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

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Old 04-20-2007, 02:11 PM   #1
John Tuitele
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Did a search on the forums for fall, falls, falling and fall prevention. Nothing.

Here's the question: has anyone here developed a good program using CF training (or something similar) for prevention of falls in older adults?

Just to be clear: not "I read about...." or "I heard about...." but "I have an approach that works amazingly well and have several success stories to demonstrate it."

Thanks.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:17 PM   #2
John Tuitele
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One quick additional thought.

Falls are a huge problem for older adults. The stats for post fall admission to nursing homes, surgery and relatively poor return to prior living setting are pretty depressing. Lower body strength and speed, as in so many other areas in life, is a huge predictor of likelihood of taking a tumble. The kind of automatic responses that prevent falls involve ankle dorsiflexion, rapid eccentric squatting motion and multidirectional lunges. Strength and speed - sound like CF?

Love to hear about your success with this condition. Thanks.
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:06 PM   #3
Roger Harrell
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The base fitness level generated by doing CF type workouts coupled with learning how to roll properly will keep most seniors out of nursing homes.

My approach is basically the above. I don't have any super clear success stories, but I have a bunch of fit seniors that can handle themselves in a fall, and one specific instance of a 52 yr old (not a senior, I know) going over the handlebars of his bike, rolling out and coming out without even a bruise.
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:42 PM   #4
Blair Robert Lowe
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CF mainly uses parkour progressions for rolls and breakfalls. Very similar to what you would find in most martial arts ( judo, aikido, koryu jujutsu, aikijujutsu, systema/sambo/RMA, etc { which are sometimes taught in striking systems ] ).

Learn to do a front breakfall. Learn a back breakfall. Learn a front " square " roll. Learn a back shoulder roll. Learn a front shoulder roll. Learn a side roll. Perhaps learn a side breakfall.

Add this and some basic height training ala balance beam to learn balance. This need not be on a beam per say, it can start on a line really, balancing on one leg, hopping, etc.

Seniors fall just as badly as adults who do not know how to fall and while they are prone for more of a severe injury; when adults who cannot fall- fall- it's bad news due to their heights and weights ( the amount of force in the fall ).

The progressions for beginners be it, 5 or 50 is the same to ensure proper technique and safety.
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Old 04-20-2007, 08:01 PM   #5
Darrell E. White
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Gonna take the contrarian view here, despite the fact that I love everything about CF. There was a series of studies that showed that elderly women had fewer falls and had fewer injuries when they did fall if they practiced T'ai chi. Sorry that I can't find the links presently, but I recall that the studies were repeatable and reproducible.

As much as I would like to find the CF angle, Yang style T'ai chi is probably the answer.
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Old 04-20-2007, 11:14 PM   #6
John Tuitele
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Links here are family and work safe boring research literature.

Tai Chi has mixed reviews: a recent study reported in 2006 from Taiwan had a less than statistically significant reduction of falls in those practicing tai chi compared to those who did not. In other words, the change in control vs. the change in the intervention group, although different, wasn't significant.
http://www.ptjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/9/1189

The 2001 position paper from the American Geriatric society, in the exercise section, makes an interesting statement regarding "very intense strength and endurance training" as it relates to falls:

Among relatively healthy, community-dwelling older people, a program of very intensive strength and endurance training reduced the risk of subsequent falls and the proportion of fallers. In another study involving community-dwelling women, there was no evidence that a generic exercise program reduced falls. In young elderly, community-dwelling women, frequent low-impact weight-bearing exercises, and calcium supplementation over a 2-year period did not significantly reduce falls. In community-dwelling older women, individually designed exercise programs in the home that incorporated strength and balance training reduced both falls and injuries; for those who continued to exercise, the benefits were evident after a 2-year period. In the Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques (FICSIT) meta-analysis of seven studies that featured exercise as a prominent part of multifactorial interventions, there was an overall significant reduction in falls among intervention subjects, although only three of the seven individual trials showed significant reductions. In a randomized trial of a group exercise program held thrice weekly for fall-prone older men, there was improvement in strength, endurance, gait, and function as well as reduced fall rates adjusted for increased levels of activity. In community-dwelling women at moderate risk of falls, Tai Chi C’uan reduced the rate of falls during a short follow-up period of 4 months.
http://www.americangeriatrics.org/pr...pers/Falls.pdf

So. CrossFitters: any wild success with reduction of falls in the elderly in programs that might be "very intense strength and endurance training?"
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:10 AM   #7
Lincoln Brigham
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Darrell, that T'ai Chi study pretty much reiterates what numerous studies have already found - that almost ANYTHING is an improvement over doing nothing.
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:30 AM   #8
John Tuitele
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Lincoln - great point. The senior population is characterized by a poverty of training effort. You and I are the exception in that group, of course. :winkiss:
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:54 AM   #9
John Seiler
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Coach has been very clear on this: The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. One seeks functional dominance, the other seeks functional competence.

He is absolutely correct. CF pulls from the most basic movement patterns. These movements (squat, deadlift, press, clean, etc.) start at the core and move to the extremities. They are fundamental and irreducible. They are part and parcel of the movements of life. By their very nature they incorporate levels of strength, balance, and agility. Here's a specific example: Do you know any seniors who can do a solid, full-range air squat? If so, is that a senior about whom you are concerned with them falling? I'd doubt it.

The other fantastic thing about these basic movements is their ability to be scaled. Start with partial range, unladen movements and work on form and range of motion. When full range of motion is there, you can begin to work on multiple repitions. There is SO much work to be done before you ever need to worry about a weight. Deads and presses can start with a dowel or PVC.

It may take a long while before this begins to resemble what many would immediately recognize as a WOD. Who cares? Remember that strength takes precedence over conditioning. In terms of senior citizens, quality of life is usually determined by their capacity to perform basic movements with strength and certainty. The ability to do these things repeatedly in an athletic context is secondary.
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Old 04-21-2007, 01:04 PM   #10
Darrell E. White
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Lincoln:

True, to a point. The balance and proprioceptive training inherent in T'ai chi, as well as the one-limb weight bearing, makes intuitive sense. It's interesting that exercise studies do NOT find that traditional "aerobic" programs afford much benefit, even compared with (relative) inactivity. There was a VA study published in the mid-80's that showed objective improvements in mobility from doing a nautilus circuit. For example, wheelchair bound vets moved to a walker, walker to a cane, cane to uanssisted. Intuitively one would probably design a strength-based program combined with balance and skill activities.

Kinda sounds familiar, eh?
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