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

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Old 03-06-2006, 07:44 PM   #1
Chris Burns
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Are You in Shape?


Take this fitness test to gauge your muscle power
by Lara Rosenbaum, Men's Health; Photography by Piotr Sikora

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Right now, you probably do two types of training: strength and cardiovascular. Great if you want to look ripped and run long, but lousy if you want to be able to legitimately call yourself fit.

If you build your workout around these five pillars—strength, cardio, flexibility, agility and power—you can reach your peak fitness years.

First step: Pull out a Sharpie or other fine writing implement and take our fitness test. It'll help you design a five-tool workout that can get you in your best shape ever this year, and this lifetime. And that's cause for celebration (with no penalty).

Directions: These tests will assess your baseline fitness in the five core areas. When you're finished, write down your results. That'll guide you in putting together your custom workout. Retest yourself every four to six weeks to see where you're moving and where you're still mired. Then make instant adjustments to kick-start your fitness.

1. Strength

Pushups: Drop and give us as many as possible until failure. Maintain proper form throughout. If you cheat, you're done.

Scoring: Top army recruits do 68 pushups in two minutes. Your upper body is buff if you can grunt out 40 to 50 in that time.

Situps: Lie with your feet flat on the floor, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your hands resting on your thighs. Curl your torso up, sliding your hands toward your knees, then lower yourself back down. Perform as many as you can in one minute, while keeping your feet on the floor.

Scoring: A score of 40 repetitions per minute (rpm) is a sign of a solid core. The average for most men is 35 rpm.

Squats: Keeping your knees behind your toes and your torso straight, bend your knees and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Slowly stand back up and repeat. Continue until failure or until you break form.

Scoring: Do the old up-and-down 31 to 34 times and your leg strength is average. Close in on 45 times and it's excellent.

2. Cardiovascular Fitness

Three-Minute Step Test: Find a 12- to 18-inch step or sturdy box. Keep a consistent four-beat pace while you step up and down for three minutes straight. Rest for one minute and then take your pulse for 30 seconds. Now multiply the result by 5.6 and divide this into 18,000 (the duration of exercise in seconds multiplied by 100). This is your step-test score.

Scoring: The higher your step-test score, the more efficient your body's blood pump. Anything between 60 and 100 is considered fit.

3. Flexibility

Sit and Reach: Put a 12-inch ruler on top of a box so that half of it is hanging off. Now sit on the floor with your legs extended and your bare feet flat against the front of the box. (Your feet should be on either side of the ruler.) With hands overlapping and legs straight, lean forward as far as you can. Hold your stretch and note the distance between your fingertips and toes. (Negative numbers if you stop before your feet, positive if you reach beyond.)

Scoring: If you can stretch two to six inches past your feet, you're flexible. More than six inches and you're downright elastic.

4. Agility

Shuttle Run: Place two strips of tape three yards apart and set two light books beyond the far strip, which we'll call "mark #2." Standing on mark #1, time the following sequence.

1. (Start watch) Sprint to mark #2, grab a book.

2. Sprint back to #1 and place the book right behind the tape.

3. Sprint back to #2 to grab the second book and return to #1, stopping your watch as you pass it.

Scoring: Under 10 seconds is speedy. Under 9 seconds is practically supersonic—the fastest men run the shuttle in 8.7 seconds.

5. Power (Plyometric Ability)

Vertical Jump: Wet the fingers of your right hand and stand with your right side touching a wall. Reach up with your right hand and mark the highest point you can touch. Now rewet your fingers and stand next to the wall again. This time jump with both legs and extend your right arm to touch the wall. Jump three times and note your highest mark. Your vertical leap is the difference in inches between your standing reach and your top jump mark.

Scoring: The magic number is 20 inches. Fly that high and your springs are in great shape.

Sounds like information is leaking to the main stream, except the cardio/strenght dicotomy. When I was in a pool of sweat on the floor panting after Fran the first thing I thought of was "Should I do some Cardio?"

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Old 03-07-2006, 06:35 AM   #2
Lincoln Brigham
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45 squats is considered excellent? Is that a typo? Shouldn't that be more like 450?
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:59 AM   #3
Roger Harrell
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Yes, well look at the other numbers Lincoln. 40 situps in a minute is considered a "solid core". At least the point of the article is valid. That the bodybuilding/long runs thing isn't the way to go, even if their benchmarks are a little lite.
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Old 03-07-2006, 03:22 PM   #4
Ross Hunt
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What kind of mannikin can do more push-ups in two minutes than bodyweight half-squats to failure without a time limit?
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:14 PM   #5
Russ Greene
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Sadly, most of the guys here at Georgetown probably fall into that category, Ross.
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:32 PM   #6
Matt Thomas
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"Scoring: Top army recruits do 68 pushups in two minutes. Your upper body is buff if you can grunt out 40 to 50 in that time."

Wrong. TOP army (or just military in general) recruits do upwards of one hundred or more in two minutes. Just though that should be clarified so people have a better goal to shoot for ;)
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:04 PM   #7
Chris MacFarlane
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With or without the webbing and pack?
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:13 PM   #8
Matt Thomas
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Hehe. Deffinately without ;)
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:34 AM   #9
Blair Robert Lowe
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Army recruit physical testing ain't all that. Corps testing is far more true.
Especially in basic.

I think gold shirt for President's council physical fitness award back in the day was nearly 1 pushup or situp per second.

Doesn't Matt Furey do something in the hundred of squats in rep. I'm not sure if that's seat to ground. They're only going to a 90 degree angle in this one.
I did something really stupid last Wednesday and managed 150 jumping squats from ground to air. It shows how I need to get into better shape and the fact I've never done something like it as to the condition of my quads as opposed to my hams. For a benchmark, my 11yo top level rec class managed around 30 per 30 second interval during tabata cycles. I'm not sure if it would be faster or slower without the jump.

20" vertical leap. I'm not all that impressed. We did vert leap testing with our compulsory squad today and the coaches ( in what shape as they are tried it out as well ). None hit 20 inches and the female coaches were around 15-18.
Somehow I tested at 26" I think which I thought I was only gonna hit under a foot and a half. I consider myself half at my peak strength to what I once was.
I may have hit 30 back in those days.

I think of it this way. My friend in HS my 5'7 110 gold shirt and he could dunk-easy. That's impressive vert leap.

Actually vert leap also depends on height. The taller you are, the more potential you have for a higher vert leap but it takes more energy to do so. Just read a book on ballet that covers that and time in air for short vs tall dancers.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:12 PM   #10
Bob Pratt
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Are you in shape?
Compared to who?????
The average American?

That test is fine for the average American but most of us strive for a MUCH higher standard. Heres my test:
Do the WOD for a month and evaluate myself against those who post times/ weights (yes even Kelly Moore). Very quickly i learn that my weaknesses are power and flexibility. My strengths are cardio and strength. i also learned my hip mobility and knee integrity suck.
Now the goal is to work hard on my weakness, more yoga and olympic lifts less cardio.
i love crossfit!
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