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

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Old 06-04-2006, 06:29 PM   #1
Daniel Miller
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Mom and I walked up a few flights of stairs today at a baseball game. Afterwards we were talking about putting together a better workout program for her.
I'd like to give her stats, goals, and equitment and hear some WOD type ideas that she could do on her own.
Age: 67
BW: 105
height: 5'4
diet: nuts, fruits, veggies, meat, All-bran cereal, skim milk, eggs, red wine.
Her goals: basically the CF notion of fitness as described in "What is fitness".

At home, she has a nordic track, bench, PVC pipe, dumbells (20, 15, 10, 8), and my two 1 pood KBs.

My biggest question has to do with a sub for pull-ups. I guess I could rig a pu bar in her ex-room with a WOODY band...

I was thinking about giving her say 10 WOD's that are tweaked down.
here are a few I thought of:

3 rounds, for time, of:
3:00 min Nordic track,
21 dumbbell swings (try using 1 15lb dumbbell)
12 Bent over rows w/ dumbells

Do as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
3 bent over rows
6 push-ups
9 squats

10 rounds, for time, in reps of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 of:
deadlift with kettlebell
15lb bench press body-weight bench presses

4 rounds, for time, of:
2:00 min Nordic track
5 box jumps
15 Thursters (grab 2
:happy:

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-05-2006, 04:32 AM   #2
Fiona Muxlow
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Daniel great to here your mum wants to give crossfit ago.Scale it right and she will love it and reap the benefits.

Scaling will depend a lot on her current health, fitness and experience.
Has she ever been able to do a pull up? Can she hang from a bar unassited at the moment?
Can she currently do good quality pushup on her knees or full support?
What is her squat form like?
Walking up stairs? Was she having physical problems doing that or just lossing "puff".

After i know these things i could offer you a few more ideas but for now.

I train several ladies who are are 50+ and i have two that are 70+. For the 50+ ladies i have then start with jumping pullups (nothing to do with age, its just where i start most people with limited upper body strength) We use the bar of the smith machine at the gym on the top rung.(Another practical use i have found for it other than a place to hang rings from)They can stand on the ground and their arms are still bent to start with as they get more confidence they bend their knees to get full arm extension.One i have now moved onto the regular pull up bar, she still stands on a step but she had more weight on here arms and has also started doing negatives. Body rows using the smith bar droped just above hip level are another pull up sub i use
For the 70+ ladies they are part of an aqua fitness class and i have them do pull ups in the water using the blocks at the end of the pool.

You have scaled the workouts but im not sure how your mum would go with them having never met the lady.
Using my 54 year old again, she has big issues about doing box jumps/falling but is getting better as here confidence grows, I use a 10 inch step, and she started with step ups, now she can do between 5-10 jump up step downs, but still reverts to step ups when tired. You may find your mum may want to do the same.

Best of luck,

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Old 06-05-2006, 04:40 AM   #3
Craig Van De Walker
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If you can rig up some rings or a pullup bar so she can lean back away from it to do her pulling (only time I would say a smith machine is usefull).

The closer she is to standing upright when starting the easier the move is. As she gets stronger start moving the bar lower week by week.

When she eventually gets to where she is almost to the floor with arms extended you could start using a pullup bar and jumping or band assist pullups. I would just use caution at her age and make the increases very gradually, depending on her prior fitness level.
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Old 06-06-2006, 04:42 AM   #4
Fiona Muxlow
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:07 AM   #5
Robert Wolf
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focus on squatting, lunging bodyrows and other non-technical, non-ballistic movements. Build a base and then add movements like swings. Keep in mind that mixed modal workouts can be crushers! Make no assumption on what will be too much for someone. If you can not monitor the person directly be VERY conservative. When the person begins to loose form or power down they are done. This will prevent both extreme soreness and injury. Hopefully!
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Old 06-06-2006, 01:41 PM   #6
Carrie Klumpar
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Daniel, you've already got a bunch of great responses here. I agree with what Robb says about being conservative to start, especially if you're not actually there to observe how she does.

Obviously, I don't know much about your mom and her abilities, but I'd be wary of box jumps, especially at first. Go with box steps (step up one leg at a time, full hip extension at the top, same on the way down) instead of jumps. I'd start with steps on a low box and raise the height gradually as needed (or have her try to turn up the stepping rate a bit) rather than trying to increase the intensity by having her jump. She's moving the same load the same distance, getting the heart and longs going, and working proprioception and balance without the impact and risk of the ballistic jumping.

There's tons you can do, of course, with just calisthenics. Use progressions to build up over time. For example, you can vary push-ups enormously to accommodate different abilities and make it challenging for anyone. Progressions to and beyond the standard push-up, emphasizing straight, tight body position at each step: 1. stand and press out from wall; 2. stand farther from wall and do the same; 3. do incline push-ups with hands on a box, with knees on the floor; 4. do regular knee push-ups on the floor, 5. do incline push-ups with hands on a box, with knees on the floor; 6. do knee-push-up positives/toe push-up negatives on the floor; 7. do full from -the-toes push-ups. And beyond: do deep push-ups on parallettes, do 'em on low rings, do decline push-ups, do weighted push-ups, do HSPU on the wall; do freestanding HSPU.

And get her doing some overhead presses with the dowel and (if her shoulder flexibility and overhead position are ok) then the (light) dumbbells. Lots of folks, especially women, I'll venture, don't get enough, if any, work in that plane.

Someone recently asked me the same question about training his father, so I'm just going to paste in my response to that, in hopes that it will be useful to you:

"You asked about scaling workouts for your dad. The general principle, of course, is just to scale intensity and load to his abilities, and make substitutions where necessary. Don't be afraid to scale things way back if necessary: for example, we have one older and very unfit client do slow "pull-ups" while standing squarely on a box and squatting through the movement (with one of us also standing right there spotting). Holding on to the pull-up bar gives him the stability and balance and reduces the load enough on the squat that he can get back in the proper position and move through decent range on the squat while also getting a good workout for arm/shoulder/lats and for shoulder flexibility (which is an issue for him)--especially at the bottom of the pull-up/squat, where his shoulders are fully extended. It definitely challenges him and gets him working and breathing hard, but it's very low-risk and easy to monitor. We can build that into a little routine of a few rounds of that combined with, say, "push-ups" done standing facing a wall or tall stable box and pushing off it, and medicine ball throws with the 4-pound ball, and he's good to go.

"I think med ball stuff with the 4-pound ball (we use these more than any other weight, even with young, fit clients) is excellent. It makes him work proprioception and balance and a lot of different muscles, without a lot of load or risk, and you can get the heart rate up at the same time, without even doing anything super fast. Plus it's fun and interactive. People always end up smiling and laughing, and that shouldn't be underestimated either.

"You might want check out issue 26 of the CFJ (Oct 2004). It actually gives examples of scaling back some of the benchmark WOs in an article called " 'The Girls' for Grandmas," and there's another article in that same issue that is 'A Beginner's Guide to CrossFit.' "


I tend to wax prolific when I get going; I think I need an editor...
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Old 06-06-2006, 05:19 PM   #7
Daniel Miller
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Great stuff,
Thanks Fiona, Craig, Rob, and Carrie.
My idea was to have a list of 5-9 workouts and be there with her as she performs them. Based on her comfort level then writing a few down for her.
Ok, be conservative. I'll do my best! (at least by a 26 y.o.male standards). Towel overheads would be great and a 4lb med ball is a great idea. We could play catch!

I'll check out CF 26.

Fiona, in answer to your questions:
She can hang from a bar but can't pull up,
yes on the quality knee push-up,
Her squat form is deep enough but she bends her torso almost paraell to the ground. The stairs I described were 6-7 flights and she was just puffing at the top and didn't like it.
Her exercise program in the past 15 years has been dumbell lifting 2-3x per week with more or less standard bodybuiling exercises. She does her Nordic track 20min 2-3x per week and everyonce in a while will do Tai-Bo.
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