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

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Old 07-18-2007, 06:57 PM   #1
Leslie Powell
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I think this falls under fitness, since it's more theoretical than anything. I'm mainly interested in input from people who train others.

I'm trying to decide how best to handle timed workouts that include rowing. As anyone who's done these has probably figured out, the relationship between power and speed on the rower involves a cube relationship, so as your time gets lower and lower, further improvements get harder and harder. The effort to go from, say, a 1:25/500M to a 1:20 is pretty huge compared with going from 2:00 to 1:55.

The end effect is that a tiny increase in speed on the rower can really knock people for a loop, to the point where their time in a multi-exercise workout will suffer out of proportion to the increase in rowing speed. As an example, I can do 1:45/500 and jump right up, but 1:30/500 leaves me gasping for a good minute or so: the 15 second saving isn't worth it.

Granted you can order people to go all out, but we're using time as a motivating tool and, quite honestly, the smart strategy is always going to be to row at a less than max speed (because, unlike with other exercises where there's essentially a cap to the max speed -- you can only squat so fast -- there's no such thing on the rower).

So what to do? Include "penelty work" for rowing times slower than a certain number?

If this needs more explanation, I'll get more into detail, but hoping the question is clear. Have looked through the archives, but don't see anything that specifically addresses strategies(though it's been discussed in general in threads about whether to go all out or not).
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:25 PM   #2
Lincoln Brigham
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I find the same issue with running. A 3:30 half-mile is no big deal, but a 2:30 half-mile can kill some people. Going from 3:30 to 3:15 is not that huge, going from 2:30 to 2:15 is a much bigger deal.

Here's what I often do on workouts that involve the rower: I count points instead of tracking time and give a point for every 10 meters rowed. Think "Fight Gone Bad" with meters instead of calories. 10 meters for one rowing stroke is somewhat indicative of good rowing technique. This scoring system encourages better rowing technique and helps equate a rowing stroke to other movements, like pushups or situps.

A WOD we did the other day was 10 rounds of row for 1:40, pushups for 20 seconds, rest 2:00. Score was in points, 10 meters = 1 point, one pushup = 1 point. After 40 minutes of this push/pull workout, most people had done around 100 pushups and meters rowed was 3,500-4,500. So it was right about at the max amount of work for both movements I would want people to do in one workout, although obviously rowing was the majority of the work and points scored.

I want my people to know how to row without straps in case that day's WOD has brief rowing intervals; that way they can get on and off the rower fast. It frees up my programming because I don't have to worry about the amount of time/rest/delay involved in strapping in and getting out of the straps. Rowing without straps also helps stroke technique a bit, from my experience anyway, and it doesn't really slow down the actual rowing much at all.

Look at a workout like "Cindy" - each round is 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats. How long does it take to do 15 squats? Just seconds. So why does all rowing have a minimum of 2+ minutes? It doesn't. How about a "Cindy" variation where the 15 squats are substituted with a 150 meter row? Very workable as long as the trainees aren't getting in and out of straps all the time. Just sit down and start rowing. Would you have your trainees switch back and forth from their weightlifting shoes to their running shoes in the middle of "Nancy"? No. So no straps for rowing when doing multi-exercise workouts.

(Message edited by lincoln on July 18, 2007)
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:56 PM   #3
Andy Shirley
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Gym Jones has a workout, you start with a 500m row. Every second under 1:40 gives you 30 seconds subtracted from total time.

Here is the workout from GJ:
"Row 500m (must be <1:40) +
30x Bar Dip +
30x Atomic Sit-up +
30x Front Squat Push Press @ 2x 30# DB +
30x Push-up +
30x Box Jump @ 24" box +
30x Get-up @ 25# (15 each side)

Multiply Pull-up max by 2, subtract (in seconds) from total time.
If 500m Row is not faster than 1:40 row a 500m penalty immediately (pace irrelevant) though stopwatch is still going
If 500m Row is faster than 1:40 subtract 30 seconds from total time for every second faster than 1:40, i.e. if rower finishes in 1:30 he begins the "Dirty Thirty" with five minutes of credit ... "
http://www.gymjones.com/schedule.php?date=20070706

I like how it rewards hard work on the rower. Its easy for me on workouts with 500m repeats built in to just coast at 2:00/500, knowing that anything over that will adversely efect other exercises and time overall.

You can also use other metrics the C2 gives you(peak power, calories, meters).

So ou could set a points goal: say 10000 for this example.
10 stroke peak power test: points=watts
Then wall-balls at 50 points apiece until you get to 2000 points.
Repeat 10-stroke peak power test,
Pullups at 50 points apiece until total of 4000 points.
Etc. Use whatever exercises/points/metrics work best. (I haven't done this, but it sounds liek it could work, at first glance anyway)

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Old 07-19-2007, 02:44 AM   #4
Leslie Powell
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Great ideas, thanks!
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Old 07-19-2007, 04:08 AM   #5
Andy Shirley
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Sorry, in my above post, the GJ workout Regurgitator is a two-parter. Part one is max pullups. Rest, then as above.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:46 PM   #6
Gant Grimes
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Leslie, I estimate the 15 seconds I save on the rower costs me 1 minute or more down the line. It's like that with other elements. I just don't row enough to know where that sweet spot is.
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