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

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:18 AM   #1
Paul Glasheen
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Making use of the power output calculator

Anybody checked out the power output calculator over at Performance Menu lately?


http://www.performancemenu.com/resou...owerOutput.php
(work and family safe link)


I was nearly as wiped out after today's workout as I was after Fran. Looks like I was putting out almost as much power. Coach, or anyone reading who understands these things better than I, would it be appropriate to compare these output numbers to use as a measuring stick for progress in the Metcon WODs? Or are the variables of each workout to great to compare on a calculator like this? Assuming the comparison is valid (I'm assuming power is power right?), it seems like this would be a great tool for clients or people doing the WOD's who are struggling with the idea of comparing themselves to the amazing low times posted here and within the affiliate gyms. Also, would comparing power output level the playing field, so to speak, in the discussion of shorter athletes having an advantage on pullups etc.?

my example:

Today's WOD: 38M/165#/6' 22:32 sub 3p.u and 3 dip for muscle-up
Power Output
101.69 watts
0.14 horsepower
75 ft-lbs/sec

Fran (12/3/08) as rx'd 7:57
Power Output
108.59 watts
0.15 horsepower
80.09 ft-lbs/sec
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
Paul Glasheen
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Re: Making use of the power output calculator

Nobody?! Should this have been in another part of the forum?
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:44 PM   #3
Shane Skowron
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Re: Making use of the power output calculator

I didn't do that workout you mentioned, but I recently did Jason and Fran, and I compared their power outputs. Jason was 0.1 HP and Fran was 0.26 HP - not even close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Glasheen View Post
Also, would comparing power output level the playing field, so to speak, in the discussion of shorter athletes having an advantage on pullups etc.?
It's an interesting statistic to play around with. Mathematically, a bigger and taller athlete will always outperform a smaller and shorter athlete in the same workout via power output, provided that he finishes sooner than the latter athlete. It may even be possible for the bigger athlete to finish slower and still have a higher power output.

However power output is only one gauge of fitness. If it were the primary gauge of fitness, likely you'd see the WOD every day being shorter maximum effort cycling intervals. The hips are able to generate more power than any other part of the body, so workouts that utilize the hips to their advantage will have a higher power output. Thus, an elite 30 muscle-up time even for a big athlete will never approach the power output of an elite Fran time for that same athlete, partly because Fran is more dependent upon hip strength.

Even a world-record Fran performed by a tall, hefty athlete will barely match the power output of an elite cyclist like Lance Armstrong in a race. What's more is that Lance Armstrong can continue at 2/3 HP for 20 minutes, while it would be inconceivable for a 225# guy to perform 20 minutes of Fran at a pace of 2mpf (minutes per Fran, I made it up). Usain Bolt can manage an output of double that, but only for a few seconds. If he could keep up the same power output for 20 minutes, he'd be able to cover 10k.

Some of the reasons why such a high power output for a continuous duration is only possible in cycling is touched upon in the articles, but I speculate that it has to do with the leverage of the lower extremities in relation to the body, allowing to perform more work with greater ease. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Some interesting articles on the subject, all wfs:

"Human Power and Crossfit Metcon Workouts" - CFJ71
http://journal.crossfit.com/2008/07/...sfi.tpl#_login

"Toward an Understanding of Power"
http://www.elitetrack.com/article_fi...ingofpower.pdf

"Power Analysis of the Lower Extremity During Elite and Sub-Elite Sprinting"
http://www.sportmedab.ca/pdf/Power%20Sprint.pdf

"How Lance Armstrong Gets His Unusual Energy"
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/sc...cycl.html?_r=1


I'm going to see what happens when I put the top performances at the CF games into the power calculator...

Last edited by Shane Skowron; 12-05-2008 at 10:49 PM..
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:55 AM   #4
Paul Glasheen
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Re: Making use of the power output calculator

Thanks Shane! Great response. I got out of cycling just before they big change to using power meters as a training guage, but I've been intrigued by the seemingly high wattages the T.V. commentators mention during the big tours. Thanks for your explanations, I will read those articles.
This forum continues to impress me. The more I learn, the more interesting it gets!
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:51 PM   #5
Greg Hunt
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Re: Making use of the power output calculator

this calculator doesn't really take into account muscle efficiency, and energy used to overcome friction. it assumes a perfect system, and doesn't factor in many other details
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:48 PM   #6
Mike Prevost
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Re: Making use of the power output calculator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Glasheen View Post
Thanks Shane! Great response. I got out of cycling just before they big change to using power meters as a training guage, but I've been intrigued by the seemingly high wattages the T.V. commentators mention during the big tours. Thanks for your explanations, I will read those articles.
This forum continues to impress me. The more I learn, the more interesting it gets!
Paul

It is difficult to compare power output for different activities. This summer I was holding just under 300 watts for an hour on the bike but I have a hell of a time holding anything in that neighborhood for just a few minutes on the concept 2 rower. I don't think the comparison between different acitivties is as meaningful as comparing power output for the same activity.

Pro tour riders would be closer to 450 watts for a 40K time trial and 1200 watts during a sprint.

Mike
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:29 AM   #7
Jake Richards
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Re: Making use of the power output calculator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
Some interesting articles on the subject, all wfs:

"How Lance Armstrong Gets His Unusual Energy"
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/sc...cycl.html?_r=1
Sorry, had to bump when I saw this reference. 2005 NYTimes, includes the explanation "There is only one way such efficiency could improve, Dr. Coyle said: more slow-twitch muscles, the type that do not burn out quickly and that are used in standing or walking. "

Sorry Sandra, I think there was another explanation...
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