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

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Old 12-04-2005, 02:49 AM   #1
Josh Briggs
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I'm currently enjoying a throwback to my youth, training at the Fairtex Muay Thai camp in Bangkok.

This brings up an interesting difference in how the faranags (foreigner's) train vs. the thai's...
We (on average) train less (compartively speaking) and rest until we are recovered. Here, they train 6 days a week, twice a day... 30mins to 1 hour run to warm up, then 4 - 12 rounds at 3 - 6mins each with a minute rest between, then light bag work, and lots of sit-ups and other bodyweight stuff or weights... and this is twice a day... and the ring work is always high to very high intensity.

Now, I am certainly feeling stressed by this program more than the locals, due to my comparitive lack of fitness and my long absence from kickboxing training...

But it strikes me that since everyone is training hard (the super fit fighters are just being pushed harder by their trainers)... that theoretically they aren't resting enough. Especially given the high intensity of the training.

There are certainly lots of stories here about the dangers of "overdoing it" (mine amoung them).

That's the theory. What I see, is that far from seeming overworked, the thai fighters seem to have incorporated this very high intensity, continuous level of phyiscal output to a point where not only do they seem capable of sustaining it, but they display (on average) a much higher level of speed, relaxation, fluidity, and condtioning than the western fighters.

Their motto here is "If you want to fight like a Thai, You've got to train like a Thai".

What I see reinforces that... but it seems to run counter to what I had known theoretically...

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Old 12-04-2005, 08:46 AM   #2
Kemal Eren
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if you see it working, it must work! it would be a shame to not fulfill your potential just because it's "theoretically" not possible.

check out the introduction to this article over at t-nation:

its basically about strongmen workouts, but the introduction is very good even if that's not your thing.

(diving right in might be asking for trouble though. IMO easing into it would reduce the chances of burning out from the unaccustomed workload)

(Message edited by meaner_elk on December 04, 2005)

(Message edited by meaner_elk on December 04, 2005)
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Old 12-04-2005, 10:57 AM   #3
Robert Wolf
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Traditional Thai (and western boxing for that matter) training obviously work but the smart use of intervals that time match the demands of a fight work better:

As to the work capacity, it is something that needs to be developed over time and is crucial for long term sucsess. I remember when I first started hanging around the CF message board and found out what people like Frank O. were doing...I did not think that amount of training was possible. It is, but it does take time to adapt to it.

One of our clients is a physics major and does a 5 on 2 off schedule with us. He is a monster but it is interesting that when he is off during the summer and starts working HARD construction in the summer his performance improves well beyond his his normal studliness. He leans out even more and has an amazing work capacity AND recovery. He is back in school now and still a top performer but certainly off his mark from the summer.

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Old 12-04-2005, 08:09 PM   #4
Tom Brose
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Josh, I noticed some of the same things while training in Thailand. There are several factors to take into account. One is that the Thais are the best at what they do, but their training methods are archaic at best. Last summer I trained in Bangkok, and noticed that while far ahead of me, almost none of the fighers could do more than a few (2-3) pullups. They only tried when they saw me do them, (at 225, almost twice thier size, and nowhere near as lean). A few years ago, i trained at the gym with Samkor Kiatmonthep and Buakaw Por Pramuk. They did curls and pushups as their only strength training. So my point is, the methodology their isnt so advanced, and i do feel that given the time, a Crossfit trainer could improve their proformance intensly.

The other point, is that overtraining beats those guys other options. Almost all of the serious boxers are from very poor families, often from Isaan. They dont have many good opportunities, and come fro hard lives. So getting fed and sleeping a few hours in between sessions may be a easier life than they had. I think in sports like that, the athletes overall health isnt a main concern. If they cant hack it, go back to the farm, and someone else will do the work. Just like some of the Soviet training methodology, it weeds out many, as they are not important as the syste (gym, team, state, etc.)

So, these methods arent always the best option for those of us with other life concerns. That being said, I am jealous of you right now, as its dropping into the 20s in DC right now.

Choke dii.
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:44 AM   #5
John Frankl
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This is an interesting thread. I have trained in Thailand several times and at several different camps. One thing that has not been mentioned is the fact that 99% of them are between the ages of pre-pubescent and very early 20s. Their professional careers are short. They are often grossly overtrained, or at least inefficiently using their time and other resources. But they are in the sport at an age when they can get away with it. Still, I agree that with more intelligent training they could be even better.

John Frankl
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