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

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Old 02-01-2007, 03:50 PM   #1
David Paton
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Interesting article. It's on T-nation. I am not putting the link because i don't think it's considered work/family safe.
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:12 PM   #2
Steve Liberati
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First time reading one of Dan John's article's...and certainly not the last. Intriguing, yet practical.

Sucks he's no longer in the CrossFit circle.

Hopefully, the hatchet gets buried sooner than later.
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:07 PM   #3
Garry Berryhill
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In one of Dan's older articles he dropped a line about how if you could do one hyperextension with a weight, you could do eight. I upped my hyper poundage and reps and my deadlifting went like gangbusters. (I quit after a couple months because I'm smart like that and promptly injured myself.)

Dan John is definitely one of the good guys.
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:58 PM   #4
Kenneth R Davis
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John's article reinforces a perception I have that all people share the same physiology (plus/minus some variations) and when success is achieved, it's because a common path is followed, whatever the name on that path may be: nautilus, crossfit, periodization, etc.

Two points John's make that I've also discovered:
1) Don't believe ANYTHING advertised. Never believe anyone's testimony, esp. when they're selling a piece of equipment, supplement, diet, etc. Think Bowflex or abdominzers work? Think Jenny Craig Work? Johns states this as "Don't get sucked in"

2) High Volume/High Reps. Improvement hurts, but it's work. (Americans seem obsessed with getting easy rewards, e.g. The Jenny Craig chocolate cake diet) That's the value I see of CrossFit. It sets goals, e.g. Angie, I would never consider myself. I doubt if anyone can drive themselves as hard as a coach can drive them. Glassman fills the roll of setting the benchmarks.

I actually agree with John's comment about CrossFit taking you from elite performance to medocrity. Glassman makes the statement "the world rewards a generalist." This is balantly false. Just ask Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Serena Williams, etc. The greatest atheletes in the world train for one sport only. While CrossFit may praise the athelete who can deadlift 2 1/2 times his body weight and run a 5 minute mile, in the world of elite performance, he/she would be invisible.
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:51 PM   #5
John Seiler
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Kenneth,

To play devil's advocate: The champion decathlete is commonly called "the world's greatest athlete". The decathlete is not a specialist, but a generalist. The statement that "the world rewards a generalist" should be taken to mean that life isn't a mile race, an Oly lifting contest, or tennis match. It's more likely to be an amalgamation of all of these.

It's common sense that an elite athlete in a sport would specialize. Other than some possible off-season training, GPP wouldn't be the way to go. That said, how many of us are elite athletes? Dan's use of the idea that fitness is, "the ability to perform a task" is good. The problem is, I don't know what task life will throw at me. I do know that someday, my ability to perform that task could save my life or that of someone I love. By that criteria, I'd better generalize.
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Old 02-02-2007, 12:16 AM   #6
Andres Diaz
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Exactly. If less than 1% of the strength training population can become elite, then his point about "performing a (one) task" applies only to ~0.01% of the population.

I'm not saying being elite is bad, it's just that, statistically, it isn't for the bulk of common people, CF could be. When you are in university, have a job, maybe a family, and suddenly decide to get fit at 20+ years old, it's already too late to be elite.
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Old 02-02-2007, 04:18 AM   #7
Dan Ensing
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Kenneth,

I think Coach Glassman's comments are geared towards the everyday person. Take Tiger, Lance, or Serena out of their element and have them trade sports... Tiger can play tennis, Serena can road race bikes, and Lance can play golf. Suddenly their mediocre at best. Sure, their natural talent may carry them in the new sport but they won't be elite. See Michael Jordan when he decided to play basketball.

The generalist notion of CrossFit works great for my line of work. As a police officer I have to have a mulititude of tools to rely on- speed, stamina, strength, explosiveness, grip stength, core strength, etc. I have to train it all, and CrossFit allows me to do that... hence, I'm a generalist. Has the world rewarded me? I don't know, but I've never lost a confrontation while trying to subdue someone, so I guess my reward is I'm able to go home at night to my family.

Just my $.02.

Dan
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:06 AM   #8
Larry Lindenman
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The Glassman's never clamed CF would make you an elite athlete in a specific sport. Will working on weakness make you a better athlete? Yes. Will strength, power, and active flexibility make you a better athlete? Again, yes. Do athletes have to do SPP on top of a GPP program...of course! When Coach says "the world" I think he means what life could throw at you in extreme situations, not the cheering throngs. If there were no spectators, money, or glory, for sporting events...what kind of reward would Lance Armstrong, a body builder, a powerlifter, or an O-lifer have? All of them have tools calabrated to one end of the scale (although I would say the O-lifter would be in the best position). As a cop, I need a program that will translate to the real world...CF is it.
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:46 AM   #9
Darrell E. White
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I've given this a little thought recently as I help my sons' lacrosse coach develop a pre-season and in-season conditioning program for the high school team. I occasionally wonder, at 47, what kind of defensive back or midfielder I would have been had I used CF or something like CF as my base fitness program in high school and college. Quickness, agility, technique, and speed drills, as I did, would still have been a staple both in-season and pre-season. I can't help shake the feeling that at my physical peak that I didn't even approach my potential because of an institutional and personal information gap about how to prepare BEFORE doing the sport-specific stuff necessary to be at the top of your game.

Certain athletic pursuits lend themselves to lean and light (biking, climbing, gymnastics), and it's hard to see how a CF program as part of the base fitness building isn't simply fantastic for that. Others need mass (offensive linemen), and perhaps nothing but mass will do. CF may not be the best option here. Is a CF style system appropriate for the Tiger Woods of the world? Dunno. I would have to, and do, massively work on my flexibility (yoga, T'ai chi, bagua) to counter the type of muscle I'm building with CF. But Serena Williams or another top-flight tennis player? With the work they must do? CF is undoubtedly a top-notch option for their conditioning to SUPPLEMENT their specific sport training. Roger Federer is quite secretive about his conditioning regimen. Bet it's rather CF-like.

At the end of the day who among us wouldn't love to be in the position to train for a living in some sport? Each sport rewards the elite athletes in that sport, and if it is a spectator sport the "world" rewards the top athlete with large sums of money. But if you simply substitute the word "life" for "the world" in Greg Glassman's statement I think it makes better sense. "Life rewards the generalist" covers a pretty wide swath of humanity, occupations, and pursuits, and CF is hardly taking any of us from "elite" in our lives to "mediocracy" in our lives.

I don't know Dan John and haven't read much of his stuff, but I'll bet that he would agree with that.

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Old 02-02-2007, 06:54 AM   #10
Daniel Fannin
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Here's a quote from the skill standards, sums up my opinions better than I could:

"How fit are you?
That simple question quickly gets complex. Fit for what? How fit is fit enough, and how do you evaluate your fitness?
• Develop fitness with sport-focused workouts, and test your fitness through competitive sports. It’s rewarding to be good at a competitive sport. But most sport-focused workouts are specialized enough to leave weak areas you may not be aware of. Unexposed weaknesses can lead to performance plateaus and injuries.
• Test yourself in combat. This has some obvious disadvantages as a fitness test.
• Use a set of standards that encompass all components of physical fitness. We’ve developed the Athletic Skill Standards as a versatile and user-friendly tool to fill this role."

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