CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > Community > Testimonials
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Testimonials CrossFit's successes / your achievements

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-15-2004, 01:13 PM   #1
mark twight
Departed mark twight is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 129
I can't recall where it was but some weeks back there were questions regarding CF protocol and positive benefits for endurance effort. I had the same questions and while I have not finished my test I do have some results from a week of more or less non-stop activity.

Lead-up: was 5 days CF workouts, 1 day rest, 2 days CF, 1 day rest, then:
day 1- Ice climb (all grade 3 and 4), 5 pitches
day 2 - ski mountaineering, 3600 vertical feet of gain, 12km distance
day 3 - CF workout
day 4 - CF workout
day 5 - ski mountaineering, 4500 vertical feet of gain, 11km distance
day 6 - ski tour to ice climbing, 4km easy approach on skis, 5 pitches ice climbing grade 4 and 5, ski out 4km, plus the usual get the truck stuck in a snowbank and CF pushing/ pulling/ shovelling effort ot get it out.
day 7 - rest
day 8 - ski mountaineering, ski uphill 1000 vertical feet, snow and mixed climbing 1500 vertical feet, ski down (this was an amusing mountaineering day on the south ridge of Mt. Superior in the Wasatch, with deep unconsolidated snow, plenty of cornices, post-holing, and snowed-up rock climbing followed by ski descent of "Pinball Alley").

Now I have had two days of rest.

I had purposefully not skied or climbed much all winter (prior to this I only climbed 4 days, all teaching, and went ski mountaineering once). I only did CF type workouts from November 1. I have an aerobic base and movement efficiency developed over many years but still, I never ran more than 400m with exception of one 3k per a particular WOD, never rowed more then 30 minutes (and this at very low HR). Results were encouraging; during the ski mountaineering days I had plenty of gas for power-endurance efforts, went 4-6 hours each day, never felt aerobically pressured, stayed mentally sharp and recovered quickly. Ice climbing days were on relatively easy routes and the only challenge I felt was (as usual) grip endurance, which is VERY specific and despite training on rings, the fat pull-up bar, isometric farmer bar holds, etc. this must be "re-educated" through actual practice of the sport. But grip endurance was not an anticipated part of the test. All I was interested in was whether the anaerobic and lactate tolerance training common to CrossFit would have positive influence on pure aerobic effort of significant duration (i.e. 20 to 40 times longer than an average CF workout, which is still lower than the final the target duration) and the answer is a resounding, "yes."

I still need to do some benchmark ski mountaineering days to make "exact" comparisons with previous (one to two years ago) effort. I put "exact" in quotation marks because not only do snow conditions change but my body has changed a lot from doing CrossFit and eating Zone/Paleo as well: I am 13lbs lighter than the previous two winters, which will have positive effect on VO2 Max and O2 uptake efficiency, I can push (dips and push-ups) harder now, which would have a positive effect on poling on uphill or flat terrain, I have stronger hips, which allows me to stand upright and push with glutes, etc. when skiing uphill instead of leaning forward and relying mostly on my quads. The upright position improves breathing efficiency as well. I have a much stronger core, and this increases the efficiency of all movement. So, while the tests cannot produce an exact comparison they do show, and I expect future tests to give similar results, that CF has positve benefits for endurance and power-endurance effort. Good results with fewer destructive side-effects than those associated with long, slow distance, oxidative type training.


Mark T.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2004, 06:31 AM   #2
Scott McAndrews
Departed Scott McAndrews is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 115
Mark,
Very interesting post! I've been wondering how you would find CF training (in particular the shorter duration metabolic work...sprints etc.) has effected your performance especially in light of the high level alpinism that you are involved in. When you were training for some of your previous fast and light blitzes (like the Czech Direct - I think that was the name of the route - on Denali) did you mostly use traditional long, slow road work to train? How much lifting did you do back then? Thanks again for this interesting look at your training and results.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2004, 10:20 AM   #3
Jay Swan
Member Jay Swan is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Durango  CO
Posts: 46
Thanks! I was the one who was asking about CF and endurance. Please continue to report back on your training; this is very useful.

I have only been incorporating CF workouts into my training for about 6 weeks now. Thus far, the major effect on my running has been less uphill fatigue. My upper body strength-endurance has improved dramatically. It will be interesting to see how it progresses.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2004, 10:54 AM   #4
mark twight
Departed mark twight is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 129
Scott,

I'm certainly not finished with this "test" but I am really psyched with the results so far. Being a skeptic at heart I keep asking, "how is this possible?" I am trying to overcome more than 20 years of training programming. My body is doing it just fine but my brain is still shouting that something is not right! It is an amazing process to be going through at age 42.

Previously, training for big routes in Alaska, the Himalayas or the Alps I did spend time lifting but I focused mainly on movements I thought related to climbing: the five core exercises were pull-downs (seated with knees locked under a plate for the higher weights), finger curls (standing, with an Olympic bar), one arm rows (bent over, one knee on bench), leg press (on a machine), calf raises (standing, also on a machine). I was pushing and pulling some remarkable weight for my bodyweight. I combined the weight room with metabolic work on a road bike, some skate skiing, and either running or skiing uphill. Then stacked with long days in the mountains onto the program.

Strangely, I never believed strongly in the need for massive hours of aerobic base. The scientists say I was wrong but I never felt like a lack of fitness caused me to fail on any routes. There were guys I could not keep up with, of course, but that may result from many causes. In the early years my longest "artificial" metabolic workouts lasted a couple of hours, max. That changed in the mid-1980s when I realized how slow most guys were going in the mountains and that maybe their slow training modality was the cause. They trained at a moderate level of effort for long, long hours so they never got to know what intense and fast really meant, never could express it in the mountains.

So I started training shorter duration of higher efforts but never got below 45-60 minutes during the metabolic workouts. It certainly improved lactic acid tolerance and pushed my anaerobic threshold higher but not to the same degree as CrosssFit has. And I eventually adapted to the training because it was so repetitive, working the same energy systems in the same way over and over. I never got bored to the point of detraining myself but I realize how efficient I became at certain types of effort, which ultimately reduced the value of the training.

Now, with several months of CrossFit under my skin, and many conversations with Coach I recognize that, while fitness might never have caused me to fail, I could certainly have achieved higher and broader levels of fitness by following a protocol other than the one I developed on my own or with equally narrow-minded coaches who thought there was one right way to get there.

I wish I had discovered the rings as a tool 15 years ago. I wish I had discovered the need for effective core and midline stabilization, and learned how a weak SI joint was costing me energy. I wish I had dipped below the 45-60 minute metabolic duration into the 20-minute area at much higher intensity -- but years of programming insisted that this did not make sense.

I am pleased that, while I might have done more, better if my training program had been different back then, I am able to move ahead with something new. One of my partners adamantly refuses to move on because that would force him to consider that he wasted the last ten years on a less effective protocol ... he's training massive hours at a Zone 1 HR, finally starting one interval day per week last week. I can't wait to get with him and test the results of our different training programs!

The Czech Direct was strange. I was not very fit when I went up (two weeks before the other guys showed up) so I got fit "on the mountain." Once on the CZD I kept up while we were low, then blazed ahead as we got higher, ultimately leading for the last six hours. I don't think I was any more fit, rather I was less stressed by my training program so I had more in reserve.

I think this is one of CF's benefits: while stressful during the training blocks, recovery is quick, and with 5-7 days of tapering before an event I think it likely to store big reserves physically and psycholgically.


Mark T.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2004, 05:22 PM   #5
Scott McAndrews
Departed Scott McAndrews is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 115
Mark,
Again, really interesting stuff! Thanks for such a thoughtful response. In the last few months I have often thought to myself "If I'd only tried this earlier". However, as you say, the key is to try these new things and move forward. That's what I find exciting about my own training these days. I'm trying stuff that I would never have thought of doing even a year ago.

Looking at the schedule that you noted in your first post raises a question. Were the CF workouts that you did of your own making or are you following the posted WOD's just on different days? Do you add grip work and bouldering on your climbing wall as finishers?

I hope you don't mind if I ask two more questions. First, when you are doing a "fast and light" ascent, how fast are you moving on some of the easier climbing? Will you actually be running? Second, could you explain a bit more about the weak SI joint, how you "diagnosed" it, and what you've done to strengthen it. Thanks again!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 01:46 PM   #6
mark twight
Departed mark twight is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 129
Scott,

I rarely do CF WODs on the day they are posted. We make things up, following the methodology and most of the time respecting the three on/ one off schedule. I'll go 5 to 7 days straight sometimes if I feel recovery is adequate. A lot depends on diet, sleep and other stress so I treat scheduling intuitively. For grip work, I get on the wall sometimes but lately we have been holding these 56lb Farmer bars made by Mr Pink. The gym record was just shattered by some visiting Seals ... ouch, that hurt.

Moving on easy terrain: speed varies, depending on the quality of the medium and the altitude. But yes, actual running has happened on many routes. Then again, climbing fast can look a lot like running to climbers who have never seen "the pace" before. There's a good story in Will Gadd's new book about mixed climbing where he and Scott Semple enchained some routes in the Canadian Rockies, knocking out full pitches of Grade 6 water ice in 20-25 minutes (both led and followed). Now that's moving.

SI joint: I always had lower back problems and had trouble keeping my feet on the wall when terrain was overhanging. I did ab crunches 'til I had "pretty" abs but they were still non-functional, and my back still hurt. When I went to a seminar at CFHQ in early-December I learned a lot about midline stabilization, and functional core strength (not ab crunches or fit ball leg lifts). I started doing overhead squats, correctly executing Oympic lifts (thanks to Dan John's coaching work here in SLC), and working on the parallettes and rings. Back pain disappeared within a couple of weeks. And as my hips strengthened I was able to shove my skis uphill, even in deep snow with a lot less effort. I feel like I can use my feet effectively on steep terrain now too. So the cure was the overhead squats, cleans, deadlifts, L-sits, tuck planches, tuck roll to invert and front lever negatives (on the rings), L-sit pull-ups, sit ups on the Glute-Ham Developer and bench presses on same.

Play hard,
Mark T
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2004, 07:14 AM   #7
Scott McAndrews
Departed Scott McAndrews is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 115
Good stuff Mark! When I was in high school I started everyday with a 1 mile run followed by weighted situps, never had back or hip flexor problems. In colloege I bought into the crunch craze, enter hip flexor issues. I'm back to doing situps and have added L-sits, Overhead Squats (ala Dan John), etc as you mention. Hip flexors happy again. Now I need to work on my grip (i.e., farmers walks, towel hangs and someday towel pullups, etc) - for someone who is a climber, albeit a very amateur one, I have a miserable grip.
Grade 6 in 20 to 25 minutes! Jeezo, somebody rein those guys in!
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2004, 07:22 PM   #8
mark twight
Departed mark twight is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 129
Everyone who is interested in why short duration, high intensity (essentially anaerobic) efforts cause increases in VO2 Max and aerobic endurance MUST read Fritz Hagerman's article posted at: http://www.usrowing.org/itemdisplay.asp?id=1134

Science to support the results we have all been seeing.


MFT
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2004, 08:30 PM   #9
Jay Swan
Member Jay Swan is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Durango  CO
Posts: 46
Very interesting. I wonder how relevant the specific sport is to the results. Sports with moderate-duration effort and full-body involvement like rowing and nordic skiing seem to select for high VO2 max. On the other hand, many top ultra-distance runners have comparatively unimpressive VO2 maxes.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2004, 11:16 AM   #10
mark twight
Departed mark twight is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 129
Good observation Jay. It's true that athletes have triumphed in many disciplines even though they had lower VO2 Max measurements than their competitors (see below).

VO2 Max should only be used as a general term of comparison because it describes a single physiologic property, which may exhibit itself differently depending on the type of work being done (run, bike, row). It should also be noted that athletes with lower VO2 Max often beat those with higher numbers simply by being more efficient. I use the term for entertainment purposes and as a gauge to determine my level of fitness. A stress test can show what percentage of my VO2 Max I am at when I reach my Anaerobic Threshold (AT). Higher is better. What is the AT? Technically, it is the heart rate at which blood lactate content (lactic acid) reaches more than 4 millimoles per liter of blood. The higher your anaerobic threshold, the greater your work capacity--the ability to generate a given amount of energy without producing debilitating lactate levels in the blood. One positive adaptation associated with CrossFit is increased local and systemic tolerance to lactic acid, which translates to an ability to function longer with higher levels of lactate in the blood. I once saw a climbing partner go for more than 7 minutes after having reached his AT during a stress test. The Docs made him stop because he was ruining the curve in their research.
I have a cheap VO2 Max of 56.6 ml/kg/min so in order to compete with more gifted breathers I must train my AT to as high a percentage of VO2 Max as possible, which I've done, roughly 96% at my last stress test. I make other gains by training efficiency.

VO2 Max of several top performing climbers, runners, cyclists, XC ski racers and animals:
Reinhold Messner (arguably the best high altitude climber ever) 48.8
Mark Twight 56.6
Alex Lowe (much better, faster and stronger climber than Twight) 69
Miguel Indurain (five-time TDF winner) 71
Jim Ryun (1 mile world record in 1967) 81
Steve Prefontaine (1 mile in 3:54 way back when) 84.4
Lance Armstrong (five-time TDF winner) 85
Bjorn Dahle (Olympic Gold Medals in several XC Ski distances) 91 (though I've also read 93)
Certain Dogs have VO2 Max of 90-100
FunnyCide and other thoroughbreds are somewhere between 150-200
Pronghorn Antelope 300

For humans interval training is the key to increasing the AT. A high AT is important because once you pass the threshold anaerobic energy production replaces aerobic energy production, and lactate concentrations trigger acidosis in and around the muscle cells. Coordination suffers, fat oxidation stagnates (meaning that fat no longer acts as an efficient energy source), and the risk of injury increases. The average athlete cannot perform for very long (measured in minutes) once past his AT, and recovery may take 24 to 96 hours, depending on the duration and intensity of the period above the threshold. Until recovery occurs, aerobic capacity will remain compromised.

I'd say that performing well in an ultra-distance running event is not contingent on VO2 Max because one cannot maintain output at a level near VO2 Max for anything other than a moderate duration. The ultra is similar to alpine climbing in that way (without the steady-state of blood O2 desaturation associated with high altitude); it's continuous, low-intensity effort executed over a period of 12 to 48+ hours or more. VO2 is not taxed, though other efficiencies are. It is possible to train oneself to execute a particular group of movements more efficiently at X heart rate instead of Y heart rate. Such targeted training, aimed at high performance in a specific event or activity is not necessarily consistent with CF, although CF would provide the athlete intent on such focused efficiency training with a solid foundation from which to begin work.

It seems to me that there is no downside to a program that trains an improvement in VO2 Max for any sports discipline. How it could it possibly hurt?


Mark T.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Endurance Athlete New to Crossfit Stacy Junio Starting 10 07-31-2006 10:16 AM
Crossfit without full effort Jason Smith Fitness 20 07-16-2006 12:22 AM
Ultra endurance and crossfit Don Stevenson Fitness 12 06-06-2005 01:05 PM
Crossfit & Endurance Team Sports Dave Polsky Fitness 4 04-16-2004 09:30 PM
Crossfit + endurance sports? Jay Swan Fitness 4 01-22-2004 01:32 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.