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

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:48 AM   #1
Sam Walker
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Is Crossfit right about fitness?

"Increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains" seems hard to contest (although I'd love to hear any dissenting views).

Personally I think the definition can't be knocked because it covers every aspect of fitness.

The CrossFit games are supposed to produce the fitest man and woman on the planet.

I've watched the vids, and do not at all dispute that Mikko Salo and Tanya Wagner are worthy holders of the titles.

I know there have been many threads about the format of the games but I was just wondering about "broad time".

Out of 8 events, there were two "1 rep max" and only one event (the opening hill run) that represented constant exertion for longer than 15 minutes.

Do many people think there should be something in there to balance the "1 rep max", say a 15k run or row?
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:00 AM   #2
Steve Rakow
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Sam,

The first event at the games last year was a 7k and the times ranged from 37 mins to Lance Mosley's 1 hour time. And that wasn't run on the kind of topography you find running your local weekend run races!

Steve
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:03 AM   #3
Sam Walker
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Steve, thanks for the reply, but it in no way conflicts or addresses anything I've said.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:17 AM   #4
Steve Rakow
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

I think I understand what you're saying about pushing for longer timed events, but to go for 15Ks, you'd have to program events lasting up to 2 hours. I think that logistically, that would be tough to do. That said, going longer than an hour on an event may be something in the works for the 2010 games. No one knows. I wouldn't bet on it though as I wouldn't expect the results to have been much different if one of the events was a longer run like a 15k. When you train like we do, running 5k, 10k, or even 15k isn't all that hard. A 15K came up on the main page as a WOD in the last year.

Now, if you're saying that all of the events should be longer events, then you're really not testing fitness across broad time and modal domains anymore and you're strictly working in the oxidative pathway, which limits power output and intensity. Given your position that the 1RM events should be more balanced, I would disagree. Yes, it was 1RM, but those competitors that did the deadlift event, for instance, started at lesser loads and progressively moved up in load. Effectively, they did single deads every 30 seconds for about 10 minutes+. Try that home!

So, to answer your question, no I do not think that there should be longer distance/timed events like a 15K.

Steve
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:58 AM   #5
Sam Walker
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Thanks Steve.

I appreciate the comment about logistics and I had thought about this before. Watching the competitors bash out a hr erg wouldn't be the most exciting spectator sport (not that spectator enjoyment is a factor in an event's worth as a measure of fitness of course)

Running 5, 10 or 15k may not be hard and it's good (IMO) that these appear as WODs on mainsite now and then. I'm asking if people think a long distance should turn up in the games.

I'm certainly not sating ALL events should be endurance events. The definition of fitness CrossFit prescribes "Increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains". 1 rep max events surely represent one extreme of the time range. To have two events at one of the ends of the range (IMO) represents (in the case of the 2009 games) a skew.

What is the other end of the range? It is obviously open-ended. A 15k run? A marathon? An Ironman? A Marathon des Sables?

I'm not saying these should be in there. It seems to me the CrossFit community is more focused towards the lower range of "broad time" (-"you want longer - go do CrossFit endurance" right?) but in that case shouldn't the definition be changed?

"Increased work capacity across short time ranges and modal domains"

As it happens I think the focus Crossfit adopts on shorter periods of exertion is probably more applicable to everyday life and situations. In modern life you are more likely to need a good 1 rep max, than a fast marathon time. This may not have always been the case. If you see the benefits of a paleolithic diet and pose running, then would you also look to find a similar focus on "broad time" ranges? I'm not sure what this focus would be but without further investigation I would suggest they would be less 1 rep max scores and more FGB performance and 5k mixed terrain runs. This is much like the '09 Games. I'm just wondering if people feel that for every 1 rep max there should be a 15k erg/run/whatever.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:01 AM   #6
Sam Ser
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

the key phrase is "...across broad time and modal domains," not "...across all time and modal domains."

there are various health benefits that result from shorter, higher-intensity exercise that don't result from low-intensity exercise. increased bone density is one. decreased risk of various cancers is another. if i'm not mistaken, there are also significant differences in hormonal responses.

so the issue is not merely one of which training style you prefer. there are real health -- that is, fitness -- implications.

(disclaimer: of course occasional longer-duration efforts are beneficial. and some people require extreme endurance capabilities. i'm speaking in sweeping generalities. )
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:18 AM   #7
Sam Walker
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Thanks Sam. That's a good point. What you say about cancer is interesting. I'd not heard that before. There are of course other benefits to heavy lifting to include improved performance in longer endurance exercise.

I'm definitely not saying heavy lifts shouldn't be part of someone's training.

Crossfit WODs may well represent the optimal way to get and stay fit.

A definite balance has been struck, with plenty of options for athletes to skew the program in any way they wish( CrossFit Strength Bias, CrossFit Football, Max Effort Black Box, CrossFit Endurance etc).

However, accepting, as it seems, the community does, that CrossFit could be adapted to have a "strength bias" or an "endurance bias" (to take two useful examples) it seems strange to have 25% of the events in the '09 Games favour such a strength bias, without balancing endurance events.

A bias towards strength makes sense in training because it confers benefits in strength and endurance, but in a test for the fittest shouldn’t strength and endurance be tested?
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:33 AM   #8
Darryl Shaw
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Walker View Post
The CrossFit games are supposed to produce the fitest man and woman on the planet.
I supect that the worlds fittest men and women are too busy training for the Olympics or are earning a living competing in real sports to waste their time entering so all the games do is reveal the fittest man and woman who enters.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:38 AM   #9
Tom Seryak
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Activities/tasks/events/etc become increasingly more aerobic than anaerobic starting at about 70 seconds of all out effort. Of the 8 events at the '09 games, 5 events (the run, row/sledge hammer, couplet, triplet and chipper) tested to various lengths outside of the highly predominant anaerobic events. I would say endurance/aerobic capacity was well tested. The deadlift event (although it ended up proving to result in new 1rm's) was designed to test strength endurance, while the snatch event tested max strength speed. The sandbag sprint was highly glycolytic. I'm not sure how you could better test broad times better in 8 events than they did at the '09 games. Domains? There were no "gymnastics" elements in the first 5 events. If they had included say hspu, muscle-ups, ring dips, l-sit pull-ups, etc on day 1, we may have seen a different top 16 on day 2. So, the answer to your question about broad times is...no.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:47 AM   #10
Sam Walker
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

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Originally Posted by Tom Seryak View Post
5 events (the run, row/sledge hammer, couplet, triplet and chipper) tested to various lengths outside of the highly predominant anaerobic events.
All bar one inside 15 mins in duration. Broad time?
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