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

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Old 08-15-2008, 01:19 PM   #1
Tim Luby
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Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Kind of cross-posted from Alexander's log

When I started doing heavy metcons, I decreased the focus on ME days (replaced one of my ME days with a C&J day). My thinking was that the heavy metcons would have a more practical strength benefit then straight up ME and I was okay with perhaps losing some absolute strength [if I were to gain power and increased work capacity, etc.].

Today, after I did a metcon with "normal" weight, my thinking has changed on the frequency of doing heavy metcons (which for me had been every metcon)

Basically, I don't think heavy metcons provide anywhere near the same conditioning benefit that a lighter, faster metcon does, and I miss that. I came to this conclusion after being more out of breath than I could remember in a long time.

In addition, heavy metcons don't provide anywhere near the strength gains that pure ME does. Of course, this is to be expected, but why go heavy if it isn't going to make you substantially stronger? The potential benefits do not outweigh the risk of overtraining.

So what happened to me the last couple of months doing heavy metcons only? Perhaps I got weaker [or stagnated) and lost some conditioning. At best, maybe my power output has improved and I'm better at thrusters, etc.

I will still do some heavy metcons, but to me, it now seems to make more sense to have a more pronounced separation of strength and conditioning, or else I'll always be neither here nor there.

Of course, my programming may be a bit off

Make sense?
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:41 PM   #2
Zac Jereb
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

What have you tried doing for heavy metcons?

I have a suspicion that taking a "normal" metcon & upping the weight may not work well, and that for "heavy" metcons, you may have to try a completely different sort of programming. I do a BB complex (bent row->powerclean->front squat->press->good morning->back squat->press->repeat) that is awesome & fast @ 95lbs, but when I tried upping it to 135lbs to make it "heavy," it just falls apart. I'm thinking that for "heavy metcons" to work, you need simpler movements, and less of them.

Something I just tried yesterday that left me wrenched, and a good one to follow some ME lower body work:
For rounds - 6x good morning @ 225 (73% 1RM)/100' Farmer's Walk @ 350 (84% of 1RM DL)
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
Jason Lopez-Ota
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

I haven't looked at your journal, but it sounds like you put too much emphasis on doing heavy metcons, so you lost the conditioning that lighter metcons give you. You could do both and would bring your conditioning up.
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
George Mounce
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

I felt the same way, and worked back into lighter, longer metcons.
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:57 PM   #5
Gant Grimes
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Do you have a link to the log?

There's a line between heavy metcons and "crap that's just too heavy." You can have strength and conditioning at the same time, but if you program poorly you will have neither.

Heavy metcons, by themselves, aren't really intended to make you stronger.

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Old 08-15-2008, 04:39 PM   #6
Tim Luby
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post
Do you have a link to the log?

There's a line between heavy metcons and "crap that's just too heavy." You can have strength and conditioning at the same time, but if you program poorly you will have neither.

Heavy metcons, by themselves, aren't really intended to make you stronger.

**

Damn, George, already off the sauce?
The master has chimed in--an honor and a pleasure, sir.

I hear ya on the "crap that's just too heavy." There's a really fine line there.

So here's the crux of my argument (although I'm not really arguing): lighter metcons are simply more demanding from a conditioning standpoint and conditioning is the point of a metcon, so why go heavy? Just as heavy metcons are more demanding from a strength standpoint. The thing is, strength is not the point of a metcon. So then where do heavy metcons fit in? They are neither here nor there.

I suppose heavy metcons give you more of a "strength-conditioning" that is biased toward the anaerobic pathway, whereas standard metcons skew toward aerobic (though both protocols tax all three systems).

I still see the value in heavy metcons as an effective way to increase work capacity (in a strength-biased way), I just need to figure out where [or if] they fit in to what I'm doing.

I'm training for a 50k, so that may be a big reason for my "awakening."

Alright, done talking outta my *** for now.

Linkin' logs: wfs

My current 50k training log (not much heavy metcon in there, if any)
http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=34987

My original usual log
http://www.board.crossfit.com/showth...s+logic&page=9

Side question: how do I make links to these in my signature without putting the whole URL? Haven't learned that trick yet.

Last edited by Tim Luby; 08-15-2008 at 04:48 PM.. Reason: Links to logs
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:44 PM   #7
Aushion Chatman
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Tim I had a thought about training in your Power Zone to get the max benefit for strength and metabolic conditioning during a metcon WOD...your Power Zone would be the weight at which you perfrom a WOD most powerfully.

Of course figuring out this zone which is constantly in flux more than likely and performing your training in that zone is both tedious and time consuming, and may in the long run not even be worth it...But the fact that you even bring up that heavy metcons aren't cutting it for you, makes me think that their may be something to the too heavy/too light vice just right Power Zone training paradigm.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:44 PM   #8
George Mounce
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post
Do you have a link to the log?

There's a line between heavy metcons and "crap that's just too heavy." You can have strength and conditioning at the same time, but if you program poorly you will have neither.

Heavy metcons, by themselves, aren't really intended to make you stronger.

**

Damn, George, already off the sauce?
Sorry to hijack - no, not completely, you can see what I'm doing in my new WOD blog (link in sig). I actually like going between 10-20 minutes for a WOD, its better for what I do. The 10 minutes of all out is great, but its not doing what I want for my goals. The 10-20 minutes longer WODs are more applicable for my job.
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:58 PM   #9
Alexander Kornishev
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Tim, I will post here instead of my log. I was thinking about it for awhile. When I first read "Hybrid program" I thought it was in general very similar to what I was doing and I posted a reply totally supporting Gant's results. After doing some analysis I saw that there are quite few significant differences, but I kept it to myself and wanted first to see what other people experience would be with Hybrid Program. So since you asked here it is...
I can only support Gant's results where they overlap with my own.
And I think the only common point would be that Home Page is using too many WODs that are endurance oriented which is causing poor absolute strength development. I think you absolutely right, in order to increase absolute strength you have to do ME. Heavy Metcons can't replace it (but i don't think they were supposed to). I think 1-2 times a week is a must if you want to see any progress. Strength endurance is a bit more tricky though. And I think that's where it gets personal, it all depends on your goals and genetics. For myself I divided it in two categories, short up to 10 min and long up to 20-30 min (weight used doesn’t matter). Since I was very frustrated in strength development by just following Home Page and wanted to see better results in lifts and while keeping endurance at the same level or maybe to improve slightly ; replacing some of long metcons with ME helped a lot. And for a month or so doing 2-3 short and one long WOD a week everything was working fine for everyting. Later though I started to notice some lack of progress in metcons (no problem with strength though). Same symptom as you, completely out of breath after 10 min. After seeing that at some point I had so much progress in both strength and endurance I wanted to find it again. Playing with number of long WODs helped to get in the zone again. But now I am going with my gut feeling, sometimes it is just 1 long WOD per week and sometimes it is 3-4, what never changes is 2 ME and 2 gymnastics days per week and both are absolute strength oriented. So what I am trying to say is that I think you are right again. You have to do long WODs from time to time, heavy metcons alone can't replace them completely, BUT they will make you more powerful and definitely will improve what you can do during long and short metcons. So I think you are 100% right (it took so long to get to the point , just wanted to compare your experience with my own).
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Last edited by Alexander Kornishev; 08-15-2008 at 06:01 PM..
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:37 PM   #10
Darrell E. White
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Re: Maybe heavy metcons aren't for me

Gentlemen:

Jeff Martin and I politely disagree that doing heavier CF-style WOD's is not an effective strategy to improve not only muscle endurance, but to also increase strength. One must be careful to differentiate between the athlete seeking increased strength within a general fitness goal and an athlete who's main emphasis is on pure strength. It is assumed that anyone pursuing a program based upon, or built upon a foundation of Crossfit is interested in some form of fitness that is broader than just strength. I think, from reading the various threads recently, that you all fall into a subset of the broader fitness category.

No program that deviates from a pure strength focus will produce the greatest strength outcome possible. I think you have all stated this in one way or another. Therefore, each Crossfit hybrid program, or each Crossfit focused program, will involve some sacrifice in BOTH metabolic conditioning and pure strength. It is not intuitive to me, however, that you cannot make significant strength gains (while minimizing met-con decreases) by doing CF-style work-outs with heavier weights. The key will likely continue to be CF-style intensity.

Quietly over the last 5 years Jeff has done just this in his personal training. I have struggled these last 2.5 years to do many of the benchmark WOD's as Rx'd because I am under-strong. Rather than step outside CF, or drop a CF-style work-out in favor of a MEBB, I have asked Jeff to work with me to design a template to achieve measurable increased strength using classic CF-style WOD's 2x/week, albeit WOD's that are both heavier than what I would choose (with appropriate rep. adjustments and minimal, CFE-style supplements). My main goal continues to be general health and fitness, and the most important aspect of this continues to be met-con fitness and CNS stress-response training.

I'll log it on the Main Page, and periodically review progress. My pattern of WOD's, volume, and life influences will not change.
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