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Old 07-11-2009, 01:18 PM   #11
Thomas Green
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

Also, are you proposing that a gymnastics/weight lifting program REPLACE SS? Or that you should add bodyweight exercises and o-lifts to a starting strength type program? If it's the former, I strongly disagree with you're trying to say.
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Old 07-11-2009, 01:37 PM   #12
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Andrew H. Meador View Post
Bingo. Perhaps my original post was too convoluted. I'm proposing an organized program for newbies to achieve certain strength standards before progressing on to metcons and the WOD.
One could argue that such a program might look remarkably like scaled WODs...

It seems to me that you're challenging one of the premises of Crossfit, the notion that the best way to achieve well-rounded "elite fitness" is by bringing all aspects of fitness up at once (main page), or at least by maintaining other aspects while focusing on weaknesses (CFSB, for instance). That approach also seems to me to give the best chance of handling "life" at any given point along the curve.

As I've posted elsewhere, we don't yet actually know what the ultimate result of mainpage only training is likely to be. Josh Everett wasn't doing Crossfit when he was 16 or 18. It'll be interesting to see where teenagers like Kallista Pappas eventually end up.

Katherine
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:13 PM   #13
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
One could argue that such a program might look remarkably like scaled WODs...
Not at all. Scaled WODs are mostly metcons, as main site WODs are mostly metcons and the scaled WODs are derived from them.

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
It seems to me that you're challenging one of the premises of Crossfit, the notion that the best way to achieve well-rounded "elite fitness" is by bringing all aspects of fitness up at once
Yes, I am. I think that the pyramid is somewhat bunk. I don't think that metcon lies at the bottom and I've said just that. Maximum strength and power and speed across a broad variety of modes enhances metcon capabilities across those modes. The same is not true of the reverse. I think that athletes endeavoring to excel in CF would be better served in their first months by mastering some basic strength movements in gymnastics and olympic lifting. Going hog-wild and ignoring metcon forever obviously doesn't work, but neither does the mainpage WOD seem to get most people to a high level of strength in these domains - it makes weak people stronger, but only to a point. As Steven Low has pointed out numerous times on these boards, strength takes longer to attain than does metabolic conditioning.

And Thomas, I absolutely believe that people would be better served focusing on gymnastics and olympic lifting than SS or powerlifting before beginning the metcons/WOD in earnest. Haven't you noticed how many former gymnasts and olympic weightlifters seem to excel in CF WODs? Powerlifters, despite being more numerous in this country, have not had that sort of outsized influence. To the extent that more strongman and powerlifting competitors are doing well in CF, it's because they seem to have adopted olympic weightlifting as their primary barbell training modality. Prowess on the rings obviously lends itself more to success in the CF arena than does prowess with the shoulder press - gymnasts tend to do exceedingly well at shoulder pressing, but SS conversely does not make great gymnasts. The same goes with olympic lifters - they tend to have great deadlifts and squats, while powerlifters can hardly be said to possess great cleans, jerks, or snatches, and for the most part aren't as flexible, coordinated, or fast. SS is a great program for increasing barbell strength and muscle mass, but it's not as applicable to the sort of fitness CF preaches as gymnastics and weightlifting are.
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:20 PM   #14
Kevin Perry
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

It's been said a million times before in countless threads that a solid strength background before CF will always be preferable. A person with solid numbers in strength, weightlifting and gymnastics will always adapt quicker than the individual who has no exposure to CF.

It's already been said in how many articles that a cycle of SS or any basic strength work will go a long way, and any person serious about excelling IN metcon should spend time getting strong first and properly learning the Olympic lifts from a qualified coach. Gymnastics takes practice and cannot be mastered over night so your looking at a good 6+ months of solid training. However, it comes down to priorities and goals. Proper programming, say plandamization or properly scaling the the workouts to maximize power output (put the egos/Kool aid away) will take someon far. You need to be smart in how you program your training toward excellng at so
something.

The main idea of the OP is just another way of saying you need to be strong first before CF. I probably didn't add anything new here just resaying what's already said about 50 times a day.
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:22 PM   #15
Thomas Green
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Andrew H. Meador View Post

And Thomas, I absolutely believe that people would be better served focusing on gymnastics and olympic lifting than SS or powerlifting before beginning the metcons/WOD in earnest. Haven't you noticed how many former gymnasts and olympic weightlifters seem to excel in CF WODs? Powerlifters, despite being more numerous in this country, have not had that sort of outsized influence. To the extent that more strongman and powerlifting competitors are doing well in CF, it's because they seem to have adopted olympic weightlifting as their primary barbell training modality. Prowess on the rings obviously lends itself more to success in the CF arena than does prowess with the shoulder press - gymnasts tend to do exceedingly well at shoulder pressing, but SS conversely does not make great gymnasts. The same goes with olympic lifters - they tend to have great deadlifts and squats, while powerlifters can hardly be said to possess great cleans, jerks, or snatches, and for the most part aren't as flexible, coordinated, or fast. SS is a great program for increasing barbell strength and muscle mass, but it's not as applicable to the sort of fitness CF preaches as gymnastics and weightlifting are.

I respect where you're coming from, but again, I have to disagree and here's why

Just take a look at the first two events from today. A long distance RUN and a DEADLIFTING competition. In this case, endurance and absolute strength were far more important than explosiveness and absolute strength. If you couldn't run a decent 7k or deadlift 500lbs, guess what? You're pretty much out of luck at the CF games.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea whatesover how many people compete in powerlifting meets vs. how many people compete in o-lifting meets. And I don't know any professional powerlifters myself. But the one's I trained with in college are, for the most part, ex football players or wrestlers who couldn't quite make the cut at the d1 level but still wanted to compete. Most people I know who compete practice the olympic lifts, aren't overweight, do lots of bodyweight exercises, and some even practice crossfit. And I don't know where you're coming from, but just about every powerlifter I know does cleans. The president of my school's powerlifting club used to do sets of 3-8x225lbs(Hang power cleans). At a bodyweight of 160. It's completely inaccurate to assume that most powerlifters look like Dave Tate. That's like saying all o-lifters look like Mark Henry or Cheryl Heyworth.

Anyway, like I also said, it's pretty hard to throw a beginner into a program consisting primarily of cleans and snatches. You gotta develop the basics first. You can't do muscle ups before you can do lots of pull ups. You can't do cleans before you can deadlift. How can you expect an inexperienced deadlifter to clean 250lbs(like most guys going tot he games) if he can't pull 300? Squat, Deadlift, Press, push ups, pull ups and power cleans. In my opinion, that's the best foundation one can have if he/she wants to excel in crossfit. Get good at the basics first, then learn the more technical stuff. I'm pretty sure Rip would agree.

That being said, I really do like the whole idea of the thread. I just think you're reasoning is sorta flawed and makes some very bold claims. SS builds strength. Weightlifting builds explosiveness. Someone with a good strength training background will be MUCH better at the o-lifts than someone without one. I still buy the idea that all components of fitness are weighted equally in the crossfit world.

Last edited by Thomas Green : 07-11-2009 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:06 PM   #16
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Thomas Green View Post
Just take a look at the first two events from today. A long distance RUN and a DEADLIFTING competition. In this case, endurance and absolute strength were far more important than explosiveness and absolute strength. If you couldn't run a decent 7k or deadlift 500lbs, guess what? You're pretty much out of luck at the CF games.
Actually, it's a little more subtle than that.

A 7K run over extremely rugged terrain. Not just speed and endurance, but also agility and balance.

20 bars in 10 minutes, but maxing out at "only" 505 lbs. Strength, but only up to a point. Coming after the run, recovery capacity mattered as much as absolute strength.

Sandbag hill sprint. Here's where explosiveness comes in.

Row + stake drive. Strength, but also accuracy. Lots of people wasted time and energy on wild sledgehammer swings.

Wallball + snatch. Strength, explosiveness, accuracy, flexibility. Not to mention recovery capacity with all five of these in one day.

It's hard to tell anything from the standings since the events are still going on, but after the first three events the strong guys (those who maxed out the deadlift) were scattered from second all the way back to 44th place, and there were five less strong guys (deadlift < 505) in the top ten.

Katherine

Last edited by Katherine Derbyshire : 07-11-2009 at 06:19 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:24 PM   #17
Thomas Green
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Actually, it's a little more subtle than that.

A 7K run over extremely rugged terrain. Not just speed and endurance, but also agility and balance.
While you do need some agility and balance to run trails, a distance runner has a HUGE advantage over a gymnast or anyone who specializes in agility or balance. It pretty much all boils down to endurance. And it's my opinion that a general strength program is the best gateway to more technical stuff like gymnastics and olympic lifting.

The rest of your post I totally agree with though. Which is why I think that strength, explosiveness, endurance, agility, etc are all equally important in the CF world. That was basically all I was getting at before. To win the CF games one has to be well rounded and posses all 10 components of fitness.

Last edited by Thomas Green : 07-11-2009 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:49 PM   #18
Marcus Allen
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

One of the reasons I think people languish in scaling purgatory for so long is, they alway scale to get the metabolic hit.

The general recommendation seems to be, scale the weight so you post middle of the pack times. If you are under strong, like me, that can last a really long time.

If however people would scale more towards acheiving the weights, they would progress in that direction more quickly.

There are excercises at both extremes that don't get scaled per se. Heavy triples or singles and monostructural WODs. If you can rap out a 25min 5k, or sub 3:30 1500m rows, maybe you need to scale to strength. Where as, if you can't complete Fran as Rxd because you're just gassed...

I still say, scaled CF will get you to as Rxd quicker than specializing. And INTELLIGENTLY scaled CF, even more so.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:58 PM   #19
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Marcus Allen View Post
One of the reasons I think people languish in scaling purgatory for so long is, they alway scale to get the metabolic hit.

The general recommendation seems to be, scale the weight so you post middle of the pack times. If you are under strong, like me, that can last a really long time.

If however people would scale more towards acheiving the weights, they would progress in that direction more quickly.
More generally speaking, there's a very human tendency to scale to something that might be too easy to give the desired adaptation. Or something that gives you a good, rather than middle of the pack, number to post. Or something that's intense, but not painfully so.

In one of these threads, someone who was a judge at one of the regional qualifiers noted a big difference in intensity between self taught Crossfitters and those who had trained at affiliates. Part of that might be selection bias: presumably the ones from affiliates had coaches telling them they were or weren't ready for the Games, too. Still, it's a valid point. It's really hard for anyone in any sport to achieve the same results on their own that they can with a good coach.

Katherine
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:58 PM   #20
Michael Bruce Mailman
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Re: An acceptable level of strength prior to beginning metcons

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Originally Posted by Thomas Green View Post
I respect where you're coming from, but again, I have to disagree and here's why

Just take a look at the first two events from today. A long distance RUN and a DEADLIFTING competition. In this case, endurance and absolute strength were far more important than explosiveness and absolute strength. If you couldn't run a decent 7k or deadlift 500lbs, guess what? You're pretty much out of luck at the CF games.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea whatesover how many people compete in powerlifting meets vs. how many people compete in o-lifting meets. And I don't know any professional powerlifters myself. But the one's I trained with in college are, for the most part, ex football players or wrestlers who couldn't quite make the cut at the d1 level but still wanted to compete. Most people I know who compete practice the olympic lifts, aren't overweight, do lots of bodyweight exercises, and some even practice crossfit. And I don't know where you're coming from, but just about every powerlifter I know does cleans. The president of my school's powerlifting club used to do sets of 3-8x225lbs(Hang power cleans). At a bodyweight of 160. It's completely inaccurate to assume that most powerlifters look like Dave Tate. That's like saying all o-lifters look like Mark Henry or Cheryl Heyworth.

Anyway, like I also said, it's pretty hard to throw a beginner into a program consisting primarily of cleans and snatches. You gotta develop the basics first. You can't do muscle ups before you can do lots of pull ups. You can't do cleans before you can deadlift. How can you expect an inexperienced deadlifter to clean 250lbs(like most guys going tot he games) if he can't pull 300? Squat, Deadlift, Press, push ups, pull ups and power cleans. In my opinion, that's the best foundation one can have if he/she wants to excel in crossfit. Get good at the basics first, then learn the more technical stuff. I'm pretty sure Rip would agree.

That being said, I really do like the whole idea of the thread. I just think you're reasoning is sorta flawed and makes some very bold claims. SS builds strength. Weightlifting builds explosiveness. Someone with a good strength training background will be MUCH better at the o-lifts than someone without one. I still buy the idea that all components of fitness are weighted equally in the crossfit world.
The make up of the CF Games WODS, or the fact that you can't plan what life will throw at you, has nothing to do with the most effective way to train.

If I only had 6 months to train for the games as a newbie, I'd be spending a significant portion of that time doing the sort of strength work Andrew describes, not just scaled main page WODS.

I think most people would agree with this approach, which surely speaks to the fact that doing main page WODS alone, as a newbie, isn't the fastest way to gain all round proficiency.

Though of course, for someone inexperienced in making their own programmes, following a professionally desinged programme such as the WOD is better then trying to haphazardly make their own programme.
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