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

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Old 03-28-2005, 01:01 PM   #1
Mike Burgener
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on ball slams and some other type of exercises..e.g. eva's tabatta cln and jerks...i find that i tally all reps for the 8 rounds...seems to motivate the kids for the total score rather than the lowest. any comments??? coach???
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Old 03-28-2005, 01:23 PM   #2
Joshua Newman
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I can definitely see the argument for doing that. In my case, however, I find that scoring only the lowest round forces me to both get a better feel for pacing (which has come in handy in a number of sport applications), and prevent myself from wussing out on the last round or two (feeling like I 'have to' get the last couple of reps to avoid wasting reps in earlier rounds works like a charm in forcing myself through those last few painful ones).

That said, perhaps there can be too much of a good thing with such motivation. Despite a sprained right ankle, did Tabata squats in Central Park this past Saturday under Tony and Nicole's leadership, with almost all the weight on my left leg, and I'm still wincing each time I bend my left leg!
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:16 PM   #3
Beth Moscov
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I remembered an earlier thread on this same topic. You can find it here:

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Old 03-28-2005, 05:37 PM   #4
Patrick Johnston
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I completely agree with Coach Burgener on this one. I hope Coach Glassman doesn't kick me in the huevos for going against the accepted scoring practice, but I just find that an overall number of reps approach seems to illicit a greater output of work. I have found this both for myself and those that I work with. Admittedly this is not a great sample size.

I also understand that the accepted method of scoring does encourage some pacing. However, I don't think that a pacing strategy is or should be included as a primary or even secondary point of the tabata protocol. I look at any tabata exercise as an "all out" 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest. Seeing as I don't fashion myself an idiot, if I am using the accepted scoring method, I don't bother to better my lowest previous round in any further round. With the total rep scoring scheme, each round is an independent test in and of itself. Further, when one scores this way and examines the reps in each round, one can really see where fatigue/pain set in.

Just my $.02
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Old 03-28-2005, 05:54 PM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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I seem to remember that the Japanese implementation ended up with some members of their speed skating team often unable to complete all of the rounds. Now these are elite, highly motivated athletes. If that story is true, then they must have been going for max reps on all sets and not pacing themselves.

Anybody want to comment on the difference between the Wingate test vs. the Tabata training protocol? (Wingate is 30 seconds of all-out effort on a bike at high, fixed resistance. It's used as test to measure anaerobic power.) I've heard that the Wingate test is unsuitable for training as many athletes will refuse to do it on a regular basis - it is that exhausting. Personally, I think the beauty of the Tabata protocol is that the 10 second rest periods are just enough rest to lull you into thinking you can give each round a full anaerobic effort. More rest than that would be too much and less rest would force you to pace yourself more. I suggest that psychologically you can get a trainee to perform Tabata intervals at max effort and on multiple occasions but that you'll have a hard time getting them to do something like a Wingate test as a regular basis.
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Old 03-28-2005, 08:45 PM   #6
Rene Renteria
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Wingate vs. Tabata and a Possible Danger of “All-Out” Efforts

So how does Wingate compare to Tabata? The Tabata protocol used a value of 170% of VO2max as the goal of each round. (Here’s the original paper’s abstract: ct&list_uids=8897392 )

Here’s a very recent paper that used the Wingate protocol for training (and not just testing) purposes and got some interesting results. The measures of fitness they used are different than the one’s from the Tabata study, so I don’t know how they compare in terms of training effectiveness, although they do say that there was no change in “VO2peak” (is that the same as VO2max? sounds like it):
------------- ct&list_uids=15705728
J Appl Physiol. 2005 Feb 10; [Epub ahead of print] Related Articles, Links
Six Sessions of Sprint Interval Training Increases Muscle Oxidative Potential and Cycle Endurance Capacity in Humans.

Burgomaster KA, Hughes SC, Heigenhauser GJ, Bradwell SN, Gibala MJ.

Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Parra et al. (Acta Physiol. Scand., 169:157-165, 2000) showed 2 wks of daily sprint interval training (SIT) increased citrate synthase (CS) maximal activity but did not change "anaerobic" work capacity, possibly due to chronic fatigue induced by daily training. The effect of fewer SIT sessions on muscle oxidative potential is unknown, and aside from changes in peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), no study has examined the effect of SIT on "aerobic" exercise capacity. We tested the hypothesis that 6 sessions of SIT - performed over 2 wks with 1-2 d rest between sessions to promote recovery - would increase CS maximal activity and endurance capacity during cycling at ~80% VO2peak. Eight recreationally-active subjects [22+/-1 yr; VO2peak = 45+/-3 ml(.)kg-1(.)min-1 (mean+/-SE)] were studied before and 3 d after SIT. Each training session consisted of 4-7 "all out" 30-sec Wingate tests with 4 min recovery. Following SIT, CS maximal activity increased by 38% (5.5+/-1.0 vs 4.0+/-0.7 mmol(.)kg protein-1(.)hr-1) and resting muscle glycogen content increased by 26% (614+/-39 vs 489+/-57 mmol(.)kg-1 dry wt) (both P<0.05). Most strikingly, cycle endurance capacity increased by 100% after SIT (51+/-11 vs 26+/-5 min, P<0.05), despite no change in VO2peak. The coefficient of variation for the cycle test was 12.0% and a control group (n=8) showed no change in performance when tested ~2 wks apart without SIT. We conclude that short sprint interval training (~15 min of intense exercise over 2 wks) increased muscle oxidative potential and doubled endurance capacity during intense aerobic cycling in recreationally active individuals.

This page describes the Wingate protocol:

and another page there says this about Wingate:
The WAnT requires pedaling for 30 seconds at maximal speed against a constant force. This force is predetermined to yield a supramaximal mechanical power (usually equivalent to about two to four times that associated with the maximal aerobic power, or VO2 max) and to induce a noticeable development of fatigue (i.e., a drop in mechanical power) within the first few seconds.

So it appears that the Wingate is effort at 100 to 300% of VO2max, if I’m reading that correctly. (It’s possible this is supposed to mean 200 to 400% of VO2max.) So it seems that the Tabata protocol is also an “all-out” effort for some people and somewhat below “all-out” for others, at least in the initial bouts. Another big difference is that the Tabata protocol is a third shorter work period than the Wingate, which is easier mentally, even with the shorter rest interval.

(This is basically mentioned in the Wingate paper above, like so: “A similar study should be conducted in which the first Wingate trial lasts 30 seconds and the follow-up trial lasts 20 seconds. The results of shorter trials (20 seconds) correlate to longer trials (30 seconds). Subjects may be more willing and motivated to perform the second trial knowing its shorter duration.....”)

However, here’s an age-related warning to keep in mind about doing these “all-out” efforts:
------------- ct&list_uids=15711079
Gerontology. 2005 Mar-Apr;51(2):122-5. Related Articles, Links
Click here to read
Left ventricular function at peak all-out anaerobic exercise in older men.

Sagiv M, Ben-Sira D, Sagiv M, Goldhammer E.

Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Division, Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Wingate, Israel.

Background: All-out anaerobic exercise may be dangerous for the older population, due to hypoxia and inappropriate blood pressure response. Objectives: This study compared and evaluated left ventricular function at peak all-out anaerobic effort in 12 well-trained older (58 +/- 1 years) and 12 young men (22 +/- 1 years). Methods: Subjects were studied by echocardiography at peak all-out anaerobic exercise, on a cycle ergometer. Results: Seven older subjects experienced ECG abnormalities. Significant (p < 0.05) differences between the older group and the young group, respectively, were noted for: cardiac output (9.8 +/- 0.9 and 15.8 +/- 0.9 l.min(-1)), left ventricular end-systolic pressure-volume ratio (4.7 +/- 0.8 and 4.4 +/- 4.9), left ventricular end-diastolic volume (104.8 +/- 6.9 and 125.7 +/- 6.2 ml), ejection fraction (67.1 +/- 6.0 and 59.8 +/- 5.5%), left ventricular end-systolic pressure volume ratio (4.4 +/- 0.4 and 4.8 +/- 0.3 ratio), and total peripheral resistance (966.0 +/- 84.0 and 660 +/- 82.8 dyn.s(-1).cm(-5)). Conclusions: Data suggest that during all-out anaerobic exercise, forces opposing ejection were not reduced enough to avoid left ventricular dysfunction and ECG abnormalities in the older subjects. This is attributed to functional changes with age in the myocardium and associated blood vessels, leading to impairment of left ventricular function and blunted inotropic and chronotropic responses to catecholamine. Therefore, an all-out anaerobic-type effort should not be given to an older subject due to the great hazardous potential. Copyright (c) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.

It’s interesting here that they call their older subjects “well-trained”, and I wonder exactly what that means. If that’s the case, it might be that these intense sessions are actually dangerous, which would be a big bummer given the benefits of the exercise. I don’t know enough to evaluate what the abstract says. Any cardiologists or MD-types have any opinions on this? (I haven’t looked at the paper as it is behind a subscription wall, and UCSF (where I work) seems to be on the wrong side of it.) It would seem to be important to know if the Tabata protocol is a gentler but effective form of the Wingate one in terms of training.

(Also, I’m not sure if the “Wingate” in the address line of this last abstract means that it’s the place where the test was developed or just coincidence.)

Be careful out there!
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:22 PM   #7
Mike Burgener
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hell, i don't want coach to kick my butt either patrick....but as a coach and a teacher at the h.s. level...competition thrives on!!! now if i had a annie or a nichole...that could be different!!! these chicks are MOTIVATED!!! my little young ladies are anything but motivated...and when i threaten to make them see the WHITE BUFFALO IN THE SKY....they tend to shy away....BUT...when i tell them if they do not make at least xxxxxx points in 8 rounds they WILL HAVE TO tends to motivate their young hind ends!!!!! thoughts???????
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Old 03-29-2005, 07:43 AM   #8
Greg Kemp
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Mike you are right on. Kids are motivated by the goals you set forth for them. Very few are self motivated but most will do what you ask of them. We call the self motivated 1's the ones who do what you ask and do it well are 2's and the turds are who won't do it even when you show them are 3's. We believe you win with 2's, get rid of 3's and hope you have a few 1's to motivate the 2's.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:04 AM   #9
Rob deFreese
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Interesting topic. I can easily see how total points serves to motivate. And also see the value in the minimum rep scoring.

I tend to track both in my training. I want to know how I did in each of the 8 intervals. This gives me an idea of how well I'm maintaining intensity. Obviously it also gives me the total reps and lowest interval.

Now sometimes it's hard to remember rep counts in the midst of Tabatas.

Absolutely Patrick, let's go all out. Hell it's only 4 minutes, right?

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Old 03-29-2005, 09:34 AM   #10
Donn Venema
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Well, how about a scoring system that rewards both total reps and good pacing? It would have to be simple, and how one weighted it would depend on how much value one puts in total work versus pacing. I haven't thought this out all that thoroughly, but as one example, simply count total reps and then subtract the difference between your first round and last round. That subtraction is your penalty for poor pacing. Or subtract double the difference to make the penalty more severe if you think pacing is really important.

To avoid discouraging all-out efforts on the later rounds, only apply a pacing deduction if you overreached in the first round and your last round falls off. There should be no pacing penalty if the last round is higher than the first round. In other words, if you've done all 18's, there should be no penalty for going for 20 on your last round. If you're able to push much harder at the end, you've probably already hurt your score by not going for higher reps on earlier rounds.

If you go all out on every round, you'll likely get a pacing deduction by falling off at the end. If you try too hard for perfect pacing, you're likely giving up some total reps by not working harder early on. But if you did start too conservatively, you can only improve your score by finishing strongly.

Just a thought, and not a perfect system, but it might be a start. A better system would look at more than just the first and last rounds, or would maybe look at the highest and lowest rounds wherever they fall, but I think you have to keep things simple. If it takes too long to calculate your score, the paper just gets too drenched in sweat and drool!
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