CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-10-2006, 10:57 AM   #1
Mark Reinke
Affiliate Mark Reinke is offline
 
Mark Reinke's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: St. Charles  IL
Posts: 266
I'm new to the forum here and have enjoyed the WODs presented thus far. However, I was curious to find out the rational behind the concept of calling CrossFit a "functional" workout program. For example the human body functions on three planes of movement: the frontal plane (separating the body into front and back halves), the sagittal plane (separating the body into left and right halves), and the transverse (plane which divides the body into top and bottom halves). I noticed that the programs so far only incorporate two out of the body's three planes of motion along the fronal and sagittal planes. For example, pushups and rowing adequetly cover the sagittal plane, while thrusters and pullups take care of the frontal plane of motion. However, I'm just wondering why there are no rotational exercises along the transverse plane thus far? Afterall, we are constantly rotating through our movements throughout daily life in our activities and jobs. And doesn't the term "functionality" come from our efficiency to perform complex movements through multiple planes of motion? For me, and those I work with, the Cross Fit concept has been extremely effective when used in combination with: 1. A fitness goal. 2. Appropriate periodization within a program to accomplish a goal (always keep the body guessing) 3. Proper nutrition and rest.

I just wanted to bring up my observation and hear what anyone else had to say with regards to this topic. Good Luck!

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 11:41 AM   #2
Neal Winkler
Member Neal Winkler is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Shiloh  Il
Posts: 613
The WOD is not CrossFit, only an example of what CrossFit's programming may look like. If you would like to incorporate more rotational exercises within the CrossFit framework, then you can certainly do so. For example, I routinely place punching and kicking into my circuits, and one could certainly place throwing into circuits as well, as these are two examples of functional movements that are commomly referred to in the CrossFit literature.

But, I believe that one of the reasons that rotational execises are rarely seen in the main WOD is the observation that many non-rotational execises confer great benifits to rotational activities (i.e overhead squats for throwing), but the reverse has not been seen to be the case.

But I could be wrong about that.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 01:14 PM   #3
Mark Reinke
Affiliate Mark Reinke is offline
 
Mark Reinke's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: St. Charles  IL
Posts: 266
Neal I'm going to have to argue for the case that rotational exercises do indeed help the movement of the non-rotational ones. For example, in order to properly execute an overhead squat, even without any other weight besides ones arms, ones "core" (every muscle group between the hips to the shoulders) strength and stability must be at a certain level in order to keep just the arms over the head and the back from rounding. Having a rounded back and allowing the arms to fall forward demonstrates a lack of core control with regards to its strength and stability. A great way to develop the needed strength is through rotational chops with a cable, med ball, or even band training. With the application of these corrective exercises even the most out of shape individual will then be able to maintain the activation of their "core" muscles throughout their overhead squat movement thus making the movement more efficient.

In turn by adding more weight to an overhead squat, the need for more core stability and strength is needed. For this, more than just crunches and back extensions are needed to safely progress through added weight. Also, one's rotational flexibility is also a key asset in avoiding injury and aiding in the the body's ability to adapt to new situations. Rotational exercises provide to this need. Thanks for the input!

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
Neal Winkler
Member Neal Winkler is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Shiloh  Il
Posts: 613
I don't know think anyone here has stated that doing cunches (we don't do crunches anyway :lame:) and back extensions will significantly improve ones overhead squat. If you want to get better at overhead squats, the best way would be to do more overhead squats.

If I wanted to get someones core strength to the requisite levels for doing overhead squats I would first make sure that they have solid bodyweight squat form. If they still cannot progress to overhead's with a solid bodyweight squat, I would have to say that the next best method for developing said core strength would be front and back squats, all the while they are working with a dowel rod or PVC pipe with the progression found in the CrossFit Journal on the subject.

I don't see cable chops and medicine ball exercises giving one the flexibility and balance required for doing overhead squats, but overhead squats will cetainly improve ones ability to do cable chops and medicine ball exercises.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 02:50 PM   #5
Mark Reinke
Affiliate Mark Reinke is offline
 
Mark Reinke's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: St. Charles  IL
Posts: 266
Neal, but let's say someone is already demonstrating an asymetrical weight shift to their dominant side, a right knee that collapses inward, and their heels elevate at the bottom of their range of motion on the squat (not to mention a rounded back and arms that fall forward on their squat assessment)? Would practicing their ineffecient movement pattern be the optimal way to go by continuing to have them practice front and back squats with all of these muscle imbalances? Probably not.

Think of it this way, we all have one muscle that we use in ALL forms of movement. In fact right now take a second to suck in your lower gut without holding your breath, that muscle maintaining that drawing in movement is your Transverse Abdominis muscle. It's your natural weight belt that keeps your back straight and your body upright. It's the muscle that is activated first whether you're squatting, pushing, pulling, twisting, kicking, jumping...you get the idea. Now, getting better at overhead squats certainly means doing more overhead squats, but strengthening the TA muscle also takes extra work outside of the squats through other movement patterns (ie rotational exercises). This is amongst an area where your core can be your weakest link in a movement, and thus needs to be strengthened outside of the movement practiced. This concept has been proven over and over again with clients on a daily basis.

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 02:54 PM   #6
Norm Rager
Affiliate Norm Rager is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Grass Valley/Nevada City  Ca
Posts: 87
Check out http://www.danjohn.org

Hammer and discus - can't get much more 'rotational'.

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 03:18 PM   #7
Norm Rager
Affiliate Norm Rager is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Grass Valley/Nevada City  Ca
Posts: 87
Would practicing their ineffecient movement pattern be the optimal way to go by continuing to have them practice front and back squats with all of these muscle imbalances? Probably not.

But put the weight over their head and see what happens. OHS is a different animal, and muscle imbalances come from segmented training (absent injury, etc.). Proper squat form (body weight first) demands that there are none of the imbalances you mentioned. A`trainer would (should)correct this form first before progressing to anything further. Segmented TA training will not improve your ability to become more flexible in the posterior chain - as a matter of fact, quite the opposite! This flexibility comes first, eliting better form, load then begins to strenghten the 'function' of this chain - and then add OHS and the necessity to be 'balanced' (read funtionally strong) and voila.

Try it for yourself - you won't be dissapointed.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 03:36 PM   #8
Tom Corrigan
Member Tom Corrigan is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Seattle  WA
Posts: 361
Mark,

you really need to learn something about the TA. It makes your mid-section stability and load carrying capabilitiy WEAKEN when it is "sucked in". It may feel like it's contracting harder by isolating it, but it takes support away from the load carrying of your spine.

Try this - but a Olympic bar loaded up with three times your body weight, like you are ready to back squat. Now flex your entire midsection like you are bracing for a punch - don't suck it in, or push it out. Just contract every midsection muscle you have, front, back and sides. While holding your breath and flexing, squat down about 4", stop for 2 seconds then come back up. Take a 3-5 minute break, then do the same thing, but try to "isloate" your TA by sucking in your gut and flexing the hell out of it...... Then tell me how the hospital food tastes!

Your spine will snap like a twig if you lift like that. NO ONE who is strong sucks their gut in! This is done by yoga and pilates types, personal trainers who are clueless about real-life lifting and others.

You need to get Stuart McGill's books on Back strength and safety. Google it. He also has a great article at dragondoor.com on his idea of "Super Stiffness" to protect the spine and maximize power.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 04:59 PM   #9
Andrew G. Greenberg
Member Andrew G. Greenberg is offline
 
Andrew G. Greenberg's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte  NC
Posts: 623
mark, i don't see how segmented training as you describe would be be better for improving OHSQs than practicing OHSQs. your argument that someone with asymetrical movement patterns in the squat should not squat with weight ignores the body's ability to overcome compensations in compound movements.

the human body can and will revert back to its "design" movement (in this case ohsq) if placed in a position in which it has a choice to either regain function or "fail" the movement. for instance placing a person with the dysfunctions you describe in a doorway holding a dowel and instructing them to OHsq without touching the dowel to the doorway. or placing plates under the toes to force them into dorsiflexion. these tricks will result in the person either performing a mechanically correct sqaut or else falling on their ***. most people adapt pretty well and tend to be able to get into the proper position and perform the movement, albeit with limited ROM. these constraints, artificial though they may be, do not make this 'modified' ohsq substantially different from the unmodified squat in terms of functionality.

my point is that you don't need anything other than a "scaled" or "modified" overhead squat to improve the overhead squat because the body is designed to respond to such "functional" or "natural" stimuli. holding in your TA does not qualify as functional squat exercise because it does not have nearly enough "design" neurological input. its just a drop in the bucket, neurologically, compared to the OHSQ movement itself, which is like a torrential downpour.

this is why segmented training as you describe it is bogus -- it does not adequately cause the body to revert back to its design movements as doing an OHsquat would.

my two cents.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2006, 05:42 PM   #10
Kalen Meine
Member Kalen Meine is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Denver  CO
Posts: 329
This topic has been touched on before, and I think it might be good to pull out a few good rules of thumb before we continue.

1) Bigger movements carryover more to little movements than the other way around. This isn't to say it can't, as the obvious proper use of assistance movements can attest to, but that's generally the way it flows. If you perform an exercise which demands more, you will of course be prepared for one which demands less.

2) Most of what we classify as "rotational" movements really have to do more with being dynamic and unilateral than they do with actually being rotational.

So. What does this mean? It means that no one has really found an honest-to-God rotational motion hard enough to really be worthwhile, in comparison to the full core (including rotator) activation you get from, say, front lever hangs or overhead squats. Nothing sucks enough, and people have tried. People still seem to play with turkish getups, and I know Gym Jones has some success with doing floor wipers (picture a floor press, but put your feet in the air and roll from side to side. Killer.) and med balls on ropes, but the requisite obliques, abs, and low back to turn and put stuff seems to be developed best by larger body movements, with more additional goodies and in less time. Hence, Neal's very apt comment about OHS beefing up your cable chops, but a much smaller flow of benefit in the other direction. If you happen to have a rotational movement that sucks enough to roll with the big boys, please do share. I'd be game.

Now, on number two- think about the most rotational athlete you can- a shotputter or hammerthrower. Only a few feet of linear motion and oodles of spinning. These guys have pretty freakin scary obliques- but not as scary as their shoulders or hamstrings. The motion they are going through has more to do with working asymetrically and using momentum to move you through a rotation than it does about doing the twist. And thus, suprise suprise, Dan John, who has been throwing stuff for a long time, has said that doing all the twists, turns, and funky ab spins didn't do nearly the job of improving his throwing as one-handed lifts (deadlifts, snatches, cleans, and presses) and carries (hang or overhead) and pressing with chains to develop acceleration. All those had higher payoff, and is it any suprise?

And don't forget, if you have reason to believe that more of your kinda deal is needed, keep it up and keep us posted. I'm pretty sure I've seen a couple rounds of evolution from discussions and posted experiences around here.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Degrees of functionality??? Joe Marsh Exercises 6 02-08-2007 07:56 PM
Go Army/HSPU Functionality Andrew Brown Community 2 07-11-2006 07:03 PM
Snatch Functionality? Matt McCollum Exercises 16 06-02-2006 02:12 AM
Functionality: isolation work Paul Theodorescu Fitness 15 02-05-2006 11:37 AM
Functionality Paul Theodorescu Testimonials 3 12-01-2004 05:55 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.