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

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Old 08-07-2005, 06:25 AM   #1
Chris Longley
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I was reading through a kipping pull-up thread just now and Robb Wolf mentioned that there may be a bodyweight level at which an athlete can perform optimally.

I assume this point is different for different sports i.e. gymnastics vs Oly Lifting.

I've often wondered about what weight I should be striving for (assuming that any extra weight comes from functional muscle-mass and not fat or aesthetic muscle).

So, basically what would be an optimal bodyweight for someone who is a 5'7" crossfitter and is there a formula you can use to work it out for differing heights.


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Old 08-07-2005, 12:09 PM   #2
David Knutzen
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I'm not Robb Wolf, but I'll throw in my 2c anyway.

I doubt that there's an optimal weight based solely on height alone. A good dea of it probably depends on the person's build, genetics, activities, etc. For myself, I'm 5'9" and 140lbs, after 8 months of Crossfitting and 6 months of kettlebells. I doubt that my weight is going to change too much in the future. However, I put up middle-of-the-road times on most of the WODs, sometimes a little better.

Matt G, IIRC, is my same height and weighs ~175lbs. I'm just a small dude, and I doubt there'd be any getting around it for me, even with a specificly hypertrophy-based program.
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Old 08-07-2005, 12:15 PM   #3
Russ Greene
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Technique and training background is a huge part of this. A lighter guy with great weightlifting technique won't have to be as heavy as other people in order to handle the weightlifting loads, a heavier guy with a great kip will be able to get away with having more than "optimal" body mass on pullups (though he may suffer on handstand pushups and one leg squats.) So basically, I just agree with David.

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Old 08-07-2005, 02:56 PM   #4
Dan John
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I actually...and I am ashamed to believe this...think this is true. My PR in the discus was when I weighed "around" 100 kilos. People thought I weighed about 90 k (I tend to carry a lot of weight well). Hammer PR? 100 kilos. Best O lifts? 104 kilos...

I have thought this for years. In college, I was fairly lean and threw far, but I got bad advice. So, part of the next year's goals is simply this: lose WEIGHT. Now, I said 'weight' not fat. I am starting to think that to live beyond 50, I might want to cut weight....

Robb's right, of course. Absolutely.
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Old 08-07-2005, 03:09 PM   #5
Chris Longley
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This is what I used to think too, but surely there is a point where strength can no longer be developed without gaining muscle mass that would adversely affect bodyweight exercise performance.

From what I understand, strength gains come mainly from neurological adaptation first and then there comes a point where a muscle must grow for further neurological strength gains to occur. This happens in cycles, all culminating in increased strength.

But surely, this extra strength comes at a bodyweight cost that at a certain point adversely affects say pullup performance. Assuming this, there must be an optimum weight where performance is optimised (atleast in a multi-modal activity like crossfit).

This may only pertain to those at elite levels or just be a theoretical thing, but it's interesting nonetheless.

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Old 08-07-2005, 03:47 PM   #6
Larry Lindenman
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I believe RObb came up with or was working on a formula, E=MC 2 or somthing like that (yes he's that smart!).
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Old 08-07-2005, 07:59 PM   #7
Roger Harrell
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I believe that there would be an "optimal" weight for general athletic performance (or specific athletic performance, though the weight would vary based on sport). This will depend on a persons height, but also other factors, such as genetics. I believe that there could be an equation to find this value, but it would be insanely complex, and beyond our current knowledge to derive. Now, an estimate could be come by that could be modified based on emperical knowns about a persons body type.
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Old 08-08-2005, 05:46 AM   #8
Igor Torfs
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Most high level competitive volleyball players weigh 90 to 105 kg. I believe it depends on the sport.
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:17 PM   #9
Robert Wolf
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thanks for the kind words...I do think that whole matter/energy relationship is a bit suspect...

Chris hit what I was thinking about. Dave werner and I were looking at some data from Sportivny press and some gymnastics info looking at the relative strength with respect to the O-lifters and the performance relative to performance of the gymnasts. In the case of the o-lifters it seemed that for someone in the 5'9" range performance relative to BW optimized around 185lbs. Now this might make for a fairly heavy gymnast but this individual has already shot past the optimum range for gymnasts in height but I think they may still beenfit from this state of affairs in terms of relative strength(gymnasts) and absolute strength(olifters). Grady is a good example of this. 200lbs, 54 pullups, front levers, back levers, press to handstands. Tell em there is not some tremendous relative and absolute strength there.

I run heavier and leaner now than ever in my life and at a higher relative strength. In the past when I was about 30 lbs heavier I had some better absolute numbers but that was with some very specific training. It might be interesting to test that again but I would bankrupt us trying to get to 198lbs!

I think there is certainly a "sweet spot" for ones given height and performance goals. This seems to work itself out if one is eating and training smart. If however ones performance lags, improving the nutrition to augment traing will likely yield poth increased bodyweight and imporved performance.

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Old 08-08-2005, 07:40 PM   #10
Matt Gagliardi
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I think there is certainly a "sweet spot" for ones given height and performance goals. This seems to work itself out if one is eating and training smart. If however ones performance lags, improving the nutrition to augment traing will likely yield poth increased bodyweight and imporved performance.

I agree with this absolutely. I think that given appropriate/correct nutrition (and recovery) you will naturally come to an equilibrium which balances your body type and training program. As you tweak your training to a specific goal (subsequently adjusting your diet as necessary) your body will move in the desired direction. I don't think there's one optimal bodyweight even for just a single individual...I believe that it varies a bit depending on your training program (i.e. GPP vs. sports-specific). I have been both heavier and lighter than I currently am, largely depending on what particular sport I was training for at the time.

Example: one athlete plays football in the Fall and basketball in the Winter. It's likely the "optimal" weight will not be the same for those two sports. The training program will change, the diet will move a bit...and you'll have an athlete who's weight adjusts to the optimal point for his/her current endeavour.

The trick is to get the diet and recovery correct. At that point, your body will do its thing and change as necessary given the stimuli it's currently facing.
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