CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-31-2003, 05:55 AM   #1
Dave P
******
 
Profile:  
Posts: n/a
I am new to Crossfit and incredibly impressed by the quality of the workouts and the people who frequent these boards. I did my first WOD yesterday and have spent the bulk of today looking for the pride that I seem to have lost as a result.

This post is a combination of questions I've had for some time and the post regarding neuroendocrine response. As many of you know Milo of Kroton was said to have gained his strength by lifting a calf every day until it was a full grown cow. I know that in dealing with a story such as this we run into the limitations of the body's potential but I think it is a good starting place for this post.

At what point do we reach a stage of overtraining? I understand that overtraining is a very real concern when dealing with maximal effort for strength but what about an event that is 20% or 30% of maximal effort, something geared more towards muscular endurance? If I were to start walking on my hands as much as I could, all day - every day, would I be overtraining or would my body rapidly adapt until, a year or five down the road, I could walk on my hands all the time? Is it possible to overtrain when we are dealing with muscular endurance instead of muscular strength or is the body able to adapt rapidly to the new demands...such as a toddler gaining the strength to walk.

Another example is that of a soldier carrying a ruck (backpack). In certain situations a soldier may carry a 30 to 60 pound ruck all day, every day, for a month or two. At some point the ruck ceases to be heavy, even to a previously unconditioned troop, and it's presence is basically forgotten. It's not until the ruck is removed at night and the soldier feels "lighter" that the he realizes he was wearing it. Is this overtraining? Will there be adverse consequences for it later down the road?

When we look at people who do heavy farm work it would seem that just a portion of their typical day would equate to a serious workout for most of us. I travel around to different countries quite a bit and see people doing manual labor, real world tasks, all day long with activities that we attempt to emulate with our workouts. Are they overtraining?

Just curious to know what people think. How much is too much or are we not giving the body enough credit regarding it's ability to adapt.

Dave

  Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2003, 07:17 AM   #2
Barry Cooper
Member Barry Cooper is offline
 
Barry Cooper's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisville  KY
Posts: 2,188
That's a great question. I think most people can adapt over time to much greater loads than they imagine. For example, I'm pretty sure we have a number of Navy SEAL's on this site. Their Hell Week would seem to be beyond the limits of human endurance, but manifestly it isn't. Even more extreme, read something like Elie Wiesel's "Night", or the story of the one guy who escaped on the "Bravo Two Zero" patrol. You could multiply these types of things endlessly. I collect stories like that.

The issue as far as training is pretty simple, at least as far as I understand it. There are signs of overtraining, such as elevated heartrate, irritability, insomnia, marked decrease in performance, as well as actual illness in extreme cases. You could literally break down, or at least be much more prone to catching passing bugs.

The harder you train, the harder you CAN train, as long as you give your body time to adapt. That's the key. I think you can gradually shorten that rest interval as your body becomes more efficient at recovery, but you still have to have time off. Honestly, 6 workouts every 8 days with CrossFit is still too much for me, with everything else I have going on.

That my two cents. Hopefully that answer was in the ballpark of what you were asking
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2003, 08:13 AM   #3
Dave P
******
 
Profile:  
Posts: n/a
Barry,

Thanks for your response. What I'm curious about though isn't the working out part...it's the living part. Hell Week would be the exeption...that is definitely overtraining....but look at the rest of BUD/S. If I worked out on my own program like that people would say that I was overtraining but look at a BUD/S candidate when he graduates. They are incredibly fit. Not suffering at all from the symptoms of overtraining.

Working with indigenous folks in a hilly or mountainous area is a good example of this. No matter how well-trained most people think they are they can't hold a candle to people that live in the area...it's not the conditions they train in but the conditions they live in.

I'm just curious how much we can do every day that our bodies will adapt to without long-term consequences.

Look at blacksmiths or other old style trades. I'm not sure how heavy their hammers were but think of the reps they did. Not as a workout but as a way of life. I wonder if one blacksmith ever suffered from overtraining?

Thanks
Dave
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2003, 09:03 AM   #4
Barry Cooper
Member Barry Cooper is offline
 
Barry Cooper's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisville  KY
Posts: 2,188
I think it's all in your mind. If you can retain a relaxed, confident frame of mind, you can do wonders. What would kill some people is a warm-up for others. I take a somewhat metaphysical view on these things, but even from a strictly materialistic point of view, a key factor is controlling cortisol. I personally believe that you can probably affect cortisol levels with your mind, defined loosely. Some people rack up unbelievable amounts of cortisol with crappy thinking, others cruise along fine, when exposed to the exact same stimulus.

If you've got something specific in mind you'd like to do, I'd say go for it, and see what happens. Too many people live their lives like actuaries. If little old ladies can lift cars, then we don't really know what the limits are.

I live in Louisville, and our big party of the year is the Derby. The official Derby drink is the Mint Julep, and there is a quote in the Derby Museum I've always liked that Mint Juleps should never be made by "novices, Yankees, or statisticians."

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2003, 08:05 PM   #5
David Wood
Departed David Wood is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2002
 
Posts: 3,303
Dave:

I, too, am in awe of what people who genuinely "work" with their bodies accomplish on a daily basis. For example, last year, I set out to cut down a small tree on my property . . . maybe 30 feet tall, 15 - 18 inches in diameter at the base. Even with a chain saw, I was absolutely whipped by the end of the day when I finally had it limbed, toppled, cut up into fireplace length, and the smaller branches run through the chipper/shredder. Climbing the ladder, hauling the chainsaw, dragging and lifting logs, etc., damn near killed me, and I thought I was in shape.

Then you think of 19th-century loggers that did that all day, every day, using hand saws and axes . . .

So, my guess is that the body has staggering adaptive abilities, especially over the long term. That day was clearly over-training for me, given my condition at the time (I was sore for a week). But, if I had started as a "helper" when I was ten or twelve years old, and then done it pretty much every day for years, would it have been "overtraining" then? Probably not.

So your average indigenous tribesman trying to hunt or farm in a hilly landscape has 10 - 30 years of "adaptation" to that specific task . . . and will work even a trained endurance athlete into the ground, if the task goes on for more than an hour.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2003, 08:39 PM   #6
Kelly Moore
Member Kelly Moore is offline
 
Kelly Moore's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Madison  WI
Posts: 2,814
Since living/working on a farm where I throw hay bales, shovel manure and lime and push loaded wheelbarrows through mud and loose shavings, I believe my overall work capacity has increased. I think if I hadn't been doing these things daily before being introduced to Crossfit, I would have not been able to maintain my intensity levels for as long as I have.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2003, 09:12 PM   #7
J. D. Hernandez
Departed J. D. Hernandez is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 122
I notice this adaptation is very true in alot of aspects of life for example any type of sports practice. When I played football in highschool, after the first day of practice your neck was extremely sore from wearing a helmet and hitting all day, but as they days went out it was almost unnatrual not to be wearing one. Also practice was an allout three hour effort plus weight training in the mornings on mo/wed/friday. Definitely overtraining, but it was accomplished for four years of my life. Same thing with wrestling practice, running, wrestling and weightlifting every day for four years. What I did notice is that towards the end of the school year, my body did start to wear down but that was only towards the end of wrestling season, after football season. In other areas I notice it in sprinters and construction workers. Sprinters sprint delay, and have massive legs. Construction workers (laborers actually) lift, bang,jackhammering, and breaking for 8--10 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Definitaly overtraining but if they don't do it, no money. What I think it involves is the SAID principle (Specific adaptation to imposed demand), but I beleive this is a very specific(I'll explain) thing. I think this adaptation occurs as the body is under extreme stress in one area, however if there were multiple extreme stressors the body would have a very hard time adapting. Which is why it would not work with fitness related goals(unless they were specific ala powerlifting), to much stress in to much areas. This is why top strength coaches always teach to speacilize programs. I love crossfit(it is the program I follow), but if I was a powerlifter, I wouldn't follow it (not enough specifity). Well that's my take, sorry it was so long.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2004, 08:39 AM   #8
Ryan Atkins
Member Ryan Atkins is offline
 
Ryan Atkins's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Racine  WI
Posts: 925
J.D.,

You may want to check out this thread - http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/21/62.html. Read Dan John's comments as it may change your mind about the value of specifity in training (with posts from Coach, DJ, RW, and TH the entire thread is worth (re)reading). I think one of the reasons Crossfit works so well is BECAUSE of the variety of multiple stressors on the body. Let's use strength training as an example. Crossfit employs some form of resistance training in at least 2/3 (rough guess) of its workouts. However, the number and type of exercises used along with the pace are all so varied that the body isn't given the oppurtunity to specialize in any particular movement. IMO, this lack of efficiency leaves the body only one option to compensate - the development of raw strength. This variety also reduces the possibility of overtraining because the system isn't being taxed exactly the same way each time. As a big bonus, Crossfit does this without compromising (and, in many cases, enhancing) development in the other nine general physical skills (I'm assuming you've read the free issue of the Crossfit Journal). I don't think the same can be said of a specialized weight training program.

That being said, I think that if you took two twins and had one train only in powerlifting and the other only Crossfit the powerlifter would win out in a contest of strength, but only by a slim margin. In addition, the Crossfitting twin would unquestionably trounce his sibling in any contest that involved a general physical skill besides strength.

Since we're using powerlifting as an example, I was curious if any of the (former) competitive powerlifters (i.e. Robb, Kelly, Lynne, etc.) have realized increases in their single rep maxes since starting Crossfit. I think we regualarly see progress for people in certain lifts, say the deadlift, without practicing it outside the WOD. I was wondering if the same applied to someone who previously specialized in a particular lift.

Sorry about rambling,

-Ryan
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2004, 10:15 AM   #9
Lynne Pitts
Administrator Lynne Pitts is offline
 
Lynne Pitts's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Madison  WI
Posts: 3,232
Ryan,
Actually, all of my powerlifts have decreased since beginning crossfitting, and it's really ticking me off!

I read with jealous amazement all these people posting PR's in bench, squat, deadlift, etc. while crossfitting, while mine dwindle away.

I think your twin thesis is incorrect: The powerlifting twin would seriously kick the crossfit twin's butt in a strength contest, although the second half of your theory is no doubt correct. I just don't think that high rep work with weights in the 20-40% RM range translates to strength - for me at least. I also don't think I can increase a lift without training it. The Westside school of powerlifting training is a big proponent of NOT squatting heavy and NOT deadlifting, and it works for them. Not for me!

As a matter of long-winded fact, I'm dreading the heavy squat WOD, something I would have looked forward to in the past. But I know my single max will be somewhere in the 20-50 lbs off my pre-crossfit max.

I have decided to reincorporate traditional strength training in my workouts, even if it means I have to cut down on the WODs to do so. For me, raw strength is too hard-won and I am not willing to give it up. I'm sure it's an ego problem...
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2004, 10:48 AM   #10
J. D. Hernandez
Departed J. D. Hernandez is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 1970
 
Posts: 122
Ryan,

I knwo alot of people on this board talk about new PR's all the time, but this still doesn't discount the fact that a powerlifting program would increase the big three lifts by a much greater margin. Most of the guys on this board previously used some type of bodybuilding method previous to crossfit, and of course crossfit is better. Crossfit is far more functional, and your right because of it's variety, forces an increase in raw strength. But my point is, when the body is forced to adapt in multiple areas (ala crossfit) it doesn't have the resources or energy (CNS) to speacilize in one area (ala powerlifting). Keep in mind, I'm definitely not bashing crossfit, as I do use 3-4 crossfit type workouts a week. Coach also reinforced this point in the crossfit jornal (the free one), where he said that if you DL'ed 700 punds then started doing crossfit, it would probably go down to 400, but you would be a far more well rounded athlete, to this I totally agree as it is the point I'm trying to make, and the above post is a perfect example of this. I do believe that with to much specifity, the body adapts to the movement and minimizes the stress that the lift imposes on the body. This what I beleive happens when people plateau at a certain lift. People fail to realize that there is so much more to deadlifting than just picking the bar up. As with all power lifts, it involves speed, stability strength, as well as maximal strength (this is the exact reason why Westside is so effective). Crossfit does tax these areas, but without lifting a near maximal load, it isn't optimal. Ohh, and don't worry about rambling, I ramble quite often.

Lynne,
Westside is a big proponent of the box squat and the good morning, both which incorporate the same mechnics of the squat and deadlift using a suit. There are specific reasons they don't squat and deadlift all the time. Such as wear and tear of the joints, and plateauing at that specific lift. They also bench on almost every dynamic effort day. Louie Simmons is a genious. And there are exact reasons why they do things like they do, but it does take alot of people awhile to get things clicking on there program. What you could do is mix in your dynamic effort day with your crossfit day. I know you weren't Westside bashing, but I guess what I'm trying to say if your serious about keeping your raw strength, Westsdie, Smolov, ans sheiko are the three programs that work.

J.D.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The myth of aging and sports performance? Matt DeMinico Injuries 30 07-18-2007 02:20 PM
Is muscle loss a myth? Stephen Kichuk Nutrition 8 04-10-2007 05:17 AM
MILO Eugene R. Allen Community 8 12-28-2006 08:31 PM
Article on Cholesterol Myth Mark Beck Nutrition 21 11-22-2005 12:43 PM
Newest Nutritional "myth" to come my way... Alexander Karatis Nutrition 36 07-18-2004 10:30 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:21 PM.


CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.