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 12-25-2008, 10:27 PM   #1
Tim Hattenberger
Member Tim Hattenberger is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Portland  OR
Posts: 2
APFT Preparation

I have searched through the forums but still would like some input from everyone. I'm helping my wife prepare for the Army APFT on 2/9/09. The test consists of 2 mile run, 2 minutes of PushUps (PUs), and 2 minutes of Situps (SUs). What's the best way to get the fastest results in the shortest amount of time?

Some different ideas:
  • Crossfit WOD (or scaled) but avoiding WODs that are heavy, single reps sets and hitting up WODs that include a lot of bodyweight exercises (e.g. Cindy)
  • I saw this link in one thread http://www.hundredpushups.com/
  • Classes at the (big box) gym (e.g. spinning, boxing...)

I know CF would be sufficient, but not sure in this short amount of time. We have the ability to do 2-a-days and/or spend a fair amount of time training everyday. I've trained different styles for several years, and am relatively new to CF, but am worried about the short time frame and don't want to overtrain her to the point of injury. However, as I'm new to CF, I'm not sure that the 30 minutes / day of CF is enough.

She has been intermittently working out recently, but is lucky to have a good body to get into shape quickly. She's tiny though, and PUs are probably her biggest weakness.

Here are some different thoughts I had:
  • CF WOD (or scaled) as Rx'd
  • CF WOD in AM, 2 mile run in PM
  • Tues/Thurs/Sat - choose a CF workout, Mon/Wed/Fri do 100PUs program, SUs and 2.0 mile run
  • CF Endurance mixed in (may be overkill)

Also, here's her current status:

PushUps:
Now - 4
Passing -17
Goal - 20

Situps:
Now - 37
Passing - 45
Goal - 60

2 mile run:
Now - <20mins
Passing - 20:30
Goal - 18 minutes

Also, we're planning on starting Paleo Diet w/in next couple of days (as soon as we get the book).

Thank you so much for the help.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2008, 09:04 AM   #2
Adam Jamieson
Member Adam Jamieson is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Honolulu  Hawaii
Posts: 50
Re: APFT Preparation

I would suggest no weights. If she does do CrossFit than she'll need to work on the bodyweight exercises. As for now I'd suggest greasing the groove to get those push-ups up. Big focus on technique. Same with the sit-ups. Also might want to do some sit-ups (4x10 etc) after her WOD.

Working up to two a days would be a good idea if she wants to meet that running goal. Intervals, distance and hills are your friend. Sit-ups and push-ups before, during or after the run are some ideas. I'd shoot for WOD's that are specific to her goals and through in some curve balls for good measure. Scale as necessary and most of all have fun!

Start slow and then watch the progression unfold.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2008, 09:21 PM   #3
Kristi Folowell
Member Kristi Folowell is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sierra Vista  AZ
Posts: 198
Re: APFT Preparation

I am in the Army and very familiar with the APFT. My suggestion is to get her started doing the Crossfit WODs from the main site or from an affiliates site scaled down to her level. This will help to improve her overall fitness and stamina. Then add sets of pushups and situps in the warm-up or a couple hours after the workout as skill work. Start out with 4 sets of 5 reps. Then start increasing the number of reps and decreasing the number of sets every week, until she is doing as many as she needs to pass or more. Really stress proper form while she is doing these sets. I would try to avoid doing it after the workout since she will probably be wrecked, but if she feels up to it then she can go for it.

For the running, many of the WODs that require 800m and 400m runs are good. Another way to build it up is to do ladders. Have her do an 800m (2 laps) jog for warmup. Then have her run 400m at the APFT pace, then 400m at a slow jog, then repeat for 2 miles. You can have her do that 2 or 3 times one week. Then the next week have her run 800m at the APFT pace with a 400m jog for 2 miles. Then just keep working it up each week until she does all 8 laps at that pace. It takes awhile but it works really well. You can have her do the running a couple of hours before or after a WOD or depending on her fitness level as a WOD all by itself. Make sure she is resting enough to recover. Since you have short time if you can start her out with 800m at the APFT pace and go from there, then go for it. It will all be dependent on her level.

I have used this method with Soldiers to help them to pass the APFT as well as myself to max out my APFT. If you or your wife have any other questions feel free to ask. Hope all of that made sense.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2008, 09:46 PM   #4
Ed Haywood
Member Ed Haywood is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Valrico  FL
Posts: 492
Re: APFT Preparation

Don't get her distracted by crossfit until after the APFT. She doesn't have time to be pursuing "fitness across multiple modal domains". Get specific and focus on pushups, situps, and running. She needs to be cranking out pushups and situps every day.

Obviously pushup are her biggest challenge. Most pushup improvement routines treat it as an endurance event, but if she can only do 4 then it's more of a near-max lift for her. Adam is right, she needs to grease the groove, even if that's only doing 2 pushups every hour all day. For her actual workout, she needs to do pushups to failure and then crank out several sets of 10 or 20 on her knees.

Here's a great trick for situps: take her max (37) and subtract 10. Have her do 27 situps tomorrow. No stopping, no rest, continuous. The next day, add 1, so she does 28. Continue adding 1 every day until no longer physically possible, then go to incrementing by 1 every 2 days. An easy way to add 20 situps to your max in a month. She'll be doing 50+ by Feb.

Good advice by Kristi on running 400m intervals.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2008, 02:37 AM   #5
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

I personally don't see a problem with starting CrossFit. Let's not forget that the CrossFit Warm Up serves her need for plenty of PU/SU reps. However, considering the short time span, I think it would be wise to pick and choose WODs that mainly focus on running. If it was my client (read: I could physically be there to train and critique), I would consider making the first day an upper body strength day; you have 5 weeks, a beginner can make some good strength gains in that time. The middle day (3 on/1 off) would be stuff like Helen, 4 x (400m run + 50 squats), Jackie (800m run subbed for the rowing), etc... And Day 3 would be a Tabata workout (either a CF named version or something that you come up with on your own). There is no shortage of WODs...especially if you dig back in the Archives on CrossFit.com. You might also consider doing a mock APFT on day 1 of week 3 as a confidence booster. Then on the last day of the 1st cycle in the 4th week (there are basically 2 cycles per week)...this should enable her to "pass" while being fatigued from the past 2 days of workouts, and give her an even bigger boost of confidence that she can pass the real test that should be in about 10 days.

As for the question as to is 30 min of CrossFit enough. Ask yourself how long the actual testing portions of the APFT take. One of the hardest things to get used to about CrossFit is the short workout duration. It's important to realize that intensity is golden, and that very few people in the gym actually "workout" for the hour or whatever that they're in the gym. With CrossFit, once the stopwatch starts, there is no rest...so you get more work accomplished than you would with a traditional program, but in far less time.

As for the testing protocol, make sure that she realizes (especially on the situps!) that it's not a race. It's a timed 2 minute evolution. When I do mine (Navy) I pace myself at 1 SU/Sec. If the goal is 60, then she can do 2/sec...although I think that might be too slow and would cause her to work harder at the bottom...but I digress...The important thing is to not rush it, she has 2 minutes, don't blow the doors off in the first 30 seconds.

- Alex
__________________
CrossFit Barbarian Fitness / Flickr
"Every man dies. Not every man truly lives."

Last edited by Alex Europa : 12-27-2008 at 02:43 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2008, 12:43 PM   #6
Tim Hattenberger
Member Tim Hattenberger is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Portland  OR
Posts: 2
Re: APFT Preparation

Great information, we really appreciate it. It's a little overwhelming, but I guess the most important thing is to just start. I think my biggest concern is that if we choose the "wrong" workout, there's really no time to correct.

First of all, in the CF Faq, the official warm-up listed doesn't explicitly say push-ups, although for some reason I've always included them, subconsciously?

Alex, when you say day one do upper body, do you mean a traditional weight based workout, or a CF one?

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!
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2008, 01:18 PM   #7
Shawn Casey
Member Shawn Casey is offline
 
Shawn Casey's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bamberg  Germany
Posts: 435
Re: APFT Preparation

As a special populations pt instructor, I had about 20 soldiers when I started and I didn't have the means to do the wod. I made alot of workouts with either pushups or situps and running. I also used alot of exercises that I thought would help improve the three. I used running in just about every workout(400-800s) and I had a situp contest every thursday(100 situps for time). I would include plyometric drills, quadrapedal movements and alot of burpees. I have a sandbag, sled and some kettlebells so I threw those in the mix.
The thing about PT is that we do alot of pushups and situps but we neglect lower back or leg work. I found that instead of just murdering these guys with pushups, situps and running, that working on parts of the body that we don't work makes them stronger in the other three. Crawls work the whole body plus the chest and arms which helps strengthen the pushups and situps. Get some pullups going, they help with pushups. weighted carries get that core going, once again helping with pushups and situps. Burpees got the pushup in there but they give a little break with the standing up and jumping, good for folks that can't get a whole lot of pushups in a row. Take her in the gym and do a back extention situp combination. put her in the front lean and rest and just have her hold it. Do the same thing with one arm to the front and to the side. Have her hold the crab position with her hips up as well as doing the crabwalk the same way. Corework. If she can't hold the front lean and rest for long, these will help.

The guys I worked with did alot of pushups and situps in the morning and ran 3 times a week. I picked pushups or situps each day to throw in with the mix but, once again, I didn't kill them with it..


I used shorter fast runs and sprints with each workout. I only did a 2 mile run once the whole time I was the instuctor. Did tabata sprints, too.

The thing about doing crossfit is if she is still a beginner, she will have to learn new movements. I only taught the airsquat, kettlebell swing and the burpee. everything else was pretty much something they already new since the point was to get them to pass the PT test as quickly as possible. Time is an issue for her.

I had 15 of them off the program by the first month. After the 4th month, I had to give up the program because I had nobody. I picked it back up later on. There is a video of primal fitness teaching crawls(quadrapedal movements) and you can google plyometrics and come up with a good variety. Try bear crawling up stairs backwards(really sucks). It emphasizes the pushup muscles.
Understand that during the PT test that the situp muscles are fatigued while doing the pushups and the running muscles are destroyed by doing the pushups and situps. Metcon is a great way to prepare for this. I also posted a good workout in the competition area. Take her max on the three(or minimum or anything in between) and do this workout and compare it to whatever time she need to get her run in plus 2 minutes for pushups and 2 for situps:

for time:
1mile run
# pushups
#situps
1mile run

For me my minimum would be
1mile run
42 pushups
50 situps
1mile run

in 20:30( my minimum run plus 4 min for pushups and situps)

If she can beat her minimum time, she will murder the pt test. I rarely used this workout. This was a test.



On the paleo thing, I don't know how she eats right now, but I switch from what I call the grapenut diet(typical bodybuilding diet) straight to paleo cold turkey and my workouts suffered at first, I was ****ed off for about a week and I had some crazy headaches. She might want to ease into it. I was working with guys that were drinking 5 sodas a day and eating swedish fish for a midday pep so going paleo, straight paleo might have killed them.
__________________
"The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard." —Katha-Upanishad. http://razorsedgeblog.wordpress.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2008, 01:10 AM   #8
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

For the CFWU, substitute (or alternate daily) pushups in place of the dips. I think alternating would be better, because working on the dips will help her pushup numbers too. As you get closer to the test, especially as her strength comes up, maybe just do pushups.

I would prefer that the upper body day was more traditional...but more along the lines of the westside stuff. It's neurological training more than hypertrophy training, so she'll get faster results. You could also do workouts like "Lynne," it really doesn't matter. The important thing is that upper body strength is a limiting factor right now so it needs to be addressed.

Be careful with that GTG stuff, it can wear her down pretty quickly. She'll have ALOT on her plate with CrossFit, I think that the extra recovery would be better for her than GTG. The Tabatas will do a good job getting her numbers up. If you want to try it, I would consider waiting a few weeks. Either way, your most important job through all of this is to keep tabs on her and watch for any significant changes that could signify the beginnings of overtraining (restlessness, moody, can't sleep, etc...). Also, if you have the ability, try to do more things around the house or things that will lower her stress levels. Stress is stress, regardless of where it comes from. Too much and her recovery (therefore, progress) will be dampened.

Keep us informed as to her progress!

- Alex
__________________
CrossFit Barbarian Fitness / Flickr
"Every man dies. Not every man truly lives."
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2008, 09:35 AM   #9
Emily Maisannes
Member Emily Maisannes is offline
 
Emily Maisannes's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Alexandria  VA
Posts: 1,114
Re: APFT Preparation

I just have a little sit up strategy to add. I went to a service academy and was always in danger of failing, but I could max out the sit ups at 100 reps in 2 minutes. I could also blow their doors off by maxing out the shuttle run. My worst event was the longer run. The standing long jump and pull ups were so-so.

So in my desperate need to max out the sit ups, I did a lot of experimentation to figure out what the easiest way to do them was. I'm not sure what the standard for 1 completed rep is, but for us, as long as the shoulder blades touched at the bottom and our arms touched our thighs (arms could not come away from the chest), that was 1 complete rep. I found that unbroken sets were easier than trying to do a few at a time. If I unloaded completely at the bottom, it took a ton more effort to begin the next sit up, and all that energy getting my head and the tops of my shoulders off the ground was wasted energy. I would also close my eyes and not count for myself on the test. I actually did 118 one time. I do more that way. Experiment and see what works best for the actual test.
__________________
Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
My CF workout log
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2008, 11:47 AM   #10
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 Tim Hattenberger View Post
Great information, we really appreciate it. It's a little overwhelming, but I guess the most important thing is to just start. I think my biggest concern is that if we choose the "wrong" workout, there's really no time to correct.

...

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 wouldn't worry too much about selecting the wrong program. She should be able to improve fast. Still, to ensure the most certain way of improving the APFT is to not make it too complicated. What I find really helps is to specialize. What I don't like about the APFT is that it tends to prevent me from actually becoming fit. I get really concerned about the biannual APFT and make sure I do really good at it and ignore everything else, but it works. I am 1 in 100 on the APFT and dirt awful in other things.

That said, I wouldn't even bother with CF until the APFT is behind her. I wouldn't bother with anything except the things they are testing. Just pushups, situps and the run. After that's done, then start worrying about getting in shape. Your hands are kind of tied when you are worried about passing.

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.
  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 08:45 AM.


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