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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 12-29-2003, 02:09 PM   #1
Alexander Karatis
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I will begin construction of my crossfit gym in January, and am finalising my budget and shop-list right now.

One thing I'll need since the gym won't be at ground level is a treadmill. I really hate them, but I'll have to learn to like them I guess so I'm trying to get used to the idea.

Now I know very little about a good treamill's programming capabilitites or any advanced features a new treadmill would have so I have to ask 2 questions!

1. How do you guys jump from let's say KB snatches on to a treadmill for a 200m run and give it your best shot at each run? Do you just keep a finger on the speed tab and keep increasing until you can't take any more? Do you have a set pace you'll try to keep for every run in your whole workout? Do you use any programming so as not to waste time between cycles?

2. Aren't I just begging for an injury when I use a treadmill for my WODs?

Somehow I can't get used to the idea that I'm trying to keep up with a moving carpet instead of pushing my body as far as it can take...And being WOD-exhausted whilst trying to keep the pace the machine warrants just doesn't appeal to me.

I hope that your experience will clear a few things out for me...
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Old 12-29-2003, 05:29 PM   #2
David Wood
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I use a treadmill a lot in the winter because I'm a wimp about the "cold" weather we have here (I live in NJ, so I know the folks in really cold places are laughing now . . . but I grew up in Southern California, so this is pretty cold for me. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Manitoba . . . those places are just uninhabitable).

Running on a treadmill sucks . . . but it's better than not running at all. Yes, the biomechanics of running on a moving carpet are fundamentally different than real running. I have been told you can reduce the difference by putting the treadmill on at least a 2- or 3-degree angle . . . this is supposed to make the resulting stride mechanics more "natural".

So, if you can, be sure to get one that allows for that elevation.

Actually, a decent aerobic workout (not particularly "CrossFit"), can be had by taking a treadmill up to its maximum slope (usually about 15 degrees) and trying to just walk at 4 mph (about 6 kph) for 20-30 minutes. WALKING on a treadmill definitely does not suck . . . if walking is enough for you.

For using the treadmill in the WOD, I just accept that my time is going to suffer because I'll have to go through the treadmill's slow "acceleration phase" as it gets up to my normal running speed.

On the other hand, my normal running speed is a very pathetic 8:00 / mile anyway, so I doubt I'm really losing all that much.

I just crank it up to whatever pace I believe I can manage for that interval, and wait for it to speed up to that level. I usually leave it at 3 degrees elevation the whole time.

Partly because of that slow "getting up to speed" phase, I've never been injured on a treadmill while using it as part of a WOD. Even when you're sucking wind from whatever else the WOD calls for, it's not that hard to manage the balance part of the treadmill run.

To really maximize a WOD with running, you gotta go out and really do it (drag the DBs to the track, or just go out the door and around the block) . . . but when the sidewalks are icy, I'll do it indoors.
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Old 12-30-2003, 04:27 PM   #3
Craig Lancaster
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I've been forced to use a treadmill recently for some of the WODs (I'd much prefer to run outside, but the snow and ice sometimes get in the way ...). I crank the treadmill up to the speed I want before I get on it to avoid the acceleration delay. With a little practice it's not too hard to hop on with the belt already moving. If the WOD has repeated running segments I leave the treadmill running while doing the other exercises.

The other potential problem with a treadmill is the relatively slow maximum speed. It's not a problem for me on longer runs, but I've been doing segments of 400 and below at the machine's maximum speed (which is 6 min/mile). Doesn't leave much room for improvement of that part of the workout (and since my pullups are still weak, I could use every second I can save in the runs).
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Old 01-02-2004, 08:47 AM   #4
Ryan Atkins
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I have been using a treadmill almost exclusively since beginning Crossfit. I'll echo David's comments and restate that it is definitely not as effective as running out in the open. If you want a detailed explanation of the physiological advantages of running on open ground vs. running on a treadmill I've been told that Mel Siff does a pretty thorough job.

Personally, I don't use any programming for the WODs. I've never thought about Craig's idea of letting the treadmill run while I hit the other exercises. With my knees, it's probably not something I'm going to try in the near future. To be honest, I actually enjoy the fact that there’s an acceleration delay and a top speed limit – for me, it helps with rest management and pacing, especially during the first two or three rounds where I'd be prone to early burnout (and especially if kettlebell swings are in the mix).

Hope this helps,

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Old 01-02-2004, 10:23 AM   #5
Lynne Pitts
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I'm with Ryan on this; I've been using the treadmill exclusively since starting crossfit, due to lack of place to safely run outside. The acceleration delay does help with pacing management, and I'm pretty sure the tmill is easier on my cranky back than the pavement would be. I leave it set on level 1.5 or 2 incline as recommended in various places to better approximate "real" running. It's not perfect, but it's the difference between running and not.
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