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

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Old 01-22-2014, 05:25 AM   #11
Steven Wingo
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

I just read his article. In summary, I find it sophomoric. Not what I would expect based upon his books. He knows his stuff in terms of weight training, but he should probably stick to his discipline.

There are multiple problems with his article. A few which really stand out include:

(a) his suggestion that CrossFit programming is random;

(b) his suggestion that "CrossFit methodology" is somehow limited to main site programming and the thousands of boxes with great programming are not also doing CrossFit (we all know CrossFit is merely "a core strength and condition programing" whose prescription for success is "constantly variable functional movements performed at high intensity");

c) his suggestion that someone who gets their Level I Trainer designation does so in a vacuum, does not work to gain other experience and knowledge, and came there with no prior knowledge or experience, so that you've got a bunch of unqualified people out there running programming (my experience is that the people who pay the $1,000 to go to their Level 1 are also the people who have voracious appetites to learn more through the CrossFit Journal, videos, books, additional training courses, learning from their fellow coaches, and so on--so the Level 1 is one step up a ladder for them in terms of knowledge and effectiveness as a coach. And I challenge anyone to go into a globo gym and find significant numbers of Certified Personal Trainers who can teach the fundamental movements such as squats, deadlifts, and presses as well as a reasonably experienced CrossFit Level 1 Trainer);

(d) trying to label CrossFit as "exercise" versus "training" when his own definition focuses on the purpose and goal of the person doing it (i.e. whether they are in pursuit of some other goal or just exercising for the sake of exercising) as opposed to the program itself.

In regard to the exercise versus training dichotomy he espouses, you can't label CrossFit or any other program exercises versus training in and of itself. If the person doing the program has no long-term goal, and is just there because it makes them feel good, well then under Rippetoe's analysis that would be exercising and not training. (As an aside, I say so what? If a person loves to just exercise without regard to the long-term benefits then so be it. More power to them.) If someone is doing a program in pursuit of some goal, well then that is training under his definition. But the focus must be on the person in his analysis, not the program itself. If there is a goal they are pursuing through training, whether they are at a CrossFit box, doing P90X, or walking for 45 minutes everyday on a treadmill, they are training--the program does not matter. These programs have different levels of effectiveness, and one is probably downright poor, but they can't be labeled "exercise" versus "training" in an of themselves without a consideration of the thought process and purpose of the person performing them.

There are other problems. Ultimately, his article is in many ways complimentary of CrossFit. But he strains to try to criticize it and that is obvious. In order to do so, he has to make some incorrect suggestions and then comes up with some definitions he did not really think through too well.
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:33 AM   #12
Steven Wingo
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

One really important thing I want to add:

Rippetoe does not offer up any better alternative to CrossFit. Don't sit back and criticize without offering something better. Show us something better and tell us why it is better. If you don't, your talk is just idle talk.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:26 AM   #13
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

Well, in fairness, and maybe not from that article in particular but based on his others writings, I believe he feels the better alternative is a planned strength program coupled with conditioning specific to your goals. So more of the old school models that many use with success.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:02 AM   #14
Shawn M Wilson
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

Again we go back to the fact that the success of Crossfit is in doing what crossfit is designed to do:

The goal of CrossFit is to generally improve the capacity to do work. The workouts are specifically designed to target the broad range of time domains and involve a wide variety of functional movements, without favoring or excluding any.

So many boxes have terrible programming... but then again some boxes have amazing programming...

Often many wonder about the main site and its programming for WODs of the day...

I wish I had crossfit back when I was in HS & College running track. It would have helped me a ton and given life back into a very boring exercise protocol.

Being 38 now, I enjoy how Crossfit allows me to live an active life and enjoy my children and still be physically fit.

I have had 3 heart procedures since November of last year. My heart was beating 285-315 beats a minute.. the Dr's couldnt' believe I hadn't passed out or died/stroked/etc. I attribute a lot of that to my 2 years of CF before this vs sitting on a couch @ home getting worse...

Yes I Struggle now for the same aerobic capacity, but I work with my box to continue building strength while improving other areas of "fitness" in my life.

So yes crossfit works, and does what its supposed to do.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:15 AM   #15
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

Rippetoe is a successful strength and conditioning coach and teacher. He clearly helps people.

CrossFit is a successful fitness program. It clearly helps people.

Way too many people still do Zumba and try to starve themselves to loose weight.

Russell don't you have something better to do that will help CrossFit then beat this dead horse?
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:18 AM   #16
Steven Wingo
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
Well, in fairness, and maybe not from that article in particular but based on his others writings, I believe he feels the better alternative is a planned strength program coupled with conditioning specific to your goals. So more of the old school models that many use with success.
The description you provide is not inconsistent with CrossFit. Who says CrossFit does not support a planned strength program? It does. CrossFit is not random. Well planned weightlifting and body weight training are huge parts of the CrossFit beliefs as taught at the Level 1, in the Level 1 materials, at the speciality courses, and through the CrossFit journal (and the Games through example for that matter). And CrossFit allows for targeting and bias as acceptable programming for different athletes based on their needs, within the CrossFit framework--while still adhering to the belief that the foundation for fitness should always be first training general physical preparedness. (Note this is clearly seen through the specialty courses offered which focus on specialists such a football players and endurance athletes). GPP--core strength and conditioning literally and figuratively--is the starting point and base for any well rounded athlete including specialists. Would you advise any athlete it is better to not have well rounded fitness as opposed to having it (i.e. a Power Lifter who can't run 400 meters without stopping to catch their breath or an elite marathon runner who can't squat a 45 pound barbell without rounding their back and almost buckling over)? I would hope not.

Rippetoe, in his article, does not offer anything new or worthwhile to the discussion of health and fitness and training. He does not offer an alternative to the public. He only criticizes--and he has to resort to misleading the general public regarding CrossFit because he can't find criticisms with CrossFit for what it really is.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:14 AM   #17
Andrew Bell
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

.... I'll take the bait (mind you, this is playing devil's advocate a little for the sake of discussion).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
“CrossFit is a random exposure to a variety of different movements at different intensities, most of which are done for time, i.e., as many reps as possible in a stipulated time period or a stipulated number of reps done as fast as possible. As such, it is Exercise, not Training, since it is random, and Training requires that we plan what we are going to do to get ready for a specific task.

Different physical tasks require different physical adaptations; running 26.2 miles is obviously a different task than squatting 700 pounds, and the two efforts require completely different physical adaptations. If a program of physical activity is not designed to get you stronger or faster or better conditioned by producing a specific stress to which a specific desirable adaptation can occur, you don't get to call it training. It is just exercise.”
As has been discussed before, unless a template can be produced by HQ I will contend that it is random despite any attempt to argue otherwise. There is no pattern (past the 3/1 on/off) that can be derived to determine when a particular type of workout will come up. The programming that goes into the Games, is NOT random. There they test a set number of areas of fitness, max strength, long endurance, skill work, gymnastic ability, fatigued work capacity, etc. I feel that Ripptoe's point is that with the way mainpage does not have a pattern, or a specific goal (bench 250 for 5 reps, run a marathon under 2.5 hours, 20 unbroken strict pullups) that there is no training, just exercising.

....but the trainning/excercising is just a play on words

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
Rippetoe misrepresents CrossFit in several ways, but his main point is that CrossFit is not training.
Well, he gives his opinion, which he was probably a$ked to write.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
CrossFit is a fitness program; it is designed to improve fitness. Is fitness not a “long-term goal” or a “specific desirable adaptation?”

It depends on how you define fitness. Rippetoe, along with Dr. Lon Kilgore, has defined fitness as,

"Possession of adequate levels of strength, endurance, and mobility to provide for successful participation in occupational effort, recreational pursuits, familial obligation, and that is consistent with a functional phenotypic expression of the human genotype."

CrossFit, in contrast, defines fitness as “work capacity measured across broad time and modal domains.” CrossFit’s definition enables comparison, measurement, and tracking. It does not depend on a person’s occupation or “familial obligation”, both of which vary over time and among individuals.
We can all argue semantics, but the definition of fitness like it or not according to Merriam-Webster, is:
1: the quality or state of being fit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
We’ll employ the principle of charity and assume that Mark Rippetoe is aware of CrossFit’s definition of fitness, though he doesn’t mention it. Let’s also assume that Rippetoe evaluates CrossFit according to CrossFit’s definition of fitness, and not his own, for to do otherwise would make little sense.

Is “work capacity measured across broad time and modal domains” not specific enough of a goal for Rippetoe?
No. It's not based on what I said above about reps of bench press, marathon time, etc. One of your past Games winners Jason K. even said recently on tape that when he walks to the board to make up a workout, he has no idea what he is about to write until it comes out. Now given this statement the way it was said, it would be a random "exercising" (according to Rip) without a goal, i.e. work on increasing the short term muscular endurance of my lower body in the 1-8 minute range, increase aerobic capacity/intensity in the 20-30 minute range, work on max effort/1RM strength.

I also believe that Jason has a better grasp on programming than that, results speak for themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
The goal of CrossFit is to generally improve the capacity to do work. The workouts are specifically designed to target the broad range of time domains and involve a wide variety of functional movements, without favoring or excluding any. They are not “random.”
I think (and I am NOT a follower of Ripptoe, never have been) that he is implying that unless you list a targeted/specific goal, i.e. get a faster fran, do grace RX'ed, that you are putting together random workouts without a specific target. Now knowing you Russ, you will say, getting better at work capacity IS a specific goal. You're right, it could be (according to me, not Rip). In which case, again, we are all arguing semantics and things that don't matter in the grand scale of things, Crossfit and Rip will both go on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
So, why would Rippetoe, with his experience in the CrossFit community, overlook these facts?
Because to him, he see's things differently. Just as you see the definition of fitness different than Webster. We are ALL allowed to have our own opinion like it or not, wrong interpretation or not. There is such a thing as an opinion being wrong. In my opinion the Rolling Stones are a better band than the Beatles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
Where is a better place to discuss the purpose of CrossFit, than the CrossFit discussion board?

What could be more relevant?
Heard of Reddit? They get far more traffic there on their Crossfit page. I don't have an account there, and I hate the way it's laid out, but you may want to check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wingo View Post
c) his suggestion that someone who gets their Level I Trainer designation does so in a vacuum, does not work to gain other experience and knowledge, and came there with no prior knowledge or experience, so that you've got a bunch of unqualified people out there running programming (my experience is that the people who pay the $1,000 to go to their Level 1 are also the people who have voracious appetites to learn more through the CrossFit Journal, videos, books, additional training courses, learning from their fellow coaches, and so on--so the Level 1 is one step up a ladder for them in terms of knowledge and effectiveness as a coach. And I challenge anyone to go into a globo gym and find significant numbers of Certified Personal Trainers who can teach the fundamental movements such as squats, deadlifts, and presses as well as a reasonably experienced CrossFit Level 1 Trainer);
Many do get it in a vacuum Steven, I have met several. If you don't reach outside the CF community (i.e. other than CF Journal, other CF cources, etc) than it is a vacuum. Now if you wanted to go out and take Zach Even-esh's Underground Strength cert, read Super Training, get RKC certified or something non-CF, then you are furthering your education outside the vacuum. I know that at one time, 24Hour Fitness required their trainers to get a new certificate every 3-6 months to further their education in other areas. Wish this was the case of more affiliates. I have seen some pretty bad squats in CF gyms also, like made me cringe and talk to the box owner later about it, so it happens both ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wingo View Post
Would you advise any athlete it is better to not have well rounded fitness as opposed to having it (i.e. a Power Lifter who can't run 400 meters without stopping to catch their breath or an elite marathon runner who can't squat a 45 pound barbell without rounding their back and almost buckling over)? I would hope not.
To be an athlete, you have to play a sport, so no, I would not. I would advise the athlete be more of a specialist in their sport than well rounded. A marathon running needs to be good at one thing, not a lot. A wrestler on the other hand needs to be able to last though a match, have the overall strength to take down opponents and counter their advancements, and have balance/agility/etc to win the match. While the 2nd athlete needs to have more athletic abilities, they are sport specific, not a target such as how much is his 1RM deadlift, or how fast he can run a 3K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wingo View Post
Rippetoe, in his article, does not offer anything new or worthwhile to the discussion of health and fitness and training.
Agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn M Wilson View Post
I have had 3 heart procedures since November of last year. My heart was beating 285-315 beats a minute.. the Dr's couldnt' believe I hadn't passed out or died/stroked/etc. I attribute a lot of that to my 2 years of CF before this vs sitting on a couch @ home getting worse...
My hats off to you sir, I wish you a speedy recovery.


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Old 01-22-2014, 09:18 AM   #18
Russell Greene
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

"Now knowing you Russ, you will say, getting better at work capacity IS a specific goal. You're right, it could be (according to me, not Rip)."

Well, I guess we agree then.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:31 AM   #19
Maximus Lewin
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

Rip Said:

"Different physical tasks require different physical adaptations; running 26.2 miles is obviously a different task than squatting 700 pounds, and the two efforts require completely different physical adaptations. If a program of physical activity is not designed to get you stronger or faster or better conditioned by producing a specific stress to which a specific desirable adaptation can occur, you don't get to call it training. It is just exercise.

I'm sorry to say, but my formerly hard-headed friend Rip, who was a mentor and a big influence, seems to be falling victim to soft-headedness, seemingly based on jealousy.

By the above definition any training done which is not in the service of becoming better a monomodal task is not training, it is "just exercise".

Better tell everyone in the NFL, every high-ranking MMA fighter, not to mention decathletes and Rich Froning (who not serious person disputes is the most generally fit man on the planet anymore) that they are not training, they are "just" exercising, to use Rip's pejorative adverb.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:58 AM   #20
Adam Shreim
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Re: Did Rippetoe get CrossFit right?

Well guess I am going to mix a little bit of training into my whole 'lotta exercising.

Regularly strength train on a regimented program. Constantly "exercising" my way to better GPP, with a focus on speed. Oh and endurance. Can't forget stamina. I really want to improve my lungs, too. Crap, almost left out flexibility and mobility. I do want to be as strong as possible, though.

Oh well, I shall become the best exerciser I can be. You know, right after I finish each of my training sessions designed to increase specific lifts.

I don't do CrossFit to be an athlete. I do it for exercise. To say I have no goals is idiotic. To say I have no goals and I am doing nothing to achieve them would almost be offensive, except I am past that after so many years of hearing this same garbage.

Last edited by Adam Shreim : 01-22-2014 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Go So Hard
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