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

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Old 10-09-2003, 06:21 AM   #1
Alexander Karatis
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Little has been heard of this subject, and I find it as important to analyze a certain people´s exercise regimen/habits and extract valuable conclusions, as it is to nutrition.


I mean we have studied, analyzed and debated over so many tribes or groops of people to prove the paleo model that it really helps on giving a strong practical, real-life foundation to a an already convincing theory.

And as in the case of exercise, we first have proven experiments that real life offers, and then try to build on the theory and give scientific substance to it. (As much as we can)

The empirical examples we have that ascertain that Crossfit is what we need, are derived from modern day athletes, gymnasts, soldiers, LEO, civilians, etc.

I am an avid reader and lover of history, especially antiquity. Naturally, being a Hellene, I know more about our own history than any other, and am equally fascinated by it.

I say this because something profound (IMO) occured to me. Crossfit´s theoretical foundations would be extremely popular in Ancient Greece and are completely in line with Greek philosophy. Furthermore, like a good Greek boy, I tend to compare the new things I learn, in this case Crossfit, with the classical values I´ve been taught. And they match...

What I really want to do though, is collect and sort information about the way our ancestors trained. Hellenes were exceptional athletes, gave great importance to their wellness, and all of them were also part-time or full-time warriors. So they really did need functional fitness.

I apologize for the long rant, but this is a subject of great interest for me, and I would love to find more details about the way «fit» societies trained.

Somehow, I feel that it´s a shame we don´t have an Encyclopedia Gymnastica, or a History of Exercise...

We could learn so much from people who already have gone through numerous trials, experiments, and decided on real world results what to do...

And of course, I am SO certain that Crossfit was practiced in the palestrai of Athens, Sparta, Macedonia and the rest without us knowing it that I just want to see it being proven to me time and time again by the facts I dig out...
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Old 10-09-2003, 07:32 AM   #2
Barry Cooper
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Supposedly Kettlebells--or something like them--were used in Greece.

One book I really like--in fact it's one of my favorite books ever--is Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield. It's about Thermopylae, but also talks a lot about the training the Spartans did, much of which was probably very specific to war. I don't know how historically accurate it is, but it's a great read.
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Old 10-09-2003, 08:14 AM   #3
Alexander Karatis
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Interesting about the kettlebells, I´ll see if I can find anything.

Gates of Fire is a magnificent book. Steven Pressfield is always well researched and respectful of what really took place. So much so, that I for example get the feeling that I´m reading the restof the history that wasn´t taught to me in school. The stuff that didn´t make it to the books and encyclopedias.

For me his books are like they´ve been written by a Greek. Period.

With regard to Spartan training, the motto «train as you fight» was practiced in Sparta to the extreme. SO much so that a couple of deaths in training meant nothing in the grander scheme, since the training that caused them, would probably save lives in war. Coldhearted some may say, but nevertheless effective.

Apart from the sports that survived it would be very logical to assume that they did situps, pushups and pullups as we do them, since there are only so many ways to work a muscle group.

But I´m sure there´s more than that. I´m sure there were complex large, and technical movements, utlizing sacks of sand, stell or whatever, that I at least haven´t heard about...

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Old 10-09-2003, 11:09 AM   #4
Robert Wolf
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Alexander-

Art Devany has quite a number of stiries along this line...I wish he would finish his damn book1 Anyway: a group of Iriquois braves and a group of army personel were tested on the deadlift (this was mid 1800's I believe) the army personel were able to DL ~ 2.5 x body weight while the braves were able to DL >3.0 x bw! HG's have consistently posted values in the "elite" level of strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexability et.

This is rambling a bit from your original topic Alexander, I apologize, but I just wanted to throw outthere the idea that the level of fitness we see from crossfit is IMO the baseline humans are meant to be at. Anything less than this is an invitation for problems. Thoughts?
Robb
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Old 10-10-2003, 12:53 AM   #5
Alexander Karatis
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I absolutely agree with that last assesment. That is the reason I tell me friends I am not satisfied with my level of fitness yet (Which BTW isn´t elite Crossfit), even if they laugh at me everytime. I KNOW I SHOULD be much stronger, faster, powerful, graceful, balanced, with more stamina, more accurate, etc.

Now, Alexander Jr....? Forget about it! Now that I know how to start him off,... he´ll be a Spartan warrior by my age!:happy:

Bringing up the Iriquois is very interesting. Because my brining up the Ancient Greeks maybe more relevant in our society, since they were more civilized than the Iriquois, they did have gyms, and did go to «work out», but peoples like the Iriquois can be more fascinating. I say that because I speculate that their level of fitness has been attained by everyday work. (I doubt the Chief dropped them for 50 every time he felt like it)

And it is that active everyday training that Crossfit tries to mimic.
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