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

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Old 03-25-2010, 12:07 PM   #1
Barry Cooper
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Ideas on programming for the Games

I sent this to someone a while back, and decided it does little good in my Outbox, so here it is. Do with it what you will.

In my view, the core necessities for growth are intensity, sound nutrition, and recovery. At a high level--like that at which you are operating--the challenge is forcing continued progress without injury. You can't just do one thing with great intensity indefinitely. Growth will stop.

As you know, Louie Simmons solved this problem--or at least presented a really good solution--through Conjugate Periodization. For his athletes, typically, that means they have cycles through the week (Speed Bench/max bench/speed squat or deadlift/max effort deadlift), and then cycles between weeks. They vary HOW they do the lifts, and they vary the actual lifts constantly, with things like board presses, floor presses, box squats, Good mornings, etc.

Broadly speaking, with CrossFit you have three primary modalities: aerobic fitness, metabolic conditioning, and strength. The first would be the 7K run or whatever it was, or 1,000 meter plus rows. The second is familiar to you, and the third would consist both in maximal effort capabilities in things like deadlfit, snatch, and press, but also your one set max in gymnastics exercises like HSPU, pistols, and of course pullups and pushups.

Since you are training far more modalities, the periodization will necessarily be more complex, since you are trying to get better in dozens of different movement patterns, executed in different ways, from light weights done many times, to heavy weights done many times, to very heavy weights done once or a few times.

Here is my idea: 4 week cycles. In three of the four weeks you have 3 max effort days for whatever modality you are working. First week it is Strength. Second week it is metcon, third it is aerobics/running. Fourth week you combine all of them, but do nothing intense, and take a couple extra days off for recovery. You could of course mix them by doing, say, Monday and Friday Max effort strength, and Wednesday a long run, or whatever.

The key consideration is that on these Max Effort Days you give it EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. I mean everything. Everything else you do that week is secondary. How hard you work dictates your results. Three times to truly go full tilt boogie is really hard. That is tough training, if you are making it hurt the way you need to. But if you do that, I am confident you will see success.

First week, let's just suppose it looks like CrossFit Total on Monday, Max Snatch and C&J on Wednesday, and a 20 rep squat workout on Friday (Friday ought to be hard). To this you append, depending on how you feel, 2-4 light metcons, done at about 80%, and Grease the Groove throughout the day, for aerobics. For example, you might do an easy 1,000 meter row every two hours throughout the week; or an easy 800 meter run. This will build stamina--which you need--and will also likely have positive neurological effects.

Week Two you do workouts that are time delimited, say in the five minute range, 20 minute range, and 40 minute range, anything you like. Do each one as hard as you can. Add a 5K or two, done easily, at about 80%; or some 800 meter, or 400 meter repeats, done at 80%. To this add Grease the Groove for whatever part of your strength you are trying to build. If it is pressing, press, say, 85% of your best single on the hour throughout the week, or according to how you feel.

Week three, you again do workouts that are time delimited, say 10 100 meter runs, 8 400 meter runs, and 4 800 meter runs. Or a 5K, done as if you were trying to win a race, or a 10K, again at race pace. You may want to enter some actual races. You could and should of course do some hill running. You might want to hike the Mitch McConnell trail in Jefferson forest, with a weighted pack. That thing is a ballbuster.

Actually, one of the workouts should probably be on a rower.

To this you add weight work, done hard enough to feel like an effort, but well short of a true max effort. Finally, you grease the groove by doing pieces of metcons, like say 1 round of Cindy, done on the hour for as long as you feel like it. Again, this should build stamina.

Week Four you do say 1 running workout, one strength, and 2 metcons, then call it done. Each of those should be done at 80-90% intensity, to where it feels like an effort, but not emotionally painful. This is a recovery week. Just take it easy.

In your programming, of course, work as many movements and time patterns in as you can.

To this you could add Muscle Control and Autogenics. Muscle control is learning how to voluntarily control your muscles, so as to be able to generate more tension. Here is a good link: http://sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Arco/arco.htm#mc

It looks pretty [diverse], but the underlying ideas are, I think, good. I've experimented with it, but not enough to say I am good at it.

Secondly, you could do what the Soviets and Eastern Europeans did, which is learn Autogenics, and use guided visualization. It sounds stupid, but the research I've seen says it works. Here's a link: http://www.guidetopsychology.com/autogen.htm
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:31 PM   #2
Doug Blankenship
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

Where have you been Barry?
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:40 PM   #3
Albert Chang
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

I was actually thinking about doing something like this.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:29 PM   #4
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

Barry,

Have you programmed like this at your affiliate?
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:38 PM   #5
Leonid Soubbotine
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

I'd love to see somebody who did it post a whole month (or at least a week worth of training).

It sounds plausable for sure, I'd definitely love to see the results of such training after say a year.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:06 PM   #6
Hunter Lea
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonid Soubbotine View Post
I'd love to see somebody who did it post a whole month (or at least a week worth of training).

It sounds plausable for sure, I'd definitely love to see the results of such training after say a year.
Maybe I'll work it into my own programming? First idea looks like this: 5 x 3-day cycles. 2 workouts/day, one crossfit based and one CFE. Crossfit will fulfil the strength and metcon requirements and Endurance training will fulfill aerobic requirement. Crossfit + Triathlon-based CFE...

Cycle 1: Strength + interval, Strength + stamina, Metcon + interval
Cycle 2: Metcon + stamina, Strength + interval, Strength +stamina
Cycle 3: Metcon + interval, Metcon + stamina, Strength + interval
Cycle 4: Strength + stamina, Metcon + interval, Metcon + stamina
Cycle 5: Strength, Metcon, Aerobic at lighter intensity.
(5th cycle would be at lower intensity with one workout/day, for recovery from the hight intensity of the previous 4 cycles. Perhaps a 6th cycle of this format would be better? Suggestions?)

This roughly follows the proposed "4 week plan" while following the 3 on 1 off cycle encouraged by the main site. All 5 cycles come in at 20 days, including a rest day between cycles. I'm struggling with the concept of 3 days of max efforts per week with lower priority workouts in between. How would I fit that into my proposed cycle?

The 2/day crossfit/endurance cycle is because I'm training for a half Ironman in August, but I believe a similar plan could be followed for the games.

If I can figure out how to fit the max effort days within that plan, would this roughly fulfill the original idea of periodization?
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:47 PM   #7
Michael White
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

This seems similar to an Idea I was rolling around of two work outs a day and cycling combinations of CF main page, CF Strength Bias, CF endurance, and for arguments sake CF Football, as well as specific programing to address my own technical weakness ( such as my lack of rope climbing ability). I have not yet implemented it mainly do to time constraints ( can't really fit in two work outs a day ) and the fact that I do not think my body is ready for a two work out a day schedule ( I have just worked up to a 5 on 2 off schedule ) but it seems like a great idea to me.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:11 AM   #8
Andrew Breyer
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

Interesting commentary.. I'm sure Glassman will not disappoint. Something tells me he's got something up his sleeve.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:05 AM   #9
Hunter Lea
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

So I'm on week 2 of the programming described b'low. I'm getting enough recovery so far (barely) and I've never eaten this much in my entire life (I'm on 5 block zone meals with 2 x 2 block snacks throughout the day). Did Fran on Sunday and Pr'd by another 13 seconds!

The metcon + endurance interval days have been the hardest to keep up with. They're short, fast, and completely depleting.

Happy training!
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:49 AM   #10
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Ideas on programming for the Games

Quote:
Broadly speaking, with CrossFit you have three primary modalities: aerobic fitness, metabolic conditioning, and strength. The first would be the 7K run or whatever it was, or 1,000 meter plus rows. The second is familiar to you, and the third would consist both in maximal effort capabilities in things like deadlfit, snatch, and press, but also your one set max in gymnastics exercises like HSPU, pistols, and of course pullups and pushups.
Actually I think this is covered better in the Crossfit Journal article "What is Fitness".

I think anyone programming for the Sectionals/Regionals/Games should re-read that article first to see if they are truly testing the Crossfit definition(s) of fitness.
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