Widowmakers & HSPUs

In the last week of September we wrapped up our 6-week linear progression test of “Widowmakers”

Widowmakers are simple. The athlete selects a weight, sets up the rack and performs 20 backsquats. Once they start, they are not allowed to set it back in the rack. If they fail it’s back to the drawing board and determine what weight this can be accomplished in. It doesn’t seem so bad at first, but by rep 14 the heart is pounding, the oxygen is getting tougher to supply and the athlete is once again wondering why they have signed up for this when couches are so comfy and Haagen Daaz so delicious.

In our 6 weeks we encouraged athletes to increase their weight, if possible, establish a new PR. The results are in. Our lovely statistician Jenika has crunched the numbers.

Total Weight Lifted – Female Total Weight Improvement – Female
Mean 83.725 Mean 15.385
Standard Error 3.857 Standard Error 1.940
Median 75 Median 17.5
Mode 75 Mode 20
Standard Deviation 27.547 Standard Deviation 9.892
Sample Variance 758.843 Sample Variance 97.846
Kurtosis 0.868 Kurtosis 1.389
Skewness 1.003 Skewness -0.048
Range 125 Range 50
Minimum 40 Minimum -10
Maximum 165 Maximum 40
Sum 4270 Sum 400
Confidence Level(95%) 7.748 Confidence Level(95%) 3.995
Total Weight Lifted – Male Total Weight Improvement – Male
Mean 157.692 Mean 26.833
Standard Error 5.728 Standard Error 3.899
Median 155 Median 20
Mode 155 Mode 20
Standard Deviation 46.183 Standard Deviation 21.354
Sample Variance 2132.873 Sample Variance 456.006
Kurtosis -0.158 Kurtosis 2.099
Skewness 0.512 Skewness 0.972
Range 190 Range 110
Minimum 85 Minimum -20
Maximum 275 Maximum 90
Largest(1) 275 Largest(1) 90
Smallest(1) 85 Smallest(1) -20
Confidence Level(95%) 11.444 Confidence Level(95%) 7.974

Once again, the gym has delivered the results we expect to see.

On average women added 15 pounds to their Widowmakers, and men added 26 pounds.

Of special note, Sensei Dave Andrews added a whopping 90 pounds over the course of 6 weeks. I can verify. I was there to witness Dave in all his bellowing glory.

Also of note, Widowmakers was the only time in the week when we worked on the squat. Once a week and yet the numbers went up. At the same time you improved your handstand pushups, your jerk, your snatch, your short distance run etc. There are athletes out there that go by a very specific strength program that sacrifices training in the aforementioned areas…..they would love to get a 20 pound gain in six weeks on a 20-rep back squat!!! Nice going RPCF!

This cycle we are into a 5-rep deadlift and a challenging 15-12-9 Snatch complex. I’m very excited about the Snatch progression. There won’t be massive numbers gained, but with all the drill work your coach is going provide, the improvements in everyone’s Olympic lift will be unavoidable.

Don’t forget, we did a lot of work on those handstand pushups these last 6 weeks. HSPUs, especially kipping HSPUs, need practice. Don’t avoid the practice. As the coaches preached, improvement in all the difficult movements will result in improvements in everything!

Keep up the great work!


BFIT. Love Life.