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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 08-09-2011, 09:07 PM   #21
Pär Larsson
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

Thanks people. Been awhile since I visited this thread, just thought I'd fly off the handle and get really ****ed off.

I don't think the CF L1 definition is all it's cracked up to be. Functional depends on the person and the context.

I don't think that the muscle-up and the HSPU are functional movements, since there's only about .01% of human movements outside of a gymnastics gym or a circus that will have you do those movements for purposes of food, shelter and survival.

Double-unders get a pass for me due to running up hill or running up a staircase or just plain walking around in the jungle - i.e. your calves and legs are constantly working in approximately the same modality that you're doing while doing double-unders.

My main issue, though slightly less of an issue after reading the replies in this thread, is that if you take 30min of the time of an average CF athlete every week and you:

1. Have them practice muscle-ups and HSPUs.

or

2. Have them practice wall-climbing and <insert favourite functional movement here>.

...Then the person doing (2) will be more ready for the demands of life, the US Marine Corps, battle in Afghanistan, doing an obstacle course, dragging a 200# body (i.e., me) 3 miles to the nearest evac-point.

The person doing (1) will be good at showing off for his friends, will be good for a circus, will be good for doing and performing and making a living as a specialist gymnast - but precious little else. HSPUs and Muscle-ups are great exercises for fitness and specializing in gymnastics, but have zero functional real-world application compared to the person spending the same time getting better at doing the real-life movements of wall-climbing and <whatever>.

That said, I'm not opposed to having HSPUs and M.U.'s as tests or show-off, circus-style, looks-good-on-camera style events. I just think they're over-emphasized in CF in general and the Games in particular.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:12 AM   #22
Pearse Shields
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

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Originally Posted by Pär Larsson View Post
That said, I'm not opposed to having HSPUs and M.U.'s as tests or show-off, circus-style, looks-good-on-camera style events. I just think they're over-emphasized in CF in general and the Games in particular.
Say a dog is chasing you. You're running, but it will catch you. You happen to see a bar or tree branch that looks like it's high enough to grab onto, and stable enough to support you. This dog is gaining on you, it will rip into you unless you jump up, grab that bar/tree branch, and then do a muscle-up so that you're on top of the bar/branch, out of the dog's reach. Functional enough for you?

Also, say you need to heft something overhead, but you had no nice barbells, other stuff to lift. What's going to develop better overhead lifting strength than a handstand push-up?

Just using your definitions of functional here, and saying that they're pretty darn functional movements.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:47 AM   #23
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pär Larsson View Post
Thanks people. Been awhile since I visited this thread, just thought I'd fly off the handle and get really ****ed off.

I don't think the CF L1 definition is all it's cracked up to be. Functional depends on the person and the context.

I don't think that the muscle-up and the HSPU are functional movements, since there's only about .01% of human movements outside of a gymnastics gym or a circus that will have you do those movements for purposes of food, shelter and survival.

Double-unders get a pass for me due to running up hill or running up a staircase or just plain walking around in the jungle - i.e. your calves and legs are constantly working in approximately the same modality that you're doing while doing double-unders.

My main issue, though slightly less of an issue after reading the replies in this thread, is that if you take 30min of the time of an average CF athlete every week and you:

1. Have them practice muscle-ups and HSPUs.

or

2. Have them practice wall-climbing and <insert favourite functional movement here>.

...Then the person doing (2) will be more ready for the demands of life, the US Marine Corps, battle in Afghanistan, doing an obstacle course, dragging a 200# body (i.e., me) 3 miles to the nearest evac-point.

The person doing (1) will be good at showing off for his friends, will be good for a circus, will be good for doing and performing and making a living as a specialist gymnast - but precious little else. HSPUs and Muscle-ups are great exercises for fitness and specializing in gymnastics, but have zero functional real-world application compared to the person spending the same time getting better at doing the real-life movements of wall-climbing and <whatever>.

That said, I'm not opposed to having HSPUs and M.U.'s as tests or show-off, circus-style, looks-good-on-camera style events. I just think they're over-emphasized in CF in general and the Games in particular.

Par, it's clear that HSPUs aren't functional in and of themselves, but they do require useful muscle recruitment patterns, no?

I don't understand how MUs are not functional. The ability to pull oneself from a hanging position to a support positon without scrabbling on a wall will certainly help someone in climbing (which is your preferred replacement. In our past lives, the MU muscle pattern would have made it easier to pull ourselves out of the water into a boat, for example. To stay with your example, how about the tower in the Coronado O'course? An MU is a pretty darn quick way to get up that miltary style O'course.
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Last edited by Robert D Taylor Jr : 08-10-2011 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:45 PM   #24
Charles Applin
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

Paraphrasing here so apologies. In his hour long lecture on fitness and functional excercises, Coach Glassman gives a detailed explanation on the definition of CrossFit "Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements".

--Varied means not having a routine, though not necessarily random.
--Intensity means power output (W*D/T).
--Functional means movements that are unique in their ability to express power or be measured.

So if you want to say if an exercise is functional, find some manner to measure its power output. Dumbbell curls can count in this manner though it's a small amount of weight going a small distance. Arm circles while standing on a Bosu ball might have a more difficult time finding a way to say what power is being generated.

Anyway, it's the approach to the words varied, intensity and functional that allowed a softball throw, cage climbs and 200m ocean swim to take place along side L-sits, muscle-ups and watt bikes. That there's no "real-life" application of that direct movement is irrelevant (though the best types of exercises usually are applicable).
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:02 PM   #25
Matt Thomas
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

Speaking of L-Sits, how do they in any way fit that definition of "functional?"
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:34 AM   #26
Charles Applin
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

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Speaking of L-Sits, how do they in any way fit that definition of "functional?"
It doesn't generate power, but it can be measured in the time that you hold it so its functional.

It's not something you train with nor would overly use for improving fitness. However, it's as legitimate as run 100m in .5m of water for time as a method to compare two or more persons in a physical activity.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:09 AM   #27
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

I can measure how long I can hold my breath and compare it to someone else--does that make breath holding functional?

The definition I've always heard in the L1 certs is the LLLDQ business, and an L-sit is in no way functional based on that definition.

I'm fine with doing things that aren't "functional" occasionally--handstands, double unders, static ring holds, etc.--but CF's definition of functional doesn't fit any of those kinds of things. Which is fine, because if we only did the LLLDQ-est movements all we'd ever do is squat, deadlift, and C&J heavy.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:36 AM   #28
Matt Thomas
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

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I'm fine with doing things that aren't "functional" occasionally--handstands, double unders, static ring holds, etc.--but CF's definition of functional doesn't fit any of those kinds of things. Which is fine, because if we only did the LLLDQ-est movements all we'd ever do is squat, deadlift, and C&J heavy.
Would we? This is kind of a tongue in cheek question, but under that definition why is a dead lift functional? The bar doesn't really move that far so it doesn't fit the "long distances" or "quickly" portion of that definition. A barbell moves just about as far when I do a curl as when I do a dead lift and i can curl more than some people can snatch and its certainly a faster lift than a heavy deadlift, but CF wouldn't find it functional.

All im saying is that the p CF definition of functional kind of sucks. "large loads, long distances, quickly.". How long of a distance does it need to be before it's functional? How large does the load need to be? How quickly does it need to be moved?
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:30 AM   #29
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

Also, just as a thought let's talk about the overhead squat and the back squat.

The distance the bar travels is the same, but the load on a back squat is always going to be greater, and at similar or even heavier loads the speed is going to be greater. So the back squat is a much more functional movement right? If so then why is the OHS so much more prevalent in CF?

Im not saying that the OHS isn't "functional" as in useful, but to me this indicates that there are degrees and definitions of "functionality" outside and beyond CF's narrow definition of that term.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:40 AM   #30
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Define "functional movement" in your own words?

For the non work capacity based stuff I think they go with universal motor recruitment patterns (however one defines that), core to extremity, the 10 skills (esp. flex, balance, coordination), and It's Effin' Harrrrd. A planche is highly functional and it won't make sense until you've done one.
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