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

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Old 06-08-2011, 11:32 AM   #21
Andrew James
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Andrew Bell View Post
Why is it so much worse than kipping?
Doesn't this question answer itself? Look what happened to that guy.

Also, does wildly flailing your 180lb body around a pullup bar really look like a good (ie. effective and safe) way to develop arm/shoulder/back strength to you? Because it sure doesn't to me.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:36 AM   #22
Paulo Santos
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

I don't see how CrossFit is more dangerous than anything else. If you accidentally slip and fall doing a pullups and hurt yourself, how is that crossfits fault? The only time I injured myself was doing a box jump where I got lazy when jumping down from the box and my right knee slightly bent backwards. That was my fault because I got lazy. If you use the right form and stay in your lane, then you won't have too many problems.

Doing CrossFit or any other form of exercise is better than doing nothing. The plusses of CrossFit far outweight any negatives.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:37 AM   #23
Doug Lantz
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Pär Larsson View Post
Disagree. You're right as most people define "health" but that's not my definition.

A person who for 70 years is strong, fast, capable of doing 80% of the workload of an equal-age professional-level athlete in any one of a multitude of different disciplines, lived a healthier life than the long walk-tai chi-diet guy who lived for 80 years.
Greg Glassman has talked about this on several videos, his fear that medical science will increase our lifespans to 150 years but that we'll spend half of that in a nursing home watching TV and being spoon fed jello because of a lack of work capacity.

He also talked about the possible trade off of a shorter lifespan for greater functionality and that he thought if any change needed to occur to reduce that possibility he thought lowering the intensity would be that change.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:53 AM   #24
Andrew James
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Pär Larsson View Post
A person who for 70 years is strong, fast, capable of doing 80% of the workload of an equal-age professional-level athlete in any one of a multitude of different disciplines, lived a healthier life than the long walk-tai chi-diet guy who lived for 80 years.

What kind of life do you want? What kind of stuff do you want to do with it? Or do you just want to survive, in which case maybe don't ever drive a car or play sports or have an exciting, physically demanding job.
I absolutely agree with this. I'd much rather have vigor til death in my mid to late 70s over longevity and physical handicaps dying in my late 80s to early 90s.

Well said.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:57 AM   #25
Brian Pressman
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Pär Larsson View Post
Disagree. You're right as most people define "health" but that's not my definition.

A person who for 70 years is strong, fast, capable of doing 80% of the workload of an equal-age professional-level athlete in any one of a multitude of different disciplines, lived a healthier life than the long walk-tai chi-diet guy who lived for 80 years.

What kind of life do you want? What kind of stuff do you want to do with it? Or do you just want to survive, in which case maybe don't ever drive a car or play sports or have an exciting, physically demanding job.

The most dangerous thing we do at CF is drive to the gym. If you just stop driving to the gym, statistically you might very well have a better chance of long-term survival. If I'm right about that, then the average CF lifespan might well be shorter than the general population's.
I purposely did NOT comment on the differing definitions of health. Also, since Mr. Glassman speaks for Crossfit, what he says is sortof the default Crossfit view. I was wondering if anyone else saw the problem with Crossfit and Mr. Glassman's definition. By Mr. Glassman's definition, any activity that decreases your ability to work, is not as healthy as the comp. Keeping with that, if the average CF lifespan is less, the yoga/walking guy will have more days to do work. Maybe he/she will make up the difference? I don't know. I guess my point is that the theory has little to back it up (since 1, there are no studies on this and 2, Crossfit is so new).

I still go to crossfit and I like it, I just have mixed feelings about them throwing these theories around with little to back them up. One thing they are being backed up on: more and more studies conclude that short intense exercise is more beneficial than the longer, not so intense variety.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:08 PM   #26
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Andrew James View Post
Doesn't this question answer itself? Look what happened to that guy.

Also, does wildly flailing your 180lb body around a pullup bar really look like a good (ie. effective and safe) way to develop arm/shoulder/back strength to you? Because it sure doesn't to me.
I've seen people hurt themselves on squats and deadlifts but that doesn't mean squats and deadlifts are bad. I've seen people fall off the bar during regular kipping pullups too.

The butterfly pullup has been discussed in plenty of threads. The consensus is that beginners shouldn't do them because of the nature of the stress on shoulders and elbows, but if you've got strong and stable muscles and joints there's nothing inherently wrong with them in reasonable numbers. I don't do them for training because I want to build my pulling strength, but in competition or a for-time workout I do them because they're faster.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:33 PM   #27
Andrew Bell
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Andrew James View Post
Doesn't this question answer itself? Look what happened to that guy.

Also, does wildly flailing your 180lb body around a pullup bar really look like a good (ie. effective and safe) way to develop arm/shoulder/back strength to you? Because it sure doesn't to me.
I don't do kipping or butterfly pullups, just wanted to hear why you thought one was better than the other. At 240lbs I'm not one to send my body flying anywhere on purpose.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:35 PM   #28
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Brian Pressman View Post
I was thinking about something.

Crossfit's definition of health is the ability to sustain fitness. Mr. Glassman claims that any "disease, illness, or injury will manifest itself as reduced work capacity...therefore, the only way to sustain the highest levels of fitness is to avoid, or at least minimize, disease, illness, and injury."
A -> B
B ~-> A

Absence of injury, illness, disease is a necessary but not sufficient condition for fitness/health. Fitness/health is a sufficient and necessary condition to prevent illness, injury, disease -- perhaps "dysfunction" for short. In other words, people who are uninjured, unsick, and disease free are not by definition fit. Avoidance of risky activities is generally desirable but downright ridiculous when taken to its logical extreme.

As long as data is merely observational it will always simply confirm bias. Hence the tiresome meme, "CrossFit is high-risk because I know some people who got rhabdo or a SLAP tear while doing it." Soccer has the highest injury rate of all sports and you don't see parents yanking their kids from it. I will say that in my observational experience (yes it's biased), good trainers have hardly any injury occurrence at all in the gym. It's mostly dumb stuff people do on their own time, and chronic, neglected pain that haunts them from years of bad habits (read: chair/desk slaves). As with most things, the object (CrossFit) is neutral, it's almost always user error.

I'm not gonna get into it on "well how much is enough," but if you haven't already you should watch this video (wfs) of Glassman speaking recently, part 2 at about 23:15 if you wanna skip the BS.
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Last edited by Mauricio Leal : 06-08-2011 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:13 PM   #29
Andrew James
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
I've seen people hurt themselves on squats and deadlifts but that doesn't mean squats and deadlifts are bad. I've seen people fall off the bar during regular kipping pullups too.

The butterfly pullup has been discussed in plenty of threads. The consensus is that beginners shouldn't do them because of the nature of the stress on shoulders and elbows, but if you've got strong and stable muscles and joints there's nothing inherently wrong with them in reasonable numbers. I don't do them for training because I want to build my pulling strength, but in competition or a for-time workout I do them because they're faster.
I don't buy your comparison between butterfly kips and squats and deadlifts. Here's why:

If you do squats and deadlifts with good form and you use a weight commensurate with your level of strength, your risk of injury is low.

The butterfly kipping pullup is inherently doing an exercise with bad form. If you watch that video you can see that his face, chin, hands, elbows, shoulder joints, and apparently collar bone are all at way too much risk for the tenuous benefits of such an exercise.

Pullups should be a tool for developing strength, not for metabolic conditioning.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:20 PM   #30
Doug Lantz
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Re: Crossfit's definition of health

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Originally Posted by Brian Pressman View Post
I purposely did NOT comment on the differing definitions of health. Also, since Mr. Glassman speaks for Crossfit, what he says is sortof the default Crossfit view. I was wondering if anyone else saw the problem with Crossfit and Mr. Glassman's definition. By Mr. Glassman's definition, any activity that decreases your ability to work, is not as healthy as the comp. Keeping with that, if the average CF lifespan is less, the yoga/walking guy will have more days to do work. Maybe he/she will make up the difference? I don't know. I guess my point is that the theory has little to back it up (since 1, there are no studies on this and 2, Crossfit is so new).

I still go to crossfit and I like it, I just have mixed feelings about them throwing these theories around with little to back them up. One thing they are being backed up on: more and more studies conclude that short intense exercise is more beneficial than the longer, not so intense variety.
Note Glassman's use of the word "minimize" in your original post -

Mr. Glassman claims that any "disease, illness, or injury will manifest itself as reduced work capacity...therefore, the only way to sustain the highest levels of fitness is to avoid, or at least minimize, disease, illness, and injury."

He has commented that any program that's 100% safe is also by definition not effective.

So I look at it as "optimizing time lost to injury" which I think CF does however as you said we don't have the data.

I've also often wondered where is the optimum point of balance between safety and effectiveness.

One thing that made perfect sense to me when I read the article "What is fitness ?" is that too much of any one thing changes it from good to bad.

For example, running 400 meters repeats is probably far less stressful on your body than simply racking up the miles jogging as well as more beneficial (and less time consuming)
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