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

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Old 02-15-2005, 01:48 PM   #1
Ross Greenberg
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I'm going to be helping out with the weight training program for my high school's track and field team this year. I don't really have any experience with training people for track (let alone the fact that although I run a lot I don't know much about throwing or sprinting.) Here are my ideas so far:

1. teach everyone how to do deep squats correctly, at least bodyweight squats

2. get everyone doing several rounds of 50 squats, 40 situps, 30 pushups(on knees at first for the weaker ones), a superman hold, and 10 jumping or regular pullups before most practices.

3. I want to give the team some of the benefits of olympic style lifting, without having to teach everyone how to squat snatch and clean. So they're going to do power curls, clean grip snatches, deadlifts, and thrusters. These exercises seem to be relatively easy to learn, yet still are very effective. I don't want to waste time teaching a 14 year old who just wants to run a little faster or learn to throw the discus how to do cleans, when he could get mostly the same benefit from the above exercises, plus the fact that I am far from a skilled teacher of cleans and snatches.

So what do you guys think, especially those with experience with track and field?

P.S. I'm not supervising the running, just the weight room.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:16 PM   #2
Eugene R. Allen
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Ross - My running and biking have both improved substantially as a result of CrossFit and I know that is because I have gotten so much stronger. One of the things I have appreciated about CrossFit is understanding why it works. If it can be fit in somehow a theoretical background of the utility of CF training and why high intensity work has training benefit for both aerobic and anaerobic capcities. Bottom to bottom Tabata squats for sure, deads, and cleans, and some dumbbell swings as well. A stronger athlete is a better athlete...this may be a tough sell with runners though.

Maybe some diet stuff to get em into the Zone.

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Old 02-16-2005, 12:27 AM   #3
Karl Steadman
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Ross,

My experiences are in track. I ran 800m internationally at junior level(up to 18). What you have planned for the group sounds fine to me, but my major concern is that you don't sound interested in teaching all of the OLY lifts, only some, why is this?

I agree that it is time consuming, but once they have the basics down i guarantee they will get stronger and faster. I was taught Oly lifting at a young age (prob about 14-15) and it increased my performance tenfold as well as giving me a sound basis on which to train correctly for the rest of my life. The reason for the long winded answer is that you have a responsibility as their coach to teach them properly and i feel that OLY lifting is the way forward (all lifts).

I don't mean to sound nasty in any way at all i just feel passionately about this stuff and feel it works. Combined with CrossFit, you have an awesome training tool also.

I agree with Eugene about selling weights to runners! Seb Coe was the first middle distance runner (that i know of) to incorporate heavy lifts to his training programme in the early eighties and we all know he wasn't half bad! Since then, i think more middle/long distance are coming around (sprinters have always lifted heavy).

I suppose in a long winded way, i'm just saying that use the time you're with the group Ross to teach them as well as possible in as many differing lifts, point them to this site and forums and let everyone help them as well as you. Don't feel you're on your own, i think i speak for everyone when i say that we want everyone to train correctly from an early a age as possible??

If you want i can help you devise a prog, it might be torn to shreds by some, but it would be what i used to do and could be of some use?

By the way, i'm no expert, but i just believe and train passionately!

Best regards,

Karl
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:08 AM   #4
Graham Hayes
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Overhead squat, power clean, put weight over head with one or two hands, dumbbell swings, fun! Not an expert but adding these will make one piece athletes with powerfull hip extension.
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:46 AM   #5
Peter Galloway
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Ross, You're definately on the right track with the inclusion of high-rep bodyweight exercises, these are vital for strengthening connective tissue and avoiding injury. If anything I would include more in circuit form at the end of each session. Stuff like burpees, bench jumps, mountain climbers, even shuttle runs if there's space - you're only limited by your imagination.

Like Karl, I think you should make every effort to instill the olympic lifts in these youngsters - maybe you could use the Burgener snatch drill as a warm-up? It can be found at http://danjohn.org/iii9.pdf

Otherwise, bearing in mind your lack of experience in the lifts, power cleans, thrusters, and swings are all good.

Good luck, and enjoy the process. You have an opportunity not only to benefit the training of a group of young athletes, but also for personal growth and learning!
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:06 AM   #6
Ross Greenberg
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Well, you guys are probably right about the olympic lifts. I had everyone able to do cleans, push presses, front squats, romanian deadlifts, and thrusters with light weight moderately proficiently after only about 20 minutes. I thought I had worked them pretty hard for a first day, as we had done bodyweight calisthenics before that, but as soon as we were done they went into the weight room to do some upper body exercises on the machines. More squats, supermans, situps, and pushups must be in order for next time.

Does anyone here have a background in sprinting or throwing, as I am training those athletes as well? I guess it's pretty basic, pick weight off the ground, squat, put it over your head, core work, but is there anything that throwers need to concentrate on more, or any exercises that I shouldn't waste their time with?

Regarding nutrition, that is a weak point for me, as I just started eating like I should again yesterday after a month or so of laziness. Maybe my team and I will assist each other on the road to healthy eating.
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:44 AM   #7
Tom Schneitter
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Ross
Dan John's website is a wonderful resource for helping create a strength and conditioning for throwers. Your sprinters probably would benefit from his Body is one piece program also.
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:06 AM   #8
Karl Steadman
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Ross,

Sounds like an awesome first session buddy! Keep up the good work! It's always surprising how much kids have in the tank when you think they'd be shattered hey??

Have no idea for throwers, but Tom has sound advice mate, have fun!

Let us know how it goes.....

Karl
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:17 AM   #9
Dan John
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This is from a recent "Get Up"
I like Greg's approach:

Greg competed as a high school thrower in Pennsylvania in the early 70's with moderate success on no instruction.
He became involved in the sport again when his son’s began to compete in the throws in middle school and he was drafted as a volunteer coach.
Seeking more information and real instruction, he found John Powell’s throwing camp and along with his boys, participated as a camper for two years.
Now approaching his fourth year as a member of the coaching staff of the camp, Greg has coached four West Virginia state discus champions, including his sons, and his athletes have earned thirteen total medals at the state meet in the shot put and discus.
While working for the WV Dept. Of Environmental Protection, Greg serves as an assistant track coach at Ritchie Co. High School and as an assistant football coach for Ritchie Co. Middle School.



Winter is here, which of course means that high school football players and track athletes that are not participating in winter sports want to lift weights.

Since I’ve been seen in the schools weight room throwing weights around in somewhat unique ways, (learned from our editor), I have become the default strength coach. That in itself is a scary thought, but now, what do I do with these kids?

As with all small schools, we fall victim to the Limitation Curse. Limited equipment, limited space, limited time, limited knowledge (mine), limited athletes (lots of participants but not all necessarily athletes), and limited other things that I can’t think of right now. So, with all these limitations, I don’t have the luxury of setting up individual programs with customized exercises along with set and rep schemes. The routines that I work out, by necessity, have to be easy to learn and execute, short in duration, be able to be performed by several athletes in a circuit format and (at least by my standards), physically taxing.

Generally speaking, I’ve adopted a philosophy training “movements”. The three that I like to emphasize are an Upper Body Pressing Movement, an Upper Body Pulling Movement and a Hip and Leg Thrust Movement. In those movements, I like to incorporate core work as well so that all of the exercises that I choose are multi joint/compound exercises.

I have decided to draw on camp as my inspiration, (which means I’m sort of borrowing everything from Dan). Below are the routines that I have chosen. Each routine incorporates the three basic movements. As a note, the routine listed below is for the guys. The girls that I am training are using a modified version of the program and I will explain the differences shortly.







Monday

As every good routine needs a name, this one has affectionately been dubbed the “Jello Maker” since that is pretty much how you feel when you’re done.

Coreblasters
3 sets @ 30 sec. / set
The athletes work in groups of 3-4 using the same amount of weight and rotate through.

Thrusters
3 sets @ 20 sec. / set
Again in groups of 3-4 using dumbbells of the same weight.

1 Arm Dumbbell Snatch
3 sets of 6 / arm
I like Olympic movements and this is a relatively easy exercise to teach and learn and fits within my limitations.



Wednesday

This is a “power” routine for the guys. Because they are guys, they want something that will make them bigger. For this routine, I have settled on 5 sets for each exercise with two progressively heavier warmup sets and 3 working sets. The warmups are sets of 10 and 8, (or depending on the individual, 8 and 6), while the working sets are sets of 4 with as much weight as the individual can safely and correctly handle. The exercises are;

Back Squat

Dead Lift

Bench
Typical of most high school boys, they think they need to bench. Personally, I encourage the Push Press and am beginning to get some converts. The throwers that I work with, I limit to the Incline Bench. Somewhat of a compromise.



Friday

This is a modification of the East German Javelin Thrower routine that I learned at camp a couple of years ago. I liked the intensity of the workout and the speed in which routine could be performed. It is ideally suited to involving a large number of athletes in a short period of time.


It needs to be noted that the throwers have a separate routine that I believe is more appropriate to them. In this routine we call “Crazy Eights”, the athletes perform 8 repetitions of each exercise without resting between exercises and without changing the amount of weight on the bar. Again, the athletes use only the amount of weight that allows them to safely and correctly perform each exercise. The exercises incorporated are;

Back Squats

Push Press

Lunge
4 / leg

Power Curl

The throwers routine is;

Overhead Squats

Push Press

Snatch Grip High Pull

Power Curl


Earlier I mentioned that the girls that I’m training are using a modified version of the training plan. They want to be stronger, don’t want to get big and like the idea of burning fat. To meet their criteria, I’m using the following routines.

Monday and Friday

Coreblasters

Thrusters

Dead Lift
3 sets of 6

Most of the girls participating in the lifting program are mid and upper distance runners. The 1 Arm Snatch is not an exercise that would be particularly beneficial for them but I want a pulling motion included in the workout. To replace the Snatch, I going to use the Dead Lift. The benefit that the girls get from this lift is that it develops core strength to hold them together for the end of their races.


Wednesday

Wednesday’s routine for the girls is the same as for the guys. They perform the ever popular “Crazy Eights” routine with the same exercises and the same rules.

After each of the routines, the athletes have abdominal work before they call it a day.

We’ve been working with the program for a few weeks and the kids so far are enjoying it. I’m really winging things with this and wanted to get another opinion before we got too far into it. Who else would I consult, but our own Mr. John. Dan’s take on the program was favorable but he offered a suggestion to keep it fresh so that the kids would not get bored.

I’ve taken his advice to heart and have decided to insert a Challenge Week every third week. In keeping with Dan’s idea, the activities chosen will be measurable either by keeping track of the number of repetitions performed in a specified time period, by measuring a distance completed or by tracking the maximum weight lifted. During Challenge Week, the activities will replace the normal routines. The guys are looking forward to it. I’m not sure yet about the girls. Right now, they are a question mark as to whether or not they will do it at all or in a modified version. Here is Challenge Week.


Monday

Farmers Walk
I’ve had some bars constructed where I can vary the weight of the bars. The idea is that the athletes get one chance to walk as far as they can while holding on to the bars. The distance will then be measured. The reasoning behind the “one chance” is that I want the athletes to learn how to pull out their best efforts when they have to.

Waiter Walk
In this activity the athletes hold a sandbag, (50 lbs.), over their head and again with one chance, walk as far as they can. Measure the distance.

Sled Pull
This is going to be somewhat of an experiment. Right now, the plan is to load a sled with a weight equal to the athlete’s body weight. The athletes then have to pull the sled as far as they can backwards. Measure the distance. Again, one chance. (Picture the “World Strongest Man” competition where the athletes drag an anchor backwards.)








Wednesday

Max Lift Day
On this day, we find the athlete’s max lift on the Dead Lift and Bench or whatever Press the athletes have chosen. I’m staying away from maxing out on the squat for safety concerns. Record the weight.


Friday

Pull Ups
In this activity the athletes have 1 minute to perform as many pull ups as they can. One chance, record the number.

1 Leg Squats (or Bulgarian Split Squats if you prefer)
Using only a standard barbell as a weight, the athletes have 1 minute/leg to perform as many repetitions as they can. One chance, record the number.

Sandbag Toss
The athletes will pick up a 50 lb. sandbag and throw it in the form of a two-handed chest pass as many times as they can in 1 minute. One chance, we will then record the distance that they make in that minute. The idea for this came from one of the “Get Up” articles where the author, (I apologize for not recalling his name), threw rocks in various ways for a workout.



For good or ill, this is our off season work plan. Keep your fingers crossed.
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:22 AM   #10
Ross Hunt
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Ross,

I suggest that check out Charlie Francis's site (accesible from the Crossfit front page). He has an interesting training system that revolves around avoiding aerobic work and muscular endurance work to a certain extent for short-distance sprinters. It is interesting, and his record puts some weight behind his system.
I am not a sprinter, BTW.
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