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Old 01-19-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
Shawn Michels
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How does it work?

I have been reading a lot about crossfit and I have a question or two about the sciene of it all.

Specifically I have been reading an number of articles / threads in which crossfitters who train only using the crossfit WOD are able to outperform their peers who train for 5k's, 10k's, Olympic Tri-Athlons etc. I understand the concept of general fitness vs. specifc fitiness. My question is more how does a 20 - 30 minute crossfit program allow someone to build up up enough aerobic capacity / endurance to allow crossfitters to beat people who are specifically training for these events.

Again... I am not questioning the effectiveness of the method. I am simply more intrested the science of how it actually works.


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Old 01-19-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
James Gordon
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Re: How does it work?

Hi Shawn,

I don't know exactly which articles you are refering to, but CrossFit's contention is not that you will be able to beat someone who is an elite level triathlete or mid-long distance runner.

However, any accomplished CrossFitter should easily be able to compete at these events, or any other, at a realatively high level. An elite distance athlete will very likely beat a CrosFit athlete in his/ her own sport, but nothing else.

Crossfit's aim is to develop an athlete who is very competent in any physical task, not just specialized in one discipline. Having said that, www.crossfitendurance.com (W/F/safe) is an excellent resource for endurance athletes who want to get better results with less training time. Worth a look.

BTW, I'm training for my first sprint triathlon using CrossFit exclusively.

Just my opinion; hope this helps.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:18 AM   #3
Brian Bedell
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Re: How does it work?

I think if you go to CFE and look at the FAQ; this is addressed. And specifically how shorter duration higher intensity interval training works.

You will also need to search how the three energy pathways interact. See CF journal articles.

Hope you can swim!
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:28 AM   #4
Justin McGinley
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Re: How does it work?

Crossfit will get someone to be able to run a sub 19 minutes 5k, which will beat most people signed up at your local turkey trot 5k. It takes a bit of specialization to get much faster than that. The goal of crossfit is to be pretty darn good at everything.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:45 AM   #5
Shawn Michels
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Re: How does it work?

Thanks for the comments.

I should have been a bit more clear. I actually have no intention of getting into endurance type events. I was simply curious how, from a scientific standpoint, the crossfit regimine gives people enough aerobic endurance to compete with those who focus on endurance training.

The FAQ on CFE actually contained some pretty good information.

Thanks again for the comment!!!
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:10 PM   #6
Kevin Hewell
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Re: How does it work?

Have you tried Crossfit? Do any of the named WOD's and you will have your answer.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
Brian Bedell
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Re: How does it work?

If CF gets me to a 19 min. 5K, I'll eat my shorts! In my dreams...
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:37 AM   #8
Justin McGinley
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Re: How does it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Bedell View Post
If CF gets me to a 19 min. 5K, I'll eat my shorts! In my dreams...
Hey, if it is down hill, both ways...
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:06 AM   #9
Chase Willingham
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Re: How does it work?

Here is a good example......
I started crossfit 4 months ago. Before crossfit, I never really ran more than 30 minutes at one time. I've been doing the WOD from the mainsite and ran two 5K's as they came up. Ran the 10K for the first time saturday in 52 minutes...not very fast I know....but, this was an accomplishment for me.. I ran a decent pace for me and only stopped to walk for about 10 seconds. So, you might not be a world class marathoner through crossfit but you definately will improve your 10K's and half's
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:51 AM   #10
Alex Europa
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Re: How does it work?

Aerobic "endurance" is a myth. Once you have a base level of aerobic fitness, then the issue with completing longer and longer distances is muscular fatigue. A good example of this is last year when the 15K (9.3 miles) popped up for the .com WOD. Countless CrossFitters had NEVER run that far in their entire lives, yet were able to complete the distance. The metabolic conditioning from the WODs gave them the aerobic base and also gave the muscular endurance needed to keep the legs turning to complete the distance. Intervals train the aerobic system better than LSD and they also train the muscular system.

There is SOME requirement for distance specific training, but the guys at CFE believe that it is MUCH less than what most people believe (i.e.: one 15 mile run for a 50K, IIRC). Obviously, this is where CFE comes into play with Tabata runs, time trials, etc...

It's cliche around here, but the science isn't even on the same playing field as the results. Coach finds what works and uses it...regardless of whether or not the science says he's "right." This is also known as the Black Box model. He talks about this quite a bit in many of his lecture videos that can be found in the CrossFit Journal (W/F/S).

- Alex
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