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

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Old 12-05-2007, 01:06 PM   #31
Steven Anderson
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by Tom Rawls View Post
Out of curiosity, did Crossfit exist in 1992 when Eva went to Albertville?
Yes Tom, crossfit actually did exist. As I stated earier with a post on this page, crossfit is simply a name, but the style of workouts have always been around. Greg Glassman and a couple of other fellows sometime around 2001-02, (years could be off a little) decided to start posting these style workouts online on the world wide web. I'm sure Coach Glassman had been teaching this style long before the name came about or he decided to make a website. I know I have been working out like this long before crossfit came around. To me crossfit is a tool. When I tell people to check out the crossfit website they have this look of skeptisism on their face as if to say, "You got your workout from a website?" No, I credit myself for coming up with my own combination of workouts and conditioning routines but the WODs and the vast array of excercises, the videos, the journal and the whole philosophy of crossfit is awesome and is the most excellent tool for becoming an extremely fit person, athlete or what have you.
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:23 PM   #32
Steven Low
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

This is my position summarized into one sentence:

In any of the extreme power/strength/endurance biased sports specifically "mixed modal training" is only a setback.

That's what this whole thread was about, and I think/hope most of you agree to an extent cause training is indeed cumulative.


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Originally Posted by Larry Lindenman
I have to tell you, if kids do Crossfit, even if competing in high school athletics, they're getting better exercise programing than 99% of their peers. I would venture a guess that most elite level (professional athletes) got to that level on bodybuilding workouts ripped from the pages of muscle and fitness. The key with kids is to develop as broad an athletic base as possible, early and often. Make sure they have fun and learn life lessons through sports. Specific training at an early age most likely will lead to burn out at an early age. Check out your local HS training program, cutting edge...not! Believe me, superior genetics, excellent sports skill coaching, and desire, will overcome poor general training/conditioning, or "wrong" conditioning for the specific chosen sport. Get your kids on Crossfit, when their Div 1 conditioning coach or Olympic Center coach forces them into a specific training modality, tell them to listen.
I agree and disagree. For one, I would definitely encourage learning lots of different sports (well, what the kid is interested in), but I would definitely try to pick sports that relate to each other well like I said.. power with power, strength with strength and endurance with endurance. If your kid ultimately is going into one of those where specialization is required, it would be a disadvantage to have that previous conditioning base especially if the sport is strength or power based.
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:52 PM   #33
Patrick Donnelly
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

... I just think it's sad that little kids have to dedicate their lives from age 2 onward to become elite at a sport.


Edit: After posting this, my avatar caught my attention, and caused me to laugh very hard.
By the way, that image is no way related to me; it's just cute.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:06 PM   #34
Steven Low
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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... I just think it's sad that little kids have to dedicate their lives from age 2 onward to become elite at a sport.
Well, for the people that burn out sure, and they probably feel they missed out on their childhood. But for those who do what they love and are the best I'm sure they wouldn't agree with you.

This also doesn't really just go for sports but also musical instruments, actors and actresses, intellectual prodigies, etc. Quite interesting actually. If we never had anyone doing stuff that early then we would never have anyone regretting it... but we would also probably never have the best of the best either which IMO is what makes sports/music/etc. so good to enjoy.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:08 PM   #35
Steven Rogers
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
This is my position summarized into one sentence:

In any of the extreme power/strength/endurance biased sports specifically "mixed modal training" is only a setback.

That's what this whole thread was about, and I think/hope most of you agree to an extent cause training is indeed cumulative.
I don't think it's that simple. I'm well aware of specificity effects, and while training may be cumulative, even the most focused power/strength/endurance athlete needs breaks from their extreme training to make long term progress. "Mixed modal training" like CrossFit, should be a beneficial "break" activity.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:16 PM   #36
Steven Low
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by Steven Rogers View Post
I don't think it's that simple. I'm well aware of specificity effects, and while training may be cumulative, even the most focused power/strength/endurance athlete needs breaks from their extreme training to make long term progress. "Mixed modal training" like CrossFit, should be a beneficial "break" activity.
If you're talking about recovery sessions, especially in down weeks from extended work then that can be done within the confines of the program. If you look at the good marathoners out of Kenya they often do miles of running as recovery work albeit not as intensely paced. If we were talking about doing work for sprinters then something like short fast runs and then work on sprinting drills to do the same thing.. just like oly lifters might do Burgener's warmup and then specific oly lift drills or whatnot.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you're a sprinter and you're doing mixed modal training with significant endurance aspects like metcons and 5ks.. you're going to see performance decreases. It's true of elite sprinters and the same is true of up and coming sprinters. Instead of detraining capacity like it would for an already elite sprinter, it would just hinder the aspiring sprinter from ever reaching elite.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:38 PM   #37
James Floerchinger
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

Just as someone who is coaching and has coached Elite level athletes, I think that we have seen significant gains by working CrossFit into our workouts.

Philosophically, I don't agree with specializing too much in terms of your workouts. Too many coaches will just pound their athletes and hope to hit their 'taper' or rest cycle, and while I can obviously plan for the event coming down the calendar, I can't control the 'other forces' in the lives of my athletes. Health/School/Family/Friend demands can all too often be a major distraction, so, while I can plan ahead, I can't see the future, so, sometimes life throws a curve at what has been a very detailed plan...as they say 'no plan survives first contact with the enemy' and I have the same feeling about overly-detailed season/year plans. CF philosophically has been much more in keeping with 'real life' I find. I work to improve my athletes every day, with a constantly varied focus. Yes, this is a work in progress, but, so far, so good.

Working a CF style practice into our routine has seen a Regional record broken by one of my athletes (racing against the record holder who set that standard 6 months ago) and double the 'normal' number of National Qualifying times for our club.

I know that our training volume is 1/2 of the typical program, but, the fitness/strength/GPP we gain from CF means that we can back off the 'normal' level of training and focus on being technically correct.

At our last 'focus' meet-and we've only been working a CF workout into the routine for the last 9 months (we don't have much equipment, so, they are more BW focused-we have plyo boxes, jumpropes and pullup bars) our Percentage of Personal Best efforts was 86%. Closest competitor was 74%, and we also had 100% of our athletes uncork PBs over the course of the meet, no other club did the same.

I'm not saying that if I was coaching a group of Olympians that I'd have the balls to implement the same strategy today (ask me in another year), but, I can say that in the last 9 months since I found CF, the gains in my team have been massive, and the reduction in training volume, precipitous. Obviously, there are other factors in the improvements, but, I think that keeping my athletes healthy, strong, mentally fresh and improving their overall athleticism has led to an improved performance, and yes, I do consider my group of athletes 'elite' since, we train 10x a week, and you may not find a more technically demanding sport than swimming.

I wasn't getting results, you can rest assured, I'd be canned, so, adding a CF WOD, while a 'risk' has proven a good one.

Long story to say that here is one coach who uses CF with a group of Elite athletes who are achieving, and I don't feel that I'm short-changing them one iota by dropping some of the traditional specificity in favor of GPP from CF.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:00 AM   #38
Steven Low
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

Most swimmers will benefit from CF especially if they're not at elite levels though especially from what we know about CF as is -- increases in VO2 max like HIIT, low RHR out of exercise & ability to keep heart rate during, metabolic capacity increased, etc. There's only a couple of events like probably 50m, 100m and maybe the super long distance ones where more specialized training would make a marked difference in ability.

If anyone could make an elite oly weightlifter from a BASE mixed modal background or an elite sprinter or an elite marathoner (heck, even maybe 10ker) I would be extremely suprised. Remember, I'm talking SPECIFICALLY about mainly power, strength or endurance biased sports where if endurance is the main bias doing strength and power work would negatively affect performance and vice versa.

Last edited by Steven Low : 12-06-2007 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:56 AM   #39
Aaron Trent
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

I have some disagreement when it comes to endurance running. Gordon Pirie, who broke records like it was his job, advocated a LOT of shorter, faster running for middle and long distance runners. He also lifted. One of his ideas was that if you cannot run a 4:30 mile, you cannot run a 9 minute 2mile, so train speed to compliment endurance and to have a massive kick.
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Old 12-06-2007, 08:36 AM   #40
Matt DeMinico
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Re: goals and elite fitness vs. elite athletes

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Well, for the people that burn out sure, and they probably feel they missed out on their childhood. But for those who do what they love and are the best I'm sure they wouldn't agree with you.

This also doesn't really just go for sports but also musical instruments, actors and actresses, intellectual prodigies, etc. Quite interesting actually. If we never had anyone doing stuff that early then we would never have anyone regretting it... but we would also probably never have the best of the best either which IMO is what makes sports/music/etc. so good to enjoy.
I believe this is the reason that almost all elite short track speedskating athletes are in their early to mid 20's. They've been skating in some sense since they were 5 years old (or younger), training 5-6 days a week since their teens, and doing two workouts a day 6 days a week from the time they're 15, 16, or 17. By the time they're 23, they're starting to get tired of it and want to have a life. By the time they're 25, their desire to have a life has hampered their ultimate ability as an athlete, and by the time they're 27, 28, 29, lack of focus and required training has "degenerated" them to the point that they're no longer competitive. Very few of them actually last into their 30's, and I can't offhand think of an elite short track speedskater (at least in the US) that currently skates recreationally simply because they still enjoy it. Heck, Hyun-Soo Ahn from Korea is 22 years old now, has been to two olympics, won multiple world championships in multiple events, was probably the best stinkin' skater in the world, darn near unbeatable when he's at his best, and even he has been quoted as saying he's getting tired of it (AT 22 YEARS OLD).

My point is, you can't specialize for a very long time, and I do not think it is absolutely necessary to 100% specialize to be the best. There will always be some general preparation training, coupled with plenty of specialized training for a sport.
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