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Old 02-09-2003, 04:50 PM   #1
TJ Cooper
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Hello, As you can see im new to your forum...I have a question regarding technical understanding. I will pose the question as a "What IF" as it applies to me. Here goes...If you had the opportunity to intern and learn about the specifics of fitness from internal and external componants what would you expose yourself to ? example....follow a personal trainer, tag along with a Physical therapist, Take Anatomy and Physiology, kinesology etc.. Just curious.
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Old 02-09-2003, 05:39 PM   #2
Robert Wolf
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Location: Chico  CA
Posts: 2,669

Interesting question. I'm a biochemist and have really endeavored to incorperate my understanding of metabolic pathways and endocrinology to all of this. Coach recomends some papers "time course of training adaptations..." this ties a lot of stuff together.

That is all theory and just fine as far as theory goes but then for me I looked around at the sports world and decided what type of attributes I was interested in. Strength, speed, power, anaerobic and aerobic endurance, body control...these are attributes I have wanted for some time. Gymnastics, Olympic lifts, and sprinting seem to provide these attributes beautifully.

Crossfit has incorperated these modalities in what I have seen to be a unique and incredibly effective way....combining theory and practical real world experience.

I hope this helps...please do not hesitate to ask questions!
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Old 02-10-2003, 04:13 PM   #3
David Wood
Departed David Wood is offline
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Posts: 3,303
Boy, this one's kind of tough without knowing more about yourself, your background, and how much time you would want to commit to this.

My first reaction is a huge "no" to the "tag along with a personal trainer" option . . . unless that trainer were really superb (Coach Glassman, Mel Siff, Pavel Tsatsouline level). The vast, vast, majority of personal trainers are sincere, but largely ignorant, folks.

The downside of trying to "tag along" with people of that quality is that they usually aren't going to allow it (their time is too valuable). Possibly, if they're set up to support it, they *might* be able to let you work (not work out) for free in whatever training facility they maintain.

The other thing to be aware of in that route is that even great coaches can be more than a little idiosyncratic, and there is certainly a vast supply of huge egos in this field (even among very good coaches with excellent ideas). You only need to see Mel Siff's verbal battles with . . . well, almost everyone . . . to take note of this. I suspect that you could get a huge range of opinions both pro and con about just the few names I mention above.

For myself, I'm more academically oriented, so I'd probably really enjoy taking undergraduate and graduate level coursework in a really good Kinesiology program. (Incidentally, if you're looking for one, Tyler Hasselhoff, a regular poster here, was actively researching that issue a couple of months ago . . . he may have some perspective that is valuable, and current).

But even if I spent the two or three or four years that it takes to follow that (academic) route, I'd still look for practical training before I thought I knew enough to actually "train" someone. For that, nowadays, you may have to be prepared to work for free as a coach's aide.

If I really wanted some certification in order to have letters after my name and a "professional" designation, the only one I (personally) would go for is the CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) offered by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association (I think)). That certification is not trivial to get, however . . . you pretty much need a BS before you can even sit for the exam.

I hope I don't start a flamewar by mentioning it . . . many, many people have a wide variety of opinions about the whole idea of certification, and which ones are worthwhile. My two cents: only the CSCS is worth a damn, and even then, they don't grasp (or, at least, they don't teach) the kind of stuff that Coach Glassman is dealing with every day here.

Finally, it's my impression that the Physical Therapy world is usually something quite different than physical training. Most physical therapy seems to be about restoring "normal" functioning in patients who have lost much or all of their abilities . . . stroke or accident victims, etc.

Actually trying to bring someone up to or back to athletic excellence is not the usual activity for most PTs . . . because insurance companies aren't interested in paying for that. (Other people with more direct experience should chime in here . . . )

Good luck . . .
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Old 02-11-2003, 09:27 AM   #4
Dan John
Departed Dan John is offline
Join Date: Jan 1970
Posts: 365
Well, I live outside of the "box," I hate the cliche but it is true, so my advice would be different.

I would hang around either a guy in his last year or two of his career as an athlete or hire a guy who has retired for a couple of years. What you always get from guys like this is the "core" of success.

On my website, I have some notes from working with John Powell (discus) and Brian Oldfield (shot). Well, John changed everything in the last decade of his career, and threw farther. He made a great point: "If I get stronger, shouldn't I throw farther?" If you do get stronger but don't improve, what are you doing wrong.

I learned about the importance of minerals, the need for more general conditioning (think "crossfit"), the importance of sprinting for throwers and O lifters, the need to toss overweight stuff, making up stuff and having fun.

Hooverball is a perfect fit for throwers as well as Highland Games. You have to "learn new stuff."

If you sat down with an old champion in any sport, I can bet that they will have some gems that you will ignore. It won't be a bunch of crap they picked up from an uninformed writer who takes second hand understanding and BS away.

My cousin is a "strength coach" in California and a buddy of mine went to his clinic. My cousin, who will remain nameless because of the shame to my family, knows NOTHING about power cleans and basically took his talk out of one of the strength texts..."as the linear expansion of the tagital plane intersects with the crosslinking of the femuralis"...what an embarrassment!!! He is hired by a team in California because he knows where to get "strength enhancing formulas" from other countries.

You would be crazy to hang with a personal trainer, usually. I work with Rhett who is the manager at a gym and he shakes his head at the lack of information that he has concerning lifting and training. I had him try one Thick Bar Deadlift and he immediately decided he had wasted years in the gym.

I wouldn't waste much time in the gym either. Go to a place that has food and drink and talk. That's where the story comes out. The story is more important that the principle some times. My recent insight about snatching and cleaning from the HEELS can be taught in one minute...but the story of the years of frustration and the discovery would be far more "impactful" than the drills.

Yes, eat and drink with this famous person...and take NOTES...lots of notes. On my website, I have these ten page reports about "what I learned at discus camp." I'm the coach!!! How come I learn so much? I take notes and listen to stories.
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Old 02-13-2003, 08:38 AM   #5
David Werner
Affiliate David Werner is offline
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Location: Seattle  WA
Posts: 399

A huge THANKS!! to you for sharing your knowledge.

I've learned a lot from your site. And the ideas you put out often get me doing more thinking, research and experimenting, which is all paying off tremendously.

Both you and Coach have me in awe of your knowledge and generosity with it.

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Old 02-15-2003, 06:01 AM   #6
Founding Father Coach is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 391
First let me take the opportunity to welcome TJ to our forum. I’ve just recently been accorded the honor of working with this man – for the record he is a warrior of the first order. I am proud to call him “friend.”

Second, when I see thoughtful, intelligent responses like David’s, Robb’s, and Dan’s my heart is warmed with the knowledge that we’re doing something important here.

Enough of the *** kissing:

I see here an epistemological dilemma that gives me great opportunity to explain much of my approach and I submit, sincerely and humbly, the efficacy of CrossFit.

In a mature science I can systematically derive from first principles a body of knowledge that stands largely as consensus. Chemistry and engineering stand as but two examples of disciplines so developed. One distinctive feature of these disciplines in general is their fruits. Our world without chemists and engineers would be unrecognizable to modern man. By contrast psychology, and, say, economics are marked by discord not consensus, and are, alas, fruitless. Were the collective work of psychologists and economists to leave the planet tonight our world would be largely unaffected.

Exercise physiology has produced nothing of value for the coach or athlete. Much of the work in this field is, to borrow the words of William Bennett on social sciences, “elaborate explanations of the obvious by obscure means.” As an example I was recently sent a “landmark study” which “dramatically demonstrated” that increased hip extension power improved sprinting. You could not successfully coach even Special Olympics without knowing this. If the study had demonstrated otherwise I could have told you in an instant that it was dead wrong. I can divide the bulk of exercise science into two categories obscure and worthless or obvious and worthless. I don’t expect things to remain that way, but that’s how it is today.

CrossFit is in large part derived from several simple observations garnered through hanging out with athletes for thirty years and willingness, if not eagerness, to experiment coupled with a total disregard for conventional wisdom. Let me share some of the more formative of these observations:

1. Gymnasts learn new sports faster than other athletes.
2. Olympic lifters can apply more useful power to more activities than other athletes.
3. Powerlifters are stronger than other athletes.
4. Sprinters can match the cardiovascular performance of endurance athletes – even at extended efforts.
5. Endurance athletes are woefully lacking in total physical capacity.
6. With high carb diets you either get fat or weak.
7. Bodybuilders can’t punch, jump, run, or throw like athletes can.
8. Segmenting training efforts delivers a segmented capacity.
9. Optimizing physical capacity requires training at unsustainable intensities.
10. The world’s most successful athletes and coaches rely on exercise science the way deer hunters rely on the accordion.

Notice no mention of “neuroendocrine response” or “hyperinsulinism”. These constructs are useful only to reverse engineer or explain our observations or successes. Which brings me back to TJ. Mr. Cooper is field tested, battle hardened – watch “The Terminator” that’s TJ. TJ, I respectfully suggest that you have within your experience, within your background, all you need to develop as thorough an understanding of human performance as any exercise scientist, physical therapist, or trainer. Your instincts, suspicions, experience, and success hold the very knowledge for which you search. The rest is about community, discussion, and open mindedness as Dan John so aptly stated.

It is my most profound hope, Dan, that this forum becomes that “place that has food and drink” “where the story comes out.” And your stories ,TJ, MUST be heard, must be shared.

Thanks Gentlemen!
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Old 02-15-2003, 10:52 AM   #7
Robert Wolf
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Wow Coach! what a way to start my saturday...thank you!
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Old 02-15-2003, 04:53 PM   #8
TJ Cooper
Posts: n/a
"nuff said". I am a student of the game. Thanks to everyone for the posts. Apologies for the delayed response. Was away. All words are taken to heart, To the journey Gentlemen, ( and Lady )
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