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

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Old 12-13-2003, 06:48 AM   #1
Asaf Gil
 
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Hi everyone,

I've been following CF training philosophy from the first time I came across the website - altering my workouts to include functional, multi joint exercises and dropping the useless exercises. Since I don't have OLing equipment or coaching I've been doing PL lifts (squats, bench press) and especially gymnastics movements (pull ups, dips, muscles ups (bar), L sits).

I have a question regarding the high-reps, gymanstics-oriented CF: reading a lot about strength and hypertrophy training I learned that myofibrillar hypertrophy ("denser" muscles) comes from low reps/high loads and that sacroplasmic hypertropthy (bodybuilding, "pump") is the result of high reps/lower loads. As I understand Crossfit is all about developing strength and power yet there's the part of high reps bodyweight exercises.
So how does it all fit together? (granted these exercises are very functional but still..)

Asaf
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Old 12-13-2003, 07:01 AM   #2
Roy
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Hi. Welcome to Crossfit. 80% of the 1 rep maximum for about 4-7 reps in 5 sets is known for the best Hypertrophy gains in MOST individuals. I think the reason crossfit puts on mass is because the way your hormones react to it. Read the free crossfit journal, and you will find good information. Stick around, and wait for more replies. I could type more, but I have to go to the gym now for the WOD. :D Have a good one.

Cheers

Roy
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Old 12-13-2003, 02:05 PM   #3
Robert Wolf
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Asaf-

Welcome! I am not sure how to answer your question other than it does seem to fly in the face of most conventional wisdom. In Science and Practice of Strength Training the Conjugate method (which includes max efforts, speed work and standard bodybuilding) is recomended to maximize absolute strength. I used the conjugate method with good sucsess but the CrossFit methodology has worked better to optimize my strength to bodyweight (relative strength) and my absolute strength. All this while increasing my weight in the form of muscle mass.

I can usually be pretty long winded about this stuff but I am honestly not sure about the specifics of how CrossFit works. Neuroendocrine response and enhanced neurological output are obvious results but exactly how it works...not sure about that.
Robb
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Old 12-13-2003, 02:27 PM   #4
Asaf Gil
 
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Thanks for the replies... however...
I'll put it this way:

What role (other than, of course, the abilty to perform them) do all these gymnastics exercises play in the Crossfit methodology in regard for strength development?

Don't get me wrong, I've been doing bodyweight stuff for years and consider them very functional and beneficial for developing the abilty to move your body through space and performing real-world movement, it just that they are often looked down upon as not supplying enough resistance for strength/mass development. So I was wondering about their place in the CF regimen...

Coach Glassman? anyone?
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Old 12-14-2003, 06:10 AM   #5
Dale S. Jansen
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my personal reflections on individual strength/mass. just as some are fat and some skinny, whether we like it or not, each of us is genetically programmed to be a certain size and strength. we can improve on those elements with natural means only so far. the bodybuilders becomes so massive only with the help of huge amounts of synthetic hormones and steroids. in the end, does it matter? when i met my wife 25 years ago, i weighed 132 at 5'9". i could split wood all day, run 90 to 100 miles a week, snowshoe my butt off. now, i weigh 162, all of it waist up, NOT fat. am i stronger? yes. do i run that much anymore? no. 20 to 30 miles a week. cycle maybe a hundred. pack runs. xfit. can do events at both ends of the anaerobic/aerobic spectrum. LOVE dips. hate pullups but getting better. love to hike, adventure race. what's the bottom line here? MOVE. do not allow your couch cushions to assume the shape of an ever-widening posterior. lastly, for the end result of body weight exercises, just look at military special ops guys, gymnasts. have FUN.
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Old 12-14-2003, 09:37 AM   #6
Roy
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Bump on that last line dale mentioned. As far as Crossfit goes with building a better body, it will build a body more like Maurice Greene, rather than Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler. I use to be into bodybuilding, and I still dont think my strength is proportional to my size yet, but its getting there rapidly thanks to crossfit. Im getting all my speed and agility back, as well as my torque for inverted stunts, and I believe with crossfit, I will blow past where I "was" before I fell into the fashion trap.

So as far as strength mass development, I believe it will put on mass but not make one "massive." Your strength, however, will skyrocket. This is a fact. I am stronger now with doing pushups than I was doing bench presses only. My 1 RM for bench went from 175 in april to 200 as of a few days ago. April to august, I was in a full arm cast after an unlucky second surgery. late september, I started the WOD's without equipment since I had none or no access to, which meant a LOT of pullups and pushups. As far as strength goes, You'll be thrilled. If pushups get to easy, do ONE ARM pushups!

Cheers

Roy
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Old 12-14-2003, 08:25 PM   #7
Robert Wolf
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Asaf-

The upper body, abdominal and lower back strength of gymnasts is unparalled in athletics. It is rare to see an athlete standing press their bodyweight for a single rep while this is no fete whatsoever for a gymnast. I worked on some new varieties of press to handstand today and I can guarantee that the load was sufficient for adaptation and growth.

Comparing standard bodyweight movements to gymnastics progressions is a dangerous thing IMO as the loading, technical qualities and neurological demands are vastly different. Check out the physiques of most gymnasts. Adda seriously developed set of legs and you have a pretty damn good bodybuilder.

Try the WOD for a month and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Robb

PS- Have you read the free CrossFit Journal "What is Fitness" available here:
http://www.crossfit.com/cf-download/CFJ-trial.pdf
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Old 12-15-2003, 09:26 AM   #8
Roger Harrell
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In general gymnasts tend to do the bw exercises, but start putting on load when the reps get too high. Gymnasts need as much explosive strength as possible. The isometric stuff (iron cross, maltese, etc) are needed, but the dynamic strength is focused on. Hanging weights and other gymnasts on oneself when doing exercises is common.
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Old 12-21-2003, 06:36 AM   #9
Asaf Gil
 
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Thanks for the replies!

Asaf
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