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

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Old 11-19-2006, 12:56 PM   #1
Josh Briggs
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Regarding coach's assertion that the athelete doubled his power output (by ~1/2ing his time, while holding W constant) through the use of the kip...

I think that there is an important distinction to be made:

The power output of the athelete's entire body did indeed increase by ~2x.

However, the power output of his pull-up muscles (upper body: back, biceps, etc.) did not increase significantly, or may have even gone down.

This is because while the work performed by his WHOLE SYSTEM is held constant, the work performed by his upper body is not. The act of kipping is essentially load sharing... having the lower body contribute to an upper body motion.

For the sake of argument, lets say that his legs/ hips end up doing 1/2 of the work formerly allocated to his arms / back.
That would mean that his upper body ends of doing 1/2 the work in 1/2 the time... for the same power output.

Upshot?

Increased power output by more balanced allocation of load across the whole system, MAY NOT result in an increased power output by components of that system.

Where would this matter?

Either:
1. In situations where you can't "spread the load"... ie. pulling over a wall... can't kip.
2. In situations where you have already "spread the load" as much as technique will allow... ie. max effort climbing dynos or striking in combat... the only why to improve the power here is to actually decrease the time over which the body travels through a range of motion, or increase the force that they can move...

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Old 11-19-2006, 02:48 PM   #2
Bryan Fillmer
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I believe that the point Coach was getting at is that the total power increased, which is obvious given the time decrease. For the sake of MetCon workouts we aren't particularly concerned with how much of the power output is being done by which body part, only that total power output be as high as possible.

I'd guess, however, that this why Coach varies it up so much. When you have a day of heavy single pullups then you obviously can't spread the power generation over the entire body, which in turn helps train you for those situations in which you can't "spread the load".

Personally though, I'd say 70-80% of the time in real life situations you are going to be using the entire body to perform any particular action, and our training reflects that pretty well.
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Old 11-19-2006, 03:13 PM   #3
Luis Munoz
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Josh,

I agree with what Bryan has written. Additionally, the two examples that you provided of not being able to "spread the load" are somewhat inaccurate.

In the first example, "pulling over a wall", you seem to imply that one would not use their legs at all and that is hardly the case. Most people will push with their feet, knees, or whatever they can press against the wall to produce extra power to get over the wall.

In the second example, that of performing dynos in climbing and strikes in combatives, you failed to mention that it is the hip complex that is generating most of the power one will produce when performing those specific motions.

Those examples actually serve to affirm what Coach said rather than refute it.
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:03 PM   #4
Josh Briggs
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The difference between learning the kipping pull up, and my examples of "situations where you have already spead the load as much as technique will allow"; is that with the pull up example... the athelete learned a NEW technique which allowed him to spread the load.

Whereas with the dyno / striking examples, good technique is pre- assumed... ie. you have already maxed out all the "help" that your hip complex can give you... now the only way to increase your power further is to either increase strenght or speed.

So, the kipping pull-up increases power output by the use of technique (load spreading), but if you want to increase power output further either strenght or speed in the motion will need to be trained.

Two obvious techniques for doing that with pull ups would be weighted (strenght) and clapping (speed) pull-ups.

Maybe I'm just discussing semantics but I see a difference between increasing power output through technique adjustments and through actual strenght / speed improvements.

Both are important, but there IS a difference between the two, and depending your training goals, you may want to adjust attention from one to the other.

For example, my pullups went from a 20max to a 35max by learning to kip. However, this improved overhanging 5.12 rock climbing not a bit, as that requires muscular power (plus technique of course, but not ones that are addressed by kipping pull ups).

Take it easy.
Josh}
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:11 PM   #5
Michael Halbfish
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Who was the athlete? I'd be curious as to his max number of kipping pullups
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Old 11-19-2006, 05:27 PM   #6
Craig Van De Walker
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I may be off-base but my feeling is that high power workouts are key to changing the hormonal mileau of the body which is why they are periodically sought out. This is part of how CrosFit works from what I understand.

There are other workouts where we use weighted or L-pullups, which are not amenable to any kipping action. These work the body in a more non-load sharing way.

The other piece is foccs on your "sport" to emphasize that aspects which your sport demands.

I do deadhang, L's, weighted and kipping pulls. In my experience kipping is the most demanding, they take more out of me. That makes me think they are quite valuable and maybe the most valuable of the types I practice. That being said :

CrossFit is functional, varied and undertaken at high intensity
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:58 PM   #7
Travis Loest
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1. Craig, I can't believe you used the phrase "hormonal mileau", and well! :bowdown:

2. Josh; "However, the power output of his pull-up muscles (upper body: back, biceps, etc.) did not increase significantly, or may have even gone down."
how about if the athlete did kipping pull-ups for the same amount of time that it took him to do the dead hang pull-ups. that way the time remains constant and the "effort", as it were, would alter would he not then increase his power output?
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:50 AM   #8
Lincoln Brigham
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Josh, if what you say is true then kipping pullups would get poorer results in upper body strength compared to strict pullups. But Crossfitters have not found this to be the case - the general finding is that kipping pullups are superior to strict pullups for building upper body strength.

At the very least, the same muscles are the limiting factor for both the kip and the strict pullup.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:47 AM   #9
Mike Yukish
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Josh said...
Regarding coach's assertion that the athelete doubled his power output (by ~1/2ing his time, while holding W constant)

What I read was that kipping lets you double the work while holding the time for a max rep constant. This ratchets up the power, and gives the pullup a metcon component too. If you were to portion out the work to different body parts, you'd probably end up with the same W done by the back whether kipping or non-kipping.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:11 PM   #10
Ahmik Jones
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I was the person in the video.

Michael,

The most I have ever done was 60. The most I have done recently is 55.

Josh,

A couple of things happened after a year of kipping with very little dead hang work due to elbow tendonitis.

The first time I tried weighted pull-ups I was able to do them with 100 lbs. (My guess is that would improve with a little more weighted work, but I was no where near that when I was doing dead hangs exclusively.)

My dead hangs improved dramatically. They got really easy.

I can not explain these two results completely, but although dead hang pull-ups isolate the "pull-up" muscles than a kipping pull-up, it is very difficult or nearly impossible to achieve the level of power available with kipping pull-ups by adding weight. I would have to do the same number of reps with 130 extra pounds in the same amount of time. So without kipping at least some of the time, I do not think that pulling exercises can be optimized.

The other thing that kipping does for you is gives you the ability to do a kip to support.

Although it is easier to do on a bar. It can be done on a wall with the help of the feet. (Jesse Woody taught me how.)

My feeling is that while dead-hangs have their place they have a much smaller role than kipping pull-ups. In fact there is not much point of doing them without adding an L or weight, or going all the way up in a muscle-up because by themselves they are an inefficient use of time. With the addition of one of these other components they are a very useful exercise.

I agree with the others above that in the met-con workouts which muscles are doing the work is largely are not important to Coach as long as the exercise is done safely. He is much more interested in power output than he is in which muscle is being worked. The reason for this is that he states that power is the factor in a workout program that is most closely correlated with results. That does not mean that the slow lifts do not have thier place, but the power(olympic lifts and kipping pull-ups) exercises have their place as well.

Kipping pull-ups and dead-hang pull-ups are very distinct exercises, just as shoulder press and push jerk are distinct. Each has its place, and in either case, avoiding one will limit an athlete's ability to attain their maximum potential.
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