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

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Old 05-01-2016, 11:57 AM   #1
Alessandro Riente
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Improving MetCon

Hi guys, I'm a 26yo guy, 170cm by 78/79kg. I am relatively strong (110kg c&j, 90kg snatch, 165kg back squat, 195kg deadlift, 121kg bench press) but I'm really weak in metcon terms; I start really well but I burnout after 30 seconds and I need to rest really frequently. One reason could be that since I'm born I suffer thalassemia but I do not think it is a major issue, it can easily just be an excuse .

I always try to avoid to face this isse it but I've reached a point in which it is starting to **** me off.

I want to develop my skills and I thought about doing 2/3 times a week some sprints (rowing/running/assault bike) starting with 15s on and 30 off for 6 rounds increasing slowly until I reach something like 20 rounds 30s on and 30s off.

I did something similar in the past when I was doing thai boxe and it worked really well but I never applied it to crossfit.

Do you have any better suggestions? Is there maybe any online crossfit program with this goal? (something like crossfitweightlifting.com but for metcon)
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:37 PM   #2
Steven Wingo
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Re: Improving MetCon

It would help to have a snapshot of your current fitness level--can you give any info on some of your metcon performances?

For example, if you have relatively current performance times for any of the following it might help:

1. 2k Row?
2. 5k Run?
3. Benchmark times on The Girls workouts (and what portions cause you to slow down)?
4. Any of the Open workouts and what slowed you down?

There is of course a CrossFit Endurance website which posts workouts most days and you can pick from different disciplines. The Concept2 website includes a workout of the day with short, medium, and long versions for rowing. But I would be hesitant to suggest you jump right into following specific endurance programming without knowing a little bit more about your performances and what weaknesses you really have. I tend to think many CrossFitters who don't perform well on metcons really need to just do CrossFit as originally envisioned rather than moving directly to a specialized endurance program. Many times athletes really just need to either (1) do more metcons or (2) decrease the difficulty of the metcons (weights used, movements used, scaling selected, etc.) so your power output goes up. You seem to have plenty of strength, but maybe you need to really lighten the loads on metcons for awhile to build your engine.

Some online programming includes plenty of metobolic conditioning work. I'm a big fan of CF Linchpin, Pat Sherwood's programming. He calls his Linchpin workouts elegant. Most people would call them sinister--but only in the best way of course.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:32 AM   #3
Alessandro Riente
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Re: Improving MetCon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wingo View Post
It would help to have a snapshot of your current fitness level--can you give any info on some of your metcon performances?

For example, if you have relatively current performance times for any of the following it might help:

1. 2k Row?
2. 5k Run?
3. Benchmark times on The Girls workouts (and what portions cause you to slow down)?
4. Any of the Open workouts and what slowed you down?

There is of course a CrossFit Endurance website which posts workouts most days and you can pick from different disciplines. The Concept2 website includes a workout of the day with short, medium, and long versions for rowing. But I would be hesitant to suggest you jump right into following specific endurance programming without knowing a little bit more about your performances and what weaknesses you really have. I tend to think many CrossFitters who don't perform well on metcons really need to just do CrossFit as originally envisioned rather than moving directly to a specialized endurance program. Many times athletes really just need to either (1) do more metcons or (2) decrease the difficulty of the metcons (weights used, movements used, scaling selected, etc.) so your power output goes up. You seem to have plenty of strength, but maybe you need to really lighten the loads on metcons for awhile to build your engine.

Some online programming includes plenty of metobolic conditioning work. I'm a big fan of CF Linchpin, Pat Sherwood's programming. He calls his Linchpin workouts elegant. Most people would call them sinister--but only in the best way of course.
To be honest I'm extremely lazy in tracking stuff (I'm lazy doing everything to be honest); I can just easily remember heavy lifts. Today I did Randy in 6:58 (I did the first 22 unbroken and then I started to split it in 5s, later on I moved in 8s/7s) and 3 weeks ago I did Diane in 11:23 (the main issue in here is that once I get tired I just need to split hspu in singles but this should be a problem of technique and not metcon). I also did a qualifier just before Easter which was a hanging Isabel with 59kg (it was a percentage of my bw) and everytime you drop the bar you need to do 5 down and up. I did the first 17 unbroken and then it became really messy. I also missed the last rep and it cost me 30 seconds more on my time, the total was 3:34 but I'm sure I could do it in 3:05ish.

From now on I'll better keep track of them.

The idea was not to do a crossfit metcon program but just to add 2/3 wo per week with a specific focus on metcon/endurance to get better with them and I'd like them to be the most efficient possible.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:00 PM   #4
Steven Wingo
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Re: Improving MetCon

Maybe you can attend a CrossFit Endurance course this coming weekend very close to you:

https://powerspeedendurance.com/even...-varese-italy/

I am a CrossFit Endurance Trainer and attended this course a couple of years ago. While the course focuses on running, and there will be considerable running technique work, you will learn the three basic type of interval workouts (short interval, long interval, and tempo) and how to program them. The workouts can be done not just running, but are transferrable to the AirDyne and rower as well. I program the CrossFit Endurance workouts at the box where I coach and I use all three modalities--running, rowing, and AirDyne--and use these three types of workouts advocated by CFE. Those three types of workouts are also what I used before I started doing CrossFit and was a runner and then a cyclist.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:57 AM   #5
Alessandro Riente
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Re: Improving MetCon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wingo View Post
Maybe you can attend a CrossFit Endurance course this coming weekend very close to you:

https://powerspeedendurance.com/even...-varese-italy/

I am a CrossFit Endurance Trainer and attended this course a couple of years ago. While the course focuses on running, and there will be considerable running technique work, you will learn the three basic type of interval workouts (short interval, long interval, and tempo) and how to program them. The workouts can be done not just running, but are transferrable to the AirDyne and rower as well. I program the CrossFit Endurance workouts at the box where I coach and I use all three modalities--running, rowing, and AirDyne--and use these three types of workouts advocated by CFE. Those three types of workouts are also what I used before I started doing CrossFit and was a runner and then a cyclist.
I live in London now
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:41 PM   #6
Jason A Smith
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Re: Improving MetCon

There are many limitations to why you won't succeed in a "Metcon". For some people it is a local muscular endurance thing, some is just strength, some is CP battery and some is simply just not enough aerobic.

Building all those different skill sets is a little different and requires different training stimulus. Your strength numbers are fairly well balanced and would not be a priority if it was me. Sounds like your engine needs some serious work. I would suggest developing an aerobic base for starters, which look s a lot like work from 30-60 minutes at 75%.

Take a listen to the Barbell Shrugged Podcast (NWFS language) on aerobic training for Crossfit and that should at least give you some much needed insight.

Goos luck
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:11 PM   #7
Richard Colon
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Re: Improving MetCon

Run more.

Just put in some miles. 15 - 20 ish miles per week to start perhaps. I don't know how much running will work best for you but just run.

Every single person that I have ever come across, that I have trained, that I have worked out alongside with, that was a runner (I mean true distance stuff) has never once had an issue with metcon, endurance, engine, aerobic stuff. Not once. They do, of course, have issues with barbell and even bodyweight strength stuff but I've never seen them just "gas out".

It didn't matter if it was Helen, Fran, FGB, a 5k run, a 40min workout or a 5 min workout. With a minute of rest or just backing off a bit, they start having conversations and look like nothing happened.

This is honestly from a sample size of a few dozen 'good to very good runners'.

You can have the Rich Froning situation where we've seen him struggle yet the guy paces and crushes any metcon but that's a lot of work and $hit loads of volume in other aspects. As for getting the engine going quickly and easily (as in just wake up and do X), running is it.

Even the great Mikko Salo, whom I believe along with Sam Briggs, has the greatest engine in Crossfit history, has said that the secret to it is his morning runs (6 miles ish).
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:46 AM   #8
Alessandro Riente
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Re: Improving MetCon

good guys, I'll try to introduces more long distance running and rowing to mix it up a little bit and see how it goes. Thank you so much for the help
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:11 AM   #9
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Improving MetCon

I don't think the answer is quiet so simple as run. A long time ago when I joined my first CF gym I was one of the fastest 800m or longer runners in the gym but got absolutely crushed by Karen, 150 Wall balls for time @ #20. My coach made me finish with a #6 or #10 ball I was taking so long.

I was a classic example of a specialist. I had done a little lifting so looking at the three metabolic pathways I looked like this:

Phosphorcreatine (short and heavy): Partially developed

Glycolytic (up to 120 seconds, medium weight as % of 1RM): Undeveloped

Oxadative: Highly developed

So long and slow I crushed people. Heavy I wasn't very strong for my size, the medium length stuff crushed me.

The goal in CrossFit is to become more balanced. What CrossFit has learned is lots of work on the first 2 pathways helps the third. Your strength numbers are good so it looks like lots of effort bring up the Glycolytic pathway.

So you are looking for efforts from 30 to 120 seconds long, with a 1:2 load:recovery ratio repeated several times.

Examples:
5 x 400m sprints on 4:00 minutes, for time
10 x 30 second row, 1:00 min rest, for distance
5 x 500m row, 2:30 rest, for time
10 x 30 second wall ball shots 1:00 rest, for reps
Almost all couplets with 21-15-9 rep scheme

Some longer slow work is OK to mix in but I would go 3 of the met-cons like I listed above for every long slow effort. Done correctly these are awful workouts because the rest lets you keep going hard.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:51 PM   #10
Steven Wingo
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Re: Improving MetCon

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Originally Posted by Brendan McNamar View Post
I don't think the answer is quiet so simple as run. A long time ago when I joined my first CF gym I was one of the fastest 800m or longer runners in the gym but got absolutely crushed by Karen, 150 Wall balls for time @ #20. My coach made me finish with a #6 or #10 ball I was taking so long.

I was a classic example of a specialist. I had done a little lifting so looking at the three metabolic pathways I looked like this:

Phosphorcreatine (short and heavy): Partially developed

Glycolytic (up to 120 seconds, medium weight as % of 1RM): Undeveloped

Oxadative: Highly developed

So long and slow I crushed people. Heavy I wasn't very strong for my size, the medium length stuff crushed me.

The goal in CrossFit is to become more balanced. What CrossFit has learned is lots of work on the first 2 pathways helps the third. Your strength numbers are good so it looks like lots of effort bring up the Glycolytic pathway.

So you are looking for efforts from 30 to 120 seconds long, with a 1:2 load:recovery ratio repeated several times.

Examples:
5 x 400m sprints on 4:00 minutes, for time
10 x 30 second row, 1:00 min rest, for distance
5 x 500m row, 2:30 rest, for time
10 x 30 second wall ball shots 1:00 rest, for reps
Almost all couplets with 21-15-9 rep scheme

Some longer slow work is OK to mix in but I would go 3 of the met-cons like I listed above for every long slow effort. Done correctly these are awful workouts because the rest lets you keep going hard.
I agree--the aerobic fitness developed through a bunch of running isn't going to translate to much of what CrossFit and functional fitness demands. I, too, was an endurance athlete before finding CrossFit--a pretty damn good runner, a cyclist, and a cross country mountain bike racer. I had a big engine.

What happened the first time I did Helen? After crushing the first 400m, the Kettlbell swings and pull-ups crushed me. Going out for the 2nd 400 I was reduced to a shuffle in the beginning and didn't look anything like a "runner" until halfway through the run when I had recovered some.

I'm a CrossFit Endurance Trainer and am a big believer in what it promotes--for the right athletes. And those are athletes who specifically want to bias toward an endurance sport or event or for competitive CrossFit athletes who have to perform at a very high level at monostructural activites as well as gymanstics and weightlifting (but those elite athletes are putting in tons of extra work on gymnastics and weightlifting as well).

The answer for most athletes, in my opinion, is more CrossFit as it was originally designed. Drop the weight in most metcons so you really up the power/intensity and train your cardiorespiratory system across a broad range of fully body, functional movements--wall balls, squats, kettlebell swings, barbell movements, and so on.

One great question for any CrossFit athlete to ask is: Are ⅓ of my movements monostructural? Because if you are doing it right, you should be ⅓ each of monostructrual (rowing, running, AirDyne, swimming), ⅓ gymnastics, and ⅓ weighlifting. That doesn't mean ⅓ of your workouts are monostructural, but ⅓ of your movements--so maybe one day is MG such as CrossFit.com today with rowing and push-ups. That is a two movement day hitting both a monostructural movement (rowing) and a gymnastics movement (push-ups).

I love cycling and rowing and running. The rower and AirDyne are amazing tools for cardiorespiratory fitness. But for most people, a program of a bunch of extra running and rowing and cycling is not the real answer to increase their cardio engine. A well rounded CrossFit program, performed at the right intensity, is more often what is needed.
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