get to 25 on those sets. Going forward, see how many reps you can add to each session, and before you know it you'll be ready to progress. If you feel like 3 work sets is too much on those Inclines, switch to 2 work sets and add back in a third when you feel ready. Also, Wade says that you shouldn't work to failure, but still be working hard. The beauty of this program is that it's extraordinarily flexible, but that also makes it important that you take your own diagnostics very seriously. Logging everything certainly goes without saying.

    I don't think midset breaks are very kosher in this program. I'll have days where my wrists or my grip starts to hurt, so I'll shake them out a bit and then get back to it, in effect taking a mid set break. On those days I merely put an asterisk by that set in my log. The next session, I try to match or exceed my reps from the previous week, but sometimes I'll be one or two reps behind because I'm not taking that little break. At least, that's my approach.

    For resting between sets, I usually play it by ear, but I'd guess that my breaks tend to be around a minute and a half long. It also depends on the muscle group I'm working on. I'm still on Horizontal Pulls in the pullup progressions, and those are really hard for me at this point. So I might take a little longer to do some ballistic stretches and whatnot than Full Squats, which I'm pretty strong in.

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    I've been using CC as a supplementary routine for the past year. I feel like one month per level is a little ambitious (I know the author says that), but there are 3 "levels" for each step, the routines have you hit each exercise only once a week. So in a month, there's only 4 times you'll see each exercise. As such, you know you'd do the first level on week 1 and the progression level on week 4 and somewhere on week 2 or 3 you have to hit the middle level. This rapid progression may work well early on in the program but it won't last as the progressions get harder and harder on the program.

    My personal routine has been to take 2 months on each step and it's allowed for a progression that I'm happy with that doesn't have huge jumps in volume from one workout to the next.

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    I added CC to my Kettlebell program, and I have actually been surprised by how tough steps 1-2 are for some of these moves. Like DSR84 says, it has a lot to do with cadence (rep speed) and making sure the form is perfect.

    I'd also take a second look at what Paul Wade says about "training momentum" before rushing to the next level.

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    Convict Conditioning progressions are frustrating at first for those who have been training for years.

    What? Wall Pushups? Doorway rows?

    But, when you find you can't hit the target numbers at the speed or form advocated, things start to make sense. A friend who is in his late 50s has remained with First Blood for over 16 months and is just now doing full pushups. He's a former weight lifter who benched +400 regularly and stated 50 pushups were not difficult at all...until he tried CC. He's now sold on the program and is focusing on CC...his joints, as you can imagine, are feeling far better and after switching to a Zone-like diet has leaned out as well.

    Alternating days of deadlifts and shoulder presses with CC are my preference. For example, Mondays are pushups & core, Thursdays back & legs. Tuesdays are deadlifts or one-legged KB DLs, other KB work. Also incorporate two or three sets of isometrics for the back. Friday or Saturday, shoulder presses with a barbell or KB and some isometric "arm" work...curls in three or four positions, for example, to mimic carries.

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    If anyone in this thread doesn't know, there's a pretty decent FAQ supplement that Wade wrote on the DragonDoor website. It's being distributed as a free PDF, and that's got some solid information in it, as well as some new programs. I find that eating Primal helps me recover pretty well (being in my twenties probably goes a long way, too), so I've started doing the New Blood 2.0 program put forth in the FAQ, and that's been going pretty well.

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    Thanks guys,

    I have found the PDF and I am too doing the new blood v2.0 workout as it uses a similar workout day set up as SimpleFit so goes well with what I do currently. I have done both pull up/squat and push up/leg raise workouts now and the cadence does kick your butt and I will stick with it for several weeks and see how it goes. I may throw in some riding, KB or a day 1 SimpleFit work out to keep a level of conditioning/cardio/sprint type work going though.

    I will report back on my thoughts progress as I go.

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