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

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Old 02-11-2005, 11:42 AM   #1
Paul Theodorescu
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Most people here are interested in being good at all aspects of training. With that in mind, I would like to bring up the following point which I think was made by Mel Siff. Hypertrophy has universal carry-over. On the other hand, neural gains are extremely specific in nature.

The implication of this is that GTG or max effort type training sessions may be inefficient unless one is focusing on a few particular lifts.

Other considerations:
1.) Traditional hypertrophy training can cause excessive fatigue
2.) Traditional hypertrophy training is not functional or sport-specific. It rarely promotes explosiveness, power or agility.

In light of these points I submit that a potential training methodology to be incorporated (perhaps alternated with 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 sessions) might be something like the "Bear" routine (by Pavel Tsatsouline) or a similar hypertrophy protocol that also promotes strength and sarcomeric hypertrophy.

Comments/thoughts?
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Old 02-11-2005, 04:55 PM   #2
Ross Hunt
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Hypertrophy has universal carry-over. On the other hand, neural gains are extremely specific in nature.

My understanding was that increasing the cross-section of a muscle would lead to a local strength increase in those exercises which used that muscle (setting aside any considerations of strength to bodyweight ratio). My understanding was that neural gains had much greater carryover. Gymnasts pull huge deads without deadlifting, for instance, and if someone who could deadlift 3 times their bodyweight but had never done weighted chins started training them, I imagine that he would be chinning like a demon in a much shorter period of time than an untrained individual.

Am I wrong about this?
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Old 02-11-2005, 04:57 PM   #3
Pat Janes
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I can't speak for others, but I tried the "Bear" routine for about 6 weeks and I couldn't continue with it.

There is no-one here that would argue that the WOD is a *very* intense fitness program. But the volume of heavy lifting on the "Bear" just wore me out.

Doing the WOD + gymnastics + extra practice (gymnastics and/or oly lifting) leaves me with energy to burn (most of the time - not after long chippers or FGB etc). But the "Bear" left me feeling worn out all the time.

I was also unable to consume the quantity of food required for a "sarcomeric hypertrophy" program. I believe that this contributed to my feeling of fatigue.

Eating Zone, I'm slowly gaining muscle and losing fat *at the same time*. I know this, because I am still the same weight as 2-3 months ago when is started on the Zone, but my waist size is smaller, vascularisation and muscle-definition have improved.

Yes, I put on a fair amount of weight using the "Bear", but a good degree of fat came with that and it certainly made me no fitter.

From reading "Power to the People", I don't think that Pavel really recommends the "Bear" - in fact, he ridicules the participants of the original program on which it is based - muscle-bound show ponies for the Russian Special Forces. Yes, it will work, if your goal is to put on weight, but it is not a program for improved fitness.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:21 PM   #4
Ross Greenberg
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Strength is a skill, and I don't really buy this talk about how gymnasts can deadlift so much. Maybe one genetically predisposed to weightlifting, but other than that, truly impressive weightlifting strength comes from weightlifting, not gymnastics. Low reps allow you to really improve the skill necessary to demonstrate strength quickly by concentrating on form and power rather than fatiguing the muscle. That plus the higher rep workouts we do in normal WOD's should be sufficient to develop maximum all-around fitness. Now, if your goal is plain hypertrophy, I would say that something like the bear routine would be a better idea, but I have no practical experience with it. Be careful though. Adding too much bodyweight, even muscle = worse at gymnastic exercises, running, and jumping.
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:32 AM   #5
Paul Theodorescu
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"My understanding was that increasing the cross-section of a muscle would lead to a local strength increase in those exercises which used that muscle "

I'm pretty sure increasing the cross-section of a muscle makes you better at everything. Hypertrophy begets strength while strength doesn't beget hypertrophy.

"Gymnasts pull huge deads without deadlifting"

Perhaps this is precisely due to the great hypertrophy they've achieved while doing gymnastics.

Pat, thanks for the comments. I was thinking of trying the bear. I still might because I think sarcomeric hypertrophy is useful in promoting strength.

"in fact, he ridicules the participants of the original program"

I'll have to check the book again but IIRC he states that the program will also do wonders for strength.

Ross, point well taken.
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Old 02-13-2005, 01:07 AM   #6
Pat Janes
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I must admit, Paul. I got stronger doing the Bear with Deadlifts, Bench and weighted pullups.

But I just didn't like how it made me feel. You can get just as strong doing PTP, to a point (eventually you will hit limits with neural adaptations). I decided that size, just for it's own sake wasn't that important to me.

As a lightweight (64.5kg), I've struggled with the idea for a long time that I may need to gain some bulk, but every time I try, I head straight back to around 65kg with the overriding thought that all-around atheleticism is more important to me than limit strength and bulk.

As I mentioned above, with Zone+CF, I'm slowly gaining lean muscle mass (as my BW has remained constant while seeing obvious decrease in body fat). I'm happy to see my body change slowly as a result of an increase in athleticism, due to a good program and a sound diet.


Oh.. and I haven't read the book for a while either; I borrowed it from the local library about a year ago.
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