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

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Old 08-04-2009, 07:48 AM   #1
Simon Nainby
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Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

I have a real problem with this statement in the Journal description:

"CrossFit trainers have more in common with rugby or swimming coaches than trainers in commercial gyms. That’s because CrossFit trainers keep score in competitive workouts. And sports coaches have a higher risk tolerance than Globo Gym trainers. When novice members of rugby team are taught to tackle, one or two may get injured. The only way to have a perfectly safe program is to have a perfectly ineffective one."

This was clearly written by someone with no knowledge of the correct rugby coaching process. Ask any accredited rugby coach and the first thing they will say is that safety when coaching tackling is paramount. The way we teach tackling is safe, effective and most importantly fun as it builds on progressions that reflect the player's ability and makes them want to keep coming back. There is no enjoyment in getting injured and very few would go back again if that was one of their first experiences of rugby. That isn't to say this hasn't happened but if you have been through the coaching accreditation it shouldn't.

I am a Level 2 rugby coach and I work with novice rugby players on a regular basis and I would never expect the possibility that one let alone two might be injured when introducing them to tackling.

This poster shows many of the coaching cues which are based on keeping the tackle safe and yet effective.

http://www.community-rugby.com/commu...ster%20v33.pdf (WFS)

The International Rugby Board have also initiated a course called Rugby Ready which is specifically aimed at ensuring coaches use safe and effective methods:

http://www.community-rugby.com/commu...formation4.pdf (WFS)

If it was a Representative game being played at the very limit then I might expect injuries in a tackle due to the fine line the players are treading but never when learning in a coach controlled environment.

I would say that a perfectly safe tackle is perfectly effective.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:11 AM   #2
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

It's essentially advertisement, don't take it too seriously. It's another way of saying:

"We're so extreme that only through learning technique properly can you possibly sustain the kinda crazy and supereffective stuff that we will throw at you. Even with that, this training is so challenging that there is always the chance you might get hurt. It's a natural consequence of trying to be awesome. Anyone that doesn't have the battle wounds, can't claim to be as awesome as we are."

It's a macho attitude that doesn't really prove anything. Yes, we know that you can get hurt doing exercise, especially when pushing yourself. A common criticism of Crossfit is that intensity is ramped up before technique is adequately developed. More talk about improving the proper progression of technique as you say, and less talk about obvious stuff.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:01 AM   #3
Simon Nainby
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

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Originally Posted by Dimitri Dziabenko View Post
It's essentially advertisement, don't take it too seriously. It's another way of saying:

"We're so extreme that only through learning technique properly can you possibly sustain the kinda crazy and supereffective stuff that we will throw at you. Even with that, this training is so challenging that there is always the chance you might get hurt. It's a natural consequence of trying to be awesome. Anyone that doesn't have the battle wounds, can't claim to be as awesome as we are."

It's a macho attitude that doesn't really prove anything. Yes, we know that you can get hurt doing exercise, especially when pushing yourself. A common criticism of Crossfit is that intensity is ramped up before technique is adequately developed. More talk about improving the proper progression of technique as you say, and less talk about obvious stuff.
I don't think it says that. It says if you are a novice you can expect a reasonable chance you will get injured with no mention of learning technique properly or progressions to allow them to learn safely and effectively and therefore enjoy it.

It is the exact opposite of what accredited rugby coaches would look to do at any level and saying they have a higher tolerance of injury is simply not true - its no good having half your team sitting in the physio room every week.

There is a risk-reward balance to be struck and rugby is a collision sport but even at the higher levels of the game no player would be allowed to do a full contact session if we thought their technique was sloppy when the intensity was high. I have seen this mentioned as acceptable slop in Crossfit but in a collision sport that would be unacceptable.

I understand that nothing is ever 100% safe but if I had 1 or 2 injuries whenever I took novices for tackling there would be serious questions asked about how I was coaching.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

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Originally Posted by Simon Nainby View Post
There is a risk-reward balance to be struck and rugby is a collision sport but even at the higher levels of the game no player would be allowed to do a full contact session if we thought their technique was sloppy when the intensity was high. I have seen this mentioned as acceptable slop in Crossfit but in a collision sport that would be unacceptable.

I understand that nothing is ever 100% safe but if I had 1 or 2 injuries whenever I took novices for tackling there would be serious questions asked about how I was coaching.
+1

I teach aikido. Rolling and falling are probably the most "dangerous" things we do, but if my beginners were routinely injured while learning to fall I wouldn't be allowed to teach for very long. And I might get expelled from the dojo for reckless endangerment.

On the other hand, athletes *do* have a different understanding of what an injury actually is. If you're practicing a full contact sport, you *are* going to accumulate a certain number of bumps and bruises. If you practice with intensity, you're going to have a certain amount of muscle soreness. It's only an "injury" if it impedes your ability to keep training. That's a far different view than that of many non-athletes: I've seen beginning aikido students who were traumatized by broken fingernails, and even more traumatized when told their nails were dangerously long and should be trimmed.

Katherine
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:17 AM   #5
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

Look, anybody who's played rugby knows that somebody is going to get hurt. Bodies collide, people get hurt. There is no way to repeatedly demonstrate "perfect" tackling form in a constantly changing, competitive environment. The guy just won't cooperate with you.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
Brian Bedell
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

I don't play rugby, but I played football...and I think the same principles would apply. I think that the statement is fine. Yes, you MAY get hurt practicing tackling...I don't think this is debatable. You may get hurt in any and every sport. The way "trainers" train is so safe as to be ineffective, and I think this has been illustrated by the ineffectiveness of globo gym philosophy.

Going to the globo is not a sport, CF is a sport. IMO
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:24 AM   #7
Simon Nainby
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

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Originally Posted by Andrew H. Meador View Post
Look, anybody who's played rugby knows that somebody is going to get hurt. Bodies collide, people get hurt. There is no way to repeatedly demonstrate "perfect" tackling form in a constantly changing, competitive environment. The guy just won't cooperate with you.
Not when you are teaching novices though. The coach controls the session so that you can learn safely without getting injured until you have mastered the skill so that it can be repeated without thinking in a match and this is where a perfectly safe tackle is perfectly effective. I see this every week in training and matches - the effective tackles are the safe ones.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:13 AM   #8
Roger Harrell
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

"Perfectly safe" would imply no risk of injury. Frankly this is impossible, but for discussion lets say we tried to create a "Perfectly safe" environment. The requirements would render the program pretty ineffective. The frequency that the statement implies is far too high, but the concept is valid. Pushing anyone's limits involves risk. As trainers/coaches we can mitigate this risk dramatically but we can not remove it. Gymnastics is a sport that has very high perceived risk, and can be exceedingly dangerous if approached incorrectly. Current high caliber programs have very low injury rates, but any coach that says that all risk can be eliminated is either lying, or incompetent.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:16 PM   #9
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

Hmm, your aikido dojo doesn't sound Japaneesy enough. In judo there was fingernail checks and long fingernails were not allowed on the mat. In fact, not only were there nail checks but hygiene checks as well. Sounds like ya need to put that in your rules somewhere.

Of course you know Katherine I'm just giving you a hard time. :stir: No wonder I couldn't stand some Aiki. Too many yoga bunny mindsets in there as well. Yes, I'm calling out all the Aiki groups that also do yoga and other soft stuff and stay weenies. O-sensei wasn't a weenie. Koryu FTW! :
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:36 PM   #10
Renee Lee
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Re: Perfectly Safe isn't perfectly ineffective

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Originally Posted by Blair Robert Lowe View Post
Hmm, your aikido dojo doesn't sound Japaneesy enough. In judo there was fingernail checks and long fingernails were not allowed on the mat. In fact, not only were there nail checks but hygiene checks as well. Sounds like ya need to put that in your rules somewhere.

Of course you know Katherine I'm just giving you a hard time. :stir: No wonder I couldn't stand some Aiki. Too many yoga bunny mindsets in there as well. Yes, I'm calling out all the Aiki groups that also do yoga and other soft stuff and stay weenies. O-sensei wasn't a weenie. Koryu FTW! :
Blair, you owe me a new keyboard! I can't believe you just intimated that Katherine's a yoga bunny! I'd be fearing for my well-being at this particular moment if I were you.
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