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

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Old 02-16-2005, 06:49 PM   #1
Barry Cooper
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Thanks to the unmitigated miracle of interlibrary loan, I got "Science and Practice of Strength Training" by Vladimir Zatiorsky. I'm only about a third of the way through, but wanted to pass along a few interesting things. I have better things to do, but my brain won't let me focus on anything else until I properly digest this stuff, and that's what I use this forum for.

Couple concepts: Adaptation, Overload, Accomodation, Specificity.

Adaptation is adjusting to your environment. Overload is a change/stimulus to your biological inertia, creating adaptation. Accomodation is the law of decreasing benefit. If you create the exact same overload over time, the organism will adapt, and cease changing, renewing biological inertia, or equilibrium, relatively speaking. Specificity is that adaptations are made fairly specificly to the types of overload situations created.

To avoid accomodation, you have to vary the training load by varying reps, etc. or vary exercises, while retaining as much specificity as possible.

All of this obviously applies to weightlifting and powerlifting. This is where Louie Simmons got a lot of his ideas. I think it also applies to running, or any other "pure" physical event, such as jumping or throwing, where you are looking mainly at physical prowess (as you can always improve technique.)

This brings up the question: What is the specific adaptation to which CrossFit is the stimulus, or overload for? This question seems to get asked, directly or indirectly, quite often. The simple answer, which has been offered many times, recently by Larry Lindenman, is "Work capacity." This point is so obvious it gets overlooked. Forest for the trees sort of thing. The ability to do work of various sorts. Fast work, slow work. Repetitive work, power work. If you need us to pull stumps or chase deer, we can do it. To heck with chiseled abs (edit there). I don't think most farmers have chiseled abs. Nor do they spend a lot of time in Speedos, I'm guessing.

The other interesting thing Zatiorsky discusses that I thought was interesting was the relationship between Maximal maximorum force--which is the most force you can generate over any amount of time--and maximal force, which is what you can generate in a given movement.

Example, you may be able to deadlift 510 pounds, but only power snatch 190 (actual example, from someone close to me). The fact is, that you only have a split second to generate your power in the Snatch, so you can never generate your maximal maximorum force. There is an inverse relationship between velocity and force. The faster something moves, the less force generated, and vice versa.

He mentions that "the power level is greater when a relatively light shot is put than when a heavy barbell is lifted. For example, the power level is 5,075 W (6.9 horsepower) in puttinga 7.25 KG shot 18.9 m, but only 3,163 W (4.3 HP) during the snatch of a 150kg barbell. At the same time, the maximal applied force F(m) is equal to 513 N for the shot and 2,000 N for the Snatch. Though the exerted force is less in shot putting, the exerted power is greater in this case because of the much higher speed of the movement."

You were wondering about that, I'll bet. I don't know what N is, so don't ask. I don't have time to look it up either. I hope this is interesting to folks, though.

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Old 02-16-2005, 06:58 PM   #2
Paul Theodorescu
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My guess is that "N" stands for Newtons...which is what force is measured in.

Please continue to post your notes on the book, great work!
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:47 PM   #3
Ross Greenberg
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There's some interesting stuff in there. The idea of specificity, at first would seem to contradict crossfit's ideas, whereas the idea of accomodation would seem to support them.
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:23 PM   #4
Beth Moscov
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please keep posting your notes! This is good stuff. Thanks.
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:46 AM   #5
Peter Galloway
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Interesting stuff. I like the thought about "work capacity" being the specificity that CF trains. Maybe that could be a CF slogan: "We have great Work Capacity!"

Hmmm...I think my slogan-writing needs a little work! The phrase "don't give up your day job" springs to mind!
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Old 02-17-2005, 05:43 AM   #6
Larry Lindenman
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Interlibrary loan (slaps self in head, duh). Once I pay off my fines, I'm borrowing the book! I've always been a Berry Cooper fan, because of stuff like this...keep going dude.
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Old 02-17-2005, 06:35 AM   #7
Mike Ryan
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Barry,

Great information! Paul is correct, N is newtons and is a unit of measure for force. The english unit for force is lb(f). For reference, there is a difference between mass and force (what we know as "weight"). An objects mass never changes, where the force an object generates or its weight, changes with the pull of gravity. For example, a 200lb man has a mass of 200lbs and also "weighs" 200lbs on earth. Put the man on the moon and the mass is still 200 lbs, but the weight will be much less, maybe 75lbs. Weight is a measure of the force we exert on the scale under the pull of gravity.

Physics tells us that Force = Mass x Acceleration. The acceleration due to gravity is constant (on earth) at ~32ft (9.8m)/second^2. This explains why the force is much greater for the lift than the throw. The mass in the lift is much greater, therefore the force is greater. There is also some funky stuff going on with acceleration in the throw, but that is definitely a topic for another day.

Similarly, Power equals work done over a given time where work is a force applied over a distance. Putting this together,
work = force x distance / time. So, the power (or work done) in the throw is greater because the mass is moved over a much greater distance.

Wow, I really do sound like a "nerd". Now I know where my wife is comming from.

Mike.
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Old 02-17-2005, 07:27 AM   #8
Donald Woodson
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Dam! You guys are gonna get your slide rules caught under your barbells during your high pulls!
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Old 02-17-2005, 07:31 AM   #9
Mike Ryan
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Sliderule??? I may be a nerd, but I am not an OLD nerd.:lol:

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Old 02-17-2005, 07:35 AM   #10
Donald Woodson
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OOPS! Gave away my age!:biggrin:
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