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-   -   T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit (http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=38880)

Robert Wolf 11-11-2008 04:13 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brandon Oto (Post 444029)
Well, now that we seem to have you on the line, here's a specific methodological concern as you seem to be asking for, Glassman:

What specific reasons do you have for labeling work capacity as the primary goal of CrossFit, over and above other athletic demands?

I've asked and wondered this before, both publicly and privately. You seem to assert that this is the sine qua non of fitness, but it's not clear why this should be true, given that for some activities it's a critical component (boxing), but for others it's minimally relevant (powerlifting). Perhaps you could weigh in on this.

Brandon-
Not Coach, he HAS commented on this before, but I'll rehash it again.

This is all predicated on the crossfit definition of fitness, which makes it somewhat chicken & egg...crossfit (in conjunction with smart nutrition and lifestyle) is what's done, fitness is what happens. This whole scenario is by definition, broad general and inclusive.

With me?

Now, more to your question, that there are sportive activities that may not necessitate nor even BENEFIT from work capacity across broad time & modal domains does not undermine the basic definition of Fitness ala crossfit. Badminton, Olympic lifting and Sumo may indeed not benefit from work capacity across broad time and modal domains, I'd be careful with the inclusion of powerlifting however as the Westside guys seem pretty interested in increased work capacity, albeit, on shorter timescales than what crossfit is looking for. This is one element to the topic. The other element we need to look at your question:

"What specific reasons do you have for labeling work capacity as the primary goal of CrossFit, over and above other athletic demands?"

Once we have work capacity across broad time and modal domains...if you UNDERSTAND what this means, what OTHER athletic demands are there? The CrossFit definition of fitness covers modality (stuff), energy system adaptation, measurable biomarkers...This is what work capacity across broad time & modal domains IS...what other "athletic demands" are there?

Frederic Giraud 11-11-2008 04:13 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brandon Oto (Post 444029)
Well, now that we seem to have you on the line, here's a specific methodological concern as you seem to be asking for, Glassman:

What specific reasons do you have for labeling work capacity as the primary goal of CrossFit, over and above other athletic demands?

I've asked and wondered this before, both publicly and privately. You seem to assert that this is the sine qua non of fitness, but it's not clear why this should be true, given that for some activities it's a critical component (boxing), but for others it's minimally relevant (powerlifting). Perhaps you could weigh in on this.

Hey Brandon,

I don't think Coach suddenly one day woke up and taught to himself that that's it, work capacity rule the world of crossfit.

I'd rather think it that he was, once again, trying to improve the fitness of his client via studying different fitness protocol, or even fitness itself. And in this process he needed something to quantify that fitness, because numbers, and math, are there for that, to compare quantities objectively. So lets take a look at what he ended up with.

At any moment in any workout there is a power output ( which is define by the famous formula of P= (F.d)/t ). Now that is something that we can quantify at any given moment. Thus we can compare the power output of 2 people at the same given time.

But this is just for a punctual moment, If we start to calculate the power output of someone at each second, for example, for the duration of the entire workout, we will have a curve that represent the fluctuation of the power output of this person during a workout.

So we have a 2 axis graph, the y-axis would represent Power output and the x-axis would represent time. But remember we went all this way because we wanted to quantify fitness, or if you prefer we wanted to find a way to quantify an effort. Way that we find, you can calculate the power output of anyone this way, and thus we have a value we could use to compare.

But the taught of process doesn't stop here. If it stopped here our reasoning would be bad. You can't only compare Power output for the exact reason you mention in your question. The power output of a powerlifter is HUGE ... for the first 3-5second or so ( how ever much time is needed to complete the lift), the power output of a marathoner is so low but for such a HUGE amount of time. Which one is fitter? If we were only using power as the quantity we are going to use to compare fitness level, per say, we would all agree the power lifter is "fitter" ( 2 > 1 ). Thus we need another variable in the mix to make it more meaningful . Perhaps time?

As I said, the power output is huge for a powerlifter but for a really short period of time, and vice-versa the power output of a marathoner is really low but for a really long amount of time. Since we are now taking into consideration time, we have a curve, instead of points ( dots? ) . The surface between the curve and the x-axis is known as the integrate of the power output, and this number ( the surface ) will be our quantity that will permit us to compare human exercise. This surface is work capacity.

This quantity let us state that if the fitness level correlate to work capacity then we can safely assume that the fitness level of a powerlifter and a marathoner is close to the same, since the surface under the curve is more or less the same ( huge power short time / low power huge time ). And that the greatest surface would mean the greatest fitness.

I hope you kind of followed the reasoning, i'm no coach and he could annihilate my explaining of his reasoning, but I wanted to try to explain it as well. Also Excuse my poor English, it isn't my first language.

Also, we need to remember that all those are true only and only under crossfit's definitions of fitness.

:thanx:

Phillip Garrison 11-11-2008 04:15 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Coach (Post 443579)
Phillip,

We never made fun of Rhabdo. Kami doesn’t make fun of HIV. Smokey isn’t making fun of burned bears. I don’t know if I could be any clearer.

I’ve got no interest in removing myself from the “stigma of rhabdo”. If educating people causes others, like yourself, to be confused, that’s a price I will gladly pay. Our game plan has always been to win over the smart people first.

I have no choice but to take your word for your claim that you knew about rhabdo ahead of our work

Where did you get the idea that I thought that the military’s implementation and adoption of CrossFit was proof of anything? Why in the world would you put “proof” in quotation marks? Look, here’s where I goofed. I responded to what you posted not what you’d meant to say; I do that a lot. You said, (notice the quotes) “He didn't bother with the cert, because outside of CF it doesn't really hold any creed.” That statement is flat out false. By the way, proof is the exclusive province of mathematics. Science doesn’t involve proof or proving.

Your claim that CrossFit is not revolutionary “since you/it espouses concepts and exercises that have been part of professional and academic S&C curriculum for over 50 years…” is illogical nonsense. We did nothing new just took the same old stuff and combined it in new ways? In this manner no recipe is original if the ingredients are known. No song is original if the same old notes are used. No poem is original if the words contained therein are found in the dictionary.

Your comment about the “relatively uneducated masses” is an insult and coming from a guy who too often fails to create coherent sentences, struggles with simple logic, grammar, and spelling, misuses quotations, and offers NSCA and ACSM membership as scientific credentials it is insufferable. Philip you’re less educated than most of the people posting here and most assuredly less educated than our best educated. (I’m being nice here because my biographer from T-Nation, Chris Shugart, is here)

You say that “the criticisims that many have about CF are that they have not been subject to scientific scrutiny using the rigid standards to which many of the protocols espoused by Epley, Poliqiun, etc have had their training protocols held up to”. First of all, I’ve not seen that criticism anywhere. Second I don’t know of any scientific scrutiny of any fitness program.

You say that Epley and Poliquin are ”willing to let the training programs they espouse be put up to scrutiny both in the labratory and on the field of athletic performance, which may be their particular problem with CF”. Are you implying that I’m not willing to have the scientific validity of CrossFit be tested? I’m not only willing but begging.

The problem is that NSCA and ACSM "members" like you don’t see in language like this,

“Our very public and constant claim is that fitness is best defined as work capacity across broad time and modal domains; that meaningful assertions about a program need to address safety, efficacy, and efficiency with measurable, observable, repeatable data; that constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement delivered in a competitive sporting environment has produced unprecedented work capacity across broad time and modal domains (fitness); that by incorporating a lifestyle, including diet, rest, and workout elements that cause common health and fitness metrics to move simultaneously from pathological, past “normal”, to “fit” values we introduce a third axis, age, that turns our two dimensional work capacity area under the curve to a three dimensional solid whose volume defines both health and fitness (making health a logical facet of fitness); that all of this needs to be delivered publicly where methods, results, and criticisms, are transparent and, finally, that iterations of this effort have fed an open source community where experimentation will demonstrate best practices and ultimately advance the art and science of human performance .”

any testable propositions, scientific assertions – hypothesis or theories. They don’t recognize a revolutionary approach to fitness and a revolutionary quantifiable model of fitness and health that for the first time integrates both. They don’t see an intriguing new social construct for advancing human performance threatening to outpace and replace moribund commercial and academic approaches. They’re not willing to respond to a dialog that would be made meaningful by accepting our call for evidence-based fitness.

They don’t see data in performance scores when they’re posted as workout results or where people are having fun.

What they offer in response is mindless screed like you and T-Nation’s readers offer. Notice, friends, how not one poster at T-Nation even peripherally offers a criticism of CrossFit’s fundamental assertions. Not one.

There’s no evidence to suggest that my friend and biographer, Chris Shugart, or ANY of the posters have learned what it is that CrossFit claims.

How can you take my challenge of reviewing CrossFit and every other fitness program by examining effect, efficiency, and safety with measurable, observable, repeatable data, and then imply our unwillingness to engage in scientific inquiry?

Your claim that CrossFit has not been put to scrutiny on the field of athletic performance is an insult to the professional, Olympic, collegiate, and amateur champions that grace these very pages and workout with our affiliates around the world. It also speaks to my contention that you know very little about CrossFit.

The best you could do with any of this was what you offered here? Philip, you’re in way over your head.

Again, read more, post less.

Chris Shugart, I’m trying to be nicer. I really am.

Coach, I never claimed that doing seminars for MILO/LEO proves or disproves anything, you did when I stated that outside of CF the certs don't hold much credence within the community. If having requests to have seminars for LEO/MILO is proof that the certs or legit, than that means RKC is valuable too. I'll gladly apologize if you can show me a hospital, University, Junior College, Rehab center, community fitness center, commercial gym (yes I know they suck) or private contractor for government/military run facilities that lists as one of their required certifications CF level 1,2 or 3. Being a member of the NSCA, and ACSM I will be the 1st to admit they are not without faults, that being said most top run facilities in the US places were professional, and Olympic and collegiate athletes are train require NSCA, and most hospital settings and cardiac rehab centers require ACSM, and some often require both. This states that people outside of just the NSCA and ACSM deem the level of instruction and abilities required to posses these certifications suggests the owners of these credentials possess at least a solid grasp of the essential basics of exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology and sport science. So I will apologize if any of the above mentioned facilities require CF as a cert.

You can insult my intelligence all you want, but your statement that my argument is completely illogical is based off what? If you'd like we can happily fill out a truth table and you can show which fallacies of classical logic I've committed. I've never claimed to be the most intelligent person in the room and certainly not on here, I have a Masters in exercise physiology, does that make me an expert? Hardly but I would argue that I have a pretty solid grasp of basic human and exercise physiology and kinesiology.

As far as scientific scrutiny, most of the fitness protocols from which you've borrowed as the basis for many of your exercises for WOD's do most certainly have a solid science basis to back up the argument that they should be included in a training protocol. Tabata has been well documented to elicit measurable increases in VO2 and Lactate threshold. Garhammer has done extensive research to show that Olympic lifts and their power versions can increase lower leg power, VJ, CMVJ, and sprint performance. Surely you knew this when you started using these exercises in your WOD's. If you're willing to have CF be subjected to scientific scrutiny, than why haven't you up until this point, to my knowledge the Canadian Military test is the only test that has been done using quantifiable measures.

You say that CF produces fitness across a broad range of fitness measurements which I believe to be true, however you have no data to back it up with other than people who do CF workouts get better at CF workouts overtime. Which is the same argument as saying rowing is the best exercise modality ever, because if you start rowing, you will get dramatically better at it as time goes on, and will be significantly better at it as time goes on.

If CF truly does all these things than comparing the VO2 Max, Vertical jump, Standing Long Jump, Lactate Threshold, Anaerobic power output etc using known and reliable tests should not be a problem.

Yes some athletes are using CF, but not many to my knowledge have come forward on this forum to say that CF has given them that competitive edge. This however is once again a poor argument for showing that legitimacy of a program and it's inherent effectiveness over other training protocols. For example thousands of NCAA Div I, NFL,NBA, MLB, and Olympic athletes have trained at University of Michigan which for years was a paragon HIT ideology, does the fact that they have produced thousands more elite athletes than CF show that HIT is a better program than CF?

Phillip Garrison 11-11-2008 04:15 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
You say I don't understand what Crossfit is. On CF's homepage it says "Forging Elite Fitness"? You claim that CF is superior to natural BBing based on your years of training in the fitness industry, which is about as solid a logical argument as me saying Pro bodx is superior based off my years of experience. I have coached and trained Junior College, Div II, Div I, and pro athletes, does that mean my word should, or your word, or anyone word should be accepted as gospel?

Like I said Coach, I'm a big supporter of CF and I feel instead of being combative towards people like me and others who have raised legitimate concerns or complaints, use this opportunity to prove your detractors wrong with solid science to back up your claims. Data beyond people doing WOD's and getting better at them. Allow researchers to do studies showing improvements in VO2, Anaerobic power, lactate threshold, lower leg power, VJ etc. I am confident that doing these studies will only further show the world the efficacy of CF, but also show where CF can be improved, which is the goal of any good sport scientists and physical educator, to find where improvements can be made. When you would like to do that truth table I'll be happy too.

Sincerely,

Phillip

Brandon Oto 11-11-2008 05:01 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Rob and Frederic,

I recognize these things. My specific inquiry is WHY CF chooses work capacity as its definition of fitness.

I have no doubt that CF is probably ideal for maximizing fitness under this definition, but if it's not an arbitrary definition then I'd like to know how it was chosen. If all we need is any ol' measurable standard, then it might as well be maximal strength, or how long you can stand on one foot, or LDL cholesterol. Why this one?

Frederic Giraud 11-11-2008 05:20 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
I think it's simply because it is the best indicator of fitness, that has yet been think of or discovered.

By the way the crossfit definition of fitness is NOT work capacity. If I recall correctly the crossfit definition of fitness is 4-fold:

-Hoper Model
-10 Criteria of fitness
-Metabolic Pathways Balance
-Fitness/Health Continuum

Only the synthesis of all those 4 models comes down to the well-known:

Increase Work Capacity Across Board Time and Modal Domain.

To conclude, and in my previous post I didn't really conclude, lost my taughts, Work Capacity is something quantifiable, thus measurable. If progress wants to be made, measurement must be done ( getting better or not), and while keeping in mind the crossfit definition of fitness, every part of the definition of fitness must be measured in a way by the quantity we're gonna choose to base our progress on. Work Capacity is that quantity that englobe the crossfit definition of fitness and thus let us measure progress, or not, in an objective way.

*I know I'm still missing something, just can't get my head to think english anymore, or to think at all anymore, please correct us Coach, or anyone of course*

Derek Maffett 11-11-2008 05:48 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phillip Garrisonq (Post 444168)
Yes some athletes are using CF, but not many to my knowledge have come forward on this forum to say that CF has given them that competitive edge.

CF will not always give someone a "competitive" edge because "competitive" implies specificity, which is not the focus of CF.

But since you asked, look up Erin Cafaro. And there are plenty of examples of normal people who got better at specific sports (not just Crossfit workouts) due to Crossfit. No, they are certainly not elite, but that's not the point - Crossfit doesn't even try to make people elite in everything.

Yet again, though, we come back to whether or not anecdotal data is admissible. I believe it is. Many people disagree with me. :shrug:

Robert Wolf 11-11-2008 05:49 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brandon Oto (Post 444228)
Rob and Frederic,

I recognize these things. My specific inquiry is WHY CF chooses work capacity as its definition of fitness.

I have no doubt that CF is probably ideal for maximizing fitness under this definition, but if it's not an arbitrary definition then I'd like to know how it was chosen. If all we need is any ol' measurable standard, then it might as well be maximal strength, or how long you can stand on one foot, or LDL cholesterol. Why this one?

Brandon-
CrossFit gets reduced to:
constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity.

We go through and define all these things (well described in both print and video media via the CFJ).

Variation is kinda obvious...things are constantly changed.

Functional movements have several related characteristics but these boil down to the unique ability to: "Move large loads, long distances, quickly".

This boils down to: (ForcexDistance)/Time=Power Power is the definition of Intensity whether we are talking 1 RM or a marathon.

Any given modality (activity) has a potential graph of power output...an agregate of these measures is, by definition work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

It's like building a race car, only in this instance we are not looking for a drag-racing, 1/4 miler, but rather a rally car to do the Baja 1000. Fast off the mark, good through the turns, resilient for the long haul.

It would be interesting to look at the specific metrics of a drag racing car vs a rally car and see how these vary from that of an OL'er vs CF'er....

I'm sure Coach would comp you into a cert if you need this in lecture format.

Brandon Oto 11-11-2008 07:04 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
Rob:

Nevertheless my question remains, because work capacity or "power" is not a universal, homogenous, Platonic form to which all activity can be equivalently reduced. Under this take, for instance, 5 100lb squats in 5 seconds are identical to one 500lb squat in 5 seconds, winning a football game is the same as losing one if you do the same amount of work, handcycling is the same as hitting a speedbag, and dropping 5 minutes from your Helen time while losing 200 pounds from your deadlift is an increase in fitness. All of these may be true, though they would be debated, but they're only true because of the particular definition of fitness chosen, which could be otherwise. So I have to ask again why this one was chosen, as long as it's not arbitrary. (If it's arbitrary, then I'm going to define "accuracy" as the key component of fitness, and in that case WoDs are a terrible tool and we should all playing a lot of darts and bocce.)

John Filippini 11-11-2008 08:15 PM

Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit
 
I know I'm kind of just throwing an additional twist in the discussion, but what about the view of CF as a training program for the short-term vs the long-term?

Bear with me a sec. I don't actually think I really have a problem with the definition of fitness being at least very close to "work capacity across broad times and modal domains". It makes a degree of sense to me: I can see how increased abilities in strength, power, speed, stamina, endurance all get encompassed by this. It's a bit more of a stretch, but I can even see how agility, balance, accuracy, flexibility and coordination work in -- they could merely be seen as necessary improvements for the end goal of being able to do the tasks that raise the power output over time curve to increase the work area under it.

But I feel like accepting "work capacity across broad times and modal domains" as the definition of fitness still does not necessarily make CrossFit (and by this I mean programming resembling closely the main page WOD -- I know the two are not the same, let's just skip that a sec). The best evidence for this is the recent development and success of programs which have a large strength bias.

CrossFit seems likely to be the best method to develop broad work capacity in the near term, hence it's high value to Military, LEO, Emergency Responders, etc. But what about those that don't need a high level of conditioning this instant? Could they be better served in the long run with some sort of periodization model that focuses on one or a couple dimensions of fitness at a time and then periodically ties them all together? Would it be valuable to punch up one end or another of the power output curve temporarily so that in the long run the entire curve can go up faster?

Personally, I think the jury's still out on this. I merely wanted to bring it up since I don't feel like CrossFit has really made a strong argument yet to say that anyone except for emergency responders are better off with a steady slow increase of all facets of fitness at once, as opposed to a cycled approach of some sort.

Also, I hope everyone takes this as a constructive suggestion to examine, not an attack on CrossFit. Not only did I see fantastic gains on this program, but it was the first thing that I ever ran into that made exercising my body enjoyable.


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