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Old 06-18-2010, 07:03 PM   #6
Justin McCallon
Member Justin McCallon is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Atlanta  GA
Posts: 551
Re: CrossFitters vs Decathletes

Obviously the CF folks would do very poorly in the skill-based events. 1 month is not near enough time to pick that stuff up. 1 year and some of the CF guys would be good, but nowhere near the elite level.

Going the other way, a Decathlete without specifically training at all would probably DNF several events at the Games (I really doubt they can proficiently perform pull-ups, muscle-ups, double unders, snatches, overhead squats, rope climbs, burpees, kettlebell swings, etc. without some training). With a month of training, the Decathlete would probably do poorly, but might beat a few people that snuck in by having weird Regionals and Games events that played to their weaknesses.

Given a year, an elite decathlete would be tough. I don't think they'd be a lock to win, but depending on the events I would expect a top 10 finish.

The thing is that Decathletes don't need to be good at pull-ups, rowing, deadlifting, many gymnastic exercises, or anything with high reps. Most of them probably also aren't overly familiar with some lifts like the snatch that aren't really necessary when they can do other lifts. And, a lot of what they train for are events lasting under 20 seconds that are only partially helped by 1rm type training. Events like the 100m dash, high jump, shot put, and discus are (stupidly) never really tested in CF.

As far as the cardio element, there's 2 parts to cardio. One is your central conditioning -- your aerobic and anaerobic power/capacity. On this side, decathletes are probably ahead of most CFers. The part they would struggle on, however, is that they don't have a ton of peripheral adaptations to CF movements like burpees, thrusters, kettlebell swings, pull-ups, etc. Even if they're strong in the movement, it may very well tire them easily, even when they have good conditioning.

This all said, here was a quote from Bryan Clay from another thread:
"My lifts are not that spectacular. I weigh about 180lbs, my bench is 355lbs, my full cleans are 335lbs, and my squat is around 580lbs." (His PR is about a 5 minute mile, but that's his worst event IIRC ... 4:38 1500m)
I was expecting Bryan to be pretty average on the strength stuff, and he's up there with the strongest CFers. But, I think we have guys that run a 5 minute mile and have similar lifts (maybe our top few guys train him by 10% or so in one or the other).

Also, I'm not sure that elite decathletes would be the toughest to beat with training, though. I would expect a 150-170lb elite weightlifter to be exceptionally hard to beat after a year or two of training. At 150lbs I think those guys can C&J about 400lbs. I'm sure they're deadlifting mid-500's or more, back squatting probably 650 deep, and pressing around 245. Being light, they should be able to do the bodyweight stuff pretty quickly, and then it's just a matter of getting conditioning up.

Football and basketball players are higher level athletes at what they do, given that everyone wants to be a football or basketball player and they get paid a ton. But, not a lot of them are built well for CF. It's hard to be much over 200lbs or much over 6ft or so and be competitive. There's probably a couple freak shows like Adam Archuletta that would fair well with some extra training.

But no, I don't think anyone without training specifically for the event and at least knowing of CF could finish top 3. After a month, there's probably a couple people that might be able to do it, depending on the events. I realize that pro athletes are pushing the limits of human performance much more than CFers are (in part because most of them are using steroids), but a lot of what they are doing isn't relevant to CF, and a lot of CF stuff is foreign to them and not necessary to be good at their respective sports.

Last edited by Justin McCallon : 06-18-2010 at 07:08 PM.
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