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Old 12-02-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: silver spring  maryland
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

Brian: good call since I didn't cover it. Only broad spectrum athletes or athletes where genetic potential and its realization isn't a big factor in being elite in their sports would CF be effective.


Interesting concept. It is true that most of the stabilizers of joints are slower twitch muscles which makes sense.. cause you don't want your joint stabilization failing on you fast. However, while they do play a role I'm not sure of how much they actually do play a role when it comes to elite athletics. Well, I want to take a look at what happens at an injury level and then speculate on the application to elite level. The first one I want to take a look at is torn ACLs. While most people have them repaired so that they can go back to their sports, if significant cutting or movement is not required in a chosen profession (not elite athletics of course) it is possible to rehab the knee so that the muscles take over the stablization of the joint specifically your hamstrings and quads and to a lesser extend the adductors and abductors. The second would be looking at again a sprinters profile. I think it is the case here that the larger muscles start to dominate over the stabilization muscles even in the stabilization of the joint especially within the knee and the hip joint. There are tons of small stabilization muscles within at least the hip joint specifically that pretty much stay relatively small while the larger muscles -- all of the muscles of the glutes and hamstrings) tend to dominate hip function. Thus, I think it is the case where stabilization is at least somewhat conferred not just on the stabilizers but the larger muscles as well as they become more hypertrophied.

I mean, I guess that's my opinion though but it seems like the case that this happens.

Originally Posted by Corey Duvall View Post
Used up? I think you're a bit confused. You're stating this as if we are born with 100 muscle fibers that we train into categories... if we dedicate 25 of those to type I then we can only have 75 type II. I may be incorrect, but I believe the research you are referring to is that which states spending extended time training at a low intensity will benefit the Type I oxidative fibers and there will be no increase of Type II fibers. Well that is because they aren't being trained, not that the Type I fibers dominate and replace them. If you train both type I and type II you will increase both. Train one, grow one, train both, grow both.
Okay, maybe I used a bad analogy, and I'm definitely not confused. Basically what we're born with is a certain number of fibers percentage say 30% fast twitch and 70% slow twitch (these of course differ between different size muscles and such but we'll just use this as an example). With power and strength training you can selectively hypertrophy your fast twitch fibers to where the cross sectional area is a greater percentage fast twitch and a lower percentage slow twitch. So you can reverse it to 70% fast twitch and 30% slow twitch or even a bit more. So yes, fiber type generally does not switch although it CAN in some cases AND slow twitch fibers can be made to act like fast twitch through certain types of training like plyometrics. What happens is selective hypertrophy of fiber types depending on type of training.

Now what I was saying about genetic limits comes into play. Our bodies have a capacity for a certain amount of hypertrophy in lets say the quads before we hit a genetic limit for maximum ability to put muscle on or rather an optimal amount. If you're a sprinter and you're filling your training with endurance and type I fibers are being hypertrophied, that's leaves less of your genetic limit to hypertrophy your type II fibers. So in effect if your genetic limit was "100% total area" and you start off with 20% area untrained (6% fast twitch and 14% slow twitch), and you start training endurance you may hypertrophy your slow twitch total area up to say 20% (which you're now at 26% total area) which affords you less available hypertrophy for your type II fibers out of your genetic limit. This is extremely significant when you realize that pretty much most elite athletes are hard workers and it comes down to who has the better genetics a lot of times in certain sports.

I don't think Crossfit WOD's should be heavily utilized, but I do think that they will afford an increased ability to recover from intense sprinting workouts. There are a few articles written by coaches about how the utilization of crossfit has improved their athletes recovery. Baseball and powerlifting I believe are the two articles. Both do not use the mixed modal extended power output that is the focus of Crossfit. They still benefitted because it made them better overall athletes. They may not use that overall greatness in their specific event, but they DO use it during/after their workouts.
Baseball I can understand since most of those guys aren't exactly pushing their limits with sprinting or jumping or what have you as it does not affect their ability to field and bat that much except maybe outfielders.

Powerlifters although it improves recovery (which it does) I think they are doing themselves a disservice unless their training is specifically lighter in nature or geared towards recovery as opposed to heavy metcon or other aerobic work for their lifting muscles.

The other thing I'll say is that the full ROM utilized with squats, walking lunges, dips and so forth will help to prevent muscle dominance and imbalances from occurring which could lead to overuse injuries. I think that is an unseen, less than acknowledged attribute of Crossfit's dedication to proper form.
No question. A good training program though shouldn't lead towards those imbalances, so there's really just something wrong with the quality of coaches if that happens...
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