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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 10-05-2005, 11:32 AM   #1
Eric Cimrhanzel
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Okay, I have a critique of today's WOD video. I saw this on the Fran video, too, but didn't think of it again before now.

I thought that one of the hallmarks of CrossFit was doing all of this work With Nearly Perfect Form. Was I wrong?

From the first muscle-up to the last, there is never a full lockout of the arms, either at the top or the bottom. One of the critiques a lot of us have of bodybuilders is that they do not lockout at all, thus decreasing both their flexibility and strength, something that CrossFit tries to build simultaneously (along with the other skill sets of fitness from CFJ #2).

On the Fran video with Greg (and the other CFer whose name I don't know), I saw that the pullups had rarely locked out at the bottom, and the Thrusters almost never did. A lot of times, there was no full lockout of the arms. Why not?

Granted, I personally cannot do 5 muscle-ups on rings in a row without a kip, but I can do 3 in a row on a bar with a slight kip. When I do them, I go from a full lockout dead-hang to a full lockout at the top of the bar. When I've practiced on the rings (my max is still 1), I still go from full lockout to full lockout. Same with Thrusters. When I teach them, I teach ***-to-grass squats (with as perfect form as the person can muster) and full lockout of the arms before lowering. When I did a Fat Fran (110lbs on the bar. Time: 13:03. Yes, I know it's slow) last week, I did the same thing with as great a form as I could from beginning to end, including the lockout and triple extension.

If someone can explain the reasoning behind this, I'd really appreciate it, but know that I'm personally wary of arguments that by fully locking out you're sacrificing power (work/time) in the WOD.

Other than that, the video still is an OUTSTANDING performance, and from what I've heard and seen of Greg, he's obviously very fit by CrossFit's standards! That WOD is going to be hard to do, no matter if you lock your arms out or not.

To avoid being an Armchair Athlete, like many of us around here (me included) so despise, I will attempt this WOD later on tonight or late tomorrow (I'm on a different schedule than the WOD right now), and post my time, subbing bar MUs for rings (no rings available), and possibly subbing 1.5pood kettlebells for 45lb dumbbells (Unless I can make dbs available). I know already I'll be slower than 8:54, and I'll do my best to find someone else to count my reps to make sure I lockout on every rep. If I could take video of my performance for ya'll to review and critique, I would, but I can't.
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Old 10-05-2005, 12:11 PM   #2
Christopher Sommer
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In my program, none of those muscle-ups would have counted. Not one.

It is substantially easier to complete a rep when not required to lock the elbows and turn the rings out during the support. In fact, I have seen athletes who can do several muscle-ups in a row, reduced to failing to make a single repetition when required to completely finish to a correct support.

The following links provide some detail for correctly executing muscle-ups and support hold on rings:

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/22/3609.html

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/21/3032.html

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/22/8650.html

Greg is a fine athlete and quite strong, aside from being an outstanding young man. There is no doubt in my mind, that he is capable of executing multiple muscle-ups correctly. However, in this instance, by chasing a time he has clearly sacrificed quality of effort for quantity of repetitions. Something that I myself am not in agreement with.

As I mentioned in a previous post, focusing on immediate quality of effort leads to substantial future improvements. By focusing on execution and correct technique, our best weighted muscle-up to date is with nearly 150% of bodyweight - on a single bar, with no kipping whatsoever. Our gym record for perfectly executed muscle-ups is 15. They actually did 17-18, but several repetitions were sub par and I did not accept them. The following link describes a another workout where some of my athletes did 120 single bar muscle-ups in fifteen minutes as well as 240 jump squats:

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/24/4085.html

In my experience, these kinds of performances are only possible by maintaining the strictest possible standards of execution during the preparatory training.


Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

OlympicBodies@aol.com
http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/229/
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:03 PM   #3
David Easton
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So which one of you guys is going to tell him then???
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:11 PM   #4
Christopher Sommer
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I just did.


Coach Sommer
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Old 10-05-2005, 10:30 PM   #5
Eric Cimrhanzel
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Time for today's WOD: 25:30.

Even with only bar muscle-ups subbed for rings, I'll admit it's extremely difficult, and I didn't even finish them all (had to do several sets of pullups and dips at the ends of rounds 2 and 3), but I still stand by the my opinion that a rep shouldn't count in an exercise unless it's full extension to full extension (or lockout, whatever the case may be), and I still question why CrossFit seems to allow partial reps like that.
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Old 10-06-2005, 05:24 AM   #6
Jerry Hill
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Thanks for the subject Eric and feedback Coach Sommer - I am guilty in push-ups and muscle-ups...trying to chase time.
Great discussion and form check.

Jerry
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Old 10-06-2005, 11:12 AM   #7
Charlie Reid
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I think human nature always seeks what is easiest and in the WODs it's hard when you are fighting the clock. We had a similar discussion about me replacing the high-rep cleans on "elizabeth" with double KB swings. I said i'd rather do this because it was cognitively an easier task and i could bing out the reps and get a faster time. However, doing high-reps with a very technical movement reinforces the movement and forces you to concentrate under the most extreme fatigued conditions. It's one thing to clean 135 pounds, it's another to do it with a 190bpm HR. FOCUS. I guess i finally came to the conclusion that you guys were right, that quality is better, and as much as i HATE high-rep squat cleans, i just gotta do 'em. The general consensus: Crossfit is HARD....sometimes we sacrifice skill for time, which is a fundamental flaw. The 10/5 WOD is just a reminder that we should all focus on quality vs. quantity. In the case of crossfit methodology, there is no such thing as quality OR quantity (IMO), crossfit is supposed to be, simply, A LOT of Quality. period. Quality AND Quantity. Life and sport rewards those who can produce the greatest amount of quality over the greatest amount of time.
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Old 10-06-2005, 11:24 AM   #8
Christopher Sommer
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"Life and sport rewards those who can produce the greatest amount of quality over the greatest amount of time."

Beautifully stated.


Coach Sommer
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Old 10-06-2005, 01:43 PM   #9
Roger Harrell
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"However, doing high-reps with a very technical movement reinforces the movement and forces you to concentrate under the most extreme fatigued conditions."

This is a HUGE factor in gymnastics. Technically correct excecution while extremely fatigued is essential for optimal performance, and in many cases is essential simply to be safe. I'm totally in agreement with Coach Sommer that conditioning should generally be done with optimal technique and poor technique reps should simply not be counted. Sure, it can be frustrating, it will take a little longer, but it will improve performance dramatically. If your default is to use optimal technique then you don't have to focus on technique as much to excecute with good technique.

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Old 10-06-2005, 02:34 PM   #10
Coach
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"Technically correct execution while extremely fatigued is essential for optimal performance." Agreed, but ONLY when optimal performance is judged by standards that are entirely aesthetic.

But here's what Roger and Christopher are missing, incorrect execution is ineluctable when training for optimal performance when the performance goal is maximum expression of power.

Training only with perfect form will keep an athlete from ever outputting at maximum wattage.

No child in Sommer’s program has ever done as much work as Greg did in the eight minutes on that video. No child ever will, anywhere, ever.

If anyone thinks that maximum expression of human power over eight minutes time won’t diminish artistic or aesthetic standards – you’re nuts. If we were to ask Jordan Jovchev to perform all six of his Olympic gymnastics routines back to back without break what do you think would happen to his form? I know. It would fall apart.

You cannot maximally express power and keep perfect body control. If your control is perfect the output is not maximal.

Greg’s form is generally lacking in all things. It is a constant battle. His performances are more remarkable in their expression of functional power rather than his grace, beauty, or sveltness.

If Greg had locked out his muscle-ups, pointed his toes , smiled, and his time were twelve minutes we'd call him a gymnast and this would be gymnastics.


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