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

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:56 AM   #1
Sarah Mount
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Hi. I'm new to Crossfit but I'm a certified ACSM personal trainer so I have reasonable familiarity with training concepts and techniques.

Monday, I chose the Cindy workout and yesterday I decided to do an ab workout instead of doing a another day of pull-ups. I try not to do (or advocate) heavy lifting of the same muscle group on consecutive days. The squats yesterday and the power snatches today did not present the same issue for me due to the intensity of the lift.

I have a long way to go before I achieve my pull-up goals so I wanted to be careful and give myself a rest day from them today.

I'm curious what other personal trainers think about this. Also wondering how often the Crossfit workouts target the same muscles on back to back days.

Thanks for your thoughts....
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:22 AM   #2
Paul Findley
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I am not a personal trainer, but I would venture a guess.

Working the same muscle group on consecutive days is "functional". Many task in real life, do not allow for rest days.

I would suggest that science may have found an optimal point with respect to exercise that does not align with what we are really capable of.
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:26 AM   #3
Anthony Bainbridge
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I agree 100% with Paul.

Besides, you'll be hard pressed to find two CF workouts that don't overlap each other.
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:43 AM   #4
Kalen Meine
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Haha, who wants to kick this one off?

We do it all the time. And anyone who didn't sprint, powerlift, O-lift or were engaged in gymnastics before their arrival, always freaks. You're in good company.

You already hit the nail on the head- intensity. When folks around here are cruising with max pullups between 20-50+, busting out sets of five is a very, very different stimulus from sets of thirty.One is going to be dumping oodles of lactate into an overwhelmed body and inducing metabolic changes, and the other is going to be improving local muscular strength-endurance through a half-dozen mechanisms. The fact that both stimuli came from pullups is pretty much irrelevant.

That being said, there are schools of very, very successful training that lift everyday- the Bulgarians and everyone who copies them, gymnasts, Pavel and the GTG-ers, and others. If you've found a workable window in the array of intensity/volume/density/rest possibilities that allows you to train everyday, there is no reason not to. There is no switch that tells a muscle it can't be used because it was used yesterday- it may not be ready for maximal effort, but it can certainly explore whole other areas of the intensity, speed, and volume spectrum.

And from a more pragmatic point of view- if I'm not using isolation movements, when am I not using the same muscles? You did an ab workout after Cindy- those pullups certainly hit your abs, rather roughly if you kipped (and if you don't kip, you should get to learning. Not a better way exists to reach pullup goals.) A proper squat engages your hip flexors- I bet those were involved in your ab workout too.

Would you ever advocate a sprinter to not spend some time on the track every day? You'd mix up distances, maybe paces (maybe), use different drills. But you'd never say she shouldn't run because she ran yesterday.

Now, don't misunderstand me- rest is key, and if you have great reason to believe something needs rest, by all means do. No one is advocating self-destruction. But I found a gem at some trashy BB'ing site that sums it up: "more people are slowed down by fear of overtraining than actually overtraining."

This side of the gym does stuff a little differently. Have fun.
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Old 02-16-2006, 11:00 AM   #5
Sarah Mount
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Thanks for your response.

Kalen...a few things I'd like to mention. The metabolic demands of recovery for a sprinter are very different than what is required when a muscle is overloaded. The physiological stress on the cardiorespiratory system is not the same as the stress placed on muscles during maximal lifts. Doing an ab workout the next day after pull-ups will certainly hit the abdominals again...that's not the point. For one, the abdominals are mostly a slow switch muscle fiber, fatigue resistant and therefore capable of handling more repetitions and stress. Second, because I did not maximally focus on and fatigue them with my pull-ups the day before, they were a viable option for recruitment.

Obviously, you can not purely isolate any muscle from another. My question isn't that crazy. Tons of research exists supporting recovery after maximal lifting of a particular muscle group.

I also think there may be a difference based on a person's goals. A triathlete may carry out crossfit with a different intention and perspective than someone interested in bodybuilding.

I guess I'm looking for a physiological justification here, that's all.
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Old 02-16-2006, 11:04 AM   #6
Roger Harrell
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CrossFit really isn't about "targeting". There is some consideration on taxing muscle groups day after day, but sometimes you'll get hit hard in the same area on concecutive days. As long as you pay attention to your own status as far as underrecovery you'll make good gains, and you'll soon be able to hit the same muscle groups in consecutive days and be ok.

eg I can do upper body stuff every day hard, but can't do the same with legs because of my background.
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:06 PM   #7
Tim McFarland
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Kalen - I am sure that somewhere on the message board there is a description of how to kip...can you point me in the right direction please?
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:09 PM   #8
John Messano
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Welcome! Good question!

I'm never concerned when the WOD prescribes bodyweight exercises on back-to-back days. Muscles recover quickly from bodyweight exercises.

Consider that the CF warm-up is 3 rounds of pullups, dips, overhead squats, and back ext. x 10-15 reps.

On Tues. Cindy's pullups were sets of 5 in a metabolic WOD.
On Wed. (3rnds DB snatch, 30 PUs, Run 1/2mile)pullups again were in a metabolic WOD. I'm certain that not many Cf'ers banged out all 30 PU reps in a row without stopping. Most broke the pullups into manageable sets with minimal rest.

for someone new, this WOD could have been easily scaled by using lighter DBs or cutting back on the reps to maintain the intensity.

I know I haven't answered your question completely. I trust Coach's judgment when he designs the WODs. This stuff works. Give it a month.
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:02 PM   #9
Nick Cummings
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For most on CrossFit Cindy does not offer local muscle fatigue from pullups. Your concern is probaly valid for a subject who has not trained for the volume of pull-ups that CrossFit prescribes. Equating high volume pull-ups on two consecutive days is far diffrent from say max effort weighted pull-ups on two consecutive days. For the more highly trained people on here, these pull-up volumes are simply metabolically challenging.
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:41 PM   #10
Sarah Mount
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Good point. So is it fair to say that beginners may want to adhere to the 48 hr recovery for new exercises that feel like maximum effort?

Can't wait until 20 pull-ups are just a warm-up! :-)

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