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

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Old 04-17-2007, 06:51 PM   #1
mike treanor
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Location: somerville  MA
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Hi everyone, I posted this before, but I was hoping to get multiple opinions.

I’m new to CrossFit, but have been reading about the long-term health benefits of high intensity interval training. I know CrossFit advocates it, but I was wondering to what extent we often do it.

From my understanding (which could certainly be wrong cause I’m new) you accrue the greatest benefit from interval training when the intensity is high (>80% of VO2 max), duration is short, and the recovery period is equal to or double the duration of effort. My question is to what extent we do this in CrossFit? It seems like many times we are developing power (through maximum load activities) or increasing anaerobic and aerobic fitness through high intensity efforts. In the latter case, efforts range anywhere from 5 to 20 min depending on the WOD, but there is no equal recovery period and additional intervals.

I know we sometimes use the Tabata interval, but I was wondering if we do it frequently enough to gain the benefits. It is obvious that CrossFit is amazing for all around fitness, but I guess I was just wondering if we get the same benefits spoken about with interval training.

Again, I’m new so I apologize if I’m getting this all-wrong.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:58 PM   #2
Damien Del Russo
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Location: Greenbelt  MD
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You are correct that the Tabata's are the major way CrossFit involves interval training. Tabata rowing is pretty wicked. I really like the "Tabata Fight Gone Bad" video, too.

Keep in mind that if you want more of the benefits of interval training, you can employ yourself, either by incorporating into the WOD or by doing additional work. For instance, no one will complain if you do some interval rowing after an unrelated WOD.

The "Run 5k" WOD can also be done as intervals - probably not Tabata, but something more along the lines of that described in The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove (longer recovery than work, as you described).

Another interval-related training method you might look at is the Breathing Ladder. A full description of that is on the Gym Jones website, in the Knowledge section. Kettlebell swings, thrusters, rowing (count strokes), and any number of other full-body exercises can be used in a breathing ladder to great effect.

Good luck,

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Old 04-17-2007, 09:03 PM   #3
Jim Glover
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Location: Fort Gibson  Oklahoma
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Someone, maybe it was Coach or who knows recommended that if you want to focus on interval type training just break down the 400m, 800m, 5K, etc, into intervals you want to work.

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Old 04-18-2007, 08:55 AM   #4
Lincoln Brigham
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Many of the WODs are interval workouts in disguise. Most people can't blast throught the average WOD non-stop, so there is often a built-in rest period right there. Switching from one exercise to another also has the effect of varying the pace but keeping the overall intensity high.

For example, "Nancy" is not so different from 5 rounds of sprinting 400 meters alternated with jogging 400 meters. "Cindy" kicks my butt on the pushups, so by the end of the workout the squats are driving my heart rate up while the pushup portion is a rest period for my heart rate. Any WOD that has an extended period of situp acts as a rest period for the cardiovacular system. And so on...
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