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

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Old 12-04-2007, 12:49 AM   #11
John Schneider
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Type I are the slow twitch more endurance-aerobic-oxidative fibers while type IIA are your fast twitch oxidative and type IIB are the fast twitch glycolytic fibers. Yada yada yada. We know all that right.
I'm getting a little nit picky here, but just to clarify since we are establishing our basis for assumption here. It has recently been discovered that the human body does not have Type IIB muscles instead we have type IIX. It still does the same thing, but the structure of the fastest skeletal muscle fiber in humans greater resembles the IIX fiber found discovered in rodents than the IIB fiber which is the fastest type fiber in many other animals.

Scott K. Powers, Edward T. Howley, Exercise Physiology Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance 6th edition, McGraw Hill, 2007
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:27 AM   #12
Steven Low
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by John Schneider View Post
I'm getting a little nit picky here, but just to clarify since we are establishing our basis for assumption here. It has recently been discovered that the human body does not have Type IIB muscles instead we have type IIX. It still does the same thing, but the structure of the fastest skeletal muscle fiber in humans greater resembles the IIX fiber found discovered in rodents than the IIB fiber which is the fastest type fiber in many other animals.

Scott K. Powers, Edward T. Howley, Exercise Physiology Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance 6th edition, McGraw Hill, 2007
Interesting. Well, I don't have access to that book to look at . Do you know of any sources on the web or in journals where they pulled it from to put it in the book?
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:37 AM   #13
Jason Lopez-Ota
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

Doing heavy squats and stuff would improve a 100m sprinter's time though right?
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:40 AM   #14
Jason Lopez-Ota
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Great point Larry, you took the words right out of my mouth. There are truly ELITE athletes utilizing crossfit type workouts in their regimen. The examples you provided, MMA, boxing and even martial artists just to name a few have adopted metcon style workouts coupled with heavy one-rep max lifting as well as explosive movements either with weight or by doing bodyweight plyometrics and the like. The MMA fighter Sean Shirk is a prime example. Ross Enamait, the found of rosstraining.com is another example of atheltes (who are elite) that use this type of all around training. Yes, Lance Armstrong would beat any crossfit athlete in a bike race, plain and simple. But that is only one event. Elite crossfit athletes and probably even some non-elite ones would dominate Lance in multiple even hundreds of other events, exercises, movements or what have you.
I wouldn't say that. Lance Armstrong could probably beat a crossfitter in hundreds of events also. Pretty much anything with bikes and he ran a marathon in a decent time also.
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:58 AM   #15
Steven Anderson
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

Jason,
Yes, that is what I said. In a bike race Lance would win and probably a marathon too. I am not disputing that Lance is a great and elite athlete. He is phenomenal in all that he does and is a true inspiration to us all. But, as far as complete fitness and having to perform say, in survival mode, do you think he would dominate most crossfitters? Metally, I believe that Lance has been through a tremendous amount, i.e. with cancer and simply by having to compete in such a taxing event like the the Tour de France and could mentally probably push through any adversity. On the physical side for example, it has been researched and tested that most marathoners only have vertical jumps of just a few inches. Sprint speed, forget it. Most marathoners and long distance athletes do not display any great power. Myself for example, though I am not an elite athlete compared to society's standards, am a firefigher. I can assure you than when fighting fire I am not working at a runners, bikers or distance-type pace. I am working hard, then backing off, I'm crawling, then walking, I'm lifting, pulling, pushing hard and fast. The best way to peform these types of activities is to train the body as such, encompasing heavy lifts, bodyweight moves, sprinting and some distance work (crossfit-style stuff). I do not know how Lance trains but I would venture a guess it does not include the above. Lance would certainly destroy crossfitters in a distance bike or run event, but hundreds of events? I'm not convinced.
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:03 AM   #16
Grant Scalf
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by Jason Lopez-Ota View Post
I wouldn't say that. Lance Armstrong could probably beat a crossfitter in hundreds of events also. Pretty much anything with bikes and he ran a marathon in a decent time also.
He could beat a CFer on a bike, true - he would probably win a lot of aerobic events. But he would most definitely be lacking in the phosphagen and glycolytic pathways. He would also be lacking in total strength and upper body lactate threshold.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:35 PM   #17
Tom Fetter
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

It's worth emphasizing, though, that these considerations get much more germane when someone gets to the "elite" level. That's likely not most of us (certainly not me - ever).

While my kids are becoming regionally competitive in their sport of choice, they're not yet advanced enough that they need to become less "fit" in a CrossFit sense to improve. In fact, becoming more "fit" in CrossFit terms alongside sport specific training is strengthening their sport performance.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:41 PM   #18
Steven Low
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Doing heavy squats and stuff would improve a 100m sprinter's time though right?
I'd say yes, combined with proper explosive training. Strength transformed into power or just plain power (like oly lifts, ME sprinting, plyos, etc.).. that's what you'd look for with someone training to be a sprinter.

As for Lance.. great athlete where endurance is concerned especially with his legs and his cool heart which is 1/4 larger than normal humans his size (saw that on discovery channel or something). He'd probably do well in any kind of endurance related efforts that extend to the legs, but he'd be lacking in the strength and upper body stuff like Grant said.


Tom:

I think it is worth emphasizing that IF your kids or any kid for that matter want to become ELITE for their given sport if it relies on maximizing power, strength or endurance it is NOT a good idea to well round them before specializing them. This is what I was specifically arguing against because training is cumulative. Now if they are going into say baseball or any sport that doesn't rely on one of the 3 above aspects to be elite then sure. However, if they want to be a sprinter it's not a good idea to give them a general conditioning base before they specialize because it will hinder them in the future. That's the main point of this thread in the first place.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:35 PM   #19
Reto Corfu
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

great post

Since I started crossfitting I've been very interested in the common criticisms of the crossfit black box methodology and where the system might break down. Don't know why I'm so questioning, crossfit's mixed modal approach started working so well for me with amazing results in such a short timespan, but I guess I'm a sceptic at heart.

I'd have to say that I'm personally with Steven here - when looked at from an academic point of view. I think that while Crossfit's approach allows you to become more adept at most physical tasks, less injury prone, and healthier overall, it won't work for elite-level athletes competing in sports that have a very narrow focus on a single metabolic pathways or muscle type (extreme examples being 100m sprinters and marathoners).

I just can't help but wonder, though, if all the perceived 'fringe' benefits of mixed-modal training like reduced injury potential, faster recovery, better 'wellness' (stronger immune system), etc. might allow some genetically gifted athlete to excel at a 'narrow-focus' event despite doing the bulk of their training in a non sport-specific manner. I'm waiting for the day that a crossfitter takes a 100m gold or paces some Kenyan at the Boston marathon - turn the excercise world on its head. Maybe not.

For now...a hypothetical question:

I'm giving advice to my teenaged son about his fitness goals. Since 99% of mortals will never compete at the 'elite' level, I advise him to just train mixed modal so he's better equipped for facing any of life's challenges. Sure enough, he get better at everything. Eventually, he finds that he's especially gifted or really enjoys one specific sport, and so start placing more emphasis on that pursuit. At what point does he make the decision that he has a chance to be successful at an elite level, and should dump the mixed modal traing for (unhealthy) sport specific training in order to excel? Is it too late, since training is cumulative, and his buddies that were training specifically since they were 13 are way ahead?
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:37 PM   #20
Reto Corfu
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

...and why do these discussions always seem to involve Lance Armstrong anyway?
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