CrossFit Discussion Board  

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

Starting For newcomers to the CrossFit methodology

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-28-2008, 02:45 PM   #11
Amber Mathwig
Member Amber Mathwig is offline
 
Amber Mathwig's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chesapeake  VA
Posts: 1,148
Re: APFT Preparation

Tim - I have increased my push-up capacity a great deal doing a few different things:

1) Always concentrating on full ROM
2) Doing max sets of angled push-ups against desks/park benches/smith machines, etc.

These two will build muscle memory as well as muscle.

3) As another poster said, when she thinks she can't do anymore, drop to her knees and crank out a few more.

If you are going to go hard-core from now until the APFT, make sure to take a couple days break beforehand so her muscles are relaxed and ready to go!
__________________
I'm on a boat.....
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2008, 05:28 PM   #12
John Conte
Member John Conte is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: New Brunswick  NJ
Posts: 1
Re: APFT Preparation

Hey ive taken a few APFT's
The best way I can reccomend to train for it is by practicing the APFT - its a "take home" test.

Here is also a physiology that I use when taking an actual APFT
Pushups
I reccomend doing as many as you can right of the bat. Have a set number in your mind that you want to reach and dont stop until you get there. For me that number is somewhere between 50-60 depending on how I feel. I need to hit 71 to max so once I hit 50 I just knock out sets of five and ill be done. Have your wife practice the push up seciton until she has a set number that she wants to hit right out the gate and have her do it as quickly as possible so it is almost like a shock to her muscles - they dont realize they are doing so many so quickly.
Also, note that when you practice your pushpus practice proper form, all the way up (lock out elbows), all the way down (90 degree bend in the arm). This does not mean go slow, go as fast as you can. Keep your head up, dont look at the ground (it helps you 'break the plane' and keep your back straight). If you practice bad form you will have bad form and all the pushpus you do on the test will just not count.

Situps
Many people in the army dont do situps on the APFT the right way - they use too much energy. Pump your arms on the way up and literally fall back down. The falling part might seem unnatural at first but if you lower yourself you are using your abdominals and essentially doing almost twice the work. Secondly, by falling back your back will bounce off the floor and will use less effort to get up. When I am doing situps on an APFT I almost imagine myself in a fight with the ground and I am using my back to beat it. Again, you are going as fast as you can, pumping your arms on your way up and falling back down. Remember on an APFT the objective is to not get a good workout its to just do as many repetitions as possible.

The Run
The 2 mile run just sucks. As soon as you accept it youll realize that you just have to go all out. Put a fishhook in someones back and try to catch them the whole time. The best way to run fast is to try and catch someone who is faster.

To train for an APFT, like I said, just actually do an APFT twice a week as a workout. To improve on pushups I did 3 sets every other day before I went to bed . I worked up to 1 set of 70 regular, 1 set of 50 diamond, and 1 set of 50 wide arm with 2 min rest in between ,but started out with maybe 1x35 1x20 1x20. If i could not reach the desired repetition I would rest in the front lean and rest and knock em out until I got there. Situps can be improved on by doing regular ab workouts - but just by changing technique you should go up substantially. The Run - just get out and run. Mix it up between long distance (5+ mile) medium distance (2-4 mile) and short distance sprints.

The WOD is a great way to prepare, but if your main goal is passing the APFT then I would suggest just practicing the APFT- its almost an art in itself.

And as Amber said, rest atleast 2 days before the test and dont do any 'hard workouts' 4 days prior. Ive heard different theories about when your body peaks and when its at its low point, and you can look further into this, but as a general rule of thumb two days is a good amount of time for your muslces to be fresh for the test.

Last edited by John Conte : 12-28-2008 at 05:39 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2008, 08:26 PM   #13
John Hansen
Member John Hansen is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Fayetteville  NC
Posts: 95
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Conte View Post
Hey ive taken a few APFT's

Here is also a physiology that I use when taking an actual APFT
Pushups
I reccomend doing as many as you can right of the bat. Have a set number in your mind that you want to reach and dont stop until you get there. For me that number is somewhere between 50-60 depending on how I feel. I need to hit 71 to max so once I hit 50 I just knock out sets of five and ill be done. Have your wife practice the push up seciton until she has a set number that she wants to hit right out the gate and have her do it as quickly as possible so it is almost like a shock to her muscles - they dont realize they are doing so many so quickly.
Good stuff in that post, but I want to point out on thing. The above might be the proper advice for a male who is trying to do 70+ pushups. But with a female whose PUs are in the single digits, she's probably going to reach complete, unrecoverable muscle failure way before she runs out of time. With that in mind, I'd suggest never going to failure in her "sets" on the APFT. It may be, for example, that 5 (or whatever number is 2 shy of muscle failure) + rest + 4 + rest + 3 + rest + 3 + rest + 3 is the best strategy. But it's something that should be practiced to see which one works the best. Maybe I'm wrong. Good luck.

Last edited by John Hansen : 12-28-2008 at 08:30 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 04:00 AM   #14
Alex Europa
Affiliate Alex Europa is offline
 
Alex Europa's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Waialua  HI
Posts: 1,016
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Stine View Post
Still, Shawn offers some variety in his suggestions. I would take his advice because he has had a lot of success in doing what you are trying to do. The variety I would avoid is the sort CF provides. When you're preparing for an APFT and the CF mainsite has another one of those three max strength days in a row it's rather counterproductive.
CrossFit IS NOT just the .com WODs. As I suggested earlier, she would get some great gains by tailoring CrossFit workouts to meet her current needs. It's been proven time and time again that you can only make gains for 3-4 weeks by doing the same exercises. By mixing things up you can continue to improve indefinitely. If you look at the template I recommended, she would get plenty of work on her running, pushing, pulling, and situps. There are numerous people (males and females) on these boards that have used just CrossFit to max out the APFT, specialization is not required.

- Alex
__________________
CrossFit Barbarian Fitness / Flickr
"Every man dies. Not every man truly lives."
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 08:04 AM   #15
Pat McElhone
Member Pat McElhone is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Naperville  IL
Posts: 179
Re: APFT Preparation

Here is my $0.02 after taking APFTs since 1992.

It is a game/contest/sport just like CF. Game it. What is her goal? Is it to max or pass it? Different strategies needed for different goals.

For push-ups, you have 5 weeks, I would upper body weight lifting for the next 3 weeks. If her current max is 4 PU, she needs strength. Bench Press/Presses/Pull-ups all will help her. GTG is a great way to get your pull-ups from 20 to 30, but not so good to get 1 pull-up. You need strength. As Alex said, it is about neuromuscular development, getting those pathways laid down between the nervous system and the muscles. Once she gets a few push-ups under her belt, keep the form solid, but try and do them as fast as possible. The stretch reflex really helps in the push-ups because the range of motion is short (only moving the body about 1 foot).

John gave great sit-ups advice above. He hit it all.

As for running, it is about going faster. 400s, 800s, even 200s should be used to develop the skill/technique of running fast (with as little effort as possible). This is not the same as running hard or getting "smoked". The easiest way for me is take shorter steps, but more steps a minute (180 steps per min), focusing on breathing and staying relaxed. I think "faster" not harder". It helps to focus of staying upright and moving your arms.

Finally, do not forget to rest/recovery prior to the test. By the last week, the fitness should be laid out. Rest and go into it fresh. Afterall, previous PRs do not matter on game day, only what is done that day. Good Luck.

Pat

Last edited by Pat McElhone : 12-29-2008 at 08:12 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 08:31 AM   #16
Ed Haywood
Member Ed Haywood is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Valrico  FL
Posts: 492
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
It's been proven time and time again that you can only make gains for 3-4 weeks by doing the same exercises. By mixing things up you can continue to improve indefinitely.
Indefinite improvement is not her problem. Passing a PT test in 6 weeks is. An untrained athlete can improve for 6 to 8 weeks before plateauing.

More specifically, she has to be able to do at least 17 pushups, and right now she can only do 4. Pullups, olympic lifts, powerlifting, wall ball squats, HSPU, box jumps, and 99% of the other components of a typical crossfit WOD would be a waste of her limited training time at this point. And trying to modify crossfit methodology would be overwhelming for a person of limited or no athletic training background.

My recommendation: do a light warmup, tabata pushups and situps, and a 2 mile run. 3 days on, 1 day off. Every 3rd or 6th day, sub 4x400m for the run. Do pushups to failure, then do knee pushups. That's more than enough on her plate for 6 weeks. She has the rest of her life to do crossfit.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 08:52 AM   #17
Pat McElhone
Member Pat McElhone is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Naperville  IL
Posts: 179
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Haywood View Post

More specifically, she has to be able to do at least 17 pushups, and right now she can only do 4. Pullups, olympic lifts, powerlifting, wall ball squats, HSPU, box jumps, and 99% of the other components of a typical crossfit WOD would be a waste of her limited training time at this point. And trying to modify crossfit methodology would be overwhelming for a person of limited or no athletic training background..

When I read comments like these, I realize I am on a different page then many people even on CrossFit.com. This is the opposite of everything I understand CrossFit to be. It is the opposite of every principle that I thought CrossFit was based on and after following CF methodology what I believe is the actual best way to get better fitness.

The APFT is a sport/test/game and in that way, some one has to do their sport to get better at it. But, it is much more about overall GPP. The exercises are chosen to test upper body/core/hip flexor and Cardiovascular Endurance. Overall GPP is best developed with CrossFit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Haywood View Post


My recommendation: do a light warmup, tabata pushups and situps, and a 2 mile run. 3 days on, 1 day off. Every 3rd or 6th day, sub 4x400m for the run. Do pushups to failure, then do knee pushups. That's more than enough on her plate for 6 weeks. She has the rest of her life to do crossfit.
I think this would lead to overtraining/overuse injuries.

Question, if some one could do only 4 push-ups in 2 minutes, why and how would you would Tabata those? 1 push-up every 20s, then rest? Push-up on the knees? Push-ups against the wall? Once you deviate from the Army standard push-ups, the exercise is no longer a "push-up" but an upper body strength training exercise. If that is the case, what is the best upper body strength exercise? I would say the barbell lifts. They can be loaded with various weigths, thus progressively improvable and easily "spotted". How are knee push-ups better then a bench press in this case?

Running 2mile everyday, with a 4x400M some days may or may not be the best thing. How far does she usually run? Is it less then 2miles or more? 2miles day after day can lead to overuse injuries. The TMCs are filled with many cases of platar fasciitis and "stress fractures" all from running too much with poor form.

Also, what is the goal of running 2miles every day? Is it to G2G with running? My issue with just running 2mile every day is that it does not work well to improve the run time if you are not a talented runner. It encourages poor running technique and offers little benefit beyond just covering the distance of the test. IMO, 2miles is a great distance to test "Cardio-respiratory capacity and leg strength", but not the optimal distance to train at.

Last edited by Pat McElhone : 12-29-2008 at 09:08 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 09:40 AM   #18
Alex Europa
Affiliate Alex Europa is offline
 
Alex Europa's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Waialua  HI
Posts: 1,016
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Haywood View Post
Indefinite improvement is not her problem. Passing a PT test in 6 weeks is. An untrained athlete can improve for 6 to 8 weeks before plateauing.

More specifically, she has to be able to do at least 17 pushups, and right now she can only do 4. Pullups, olympic lifts, powerlifting, wall ball squats, HSPU, box jumps, and 99% of the other components of a typical crossfit WOD would be a waste of her limited training time at this point. And trying to modify crossfit methodology would be overwhelming for a person of limited or no athletic training background.

My recommendation: do a light warmup, tabata pushups and situps, and a 2 mile run. 3 days on, 1 day off. Every 3rd or 6th day, sub 4x400m for the run. Do pushups to failure, then do knee pushups. That's more than enough on her plate for 6 weeks. She has the rest of her life to do crossfit.
I think that many of the exercises you listed would actually help her pushups. The lats act as stabilizers, not to mention the extra stamina one gains in the arms by doing "high" rep pull-ups would be of benefit. Powerlifting will build some much needed strength, even in 6 weeks. Wall ball squats would build her CV system/leg strength, as well as being a pushing exercise. HSPUs would be scaled to normal pushups (or incline pushups), since that is the natural progression [incline, flat, decline (pike), HSPU].

Moreover, the template I outlined is VERY easy to follow. Lift heavy, do a WOD with running (there are thousands of examples), do some Tabatas, rest, repeat. I'm a big believer in conjugate training. She's still developing all of the components of the APFT, but is also developing her GPP and developing a toughness that one simply doesn't gain from push/sit/run. In other words, an exercise is only as good as the weakest of its parts. In squatting terms (just to clarify my point), if you have 500-lbs capable legs, but 350-lbs capable lower back, then you're only going to be able to squat 350. Developing the lower back (by doing alternate/accessory exercises) will do more for your ability to squat than actually squatting. This is the theory behind CrossFit (as well as many other successful programs). This is why our Fran, Diane, Grace...whatever, times continue to improve despite the fact that we only do those exercises once every two weeks, or the WODs once every few months. And this is why I think she'll see better results by doing other exercises than just the tested components. I'm sure that we'd agree that she has core strength issues that won't be resolved by just doing pushups and situps, be can get some major work by doing other exercises.

- Alex

PS: I was doing really well on keeping my posts short...I tried. Sorry David!
__________________
CrossFit Barbarian Fitness / Flickr
"Every man dies. Not every man truly lives."

Last edited by Alex Europa : 12-29-2008 at 09:46 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 09:51 AM   #19
Pat McElhone
Member Pat McElhone is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Naperville  IL
Posts: 179
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Hattenberger View Post
For the next 2 weeks do GTG push ups everyday (I saw it somewhere in the CF posts). This way she'll be doing real push ups and will hopefully get her in the ~10 range at the end of the two weeks.

In addition we'll do the CF (3 days on, 1 day off), but we'll cherry pick WODs like Alex said focusing on Upper Body (see question above), Running and Tabata for the 3 days respectively. During the first 2 weeks while we're doing the GTG, I'll have her do modified push ups (knee or bench) so she can get in the 10-15 range to build some confidence and strength.

After the first two weeks (after completing GTG), I want to start doing real push ups for the warm up. I'm hoping she's doing 3 sets of about 8+-2 for those 3 sets.

I think that in addition to the run WODs like Alex suggested (every 4 days), we should also add in some of the running work that Kristi suggested and as her fitness level increases or maybe just doing a 2.0 mile run or jog in the evenings (assuming her WOD is in the morning) on non run WOD days.

I think 2 weeks before the test is a good time to do a mock APFT (or a schedule similar to Alex's) so we can decide if another GTG is in order or something else.

Let me know what you guys think.

Thanks again!
I did not mention it above, but I think this is a great plan. You should follow this plan (if you have not started already). But, I just do not think the extra 2mile jog in the evenings is a good ideal. What is the purpose of it? I would just add some sport specific speed work done (running) at lower intensity. Like a few 200-800s done at a 9min/mile pace. These should be easy, focusing on speed. I learned these to be called "bodyspeeds".

Good Luck,

Pat

Last edited by Pat McElhone : 12-29-2008 at 09:56 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 10:13 AM   #20
Harry Stine
Member Harry Stine is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: West Point  NY
Posts: 28
Re: APFT Preparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Europa View Post
CrossFit IS NOT just the .com WODs. As I suggested earlier, she would get some great gains by tailoring CrossFit workouts to meet her current needs.
Fair enough. When Tim said he was going to do CF 3 on and 1 off...well, I assumed. In any case, the powerlifting on the mainsite is rather risky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Europa View Post
It's been proven time and time again that you can only make gains for 3-4 weeks by doing the same exercises. By mixing things up you can continue to improve indefinitely.
The only problem with that is you can't postpone the test indefinitely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Europa View Post
If you look at the template I recommended, she would get plenty of work on her running, pushing, pulling, and situps. There are numerous people (males and females) on these boards that have used just CrossFit to max out the APFT, specialization is not required.
- Alex
Your template was actually kind of...specialized. That is, at least as far as I meant by it. So if this is what Tim meant by 3 on 1 off, my bad. I should read all the posts more closely.

Last edited by Harry Stine : 12-29-2008 at 10:16 AM.
  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

vB 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
APFT Running Pat McElhone Fitness 18 01-18-2009 06:47 PM
APFT on PCP Shawn Casey Competitions 9 10-01-2008 08:16 AM
Using CF for APFT Training Rod Saunders Starting 2 09-05-2008 10:52 AM
SS and APFT or any PT test Adam Fugent Fitness 9 01-21-2008 09:23 PM
Army APFT Thomas Whitehead Starting 4 03-17-2004 01:44 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.