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

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Old 04-12-2006, 10:35 AM   #1
Charlie Reid
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I was thinking a lot about hypertrophy and those that seem to be incredibly strong, but not neccessarily big (lighter weight class O-lifters, Decathletes, etc.). My question is would combining Low-rep/Low Volume with heavy weights (i.e. in the 1-5 rep range) plus high-rep crossfit/bodyweight conditioning increase strength WITHOUT size increases? I know that certain crossfit workouts like 'Linda' would be considered a heavy volume routine, but i'm thinking more along the lines of 'Cindy' and the other bodyweight benchmark WODs. It seems that hypertrophy occurs most in the middle rep ranges (6-12) @ a higher volume than the other ends of the rep spectrum.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:45 PM   #2
Roger Harrell
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In general low rep max effort type workouts tend to decrease strength deficit (ratio of muscle diameter to strength). So some high load low rep work with significant rest between sets is certainly the way to go there. This coupled with the CF style Met-Con workouts is potent. This is essentially what my program is. We do some pure strenth type work (high load presses, ring strength, etc) then go into a CF style interval wo. It's working out quite well for a broad variety of gymnasts.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:02 PM   #3
Rene Renteria
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Roger,
So you'll reach an absolute strength limit that then requires some hypertrophy to pass. Do you find that the hypertrophy will occur in response to the same stimulus or that an athlete has to go through a hypertrophy phase were the workout rep or lift scheme is altered specifically to cause hypertrophy that outpaces strength, leading to a new strength deficit that can now be worked on using the previous scheme?

I guess this is a classic periodization argument, but do you find that it is true for gymnasts? Or does their training involve enough variety in loads and reps that all this occurs together?

Just curious about your thoughts on this. Personally, I would like to minimize that strength deficit (to have a high strength/weight ratio for things like climbing) even if it means not reaching a higher absolute strength that would require more bodyweight to have.

I assume that for a relative "novice" like myself, starting from a poor strength base and without much muscle mass (compared to most real athletes) that any reasonable program would add both mass and strength and that I still have some time to go before I have to address issues of plataeaus and lack of progress. (Right now those come from too frequent breaks in training, poor recovery habits, and not-dialed in nutrition, not from the training protocol itself.)

Is the idea that CrossFit is structured (or "unstructured") in such a way that such tweaking isn't necessary for continued progress? The tweaking people seem to do is based on individual responses to the workouts as stimuli and to goals (power output vs. hypertrophy being common ones that seem to conflict).

Any thoughts welcome,
Rene'
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:15 PM   #4
Charlie Reid
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I've had pretty good success combining low-rep O-lifting with Crossfit met-con. Based on my size (5'11 180 pounds), i dont believe my numbers have exceeded my physiological capacity (requiring me to seek hypertrophy training).

Considering there are guys my size that deadlift 600+ i think i have a ways to go before size increases would become neccessary, although this might also have to do with genetic fiber type distribuition (i.e.-someone of my same size might be stronger because they have more fast-twitch type II fibers).
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:15 PM   #5
Ross Hunt
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Keep the height:weight ratio in mind.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:31 PM   #6
Charlie Reid
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that's a good point, Ross. Some guy might have a 650 pound deadlift that weighs as much as i, but he also might be 5 inches shorter. I was also thinking about fiber types and how guys of the same weight might have different amounts of type II vs. type I fibers. Darren Flag from Animal Strength in Colorado competed at the last TSC and deadlifted 550 at a bodyweight around 160, but he was also ~5'6". Josh Everett is another example of a guy who is 180 pounds, but can clean and jerk 155kg. (and probably deadlift around 600 i assume).
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Old 04-13-2006, 04:34 AM   #7
Anthony Bainbridge
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Hypertrophy is more about food than your rep range.
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:00 AM   #8
Aidan O Brien
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Anthony is pretty much spot on. Your body can only grow if two things are really in place, the Stimulus to grow and the Nutrients to facilitate growth!

It's also worth noting that Hypertrophy is only really one range of muscle growth.

Remember, you body is a stubborn thing and it is pretty much pre set about how it wants to be, light, with a moderate bodyfat level and some muscle mass.

If you really trying to stay your current size and weight then just watch your calorific total and macro nutrient servings , all in all, as has been pointed out it is possible to become stronger without becoming beginner. You will simply be doing more CNS taxing stuff than muscle taxing.

And Anthony, considering the nick your in, I can only assume your being fed well up there in Canada!
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:34 AM   #9
Charlie Reid
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There's also some interesting stuff out there about hypertrophy on a hypocaloric diet. Art Devany (Evolutionary Fitness) wrote some stuff about how the body can gain muscle in the absence of calories. Maybe Robb Wolf has some references for that, but it's pretty interesting stuff.
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:45 AM   #10
Aidan O Brien
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Spot on Charlie, thats why it's also pretty important to watch you macronutrient split if you looking to maintain your current size, lose or add muscular weight.
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