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

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Old 12-11-2010, 02:48 PM   #1
Jonathan Vechet
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Meaning of PRs

So I just finished doing Helen for the second time since starting Crossfit since June. My first time I did it on 07/23/2010, I got a time of 12:39. Today my time was 10:10. An improvement I am proud of, but it got me thinking.

The first time I did Angie was on 08/06/2010, and my time was 32:39. The next time I did Angie was on the first of this month with a time of 20:57.

So what exactly does this mean? Why is it that my Helen time increased by approximately 19%, while my Angie time increased my approximately 36% (if my calculations are correct)?

My theory is that, because Angie is inherently a longer workout, it will be easier, at least in the beginning, to achieve greater improvements in time, as opposed to a shorter workout.

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:36 PM   #2
Troy Becker
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Re: Meaning of PRs

It means you're getting fitter. At this point that's all that matters.

When you're as bad as, say, Chris Spealler (is that how you spell his name?) and are doing 38 rounds of Cindy, it may mean that you are so good at body weight stuff that your strength should be focused on more.

But for now, when the times go down and the rounds go up and the lifts go up, be happy. Everything else sorts itself out eventually.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:00 PM   #3
Jonathan Vechet
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Oh, I'm happy with the results. I was just wondering if what the science is between improvements between certain workouts.
Did one aspect of fitness improve over another?
I have been doing mostly bodyweight workouts, but am considering joining a gym and giving Starting Strength a whirl. Though I really don't want to give up my conditioning.
Decisions, decisions.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:32 PM   #4
James White
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Don't overthink this. Double-unders, for example, are a skill. If you improve your skill there, you may shave some time off on that account.

Figure out your goals. There are several programs that have a strength (linear progression) + conditioning bias.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:52 PM   #5
Troy Becker
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Well, what do your lifts look like?
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:20 AM   #6
James White
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Quote:
Originally Posted by James White View Post
Don't overthink this. Double-unders, for example, are a skill. If you improve your skill there, you may shave some time off on that account.

Figure out your goals. There are several programs that have a strength (linear progression) + conditioning bias.
Lack of sleep means my first paragraph is not applicable to the OP. Disregard.

Second sentence is still good.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:50 AM   #7
Adam Carlson
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Vechet View Post
My theory is that, because Angie is inherently a longer workout, it will be easier, at least in the beginning, to achieve greater improvements in time, as opposed to a shorter workout.

Any thoughts on this?
The volume/length/cycle time/etc. will have an impact on how much time is taken off each PR. A 100m dash, for instance, usually won't involve PRs in the minutes range, where as a 5k will usually generate PRs in 'larger' amounts of time. It's really all relative. An olympic marathoner will be looking towards PRs in 'larger' time amounts, whereas Usain Bolt will be happy with every 0.1 or 0.01 second improvement on his PR.

Some WODs are predisposed towards 'large' PRs, like Filthy Fifty and most of the Hero WODs. Others are predisposed towards 'smaller' PRs, like Fran, Grace, and Isabell.

This is how things looked for my buddy:

Grace:

first attempt Rx'd - 7.5 minute range
Second attempt Rx'd - 6.5 minute range
1 minute PR

Filthy Fifty

first attempt not Rx'd - 38 minute range
second attempt RX'd - 33 minutes
9 minute PR

Basically, the longer the WOD, the 'larger' the PRs will seem at first, but in reality, it's all relative. In the end, your PRs will start to diminish in size. When I ran cross country for the first time, I dropped over 2 minutes on my 5k time over the season. The next year I only dropped about 30 seconds. If I had continued on after that, my PRs would get smaller and smaller every season.

Last edited by Adam Carlson : 12-12-2010 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:25 AM   #8
David Meverden
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Carlson View Post
Basically, the longer the WOD, the 'larger' the PRs will seem at first, but in reality, it's all relative. In the end, your PRs will start to diminish in size. When I ran cross country for the first time, I dropped over 2 minutes on my 5k time over the season. The next year I only dropped about 30 seconds. If I had continued on after that, my PRs would get smaller and smaller every season.
Very true stuff.

In addition to length, the type of exercises can make a difference.

If you have to break up your sets a lot then there is ample room for improvement: you just need to stand around less.

If you DON'T break up your exercises (pretty common in something like helen) then the only way to PR is to actually run faster, or swing the KB faster, which is much harder to speed up significantly.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:52 AM   #9
Jonathan Vechet
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Re: Meaning of PRs

Quote:
Originally Posted by James White View Post
Figure out your goals. There are several programs that have a strength (linear progression) + conditioning bias.
Well, originally, my goals involved mostly bodyweight training. A lot of what I have been doing is gymnastic strength training in accordance with Building the Gymnastic Body. But as I thought about it more, I began to think that this type of training may not be optimal for by body type. I am approximately 6'0 and around 180lbs , which to my understanding, is relatively large for a gymnast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy Becker View Post
Well, what do your lifts look like?
My lifts don't look like anything because of the above response. Which is why I'm considering a strength program that involves lifting, which I haven't done since I moved here in August, and perhaps leave the bodyweight work to the skills section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Carlson View Post
Basically, the longer the WOD, the 'larger' the PRs will seem at first, but in reality, it's all relative. In the end, your PRs will start to diminish in size. When I ran cross country for the first time, I dropped over 2 minutes on my 5k time over the season. The next year I only dropped about 30 seconds. If I had continued on after that, my PRs would get smaller and smaller every season.
This pretty much reflected my theory.

Thanks guys.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:08 AM   #10
Diego Sommariva
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Re: Meaning of PRs

There's another adaptation that occurs which isn't muscular or cardiovascular and this is mental. It is very hard doing your best time in a Workout the first time, even if you are ultra-fit, and this is because you really don't know what you're up against. If you're new to CF I bet you can hit the same workout with 2 or 3 days in between and get a PR. This is because you'll be more prepared for the task ahead. This is why CF can help you in real life situations as you're more apt to succeed at something you've done before (think workload, time extension, etc.) than if you haven't.

This is not to say you're not getting fitter, it just shows that CF's approach is not just physical, but encompasses it all.


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