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Thread: How to get out of plateau in CC system

  1. #1
    hellcha is offline Junior Member
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    Default How to get out of plateau in CC system

    Hi guys,

    I have been doing CC for more than 1 year and reached plateaus in the Pull up and pushup. I am currently stuck at step 3 of these two exercises.

    For pull up, I cannot get over 10 reps for the 1st set and 6 reps for the second one. I am following the New Blood v2. In each pull up session, I do 2 sets with an overhand grip and 1 set an underhand grip. I don't know if it is too much or not. But it doesn't seem to get me anywhere further than 10 reps maximum.

    What should I do to break this plateau?? Should I follow the GTG method of Paval??? Should I add some grip work in between sessions??

  2. #2
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
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    Plateaus happen. Somethings to consider: adequate rest, sleep, nutrition. Following the program faithfully without any radical changes that is outside the program boundaries (too much, too frequent reps, combining CC with other cool stuff). Sounds like your fixated on numbers. Not that numbers are bad, after all numbers are your end game in reaching those goals. The frustration is when your training at near maximin or maximin effort for extended periods of time. Focus begins to shift from very high quality reps to reps performed just for the sake of numbers. Back down the reps. Put high quality back in those reps. Examine your technique closely . Are you engaging your back muscles? Don't let your arms do all the work. Breathing, tension, and every other minute detail must be applied. And yes of course gtg is a good way to move forward. Make sure you have a full understanding of gtg. Read NAKED WARRIOR. Applied correctly gtg will indeed work for you...Dennis

  3. #3
    pixelzombie is offline Member
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    I can understand hitting a plateau with pullups as they are very hard. Try videotaping your pushups and compare with some of the videos on youtube, you technique might need to be refined. Increasing the time between sets and also try adding more sets, they will increase your strength over time.

  4. #4
    Jethu is offline Member
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    I had a similar problem a while back where I was doing an awesome first set, followed by a much worse set (your example was 10 reps first set, and 6 the second). The first thing you should look at is your rest time. CC is fairly gentle in the first 4 or 5 steps and since your only doing 2 or 3 sets, don't get too hung up about keeping your rest time short. I've found 3-5 minutes to be perfect for getting consistent sets.

    Also, similar to what ad5ly said (who had great advice btw), cut a few reps out of that first set and try to nail two sets of the same number of reps- try going for 2x7. If you nail that, then you should try to add only a single rep during your next session, so 1x8 and 1x7. If you succeed, go for 2x8 next time. Never add more than 1 rep to each set (at least not with the more difficult movements like pullups and pushups, I had no problem adding 2 or 3 reps to short bridges and knee raises for example), and stay just short of absolute failure.

    Progress in CC tends to be slow, but if you play it right, it will be very steady at least until you hit step 5 or 6, so hang in there, add a rep when you can, and clean your form up if you can't. You can't fail.
    Last edited by Jethu; 04-17-2015 at 06:07 PM.

  5. #5
    hellcha is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for those wonderful pieces of advice, guys.

    Looking back now, maybe I get a little too sloppy in my technique. But when doing pull ups, should I feel the tension in the back? Whenever I do it, my arms always get fatigued faster, is that OK or do I perform the exercise the wrong way?

  6. #6
    305pelusa Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by hellcha View Post
    Hi guys,

    I have been doing CC for more than 1 year and reached plateaus in the Pull up and pushup. I am currently stuck at step 3 of these two exercises.
    I'm sorry if I seem too blunt, or you don't like what I say much. But that seems like an absurd amount of time to spend on such incredibly basic exercises. Your program should be designed to deliver consistent gains on a regular basis. If it does not do this, it must change. In my mind, that's the core idea of progressive calisthenics.

    Quote Originally Posted by hellcha View Post
    For pull up, I cannot get over 10 reps for the 1st set and 6 reps for the second one. I am following the New Blood v2. In each pull up session, I do 2 sets with an overhand grip and 1 set an underhand grip. I don't know if it is too much or not. But it doesn't seem to get me anywhere further than 10 reps maximum.
    As I mentioned above, if a program does not deliver consistent gains then the program needs to be thrown out the window. At the beginner level (which is what I would count you in), you should even expect gains from a workout-to-workout basis. More intermediate athletes might be better off with weekly progress (I seem to do well with this). The more experienced athletes might have to set up longer cycles of 6-8 weeks to see results. But the idea is the same. Your program must deliver regular gains, or else, it must be changed.

    New Blood v2 has you doing push-ups/pullups once/twice a week. It's clear this is nowhere near working for you. So you must change this.

    1) Up the frequency. Try doing push-ups and pull-ups 3 times a week instead.
    2) Two-Three sets are not working for you. So do more sets as well. Something like 5 sets for good measure.
    3) With increased frequency and volume, your intensity must drop off. So your sets might have fewer reps. Which means you'll stay a bit farther away from failure, which is probably the best thing you could ever do for your strength pursuits either way.

    Try those three changes for 6 weeks. Add reps little by little when you can. Start off working relatively easy on the first week, and ramp up so you're working hard by the fourth week. After 6 weeks, assess your improvements. Keep the work going if you find good results (and you absolutely should... I can't imagine how you wouldn't following those 3 simple modifications). And change the program after 6 weeks if you didn't improve much.

    Quote Originally Posted by hellcha View Post
    What should I do to break this plateau?? Should I follow the GTG method of Paval??? Should I add some grip work in between sessions??
    I don't like the word plateau because, in a perfect world, you'd never run into them. You avoid them by intelligent changes in programming. When a program stops delivering, it must be tinkered until it does bring about results.

    Don't follow GTG. You're doing assisted pullups and knee push-ups. That's not something you should be GTGing. These aren't exercises that you need to practice high tension techniques, because you'll be doing them for high reps. Instead, train them for high-rep sets until close to fatigue.

    Add grip work if your grip is your limiting factor. Which will almost never be the case with pullups (your back/biceps will usually fry well before your grip). Consider grip work when you begin doing One-arm PU work.

    A word on form. Assisted pullups and knee push-ups don't follow have much of a "form". Yeah, keep core engaged so your back doesn't arch, and try to focus on pulling with your back. But definitely focus on consistent addition of reps. This is the best guideline of progress. Don't sacrifice form for reps, but you don't have to be a form hero with knee pushups.

    Just my opinions. I don't think CC programming is for everyone. Cool if it works for you. But if you're spending over a year on this, definitely revamp the programming completely.

  7. #7
    Eoin Kenny is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 305pelusa View Post
    Just my opinions. I don't think CC programming is for everyone. Cool if it works for you. But if you're spending over a year on this, definitely revamp the programming completely.
    You know... I have to agree here. I know that everyone progresses a their own speed, and that's cool, but it sounds like you've stopped progressing. If you check out my CC Vlog videos (below) you can see how I overcame step 3 push ups and pull ups.

    In a nutshell
    1: I cleaned up my diet (only whole foods with adequate proteins)
    2: I did some "consolidation training", not to get beginner standard reps, but just to perfect the techniques.
    3: I took longer rests between sets. I was stuck on 30, 30, 25 on knee push ups until I took 20mins rest before the third set. This is totally allowed when you are training for strength.

    The thing about step 3 pull ups (in my experience) is learning to use your legs properly. I actually hate the jack knife pull up exercise because I cannot do it as is outlined in the book. If I assume a 90' angle with my legs straight then my chin does not go over the bar. I have to bend my legs at around a 45' angle to get a proper finish position. This also makes it a lot easier to use your legs to help (which is the point). When I practiced this for a while I nailed progression standard in a few weeks. I then got beginner in step 4 and am happy.

    That's my experience anyway. I hope you can take from it

  8. #8
    ComradeCat is offline Senior Member
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    If this literal case were the case, 1 year of no progress is pretty long. Are you blasting through the progressions? Have you checked your form? Are you actually ensuring that your reps are momentum free? Are you disengaging your muscles mid-way through a rep?

    A plateau happens for several reasons, the question is, are you simply hitting failure because you can't eek out another rep, OR has your form gone down the thrash 10 reps ago, and you're just punching out numbers?

    One thing I found about CC is that the program is designed to hit the prime movers, with the assumption that the synergistic muscles are also buckled up shotgun for the ride. That assumption is worthless if your form is crap, or you're not fully engaging your your necessary muscles.

    One way to evaluate this is to take an exercise 1 or 2 progressions ahead of your current progressing. Log your reps and observe your movements. Every few weeks, come back to this benchmark progression and see if it is currently easier or harder for you, and if you have increased your reps.

    If your form is crap, then your reps on this progression might have increased by 1 or 2. In this case, you might wanna look into improving your form.

    If your form has been solid, this test set should be coming fast and furious. Then a possibility is that not all your muscles have been firing on all cylinders. Trying changing all the exercises to see if there is any improvement. For example, try type writer pushups instead of regular pushups. Cossack Squats instead of regular squats. Try this for a month, and come back, this approach helps me break plateaus all the time.

  9. #9
    mrdave100 is offline Senior Member
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    Hey Hellcha, tons of good advice in this thread. I'm going to suggest a twist to Jethu's advice. After you get say 2x7 then try 1x7 and then 1x8, next workout 2x8, then next time 1x8 and then 1x9. Let the 2nd set dictate when you should increase the number of reps per set. Just a thought, there are no perfect workouts or plateau busters, you just keep making adjustments as you plateau to keep making gains.

  10. #10
    arasheed is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eoin Kenny View Post
    The thing about step 3 pull ups (in my experience) is learning to use your legs properly. I actually hate the jack knife pull up exercise because I cannot do it as is outlined in the book. If I assume a 90' angle with my legs straight then my chin does not go over the bar.
    That's my experience anyway. I hope you can take from it
    Eoin, My experience with the jackknife pull up is exactly as you described. I want to try what you did to make it easier. By 45' angle, did you mean 135' with the upper body and the legs at the top of the rep?

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