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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 08-14-2007, 11:24 AM   #21
Brad Davis
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I've thought about this also. My 100 burpees race is the best example for me. If I just charge into them and go as long as possible before a break, then limp through the rest, that's the most painful. If I "game" the workout by doing 12 per min., for example, resting whatever time's left over each min., then I can go at least a minute faster, but am not as tired.
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:59 PM   #22
Gant Grimes
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#3 on Dale's post is one of the best, most accurate comments I've read on this topic. I hinted at it in my "B taunting A" illustrations. Unnecessary suffering--like puking--is not indicative of better or more productive performance.

I thought more about the topic this morning as I was running my 5K. I laughed when I thought of the B crossfitter starting out at a 100m sprint pace.

However, I have changed my opinion on how we do Tabatas in CF. After doing a little more research, I think the scoring methods need improvement. I also think we need to do them more frequently if the scores are going to be meaningful.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:13 AM   #23
Susie Rosenberg
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Sorry for the cross post to "starting", I meant to post this here:

There's a concept in education psychology called the "zone of proximal development." That means that learning happens when appropriate learning activities are presented at the right time and at the right complexity based on the learner's developmental readiness for that activity.

If you under-estimate the learner's capacity, you get no growth. If you over-estimate, you frustrate the learner and you get no growth. But get it right, and with the appropriate motivation and effort, the learner learns.

That's how I think of how to structure workouts: under-work, and you get no increase in fitness. Over-work on a regular basis, and you prolong recovery time, get a higher resting HR, limiting pain, and decrements in performance.

I think a person gets to know their zone by their recovery time. You know you've pushed it too far when your recovery and performance suffer over time, or you find yourself injured.

Get it right, and you come back stronger. At my age, I have to be careful to work within that zone because miscalculations can really set me back. When I was younger, I could sustain more damage...

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Old 08-18-2007, 08:13 PM   #24
Dale F. Saran
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Let me offer one more stolen point from Matt Gagliardi - a CF legend when I began who is rumored to have been cooked up in a govt lab. He's like the Yeti now, there are occasional sightings, but he's become almost a myth.

He once said, regarding approaching workouts, "plan your race, then race your plan." Or something close to that. He is, IMO, dead on. Flaming out due to misjudging the "distance" you have to go is not indicative of more "intensity", other than in the mind of the flamer.

Coach has even talked about this at certs. He notes that learning to "manage work rest intervals" is a key skill in CF'ing (and life, I would opine). The random work requirements of life may provide us with monumental challenges or something less than our max capacity - but the task has to get done. It doesn't matter whether we are more "intense" in our effort or more measured in our approach.

Coach has also noted that sometimes you'll be watching someone else doing a workout and they'll take a break from a high rep set of something and you can just see they didn't rest enough or went too hard too early and it's going to cost them, and yet they'll jump right back in and fail even more quickly.

One final note for Gant - I actually think the tabata scoring is quite clever. It forces you to go out maybe slightly quicker than you otherwise would, which requires subsequent sets to be a bit harder. If you start out sandbagging, for example, you're score is going to stink from the start. But let's suppose you have a goal of putting up a 20 on tabata squats. Doing 21 to start is no help to you, unless you misunderestimated your abilities. But 19 is no good at all.
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:37 PM   #25
Darrell E. White
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"...unless you misunderestimate your abilities."

Classic, just classic, Dale. Gonna call you Dale Berra or Yogi Saran from now on!
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:39 AM   #26
Robert Olajos
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Re: WOD thoughts on intensity vs. high score

I got thinking about this while watching the tabata pushups video posted recently. In the video, two athletes were doing tabata pushups, but they had a goal (20 and 9 pushups/round respectively). When they hit that number, they stopped and rested until the 30 second mark. Both athletes were successful in maintaining that level, i.e. still doing 20 or 9 pushups in the last round. Looked like fun, I'll try it soon.

But does this tabata variation still achieve what Dr. Tabata set out? If you took two people at the same level, and had one do strict tabata and the other do this variation for a month, who would increase their pushup PR the most? Is there some physical benefit to having tabata scores that max out then fall, or is it better to pick a number and maintain that?
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:03 PM   #27
Matt DeMinico
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Re: WOD thoughts on intensity vs. high score

Robert, I dunno. But a good way to kill the desire to "take an extra rest" is to do Bottom to Bottom Tabata Squats. I'd rather do the stinkin' squats than sit in the bottom position, thank you very much. Keeps you moving, that's for sure.
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:14 PM   #28
John Maloney
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Re: WOD thoughts on intensity vs. high score

Dale, I have to note that your point below is not the question. The question is about the most effective path to increasing that capacity.

"2 - Coach has often said at Certs that the true metric of a workout's "intensity" - in fact the only metric - is work performed over time - or power. Period. End of discussion."

I've wondered about this specific issue as well, especially when it comes to Tabata. Seems like something Coach should address. If the Tabata protocol is merely an application of interval training (supposedly the most efficient) then the lowest value scoring seems to undercut the validity of the study - unless that's how the study was conducted, which I doubt. In other words if this training interval was deemed "THE most effective", then it's only the most effective if you're training the same way it was conducted.

Another clue is to look at interval training for running. Sprints are deadly potent and there are many different interval strategies - and they all seem to be valid. It's probably best to mix.

From all the reading I've done, one of the most effective sprint interval methods was shorter distance (50-100m), close to max effort (90%+), and include 3-4 min rest (recovery to normal heart rate. It was noted that the majority of the adaption response actually comes in the first few secs. as the runner exploded off the block. (Intuition tell me that the last few lung-burning, acid legs moments pay off in spades as well). Another common strategy is to run intervals, say 200m, over a maintained pace with shorter rest periods. Obviously these start easier and get harder for each successive interval. Sounds like our classic "A" vs "B" approach. I have a whole list of bookmarks if you'd like to check 'em out.

I think A and B are both good to mix up, but I don't agree with the Tabata scoring. If work over time is the goal then we should be counting the total reps, not just the lowest round.
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Old 08-26-2007, 04:48 AM   #29
Alex Rosch
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Re: WOD thoughts on intensity vs. high score

I try to pace...which is always too slow at first then too fast...
Occasionally I'll get in the grove, with the right ratio of work to rest that I can continue...then when I see the finish line I give my all and hopefully I don't fall short when it counts...
Always hurts when you can't squeeze out 3 or 4 more reps at the very end, wishing you would have paced just a little slower durring the WOD.
Certainly, both approaches, that is the All-Out vs Paced, have advantages. IMO, if 'A' paced himself and got a better # than 'B' who rushed in, then just by the numbers 'A' is better/did more work/more power. So 'A' has trained his body to win, while 'B' has trained to run out of gas... Who knows?
But from strictly a #'s game approach, pacing then sprinting is the solution to getting the highest score/weight/work/power/lowest time.

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Old 08-27-2007, 08:00 AM   #30
Dale F. Saran
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Re: WOD thoughts on intensity vs. high score

You're partly right, I should have added that you increase your work capacity by INCREASING YOUR WORK CAPACITY every workout. (I'm joking, not trying to be an a$$). Actually, if you read the bottom line of the post that you quoted in isolation I say this:

"you get to where you want to be fastest by maximizing your work output every single WoD. That applies whether it's a 1RM on the deadlift or a MetCon chipper, because those are distinctions that matter only to us and not to the random tasks nature frequently drops on us."

Now, you offer up some good points, so let me addresss them.
WRT to the Tabata protocol, the hypo that someone noted (or actual workout viewed) is NOT a true Tabata, in my mind. Tabata's interval is 20 sec of WORK, followed by 10 sec of REST - it is not, 16 secs of work until you hit your goal and then 14 sec of rest. Not at all. When I'm doing Tabata pullups, I know I cannot keep up 8 rds of 20 secs of pullups - I simply can't. So, what do I do? I hang there for the entire 20 secs if I have to. I try to pull, I stay until my grip slips and then I immediately jump back up. Whatever. What I do not do is crack out 5, then drop off and rest for 5 sec and then back up for 3 more, etc. That's not a Tabata interval. 20 secs of work followed by 10 secs of rest, 8 times, is.

As this relates to the scoring of tabata intervals, I didn't say it was the best method or perfect, just that I thought it was clever. It has the primary benefit of being easy to keep. Trying to track of every rep for tabatas, particularly for back to back exercises, is really tough if you're alone. But I agree that if the ultimate measure is power (work/time) then knowing all reps for each round is better. I try to do this if i can, but sometimes between keeping time, tracking reps, tracking which interval I'm on (was that 5 or 6?), and maintaining intensity, all while on the 10 sec of rest, is just too much.

I've read about (and experienced) the sprint intervals you're talking about. I was a competitive 100m and 200m guy in high school. Note that we do some of these in CF, also. A few months ago there were several variations on this theme. The studies you talk about, however, are typically centered around running capacity, not necessarily the "increased work capacity over broad time and modal domains" that CF is after. As Coach says, we'd like to see a guy back squat 600lb and run a 5:30 mile. Or shoulder press 225, do 40 pullups in one go, and run a 5:00 mile.

Hope this makes sense.
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