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

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:19 AM   #1
Fergus Lally
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A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

Some food for though...

As the crossfit style of training is in its relative infancy it'll be interesting to see how todays WOD's compare to those used in ten years and as we all know things evolve by people questioning the way things are done, with crossfit being a prime example of that...

On that point I have recently been wondering if having a set weight for everyone gives a true reflection of the true superior athlete/superior performance.

To illustrate my point more clearly, I'll use two different workouts; Angie & Grace (the thinking can of course be applied to every WOD). I will also use 3 different peoples weight; 60kg, 80kg & 100kg.

To start with Angie (100 reps each of: pull ups, push ups, sit ups & squats). The percentage of body weight lifted by each athlete is:

60kg = 40,000%
80kg = 40,000%
100kg = 40,000%

(total= reps x % of body weight used per rep)

I would argue that as each athlete is required to lift an identical total % of body weight then there can be no argument as to who's performance was best/who is the better athlete. (I'd say that most would agree with this).

To use the same rational with Grace (30 reps of 60kg/135lb)

60kg = 3,000%
80kg = 2,250%
100kg = 1,800%

(total= reps x % of body weight used per rep)

Currently if the 100kg person had the best time by current standards they would be considered the superior athlete/best performance in the WOD.

Is this a true reflection of a true superior athlete/performance?

I would argue that it isn't as the 100kg person lifted 425% less body weight than the 80kg person and 1,200% less body weight less than the 60kg person and therefore Grace is a far easier WOD for a 100kg person than a 60kg or 80kg person...

If however each athlete was required to lift 75% of their body weight for 30 reps per below (i.e 45kg for the 60kg person, 60kg for the 80kg person & 75kg for the 100kg person) then I would argue that as each athlete has to lift 2,250% body weight in the WOD then the fastest, regardless of weight is the true superior athlete/best performance. (albeit the true superior "pound for pound" athlete).

As I say this is just food for though rather than me agreeing or disagreeing with the current standards and was wondering if others agreed/disagreed if it would be a superior test of the athlete.


If you applied that thinking to the last years games, particularly the final WOD, I wonder if things would have turned out differently...

Last edited by Fergus Lally : 04-27-2009 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:28 AM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

On the other hand, a heavy person doing Angie has to do more work. So if times are identical, the heavier person should be considered the superior athlete. Conversely, since everyone does the same amount of work for Grace, direct comparisons of times are more fair.

Smaller people will always argue that power-to-weight ratio is a more important metric. Bigger people will always claim that it's more important to be able to move big weights, because the real world isn't scaled.

As a smaller person myself, I'm sympathetic to your argument. But that doesn't make my Grace time any better.

Katherine
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:29 AM   #3
Scott Erb
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

Haven't we done this thread before?

- % bodyweight isn't 'equal' - that's why power and oly lifting have formula totals

- some WODs require more strength than others. Big guys (generally) better at heavy WODs, little guys (generally) better at BW WODs.

- it all evens out...

- if you think it's unfair, then figure out how to adjust the performances in the comments so you feel better

- read Apolloswabbie's seminal article in the CFJ on this topic.

- Oh, and almost forgot, a contest held each year under Glassman's supervision to test fitness across Broad Time and Modal Domains.

To be more constructive,

- Yes CF is evolving, yes I'm sure it will continue to evolve. Look back 5 years on the web site and you see slightly different WODs, weights, and emphasis, but not drastically different.
- Greg and Lauren (and others) have been working on CF for the better part of 30 years. At this point I think we'll see more refinement (evolutionary) that drastic (revolutionary) change.
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Last edited by Scott Erb : 04-27-2009 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Forgot the obvious
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:48 AM   #4
Fergus Lally
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
On the other hand, a heavy person doing Angie has to do more work. So if times are identical, the heavier person should be considered the superior athlete. Conversely, since everyone does the same amount of work for Grace, direct comparisons of times are more fair.

Smaller people will always argue that power-to-weight ratio is a more important metric. Bigger people will always claim that it's more important to be able to move big weights, because the real world isn't scaled.

As a smaller person myself, I'm sympathetic to your argument. But that doesn't make my Grace time any better.

Katherine
I was thinking about that point on Angie too, and asking does a heavier person actually have more work to do?

I'd argue that a pull up is as hard for a 60kg person as it is for a 100kg person as they both have to lift 100% of their body weight as I know of people much heavier than I am who can hammer my 30 pull up pb, because there better athletes.

Granted the 60kg person has a lot less to lift but they are also, in general, much weaker and have less muscle and similarly although the 100kg person has a lot more to lift they are, in general, much stronger and have more muscle therefore they both have, on a like for like basis, to lift an identical weight i.e. 100% body weight.

Again, as Grace is my favorite workout (my 3.10 last Friday was sadly enough the highlight of my weekend) I'm just giving food for thought and wondering what others think.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:55 AM   #5
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

Because smaller people tend to have higher strength to weight ratios, pullups may not be of a universal difficulty. This has been discussed before ad nauseum, the general consenus is it sucks for everyone. If you are heavier your heavy lifts are easier, but it's harder to run, etc, so it's fair and neutral CF hates everybody.

This reminds me of a lesson taught to me when I was a new SWCC and there was an old 6 team guy in the training cell. "Yeah, Bobby, it sucks to be the Comm guy, it sucks to be the '60 gunner, it sucks to be the engineer, everything sucks, get used to it, welcome to SpecWar, didja think it was all fun in Tshirts?"
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:57 AM   #6
Marc Tower
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

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Originally Posted by Fergus Lally View Post
I was thinking about that point on Angie too, and asking does a heavier person actually have more work to do?
The heavier person certainly has more work to do, but should also have proportional to their size amount of muscle and stored energy to accomplish the work, therefore they should be on equal terms.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
Fergus Lally
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

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Originally Posted by Scott Erb View Post
Haven't we done this thread before?

- % bodyweight isn't 'equal' - that's why power and oly lifting have formula totals

- some WODs require more strength than others. Big guys (generally) better at heavy WODs, little guys (generally) better at BW WODs.

- it all evens out...

- if you think it's unfair, then figure out how to adjust the performances in the comments so you feel better

- read Apolloswabbie's seminal article in the CFJ on this topic.

- Oh, and almost forgot, a contest held each year under Glassman's supervision to test fitness across Broad Time and Modal Domains.

To be more constructive,

- Yes CF is evolving, yes I'm sure it will continue to evolve. Look back 5 years on the web site and you see slightly different WODs, weights, and emphasis, but not drastically different.
- Greg and Lauren (and others) have been working on CF for the better part of 30 years. At this point I think we'll see more refinement (evolutionary) that drastic (revolutionary) change.

Scott,

I think you misunderstood what I was aiming at, I'm not trying to make myself "feel better" or antagonise anyone by suggesting that crossfit needed to evolve, I'm more than happy with things as they are (I wouldn't use this style of training if I wasn't). I do however, feel that, like everything else, it will evolve over time...

The reason for my post was merely to see if people thought that it will evolve into finding the best "pound for pound" athlete (like various sports do) and if comparing people on a like-for-like basis is more appropriate.

Last edited by Fergus Lally : 04-27-2009 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert D Taylor Jr View Post
Because smaller people tend to have higher strength to weight ratios, pullups may not be of a universal difficulty. This has been discussed before ad nauseum, the general consenus is it sucks for everyone. If you are heavier your heavy lifts are easier, but it's harder to run, etc, so it's fair and neutral CF hates everybody.

This reminds me of a lesson taught to me when I was a new SWCC and there was an old 6 team guy in the training cell. "Yeah, Bobby, it sucks to be the Comm guy, it sucks to be the '60 gunner, it sucks to be the engineer, everything sucks, get used to it, welcome to SpecWar, didja think it was all fun in Tshirts?"
Do smaller people have higher strength to weight ratios? I didn't know that.

Is that why the women in the olympics seem to be destroying the men pound for pound on the snatch & clean and jerk?
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:08 AM   #9
Eddie Watts
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

heavier people also tend to be taller.
assuming a 150 pound, 200 pound and 250 pound guy are doing this for the CF games then i'd assume they're all fairly low in bf% and on that basis the 250 guy is probably largest, 200 medium and 150 smaller.
now the 250 guy is moving more distance on pull ups press ups and squats than either of the other two AND he is moving more weight, albeit his total weight.
so if they all finish at the same time who has done the most work?
surely the larger guy.
he will however struggle more on L pull ups, hspu, and any sort of body balance stuff from what i gather.
and yes this has been done to death.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:14 AM   #10
Christian Gotcher
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Re: A better way of judging the true superior athlete?

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Originally Posted by Fergus Lally View Post
I was thinking about that point on Angie too, and asking does a heavier person actually have more work to do?
Yes. W=FxD . The distance is the change in location of the center of mass (which is probably greater for the heavier person if they're taller), and the force, since they're suspended in air, is their bodyweight. Unless they were unusually short, or had unusually short arms, a heavier person will necessarily do more work per pullup.
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