CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-18-2004, 05:04 PM   #11
Dan John
Departed Dan John is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 365
I am kicking around a few things for my next edition of the newsletter, but one conclusion that horrifies me is that "if I knew this then, I coulda been a contender."

I have been reading some interesting books on body posture lately and how a chin forward helps with overall body health...exactly like the modern O lifting technique. In Pavel's new book, he talks about imaging long balloons in your legs when you stand up from the squat...he also mentions making...well, this is what I call them..."raptor sounds" when exerting effort.

I've come to the conclusion that the O lifts are a skill that demand a lot of strength and conditioning...something that I am not sure I yet understand. A couple of issues ago, in Denis Reno's newsletter, they discussed several O lifting teams going to a morning "conditioning" practice and only O lifting once a day. Sounds to me like a crossfitesque approach.

So, I guess the reason this topic enlightens me is that I once spent 15 to 20 hours a week O lifting...and made some great lifts to be honest. I think that if the 2004 version of Dan John could have coached me in 1991, I would not only have lifted better, but had an extended career...albeit with two fulltime jobs and kids and dogs and cats...

I have strong opinions about a lot of things...I think stretching (that weird stuff people do in the gym before they lift) has no value. I don't really appreciate aerobics and I don't think a marathon is any more courageous than snatching 300. Oh, and the girls on national magazines do very little for me: eat a sandwich, for God's sake!

Having said all this, I find myself honestly floundering in the face of the success I have had as an athlete this past year. Rande Treece will tell you (as will Mark Twight, Greg and the crossfitters, my family), I am not a poster child for fitness. But, whatever I am stumbling on is working and I want to figure it out.

So, I continue to ramble here...because I honestly think there is a better approach to success in the O lifts that following a dogmatic approach to load and intensity and volume. There is a way to think outside the box here...I offer some ideas in the posts above, but I am also thinking that we could have a very good Crossfit O lifting team that breaks all the rules.

RSVP...
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2004, 10:54 AM   #12
Paul M
Departed Paul M is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 55
Great posts, Dan.

One thing that I think must relate to O lifting in a huge way is the skill vs strength issue. One thing that comes to mind is comparing someone's deadlift to their clean. The pulls on both use "roughly" the same muscle groups over "roughly" the same range of motion (an oversimplification.) I'd bet that if you look at elite weightlifters versus everyone else, that the elite lifters can clean a much higher percentage of their max deadlift. This is the skill component. As an unskilled O-lifter, my max clean is slightly less than half of my max deadlift while Shane Hamman (who conveniently has easy to find powerlifting and O-lifting numbers) cleans around 70% of his best deadlift. If I improved my technique to where I could clean 70% of my best deadlift, it'd go from around 200 to around 300 lbs - an enormous improvement based completely on skill. With the same skill level, but increasing strength, I'd have to take my best deadlift from 430 to over 600 lbs to get the same crossover effect on my clean. Obviously, this is an over-simplification (don't take my numbers too seriously,) but you all get the idea.

I'm betting that the skill side of the lifting doesn't require heavy weights to learn and that this is part of the "crossfit style" improvements that people see in their O-lifts. Improving and drilling the skill aspects of the O lifts should lead to much faster and larger gains in max skill than trying to improve through increased strength for most of us non-elites. And using lighter weights allows us more practice than using heavier weights -we get more lifts in. But, all this lightweight practicing is still a lot of hard work and requires a great conditioning base. That's another part of the Crossfit magic, I'm guessing.

A related issue is the development of the underlying strength involved in the O lifts. Dan's spent years building up your strength levels and so is "starting" in a different place than many people are. And while Crossfit improves most people's strength levels, I doubt its enough to make people strong enough for competition in the strength sports. So, this might be one of the ways to modify the Crossfit approach for your O lifting team, Dan. Use Crossfit to get in great shape in order to drill the skill components of O-lifts and to increase work capacity for some focused strength training.

Anyway, I'm definitely no expert on these things, but I have been thinking about them!

-Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2004, 01:30 PM   #13
Brian Hand
Departed Brian Hand is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 633
Paul, I think this is much more complicated. The clean to deadlift ratio is not just dependant on skill. Part of the clean is the pull; the pull does use many of the same muscles as the deadlift, but it does not use them in the same way. The deadlift is a measure of strength, the pull is a measure of power. I don't want to get into a whole discussion about the definition of strength and the definition of power, in this sense I mean the pull requires a rapid application of force for a very limited amount of time.

The clean also involves a drop and dive-under. I would consider this a skill - it is a matter of timing, balance, accuracy, and nerve. (I realize that the best lifters actually pull themselves down so they are dropping faster than a free fall, but I don't think they are using much power to do so.)

The catch requires the ability to absorb and control the force of the falling bar. I don't know what you call this ability, but it is different from strength in the front squat. I can stand up with much more in the front squat than I can catch in the clean. Of course, that front squat strength is also necessary, and it is not reflected in the deadlift.

Now the power clean, I think the power clean to DL ratio would be much more just a power to strength ratio. Much less going on there.

I agree 200% with your conclusion that nobody is ever going to be a champion Olympic lifter just by doing the WOD, or any broad based, general conditioning program. Of course I don't think that's what Dan was implying, either. I think the idea is that training for the Olympic lifts might be better if it is balanced more towards general conditioning than it usually is.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2004, 10:53 AM   #14
Dan John
Departed Dan John is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 365
Brian,
I am not sure what I am saying either. That is the "rub" of this whole ramble. I guess my question is this: oops, lost the train of thought...

I'm starting to think that one can become very good at something without top end performance in training every single day. There is a team in Minnesota, St. John's, where the football coach doesn't cut anybody, they don't have a playbook, they don't hit in practice, they don't, they don't, they don't and they have a very, very successful program.

Now, I love "contrarian" thinking, so I have to be careful here, but it occurs to me that we could take the same path in the O lifts and the throws. Pavel T has some amazing posts about having O lifters do multiple workouts a day in the snatch and clean and jerk...but only with 50-60% of max. Toss in the WOD and could you be a champion?

Why do I improve in the discus when I stay away from the discus and do the fun general training...this is one of the issues, I guess.

Again, respond, if you can...
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2004, 03:07 PM   #15
Paul M
Departed Paul M is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 55
Brian,

I agree that the picture I presented is simplistic, and said as much in my post. But I think that sometimes the simplistic view gives you insights into what's actually happening. And I'm starting to think that the whole strength vs power argument is a bit overstated. If you apply a maximal force to a submaximal weight, you'll accelerate that weight, which is basically what's happening with the quick lifts. At any rate, my contention is that the clean/deadlift ratio is an imperfect measurement of one's skill on the clean. Imperfect, but possibly useful.

Out of curiousity, I plugged through the numbers, starting with a couple of admittedly shaky assumptions. I can go into more detail of my calculations, but basically what I came up with is that the clean/deadlift ratio could never be above around 85%. That number would change with a more detailed analysis, but its nice that its not horribly off (like by being lower than observed ratios.)

Anyways, whatever the exact number is (which would depend on the individual's body proportions) the point is that this ratio could be a useful "skill" measure. If you're much below some optimal ratio (as I obviously am - but may be true of many individuals, including well trained ones) then skill work will be far more successful than near maximal effort work -- which might mean lots of practice with lighter weights. What I'm really trying to say is that this strategy, while contrary to the common wisdom, isn't necessarily way off base.

Dan,

Apart from the above discussion on O lifting, I have a couple of other ideas banging around in my head that might be related to the success you've seen in the discus. Something that I read recently - can't remember where, so it might've been here or even in Get Up -- about soccer drills. Basically, people have found that standard soccer drills don't translate very well into better game performance. I guess that the shortcoming is that they are too far from game situations: you're not under stress or pressure, and you haven't just run back and forth across the field several times. So, by practicing drills in more gamelike conditions, apparently people improve their game play much more quickly. Part of what they do, for example, is to do a penalty shot drill after a sprint so that their heartrates are high when performing the drill -- more like the real game.

This is definitely something I've noticed in golf: driving range practice often doesn't help at all when you get on the course. In fact, too much time at the driving range and I start to develop or reinforce bad habits and my game can actually suffer.

I don't know the conditions of a track meet well enough to know what kind of physical state you'd be in when throwing (like how long between throws) but the mental state would have to be much different than in practice. Maybe spending all that time in practice is counter productive since you're learning a skill that is different enough from in competition?

I'm curious what the Minnesota team DOES do? They must be doing something right. And, if I think about the way I see football teams practice, its far from gamelike conditions: they run plays, but they're rarely under mental pressure and generally not as "winded" as they'd be in a game -- they jog out plays instead of sprint them, for example.

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that maybe "traditional" forms of practicing are just too far from the game day skill that they aren't very useful. My last ramble, is that in a sport like football, things are so unpredictable that its never just like in practice. Maybe the general conditioning and overall athletic ability (including quick thinking and ability to adapt) are more important than the skill component a lot of times.

Oh well, enough for my rambling........
-Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2004, 07:12 AM   #16
Nicholas Nibler
Affiliate Nicholas Nibler is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Seattle  Washington
Posts: 29
Dan,
While you have been using lighter weight in the snatch and clean & jerk, have you done anything heavy overhead? Like overhead squats?
Nick
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2004, 11:07 AM   #17
Barry Cooper
Member Barry Cooper is offline
 
Barry Cooper's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisville  KY
Posts: 2,188
I feel like part of this is "nervous energy". People talk about training the Central Nervous System, but I don't know how often we really think about what that means.

Training light you are "greasing a groove". You are making a movement instinctual, like driving (golf and cars, as far as that goes). You are also accellerating the weight faster than you normally would be able to, which--and I hadn't really thought about this--would correspond in the O-Lifting realm to Dynamic training a la Zatsiorski.

I think greater physical health also translates to greater mental energy. When I go for a max lift, and I feel good, it's like there is a cloud of power around me. It feels like a fight I know I'm going to win. If I feel like I'm going to make a lift, I pretty much always do.

I've used a visualization for some time that kind of ties in with this. First I visualize the weight as light as a feather, and I usually fill the scene with some kind of light, pleasant, relaxing pastel colors, like light yellow, light blue, or pink. I focus on the scene being very pleasant, relaxing, and I try and bring a smile to my face, and even laugh, if I can. No worries. I visualize my reps, as many as I'm going to do on that set.

Then I switch to a scene from Hell. Everything turns blood red, and everything is on fire. I picture the weight in it's full weight, and usually chains hanging from the sides with people hanging on them whose lives depend on me. It is pure fight to the death. Again, I do the reps, each one as hard as I expect it to actually be.

What's interesting is if I have trouble with either part of the visualization, I don't make the weight. Since I do believe that it is best to severely limit the number of misses on max lifts, I've finally just started ending the exercise if my images fail.

This was a fairly spontaneous thing originally, but upon reflection I think it speaks to the two sides of the CNS. On one, you have to feel the groove. The unconscious, fine motor neurons, need to feel the groove as precisely as possible, and that can only happen in a condition of relaxation. Once fight or flight is engaged, fine motor stuff goes out the window.

At the same time, you have to fight the weight, especially the powerlifts, but also the O-lifts. I don't do the squat movements, so my experience is different than the people who do, but I feel like there's still a contest. You still need that cloud around you.


I'm not sure that followed a straight line, but hopefully there is something useful in there for someone.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2004, 05:30 PM   #18
Dan John
Departed Dan John is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 365
That study is an old Soviet study that discovered that soccer players were often awesome at drills and would get the start...then suck. They found that practice heart rates were like 80 or 90 and game heart rates were like 150...or whatever (I don't want some aerobic Nazi giving me crap about the numbers...)

The concept was illuminating for coaches (well, me, anyway) who figured this was part of what we saw in games. In football, there is a real issue with guys on the kick off teams or punt teams taking a play off. Also, as I was telling my brother, Gary, I learned to have a 3rd and 15 drill to teach the members of the punt team to watch the game and run out if we don't get. Usually, in practice, you do about fifteen punts but they don't exist in any framework...so, a receiver who has just run a streak (a nine pattern)has to turn around and come back maybe fifty yards, huddle up, and do his Punt Team duties. We quickly learned that this was stupid and had starting WRs come off the field.

This is a great conversation. Someone asked if I went heavy on Overhead Squats...I did a workout with 205 in June...then snatched 242 on the platform. In the crossfit workout about a week or so ago, I did 215 for five.

This is an important conversation.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2004, 06:11 PM   #19
Jeff Martin
Affiliate Jeff Martin is offline
 
Jeff Martin's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Ramona  Ca.
Posts: 1,318
Fantastic thread. Great stuff. Not to change the course of this thread, Paul, your statement"I guess that the shortcoming is that they are too far from game situations: you're not under stress or pressure, and you haven't just run back and forth across the field several times. So, by practicing drills in more gamelike conditions, apparently people improve their game play much more quickly. Part of what they do, for example, is to do a penalty shot drill after a sprint so that their heartrates are high when performing the drill -- more like the real game." Goes to the heart of the difference between the traditional martial arts and reality based martial arts and why we work so hard to apply stress drill in our classes.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2004, 09:35 AM   #20
Brian Hand
Departed Brian Hand is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 633
Great ideas all around, I hope we can continue this thread.

Paul, I see your point that some simplification is necessary to get a grasp of complex things. However I really feel that the strength versus power distinction is incredibly important. This is not really controversial, it has been demonstrated in many ways in the lab and on the field. It is the reason that a bodybuilder and a weightlifter with similar bodyweight and squat 1RM will not have similar vertical jumps. The bodybuilder has not trained recruitment. I wouldn't dispute your projected 85% max for the ratio of clean to DL. I'm more interested in the other end - that ratio can be much lower when an athlete trains strength without training explosiveness.

This post actually got so I thought it might be better to continue it on a web page, you can check out more ideas here:

http://www.geocities.com/ccrowsmail/power.htm


  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Olympic lifting or Cross Fit in Saint Louis, MO Phillip C. Boyd In Search of CrossFitters 18 02-11-2008 03:12 PM
Olympic lifting vid Jason Lopez-Ota Exercises 6 10-25-2006 10:38 AM
Olympic lifting wod Mike Burgener Workout of the Day 1 06-14-2005 06:15 PM
Olympic lifting Gregory Spilson Equipment 3 01-22-2004 02:39 PM
Olympic lifting Keith Fitness 4 07-29-2003 10:04 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.