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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 10-09-2005, 12:28 AM   #31
Roger Harrell
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I'm fully aware that the WOD is a continuous experiment in refinement. But how the WOD is approached is what's at issue here. If anyone were to match Greg's time going to complete extension and chest to bar on every pullup, then he'd be besting Greg's acheivement by a significant margin. But that's not the question here...

Which is more benificial long term, this pullup WOD done requiring every pullup to be done to full extension and chest to bar, or flying through it allowing for 15 degree bend at the bottom and nose to bar at the top. Would Greg be benifitted more by making him slow down a bit a complete every pullup. Sure he couldn't finish this thing in under 6 minutes, but 4 months from now would he be "fitter"?

BTW I'll have it known that I do have workouts, or portions of workouts where it's "do whatever you need to do to get through it", and I don't penalize sub-par technique. So I practice both sides of this debate. I just think it would be an interesting thing to do a controlled trial restricting athletes to one side or the other.
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Old 10-09-2005, 06:47 AM   #32
Steve Seckinger
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My 2 cents:
One central Crossfit theme that seems to be missing from this thread is that Crossfit seeks to position athletes at an 80% level - 80% of the best gymnast, powerlifter, runner, etc. This is the one principle that keeps my attention and that I love most about Crossfit. I don't want to be a top gymnast, powerlifter, or runner, but if I can take from each these areas and excel to the best of my own ability, then I know I'm ahead. If we were searching out perfect form, then I'd be looking for that extra 20%. Greg wasn't doing gymnastics on the video but at the level he is at, I'm sure I could learn at the 80% level from him.

It seems this debate may be not so much be about power output as about accuracy, where perfect form is required and developed only after repetitive drills. The closest example I can think of is competitive shooting, where the draw from a holster, sight alignment, reloading, and shooting platform management all have to be 100% accurate to have any results or even be safe. Each can be worked on separately but when they're all put together (much like Crossfit) they are suddenly harder to execute. Add straight or lateral movement to/from targets with this, and it gets even harder. There's little power output in these events (physically at least) but the event demands precision in each element. This seems to be the place for drilling and demanding perfect form at the 100% level.
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Old 10-09-2005, 08:50 AM   #33
Larry Lindenman
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At the core of this debate is the bottom line of Crossfit development. IMO we don't train to become gymnasts or O-lifters or power lifters or 5K running champs. We use the techniques to elevate fitness levels. It could be argued perfect technique = less energy expended = less metabolic response! So when someone says "I don't know how to O-lift, what's a substitute?" We say O-lift anyway, knowing a novice O-lifter will expend more energy per rep than an advanced O-lifter (lots of extra movement and instability). Try a set of 15 reps squats with 80% max. Go to full extension at the you find standing and supporting the weight with locked out joints easier or harder? I think going to just prior to lock out, with the muscles still in isometric contraction is harder. Looking at the video, Greg appears to be just short of lockout, will pushing the extra 2" make him more fit? Does it sacrifice "perfect form" for metabolic conditioning? I don't know, but it was still impressive as hell! It's also kind of hard to argue with Greg's results. I know this is a weird argument, and some will rip me, but think of it this way...throw a novice swimmer into a pool and have him swim 50 meters, he's expending all sorts of energy and deriving metabolic conditioning effects from that 50m. An olympic swimmer will barely feel 50m. Form instruction is probably responsible for 50% of newbe gains. They are getting more fit, but they are also getting more efficient, which is dropping times. At a point efficiency in technique flatlines WOD performance and the scale shifts to metabolic conditioning.
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Old 10-09-2005, 09:25 AM   #34
Keith Wittenstein
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Seeing as I can't even do one real muscle up, I feel a little stupid chiming in. But this an awesome thread!

As Coach Glassman pointed out, Crossfit is based on exploiting the weaknesses of athletes of different modalities.

If nothing else, we've discovered that Greg A, while being a metabolic dynamo, has sub-par form. So he has a weakness that needs to be addressed. Great...even Greg has something to work on! There is always something to chase: time, weight, form, etc.

Will improving his form make him better? I think we are all in agreement that it will. Maybe not immediately, but eventually he'll be a friggin' Terminator.

Most of us are chasing multiple goals of time, weight and form so as we go for one, the other two will suffer. That's the beauty of this type of training.

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Old 10-09-2005, 05:05 PM   #35
Steve Serrano
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The beauty of CrossFit is that we can each get what we want out of it. Roger's and Coach Sommer's appreciation for absolute full range of motion and development of strength at those limits is perfect for them. Their product is a fantastic display of strength.

I am in the same line of work as Greg A. and my desire (and possibly his) is to be able to generate and focus power for a different function.

While I strive to get full ROM in my exercises, I know even as I work toward full ROM (I have a long way to go) I am getting a tremendous overall increase in my potential for power output. As Jeff Martin suggested, in the practical application (me pummeling the f*%# out of a suspect who is trying to kill me or someone else) form is frequently compromised.

While I'll continue to strive for better form, I'll take the increases in power output anyway I can get 'em. Thanks very much to all of you for giving me the information and opportunity to do that.

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Old 10-09-2005, 09:11 PM   #36
Kalen Meine
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Dang, I come back to a thread and people are quoting me. Yikes. I think Jeff hit the nail on the head, square in the middle of the discussion. Are perfect reps the thing to shoot for? Duh. Do pretty-darn-good reps count if they're heavier or faster or (insert positive attribute)-er? Of course. And Coach was absolutely right. I was indicating power-to-weight ratio, which, rightly so, is generally easier to develop in smaller people. I think Coach B said something similar regarding O-lifts. He can usually tell from your starting position if you'll make the lift, but if your form is screwy and the 'tude is there, you'll nail it.
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