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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 02-07-2007, 03:03 PM   #1
Joe Marsh
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Hey all, I was just kicking this around in my head the other day and was hoping to get some of your thoughts. It occured to me while I was explaining to someone functional exercises.

I was explaining that functional exercise has a few criteria:
1. Include more than one muscle group.
2. Ellicit a high neuro-enodcrine response.
3. Be applicable to everyday life.

It was this last statement that made me think, "Are the movements I use with CrossFit 100% functional?"

Please understand that I am not here to disparrage CrossFit or the exercises used therein. I love CrossFit. I'm just wondering if some of our exercises have "degrees" of functionality.

It goes without saying that all the movements we use fit the first two statements fine. With the last statement, however, I began to think, "When am I ever going to need to pull myself up and over an object (ie muscle up)?" I am not LEO/MIL, nor am I a criminal/terrorist who might be running from the former.

I live in the desert with no chance of having to shovel my drive (ie virtual shoveling).

I have the need to bring an object from the floor to my chest, sometimes above my head, (ie clean and jerk), but when will I need to bring it right from the floor to overhead (ie snatch).

Once again, please understand I enjoy all of these movements. I am enamored with the Olympic lifts, and have found a new love for gymnastic movements, particularly muscle ups. I just wonder if these exercises have varying amounts of functionality for varying people and populations.

Thoughts, please?
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Old 02-07-2007, 06:38 PM   #2
Tom Brose
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Joe dont worry too much about asking the questions. I think that there is a certain degree to which each movement directly matches the needs of the person, but they still are highly functional. A given movement may not match a current requirement, but it is building capability that translates across the board. Lets look at the snatch.

Doing the snatch, you are working on getting to load to a certain place, and yes a Clean and jerk may be a better way to do this with a suitcase on a plane. But what if you need to accelerate an objest past the reach of your arms? The snatch teaches that full movement, with the benefit of working overhead and core stabilization at the end. All very usefull, applicable skills developed efficiently.

So, I would say there is a degree to which some movements are more (by point #3 standard)"functional", but the effect/skill they provide us is more universal. Thats my take.

I have never beeen a huge fan of movements from sport or life mimicked exactly as training. Sensible training and more sport practice are a better plan.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:21 AM   #3
Roger Harrell
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Joe, never discount the possible need to get up and over an object. Sure, you may not need to as often as MIL/LEO, but you never know. You may need to get away from someone, or rescue someone where this may be necessary. Also, training to surmount objects will prepare you for other movements that are not directly related.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
Elliot Royce
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I think the broader meaning of "functional" is replicating the movements that a human being is capable of physically (not necessarily a specific human being, ie. you). This is as opposed to very specific isolation exercises like bicep curls. Part of it is just keeping your body "tuned up" the way nature/God intended. I hope never to have to jump over a wall, punch someone, pick a log up off my child, etc. etc. but our bodies are made to be used in a wide variety of ranges of motion.

As we give up using those ranges of motion, we age. Basically, being old, at least physically, means lacking the strength and flexibility and muscle memory to do the full range of motion.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:45 AM   #5
Mike ODonnell
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A bench press isn't functional...unless you a lying on the ground and something heavy falls on you....wait..it was functional in college for me after a bad night of drinking...nevermind...but it's a great exercise for chest and strength...mixed in with pushups and standing pulley press (more functional).

Is kipping functional? If you are climbing over a wall...you can't kick your hips forward...it's a wall....but still has purpose in an exercise routine.

Anything not done on a machine is functional in some aspect in my book...the degree of each functionality can be debated however. But that is what makes it fun.
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:21 PM   #6
Joe Marsh
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This is what I love about this place. Excellent input from everyone. I especially liked Elliot's response,
" I think the broader meaning of "functional" is replicating the movements that a human being is capable of physically (not necessarily a specific human being, ie. you). "

Thanks everyone for the discussion.

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Old 02-08-2007, 07:56 PM   #7
Jesse Woody
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Always be prepared for anything. It's as simple as that. I might never have to use Parkour in an emergency, but if I ever do, I'll be pretty glad that I put so much time into training it! The same will go for lifting and carrying heavy/awkward objects, learning first aid and CPR, etc.
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