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

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Old 12-29-2014, 03:55 PM   #21
Russell Greene
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Mike Doehla View Post
I'm not worried about what their sports were. I'm talking more about the numbers were. These people were strong before CF.

Take a weekend warrior runner and an average strong gym bro. That gym bro will more than likely crush the runners Grace time.
Please look above. I showed that Khalipa, Froning, Foucher, Thorisdottir etc. were not in fact "strong" in the competitive sense when they started competing in fitness. They all, though, had fast times on CrossFit benchmark workouts. Rich Froning had a 365 pound squat and 200 pound snatch in 2010, after 18+ months of training in CrossFit. He did not come into CrossFit with competitive max lifts. Neither did Jason Khalipa.

To repeat, with the exception of Mat Fraser, the top CrossFit Games athletes all developed fast times on Fran, Helen, etc. long before they reached anywhere near competitive lifts. If one were to base his training on this overwhelming evidence, he'd train to achieve competitive times on all CrossFit benchmarks first before worrying about achieving competitive weightlifting results.
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:07 PM   #22
Jason A Smith
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

I will have to agree with Russ on this one. I fell into the trap of worrying more about strength. You have to build the whole thing at the same time.

I am a decently competitive Crossfit athlete. With the old qualification system a bubble Regional athlete actually.

I have pretty good benchmark Crossfit numbers as well, a sub 3 minute Fran about 8:00 Helen etc.

I follow a program specifically for me. The only change after the competitions are done (which was after the Open) is that we spend a few weeks decompressing my beat up shoulders. However I am close to 40 so my body reacts very differently. I did a lot of conditioning over the off-season as well to not only stay in good shape but to improve as well.

I have done lots of repeated efforts at 90% in various time domains. Some longer stuff too as well as some ****ty lactic work. We also have been working gym skills, C2B's etc. Sometimes in training and sometimes on it's own to grease the groove if you will.

When I started out I had a 235# BS/285# DL but I had really decent conditioning. I couldn't properly perform the Olympic lifts at all. Currently at a 380# BS and 430# DL so far from competitive.

I will continue to work towards being a well rounded athlete. Do I believe you need strength to compete at CRossfit ? Yes. Do I think you should be building that at the expense of conditioning...no
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:57 PM   #23
Shawn M Wilson
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Jason A Smith View Post
I will have to agree with Russ on this one. I fell into the trap of worrying more about strength. You have to build the whole thing at the same time.

I am a decently competitive Crossfit athlete. With the old qualification system a bubble Regional athlete actually.

I have pretty good benchmark Crossfit numbers as well, a sub 3 minute Fran about 8:00 Helen etc.

I follow a program specifically for me. The only change after the competitions are done (which was after the Open) is that we spend a few weeks decompressing my beat up shoulders. However I am close to 40 so my body reacts very differently. I did a lot of conditioning over the off-season as well to not only stay in good shape but to improve as well.

I have done lots of repeated efforts at 90% in various time domains. Some longer stuff too as well as some ****ty lactic work. We also have been working gym skills, C2B's etc. Sometimes in training and sometimes on it's own to grease the groove if you will.

When I started out I had a 235# BS/285# DL but I had really decent conditioning. I couldn't properly perform the Olympic lifts at all. Currently at a 380# BS and 430# DL so far from competitive.

I will continue to work towards being a well rounded athlete. Do I believe you need strength to compete at CRossfit ? Yes. Do I think you should be building that at the expense of conditioning...no
While all that sounds great did it take 6 years to add 145lbs to your DL and BS?

I will use myself as an example that when Str training with 'shorter' wods I went from 375 to 490 BS and 275 to 375+ on my DL in 8 months of Training. I came out 20lbs of muscle heavier and 16 or so lbs of fat lighter (also went 215 to 315 on my bench). After that so much stuff felt SOO much lighter that when I started going back to Cardio intense stuff it was easier.

The hardest thing for me in my own personal training has been my heart issues and the 3 procedures I've experienced. It killed my cardio (when your beating 285-315 BPM everything is bad). My STR has decreased from lack of exercise due to doctor restrictions but I still put up 405 on my BS the other day and pulled 400. My personal issues comes at about 4 minutes into anything when my tank runs dry and by 7 minutes im on the floor. The only reason i personally manage to do ok in some of the WOD's i've done has been my strength and skill.

My question would be for Jason if you spent 8 months hitting a more STR based program and did just a little less cardio during that time would you think your tank would drop a 'ton'? Do you think you would see 'major' improvement in your strength in that time which would improve your overall capacity? Do you think it would be easier during the next 3 months to hit the 'tank' stuff? Would your joints/shoulder be in better shape from less WOD work during that 8 months and be stronger and healed up for the Metcon time?

I am not totally against Metcons, and I used to enjoy them when I could do them. I just have experienced an influx of over conditioned / ok skilled but weak 'competitors' who need strength.

I guess my only hope in a thread like this would be to maybe spur the idea that boxes might need to look at the strength and weaknesses of their members and their members goals and choose the best course for them vs simply tossing a built 30 day wod plan at them.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:15 PM   #24
Colin McLafferty
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Shawn M Wilson View Post

I just have experienced an influx of over conditioned / ok skilled but weak 'competitors' who need strength.

...strength and weaknesses of their members and their members goals and choose the best course for them vs simply tossing a built 30 day wod plan at them.
Exactly this. I've been in boxes where strength programming is either non existent or, more commonly, is too advanced for the gym's average athlete.

Novices (in terms of athletic development) with weak squats shouldn't be doing weighted progressions of oly lifts or percentages of their push press 3RM for strength work.

Sufficient time needs to be spent on bare basics but unfortunately, whether in CF or the globo, it just isn't happening. The whole reason I wrote the book was to give people a way to educate themselves and get stronger whatever their situation.
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:22 AM   #25
Brendan McNamar
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
My point, however, is that most top athletes of the CrossFit Games reached elite CrossFit benchmark times before reaching anywhere near competitive weightlifting numbers.
It seems to me this statement argues it is easier/faster to develop "elite benchmark times" then it is to get strong/skilled at lifting. It only makes sense to focus on what takes the most time to develop first if you want to compete. It takes longer to develop strength so, if you are deficient in strength, you should focus (not exclusively) on strength and lifting skills development if the goal is high level competition.

For general fitness for the non competitor I'm in favor of CrossFit's GPP programing. I personally have seen fastest results when there is a strength bias as taught in the Coach's Prep/ Level II course.
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:00 AM   #26
Philipp Lendner
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

I will support Russ here. This is for two reasons:
  1. In a CrossFit competition, it does not matter how many events you win/do very well. It matters how bad you finish in the rest.
  2. CrossFit competitions (Open, Games, Regionals) do not require a really big strength base at the moment.

This however does not imply that elite level athletes (and similar to that, normal people at a box) might not be in need of strength training. What they need to train will be determined by they suck at. Josh Bridges at the Cinco 1 in 2013 comes to mind; that bad finish happened because of a lack of strength. On the other side there are people like Jeff Evans, how as problems (compared to other elite athletes) when the workouts go longer. This is just like it will be at any box; it is the job of the trainer to set a program that will either catch all aspects of training at the same time (a program like mainsite, which I still believe is pretty decent) or a program that will allow for each athlete to get better in those areas they suck (which is of course a bit more complicated).

My second point is because of the weights used in the Games. The heaviest I remember in a metcon is a 405 lbs deadlift (Cinco 1, 2013). This year there was the 345 lbs clean in the Clean Speed Ladder, but I do not consider that a metcon. Other than that there was the 245 lbs OHS. If you increase the weights, you certainly will have athletes with higher strength numbers take the win, which will in turn force the rest to work in this area. In the end it is a matter of what Mr. Castro considers good weights that will make athletes adopt. If there is a 500 lbs squat somewhere in a metcon next year, guess what, the year after that most people will work to get at least a 550 lbs squat. But as long as the bulk of workouts in CrossFit competitions (especially the Open, but that might change next year) consist mainly of relatively light weighted conditioning workouts, athletes indeed are better of going for a good amount of conditioning.

It has been mentioned that increasing strength helps most people in their metcons, which is something I do believe is right to some degree. It is right to the extent that most rx'd weights in metcons are - relative to the average guy's strength - heavy. Grace with a 1 RM C&J lower than 200 lbs, which is pretty common, is obviously going to be a problem. And if the athlete having this problem is an athlete with extraordinary conditioning (and skill in the C&J), yes, he might be in need of doing strength training. If not - and that is for the vast majority of athletes - scaling the weight might be the better idea.
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:42 PM   #27
Chris Mason
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

Elite CFers definitely train everything all year? Sure, there may be focus on one thing or another during cycles, but overall, from what I have seen, they work on all fitness components all of the time with more emphasis on their weaknesses in the off-season.
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:10 PM   #28
Jason A Smith
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Re: The Strength Base Linear Progression

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Originally Posted by Shawn M Wilson View Post
While all that sounds great did it take 6 years to add 145lbs to your DL and BS?

I will use myself as an example that when Str training with 'shorter' wods I went from 375 to 490 BS and 275 to 375+ on my DL in 8 months of Training. I came out 20lbs of muscle heavier and 16 or so lbs of fat lighter (also went 215 to 315 on my bench). After that so much stuff felt SOO much lighter that when I started going back to Cardio intense stuff it was easier.

The hardest thing for me in my own personal training has been my heart issues and the 3 procedures I've experienced. It killed my cardio (when your beating 285-315 BPM everything is bad). My STR has decreased from lack of exercise due to doctor restrictions but I still put up 405 on my BS the other day and pulled 400. My personal issues comes at about 4 minutes into anything when my tank runs dry and by 7 minutes im on the floor. The only reason i personally manage to do ok in some of the WOD's i've done has been my strength and skill.

My question would be for Jason if you spent 8 months hitting a more STR based program and did just a little less cardio during that time would you think your tank would drop a 'ton'? Do you think you would see 'major' improvement in your strength in that time which would improve your overall capacity? Do you think it would be easier during the next 3 months to hit the 'tank' stuff? Would your joints/shoulder be in better shape from less WOD work during that 8 months and be stronger and healed up for the Metcon time?

I am not totally against Metcons, and I used to enjoy them when I could do them. I just have experienced an influx of over conditioned / ok skilled but weak 'competitors' who need strength.

I guess my only hope in a thread like this would be to maybe spur the idea that boxes might need to look at the strength and weaknesses of their members and their members goals and choose the best course for them vs simply tossing a built 30 day wod plan at them.
Shawn,

I spent about 1.5 years doing CFFB which got me stronger. I was still crap at Olympic Weightlifting and my conditioning got a lot worse.

I still believe that if you want to compete at Crossfit you need to have a huge engine and be reasonably strong, for the most part well rounded. And that takes a lot longer than most people think. To build up work capacity is like anything.

Over 300,000 people competed in the Open last year, the top 3% made it on to Regionals (less this year) the heaviest thing in the Open was repping 315# DL's and doing 135# cleans, both while very fatigued. Neither of which would be considered "heavy".

At this point most people need enough gas tank to make it through the Open. If you are talking about local events then yes maybe you might need more strength.

You are more than welcome to have a look at my log which has been going daily since June of 2009. I guess the one thing is I rarely do "WODs", I train to compete at fitness. I think more people suffer from the testing/training issues where they get trapped into doing long miserable stuff without a proper dose response and no rhyme or reason other than what they just did sucked and it looked hard.

I suggest everyone go and read "What is Fitness" it talks about doing some strength work, skill work etc and then hitting some sort of "WOD" sometimes short sometimes long sometimes mixed sometimes not.

The last couple years I have added about 20# to each lift, not huge, but I am happy with that and if I keep doing that I will be fine. My shoulder has nothing to do with excessive kipping but more so with having tight office shoulder and a shoulder injury I sustained while snatching a few times which has also made me a little gun shy at times. Smart well rounded training has improved my scapular stability a great deal in the last 1.5 years.

So yes a well rounded approach is most important. If you do make it through the Open and are not strong enough, then you continue to focus a little more on strength. And if you make it to the Games you are on a while other level.
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