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

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Old 08-22-2004, 06:08 PM   #1
Ashley Rogers
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In terms of building function strength and cardiovascular endurance, what is the major difference between CrossFit WOD vs. Navy Seal Fitness by Stew Smith?

Any thoughts or ideas?

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Old 08-22-2004, 08:35 PM   #2
Tyler Scarborough
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Ashley, I though I'd provide my two cents since I have used and love both. Not sure what your goals are but both are amazingly good workouts. I think the major difference is the weights and swimming. Stew's program is purely calisthenics with lots of high mileage running and swimming. The WOD obviously includes weights but very little long distance running and no swimming. In terms of building functional strength I would say the WOD wins, yet Stew's program will still build more functional strength than most. As far as the workouts go, I'm not sure if you have Stew's book but the workouts are very similar to the WOD in terms of tempo and pace, yet they last considerably longer than the WOD. I also feel that the WOD builds a more well rounded and diverse fitness ability, though that is really not Mr. Smith's goals. Mr. Smith in his book "The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL fitness" (I assume that is the one you are talking about) is primarily focused on building the strength and endurance to attend, and complete BUD/S. So the workouts are very specific toward that end. I guess it really comes down to your goals. I hold both systems of fitness in very high regard and draw on both about equally in coming up with my workouts.
Hope this helps,
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Old 08-23-2004, 04:13 PM   #3
Robert Wolf
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Paging Dr. Werner, paging Dr. Werner...
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Old 08-28-2004, 11:19 AM   #4
David Werner
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I was a SEAL for 12 years, here is my opinion.

Stews program is pretty close to the way that SEALs workout - doing it will prepare you for BUD/S.

The SEAL aproach to strength/fitness is missing a piece, doing very high rep (sets of 500 sit-ups, flutter-kicks etc.) calesthenics is notoriously tough and will give you good endurance, but it does not develop enough strength. Most SEALs intuitively know this and do supplemental weightlifting in addition to the daily SEAL PT. But it's mostly bodybuilding. So after 12 years of service I'm now a disabled vet. with some significant back problems brought about by insufficient strength in the posterior chain.

What is the solution? Do CrossFit. The WODs will give you functional strength at levels far above what the traditional SEAL PT provides, strengthening you in ways that allow you to perform better and resist injury more. You will not give up anything in the area of endurance either. SEAL PT works - CrossFit works better.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Dave Werner
CrossFit North
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Old 08-29-2004, 04:59 AM   #5
John Frazer
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I did Stew's 12-week workout several years ago -- starting from a low baseline, it did help (especially with running) but I agree with the others that it doesn't have quite the versatility of Crossfit.

The workouts are also a lot longer, I remember on more than one occasion working a pullup/pushup/situp/dip pyramid for an hour or more.

Finally, the extreme reps of pushups and dips combined with a high volume of swimming caused me some shoulder problems. If you opt for the SEAL program I would highly recommend adding some rotator cuff work as a precaution.
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Old 08-30-2004, 06:54 AM   #6
Barry Cooper
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I've thought about 3 exercises that would measure whole body fitness, like the Marines Pullups/Crunches/3 mile run, but maybe be more practical. 3 that would make sense within a CrossFit context, and I came up with Muscle-ups (1 is passing), Deadlifts (reps in 2 minutes with 135, or bodyweight), and the 800 meter run (maybe in a military context over rough ground in full gear). Muscle-ups obviously measure upper body strength, deadlifts measure lower body strength and endurance, and the run finds your lactate threshold, and in a military context is probably more realistic to what they actually do.

This maybe ought to be a separate thread, but this discussion reminded me of something I had been thinking about.
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Old 09-06-2004, 12:57 PM   #7
Jim Howe
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I started a new thread,but maybe this is a better place for the discussion to continue.
I noticed that in WOD's lasting more than 30 minutes many Crossfitters have to modify, reduce reps,sets or rounds.
Are we specializing a "window of fitness" to 15-25 minutes of output?
For example,a 1000m ruck training would be lacking if an exfil were 10,000m and you just gassed at the end of the 1st click. Learning to pace for the duration is also important. keeping the AT near the edge for a longer period of time may take further adaptation, I don't know.
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Old 09-06-2004, 07:43 PM   #8
Dale S. Jansen
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i continue to combine the wod with cycling and ruck runs. have cut way back on distance running, yet a week and a half ago went for a 10 miler. slower than in the old days but completed. quicker recoup times as well. 2 and 3 hr bikes are eminently doable. my conclusion is that crossfit gives a phenomenal base on which to build.
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Old 09-06-2004, 09:49 PM   #9
David Werner
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In my opinion the answer to your question lies in intensity, we are not talking about equivalent efforts for 1K vs 10K. The whole point of the short workouts is to jack the intensity up to the point that you couldn't possibly carry on longer than 1/2 hour. I know you get that part, but it means that when you head out on a multi-hour effort at at a necessarily lower intensity there is plenty in the bank.

I,ve been looking at this in terms of the single rep effort expressed as a percentage of your' one rep max effort. When humping a heavy ruck up a mountain with a 70K max squat, each step is a fairly high percentage of the max effort your leg can deliver. With the same hump and a 150K max squat... well you get the point.

I'd love to have you and your guys come to our next "Suffer on Saturday", and/or the Crossfit challenge coming up on October 2nd. e-mail me for details if you're interested.

Dave Werner
Crossfit North
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:20 PM   #10
Paul Jameson
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Re: WOD vs "Navy Seal Fitness"

Logistics of dropping SEALs anywhere with minimal gear may be the big difference. If they could have equipment follow them anywhere they went then it would start looking like crossfit. Most of the time, it's just their body and terrain so they have to make do.

I was a Navy Nuke and crashed my brother's Seal PT. He was with Team 2 at the time. I thought I was in the best shape of my life as captain of our carrier's cycling team, but I was puking my guts out at the half way point.

I made a surprise visit to his undisclosed base while they were waiting out to perform some ops. They were lucky enough to have their bikes flown with them and they had finished a grueling mountain course when I showed up. He asked me if I wanted to PT with him tomorrow am and I said sure, what will it be. He said he did not know, it was someone else's turn to come up with the PT.

In the morning we all gathered round and heard we were going to do some running, my bag *grin. I noticed that some of them looked to be too big for long distance running and one guy in particular had a comic book upper body with grotesquely large lats and tris. In fact, my brother asked him to clap for me. I didn't understand that until the large guy came up to me and snapped his wrists down to his hip and out, like trying to flick a watch off. SMACK! His triceps slapped into his lats like a whip and made a loud pop. I thought to myself, this guy will barely make this 9 mile course.

I was holding steady pace with the guys when suddenly we all started doing pushups with feet up on a log. This happened 3 times during the 9 miles. We also did Indian sprints about 3 different times. My brother had to run back to get me near the end of the 9 miles - I was 200 m back and dragging. He told me we were ending the run at the tennis courts just 400 m to go. I noticed that one guy quit before me and proudly told my brother with my last breath that I was happy to at least outlast that SEAL. My brother corrected me and told me that it was their Crypto guy.

The tennis courts was my hell on earth - intense pyramid calisthenics: flutter kicks, pushups, pushups with my hands making a triangle, situps, my god it went on forever. I couldn't even do granny pushups. I just collapsed. My brother lifted me up and said that they were going to the pool. I said go on without me, I needed some water.

I got water and waited at the pool. No one was there. I looked around and saw in the distance that they all went to the Pull Up bars. I must have heard what I wanted to hear: Pool vs Pull. I pretty much hid while I stared at what they were doing next. Pyramids of pull ups alternating with dips.

I jumped in the pool and waited for them to return, not sure how I was going to look at my little brother in the eyes. Well, they didn't return right away. It was ages before I saw them again. They went and ran that 9 mile course again!!!

There was a Baskin-Robbins on base and afterwards everyone went there and ordered some outrageous sundaes, splits and floats. After showering we all went to the base theater to watch Army of Darkness where the SEALs had watched it maybe 20 times and pantomimed with the screen. "What's your name!" screamed several SEALS at the opening scene of a prisoner walking across sand. And on cue you hear the actor, Bruce Campbell, say "My name is Ash".
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