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

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Old 03-01-2008, 06:15 PM   #1
Howard Wilcox
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Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

In case anyone is interested, Louie Simmons gives his view of H.I.T.

http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/ls12.htm
(click the arrow at the bottom to see the second part)

w/f/s

howard
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
Jeremy Mathers
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

Thanks for posting that, I thought this quote was interesting, I'd never thought about it like this before

Quote:
Most machines work on the peak contraction theory. Let's look at the pec machine. If you load a pec machine to the max, starting the movement requires a max effort, which is very difficult and dangerous. Yet at the finish, where the most weight can be lifted because of accommodating resistance, machines show their downfall.
More importantly, let's consider the strength curve. Take the case of two 700-pound deadlifters. One may blast the weight off the floor to near lockout and then fight the last 3 to 4 inches. The second may have difficulty starting the bar off the floor, pick up speed, and lockout easily. What does this illustrate? In the real world of strength these two lifters have quite different strength curves. If these same two lifters were to use a machine, only one would receive any benefit from that machine, because the machine has a predetermined strength curve. That's a 50% chance the machine won't work for you. Also, a machine will not build stability. The only good thing about a facility full of machines is that the instructor could be a moron and it won't make any difference.
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:36 AM   #3
Jake Oleander
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

Quote:
H.I.T advises you to work to failure, especially in the concentric phase, sometimes up to 10 to 15 seconds. They call this an isometric rep. Well, if you were to exercise for that length of time, which is much longer than a football play, it would be of absolutely no benefit.
sounds familiar.
as always good article by louie, very knowledgeable guy. definitely a premier authority on strength training.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
Howard Wilcox
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

Yes, he's very sharp (and ridiculously strong himself). I'm always a bit anti-H.I.T. (since I burned myself out on it multiple times when I was young, yet on paper it made such since).

Besides the different forms of strength, the strength curve of the machine was new to me also.


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Old 03-02-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
Derek Weaver
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

Thanks for posting. Interesting and informative take on the machines not really having any benefit. I mean, we all knew it, but that's a great way of looking at it.
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

Definitely a great read. Good brush up for valid concerns on why HIT fails.
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:24 PM   #7
Jake Oleander
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

nice pun....
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:16 PM   #8
Aaron Moburg-Jones
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

I will play devil's advocate here. I do not HIT. I did for a while many years ago and got better at a few things, but not too many. Looking back on it, I would also say I didn't do it correctly.

I don't think the characterization of HIT is entirely fair in the article. I first learned about the 5x5 protocal from HIT. I first learned about power lifting from HIT. I first learned about high rep squats from HIT. They are great defenders of pull-ups (though not kipping). They are also great advocates of the "storm through a workout" mentality though they don't time it. While they do not avoid machines, many HITers prefer squat, deadllift, overhead press, bench press, pull-up, bent over row, RDL's, dips, etc. and this is encouraged. They all read Milo and dino training. They like whole body workouts.

HIT doesn't necessarily work and it may not be ideal. But I think many people could succede on it if done correctly. Where it would help many people (not crossfitters, but recovering muscle mag types) is if people follow the basic HIT prescription of lifting heavy weights, that use a ton of muscle, in quick succession. Anyone who did it would find they feel remarkably like they feel at the end of a crossfit workout. Do 12 350lb deadlifts, 12 225lb bench presses, max rep strict pull-ups, 20 225lb squats, 20 weighted sit-ups, and then push a car uphill. Don't take any real rest between exercises. That would be a HIT workout according to many HIT folks. The hormonal response is huge (I think this is where some people find success with the protocol) and you are focused on moving heavy weight and maxing out your capacity to stiumlate your body to grow in response. many folks would also do 5x5x5. 5 exercises, 5 sets, 5 reps. Done with little rest, this is quite a metcon.

So that's what I say about their protocol. As for some of the other stuff, I disagree with their assessments, but don't think they are totally unreasonable and don't think they were characterized fairly. Many of the objections (slow lifting makes you slow, training in 45 second bursts and not 7) stem from the fact that they don't think there is a great deal of carry-over from exercises done inside the weightroom to what is done on the field. They don't think training to be explosive in the clean makes you explosive as an offensive lineman because they are not similar enough movements. It is close to how CF thinks (rightly so) building endurance for running does not carry over to endurance in other activities. The HIT folks are not totally stupid. Their prescription is "play football to get good at football." The weight room is all about building big muscles that move heavy weights. The field is where you train your body to utilize those big strong muscles. They are the ultimate in sport specific training, as in ONLY playing your sport makes you strong for it. So they don't care if you do incline bench or regular bench because one better simulates pushing against a lineman. They say neither of them approximate it enough to make you better at it, so do the one that makes you bigger and allows you to move more weight so that when you do real sport specific training (football practice) you have more muslces that you can train to do the activity you need to do. This is also why they don't care as much about whether you use machines. I obviously disagree, but it fits with their get big and strong in the weigth room and apply it in later.

Tidbits I didn't know where else to fit. HIT preaches the type of progression that Rip does: microplates of 1-3lbs that allow you to increase each workout. When you plateau, take a week, then go back to a lower weight and cycle back through. Very familiar. You will hear as much complaining on any HIT forum about isloation curls, and the lack of power racks and barbells in gyms as you will in CF. They constantly lament the use of long cardio for weight loss and track the negative consequences of LSD running.

Mr. Simmons has had a lot of success and has refined his protocols down to a science. I think his system is right. I think CF is right. I don't do HIT, but when you look at what I think HIT is at it's heart, it is closer to the right track than most. Focusing the objections on the use of machines and struggling 15 seconds before you fail on the last rep is like concentrating CF objections on the do 75 snatches for time workout. Even people in our community don't think that is the best workout (see Greg E. on incorporating oly lifts in CF and his suggestion for most people to use DB's for high rep olympic lifting to get the conditioning without the risk of practicing bad form)and that workout does not define CF.

I think we have some stuff in common with HIT and we have enough common ground that we could have a valuable conversation. Long post. Sorry. I've been thinking a lot about how to communicate crossfit to people with different fitness backgrounds without resorting to "your way is stupid and we are right" types of arguments.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:16 PM   #9
Howard Wilcox
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

Thanks for the long response. And I agree that there is no need for insults.

I'll only add a couple points:

I do think that Arthur Jones originally advocated isolation machines with strength curves, so that is where people get the idea of HIT being isolation/machine work.

If others then incorporated free weights (Mentzer was likely first), fair enough.

I tried virtually all HIT forms back in the late 80s (when I was 17-18, plenty of recovery ability)...and bombed out every time. I even joined a TKD place since they had real Nautilus machines. About three weeks in, I would crash. The CNS just couldn't handle it. I even called Ellington Darden (who seems to have written most of the HIT books at the time) to ask him about it. He said to train twice a week instead of three times. Thanks bud.

At the time, there was very little publications in the bookstores on strength training and I may not have read them anyway as I was mostly interested in BB. And I didn't have the net to set me straight.

But that HIT logic kept pulling me back in. Now there was a certain hard-headedness on my part I'm sure, but it seemed so sensible, so perfect...but there was almost no talk of the CNS and all that. And as a 17yr old, I really had no concept of burning out the nervous system.

If there are people who repeatedly go to failure all the time and make progress w/o anabolics...more power to them. But I couldn't do it and I suspect most people can't do it.

And that doesn't even get into the strength arguments of Louie.

howard
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:51 PM   #10
Aaron Moburg-Jones
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Re: Louie Simmons on H.I.T.

I didn't discover it until 2000. At that point, and I assume now though I don't keep tabs, free weights were king. But yes, they had a history with machines, going so far as to specifically design machines so you would isolate your big muscle (pec dec) first and then do chest press so you could go to failure with both triceps and and pecs simultaneously.

That immense stress is why you had a lot of HIT protocols that were for once a week lifting or three times in two weeks and they stressed recovery above almost all else recognizing the need. In my experience, they were obsessed with the CNS. The answer to every question about lack of progress was "exercise less, eat more sleep more." Not just muscle recovery but whole body recovery. That's why they wouldn't split workouts too much. Exercising your back and hams would compromise the recovery of the chest and quads because of the hit to the CNS.

And don't we go to failure in CF a lot. Lynne? Anyone who can't do 21 reps of 225lb deadlift practically goes to failure. By the thrid or fourth round of linda I am going to failure and stopping, then going again. Or what about Kelly Starret's 21-15-9 225lb DL and ring dips. He couldn't complete each round without resting. He basically at failure. Maybe we can argue about whether it is the true failure of puishing for 15 seconds against the weight, but then we are talking details. We would applaud a crossfitter to struggled for that last rep, not chastise him.

the best argument against HIT and for crossfit is just that it works. I don't know why. It's a black box. HIT works for some. Not sure why, but I imagine it has to do with a lot of things they do that overlap with CF (heavy weight, big exercises, little rest between exercises leads to a rush of hormones and some strength gains).

How about this statement. Take out the oly lifting part of CF (which is awesome but not necessary) and you would have a better shot convincing a HITer to CF than most other type of people you find in a gym.
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