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

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Old 09-04-2009, 11:28 AM   #41
Joe Cavazos
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Right. But how quickly will you be ready to go your hardest again? For some people, it will be "in an hour or two," while for some it will be "tomorrow" or even "next week." The difference is in how quickly the person can replenish their physical *and* mental reserves. Endurance over a single effort measures how big the person's reserves are to begin with. Related, but not the same thing.

Katherine
Brandon decided to step in here:

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Katherine,

You and some of the other posters seem to be hitting two main points, which are:

1. How fast you recover from work is important.

We agree -- and that's why we set up the muscular endurance tests to pretty much demand that you take breaks, and thus to evalute your ability to recover quickly. As for longer-duration recovery, like hour- to-hour or week-to-week, I would say that this is more of a TRAINING factor than a PERFORMANCE one -- unless you actually need to "perform" at high output over periods of hours, days, etc. But I would classify this just as more "conditioning," just on a very long timescale, the sort of multi-day expedition stuff that Mark Twight trains for, and a bit of a specialty thing -- also, our 5k metabolic test should hopefully approximate this type of fitness tolerably well, since they're both wholly in the oxidative realm.

2. Mixing modalities requires some unique type of fitness.

The example is, say, is it possible to lift a lot and run fast, but not be able to do one after the other without training that way (and in our case, without testing specifically that)? What I would suggest is that in most cases, the guy who can't do "lots of different things together" is simply poorly conditioned (so in our system, short on either muscular endurance, or metabolic endurance, or both). He did poorly because he got tired. And then there's the other aspect you mention, which is mental; maybe he's just not used to doing things like that, working that hard or in that sort of way. I'd say, sure; I agree that there's something mental you can develop with these types of training. And I wouldn't even mind testing for it -- I think it's incorporated in some of our tests now (such as the metabolic ones), but obviously our goal is isolation, and we haven't done that. But I can't imagine how one would isolate testing the mental edge; I'd accept any suggestions.

So in short, that hypothetical guy is lacking in either conditioning (which we test for) or something neurological (which we don't seem to be able to test for). My question is: do you think there might be some third factor?
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:29 AM   #42
Bryan Back
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Re: GPP Testing

I suspect that most trainers will have some way of evaluating individual qualities of a client? While doing better on a WOD shows improvement there is no scientific way to know what improved in a constantly varied mixed modality test.
I think Coach might love the idea. Not to replace a Benchmark test but to supplement it. Certainly, we can give an educated guess on what kept us from being a firebreather but that is not at all scientific. As I start to do my WOD as rx'd how will I know what improved. Or more importantly, what was my weakness in the WOD? If a person is going to work on his/her weaknesses then working on them and testing them in isolation may have benefit. A comparison of before and after will show progress. If one was correct in what was wrong in the WOD then the time should improve.
I would call it, "What to do when my WOD stalls" Having benchmarked the WODS and the individual tests from time to time one can track what improved or needs improved.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:45 AM   #43
Stephen Flamm
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Bryan Back View Post
I suspect that most trainers will have some way of evaluating individual qualities of a client? While doing better on a WOD shows improvement there is no scientific way to know what improved in a constantly varied mixed modality test.
I think Coach might love the idea. Not to replace a Benchmark test but to supplement it. Certainly, we can give an educated guess on what kept us from being a firebreather but that is not at all scientific. As I start to do my WOD as rx'd how will I know what improved. Or more importantly, what was my weakness in the WOD? If a person is going to work on his/her weaknesses then working on them and testing them in isolation may have benefit. A comparison of before and after will show progress. If one was correct in what was wrong in the WOD then the time should improve.
I would call it, "What to do when my WOD stalls" Having benchmarked the WODS and the individual tests from time to time one can track what improved or needs improved.
This is already done if one follows the main site. You will perform test-style WODs like CFT, 5K, and power clean 1-1-1-1-1-1-1, within the same, say, 2 month period in which Grace or Diane might come up.

As for figuring out why you/your client is not turning in better scores on mixed domain metcons, simply assess whether you slowed down because you were too winded or because you weren't strong enough to pull 250 off the ground another time. For anyone who has ever watched others work their way through a WOD, this is a simple distinction, and one that requires no scientific analysis at all. Let's not overthink this even more...
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:54 AM   #44
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos View Post
Your assertion was that our muscular endurance tests don't test recovery because they're only single work sets, which I took to mean that a more meaningful test would involve more reps, more time, and more work. But our current setup does include multiple sets, even just at 2 minutes. Try it. We could make it 2 minutes of work, 1 minute of rest, repeated 4 or 5 times. But we feel the results would correlate very well with the results of the single 2 minute set, and it would have a much smaller impact on your training.
More reps, more time or more work are irrelevant for what I was suggesting. I don't think the concept of actual sets required to compete a test is particulary relevant for recovery. That measures endurance and planning. What I am getting at with measuring recovery ability would be measured by your ability to perform a second work set after a max effort. Your recovery would be measured by your ability to match your first effort. Say you got 45 deadlifts in the first effort, and 43 deadlifts in a second effort an hour later. You would have better recovery ability than someone who got 50 deadlifts the first test and 38 deadlifts in the second test. Second person would have better muscular endurance, but worse recovery.

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Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos View Post
And until we see data that proves otherwise, I think we're going to stand by this assumption.
I imagine you wont have any problem with finding data that conflicts your assumption if you aren't testing your assumption.

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What are your suggestions, specifically? Also, are you proposing the creation of two different domains, metabolic recovery and muscular recovery, or is "recovery" a catch-all concept for you that includes proficiency in 400m intervals and front squat intervals?
Specifically, in this thread, I have suggested tests like tabata rows, where you measured the rate of dropoff from a max, 400m intervals with 2 minutes rest in between, again measuring rate of dropoff from your max. Additionally, I might suggest that this may actually be a good application for a traditional mixed modal WOD, like Fran. For example. You have two people who can hit a 3:00 Fran on a given day. The first person can get 3:15 the next day. The second person gets Fran cough, a fever and can't get under 5 minutes the next day. The first person has better recovery ability.

I don't think it would be necessary to separate metabolic recovery from muscular recovery, though they would perhaps be different. Having a mixed modal WOD may be desireable in order to keep the test non-specific in that regard. The more important recovery distinction to be made would be different time domains. Recovery in 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day. I think that this year's games actually was a test of recovery ability above most of the other fitness aspects.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:56 AM   #45
Joe Cavazos
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Stephen Flamm View Post
As for figuring out why you/your client is not turning in better scores on mixed domain metcons, simply assess whether you slowed down because you were too winded or because you weren't strong enough to pull 250 off the ground another time. For anyone who has ever watched others work their way through a WOD, this is a simple distinction, and one that requires no scientific analysis at all. Let's not overthink this even more...
As I said earlier, qualitative analysis is easily done, but quantitative analysis is more difficult. This is for people interested in the latter. To some people, this kind of thing is appealing. If it's not appealing to you, don't do it.

Let's not forget that the shift to quantifiable, measurable results is what makes CrossFit popular with so many people.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:24 PM   #46
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Kevin Thomas View Post
More reps, more time or more work are irrelevant for what I was suggesting. I don't think the concept of actual sets required to compete a test is particulary relevant for recovery. That measures endurance and planning. What I am getting at with measuring recovery ability would be measured by your ability to perform a second work set after a max effort. Your recovery would be measured by your ability to match your first effort. Say you got 45 deadlifts in the first effort, and 43 deadlifts in a second effort an hour later. You would have better recovery ability than someone who got 50 deadlifts the first test and 38 deadlifts in the second test. Second person would have better muscular endurance, but worse recovery.
Long-term recovery might be relevant, and wouldn't be impossible to test. The main issue is whether it would reveal anything the current endurance tests don't. Maybe the guy who got 45 Deadlifts the first time didn't go as hard as the guy who got 50. This is where testing is required. For the time being, we're discussing ideas of how to implement recovery if it's shown the current tests don't account for it.

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I imagine you wont have any problem with finding data that conflicts your assumption if you aren't testing your assumption.
We can't get a hundred data points by ourselves. We've done testing, but part of the reason we're posting here is so others can test too.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:05 PM   #47
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Stephen Flamm View Post
The mental toughness aspect of GPP being difficult to measure - mixed domain, CF-style WODs seem to do a pretty good job of that on their own. In other words, I think "Helen" is a better gauge of GPP than the combined/averages of individual fresh performances on a 400m run, a KB-swing timed piece, and a max rep PU test.
What caught my eye about this testing is that it's attempting to quantify GPP without using a CrossFit seal-of-approval WOD to measure it. A confounding factor that would come up is that performing well on CrossFit WODs takes a certain skill that only doing CrossFit WODs can develop. Then, if this test were applied to non-CrossFit athletes, the CrossFitters would blow them out of the water, pumping up their own egos, but not really contributing to any understanding of GPP. I say, until Coach buys the rights to "GPP", keep a CrossFit-style metcon out of this test.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:10 PM   #48
Bryan Back
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Stephen Flamm View Post
This is already done if one follows the main site. You will perform test-style WODs like CFT, 5K, and power clean 1-1-1-1-1-1-1, within the same, say, 2 month period in which Grace or Diane might come up.

As for figuring out why you/your client is not turning in better scores on mixed domain metcons, simply assess whether you slowed down because you were too winded or because you weren't strong enough to pull 250 off the ground another time. For anyone who has ever watched others work their way through a WOD, this is a simple distinction, and one that requires no scientific analysis at all. Let's not overthink this even more...
I think you could do these things when it comes to a lift or just getting winded. I don't believe that a trainer could easily see if flexibility was a problem unless it was so sever that it changed a lifts form. I would think this testing would be more for a person gaining their limit at something. As a new person any movement will give the adaption to improve. This will not always be so.
As for CF as a sport these tests might help identify specific improvements as the cause. It might be something as small as a change in technique during a movement. Now it might reveal itself as obvious with these type of tests? It might help the trainer be a better coach and it might help the self taught CF folks to improve? I don't think testing these things will hurt the athlete as long as they put the score in perspective. It would be just one test of many that CF gives to see progress.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #49
Stephen Flamm
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos View Post
As I said earlier, qualitative analysis is easily done, but quantitative analysis is more difficult. This is for people interested in the latter. To some people, this kind of thing is appealing. If it's not appealing to you, don't do it.

Let's not forget that the shift to quantifiable, measurable results is what makes CrossFit popular with so many people.
Agreed, I'm just not sure how consistent completion of the CFT, 5K, 1RM cleans, and 800m repeats (among others) fails to meet the quantifiable numbers sought with your tests. These can be compared against WOD times just as easily as your proposed tests.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:37 PM   #50
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Re: GPP Testing

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Originally Posted by Bryan Back View Post
I think you could do these things when it comes to a lift or just getting winded. I don't believe that a trainer could easily see if flexibility was a problem unless it was so sever that it changed a lifts form. I would think this testing would be more for a person gaining their limit at something. As a new person any movement will give the adaption to improve. This will not always be so.
As for CF as a sport these tests might help identify specific improvements as the cause. It might be something as small as a change in technique during a movement. Now it might reveal itself as obvious with these type of tests? It might help the trainer be a better coach and it might help the self taught CF folks to improve? I don't think testing these things will hurt the athlete as long as they put the score in perspective. It would be just one test of many that CF gives to see progress.
Again, I have no issue with testing specific domains of fitness - I just don't see how regular CF programming isn't already doing this with CFT, 5K, 1RM days, and 800m intervals.

Flexibility, on the other hand, is not specifically tested in CF. My question is if a client/athlete is flexible enough to perform a proper overhead squat, are they not sufficiently flexible for GPP?
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