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

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Old 03-13-2004, 11:41 AM   #1
John Frazer
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I did today's WOD -- 7 cycles of 12 x bench press, followed by max pullups.

Hadn't benched in ages, but had done many pushups. So I promptly noticed some of the differences, such as the more direct focus on the chest and the need to stabilize the bar vs. stabilizing my trunk.

Checking the archives, I see the last WOD to include a bench press was on January 16. Before that, November 17, November 3, October 12, October 8, September 15. So, anywhere from 4 days to 2 months, but increasingly scarce at the moment.

My question is, why does the bench press appear so rarely (compared, for instance, to the various overhead lifts), and where does it fit into the overall Crossfit scheme?
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Old 03-13-2004, 03:06 PM   #2
Scott Parker
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john-

i'm not exactly sure why, but since the bench press pretty much isolates just the chest, i beleiveit would be in better crossfit style to use exercises that are more functional and still work the chest, like dips, push-presses, hang cleans, push-ups. in my experience i have had no ill-effect with the lack of bech presses, and have even increased my i rep max tremendously since starting crossfit.

scott
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:10 PM   #3
Jason Lauer
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I'll have to second what Scott said, also Crossfit invests in exercises that give the biggest bang for the buck. While the bench press is considered in many circles as the king of upper body exercises, I believe Crossfit lends that title to the muscle-up. Also the various presses in gymnastics provide a very strong and functional stimulus.

In my opinion the application of the bench press to real world scenario is pretty limited. If you find yourself laying on your back and pushing with just your arms you did something wrong probably. In most pushing situations the arms and chest serve as stabilizers while the legs do the pushing.

You can always add some extra bench presses to your program too. That's the great thing about Crossfit you can add extra exercises depending on what you want to accomplish and what your goals are. Just try not to overtrain.
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:20 PM   #4
Ben Gimball
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While the Bench Press does work the triceps and front deltoid, as well as the chest, I have to agree with Jason, the applicaton in the real world is pretty limited.

I am not a big fan of the Barbell Bench Press as it is an unnatural motion, and puts far to much stress on the shoulder joint when it is in it's most vulnerable position. It is my belief that Barbell Bench Pressing, the way that it is performed in most gyms across the country, is the number one reason for injury!

CrossFit is right on placing the Muscl Up in a far higher position of importance.
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:41 PM   #5
Paul "The Viking"
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I just read a great article by "Dr Squat" - Fred Hatfield, extolling the virtues of exercises that require you to stand such as Olympic lifting, squats, and deadlifts. He also points out flaws in machines and even the bench press - where you are leaning, lying, or otherwise supported. Its worth a look:

http://www.drsquat.com/index.cfm?act...e&articleID=45

I would also add that exercises where your hands carry your bodyweight (pullups, dips, handstands, etc.) probably carry the same benefits as standing exercises.

-Paul
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:43 PM   #6
Graham Hayes
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I agree, I feel that training the bench press has given me very little for my efforts. Dips (can't do muscle ups!) are far better, and more fun! However I'm not above seeing how much I can press from time to time.
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Old 03-13-2004, 07:53 PM   #7
Christopher Sommer
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Gentlemen,
If you are looking for a more functional substitute for the bench press, I believe that you will find planche pushups to be a very beneficial movement. In addition to being extremely taxing on the chest/shoulder girdle/triceps, unlike the bench press all stabilizers are activated and the back, as well as the core, work extremely hard merely attempting the movement.

If you are unfamiliar with planche pushups or how to train to accomplish them, please access the article link below.


Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

OlympicBodies@aol.com
http://www.dragondoor.com/cgi-bin/ar...&articleid=229

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Old 03-13-2004, 07:54 PM   #8
Kevin Roddy
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Coach -

I'm still working tuck planche pushups. I can do.. maybe 3.
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Old 03-13-2004, 08:03 PM   #9
Christopher Sommer
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Kevin,
Three is fine for now. With conscientious effort through the progressions, an individual of reasonable athletic ability should eventually reach a straddle planche pushup. Be prepared, however, to spend a year or more in pursuit of this goal.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer
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Old 03-13-2004, 08:04 PM   #10
Kevin Roddy
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Hey, I'm only 16, I have a lifetime to learn this stuff, so I'm in no rush. :happy:


Edit: Oh yeah, forgot - Coach, do you think that JumpStretch bands would be a good investment in learning this stuff? Tyler Hass wrote a great article about it's uses in learning the planche, press, and iron cross.
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