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

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Old 07-25-2008, 04:14 PM   #271
Brandon Oto
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

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Originally Posted by Darrell E. White View Post
Please help me out by showing where CF is only high intensity work-outs
Every metcon is prescribed to be done as fast as possible at the limits of ability.

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and then please follow-up with something other than opinion that shows that a system that is heavy on high intensity work-outs is harmful and counter-productive.
I'm not trying to make a big point out of harmful; just that it's not how anyone else trains and for good reason. The portion of your total work (in VOLUME) that high-intensity takes is relatively small (say 50% or much less), whether it's done periodically or concurrently with the rest.

Three examples, all wfs:

http://www.acsm-msse.org/pt/re/msse/...195628!8091!-1

In short: endurance runners spend most of their time at lower intensities. (I realize you may not be blown away by that, but you didn't ask for a specific sport.) 487 out of 6422 minutes were spent at high intensity, or about 13%.

Their conclusions: "Our findings suggest that total training time spent at low intensities might be associated with improved performance during highly intense endurance events, especially if the event duration is ~35 min."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17685689?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez. Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.P ubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles& logdbfrom=pubmed

In short: endurance runners training mostly at relatively low intensities with some high intensity improved almost twice as much as those with more high intensity.

Their conclusions: "These results provide experimental evidence supporting the value of a relatively large percentage of low-intensity training over a long period ( approximately 5 months), provided that the contribution of high-intensity training remains sufficient."

Now just to keep you on your toes, some weight training: check out the basic Westside template http://www.elitefts.com/documents/template.htm

You've got about three reps in each lift at high intensity (90+%) per week. The rest is mostly, oh, around 60%.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:48 PM   #272
Justin Leigh
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Metcons are only a portion of the WOD program. I don't think a Metcon followed by a day of Push press 3x3x3x3x3x3 followed by a day of rowing 2k followed by a rest day is necessarily overdoing it.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:50 PM   #273
Brandon Oto
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Well, if that's the direction the program goes, me neither.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:55 PM   #274
Darrell E. White
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Ah, but Brandon why doesn't this also prove MY point, that these are two examples of sport specific/task specific/goal specific work-out schemes, neither of which is designed to promote general fitness? For goodness sake, the Westside article even uses the term PERIODIZATION.

I certainly grant that each met-con WOD performed in a full-go period (not 1/2 intensity) is supposed to be maximum intensity. But each WOD is not met-con; perhaps 70% are so defined. Where in the long-distance athlete articles does it say that higher %'s of intense work-outs is harmful? How is an article on long distance running with rather long work-outs referrable to a program built around the utility of short, intense work-outs and the broad general effect that they have on fitness? Where does this address the effect on general fitness, or on the production of a fitness base upon which other non-endurance endeavors would be built?

Again, I think you further support your contention that Crossfit may not be a sufficient stand-alone program for the fitness needs of individuals with certain particular goals (although the CF Endurance folks seem to be compiling some data to support CF as the foundational program for endurance athletes). But you backed yourself into a corner by stating that Crossfit may not be a good program for ANYONE, specifically because of the frequent high intensity work-outs, and you haven't supported that particular contention (there seems to be a rather large, heterogenous group of people who do Crossfit who feel otherwise). Nor have you supported your contention that CF is perhaps OK for beginners or intermediate level athletes but not athletes who fall into elite categories either in fitness or in some specific sport (and here I would love to have Coach give us some specific examples of the athletes and organizations with whom he has mentioned working).

I am enjoying the conversation, particularly the discussion of concepts and ideas without reference to individuals. It's always more fun this way.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:14 PM   #275
Justin Leigh
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

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Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
Well, if that's the direction the program goes, me neither.
Recent CF WOD's:

Metcon - Jeremy
Metcon - Fran

Rest
Push Jerk 3-3-3-3-3
Row 2k
Metcon

Rest
Weighted Pullups
Metcon
Deadlift 5-5-5-5-5-5

Rest
Metcon
Metcon
Metcon

Rest
Run 10k
Crossfit Total
Metcon

Rest
Metcon
Metcon
Shoulder Press/Push Press/Push Jerk

Most of the series are only 1 or 2 metcons preceeded or followed by either heavy lifting or lower intensity training such as a 10k run or moderate intensity training such as a 2k row. This seems to have been the direction for a while now. Always doing max intensity during metcon workouts is only a fraction of the workouts performed.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:21 PM   #276
Leslie Powell
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Brandon, I'm a fan of your willingness to intelligently question some of the dogma in these parts, and hope you'll continue to do so. I'm very interested to see the template you're working on.

Just a couple thoughts on intensity:

1. I think a lot has to do with who you're specifically talking about. For a lot of Crossfitters (the non-animals with CFT's in the <700's) what seems intense to them just isn't. I train a lot of clients who do weight-reduced Frans (for example) in 10-15 minutes and they think that it's the hardest thing anyone could ever do. They're wrong. I don't see a problem having someone like that working at what they think is peak intensity, since it isn't, on a regular basis. Kind of along the lines of Rippetoe using linear progression with beginners because they're not strong enough to really cause themselves any grief.

2. Once you get to a 20 minute or more MetCon, intensity just has to be reduced. The high intensity referred to in the studies you mentioned is related to heart rate, as best as I can tell, and when they say high intensity it's just not something that could be sustained for 20 minutes or more. I'm pretty sure (not 100%) that what's meant by "high intensity" is an effort that can only be sustained for a few minutes at best. So Fran *can* be high intensity, filthy fifty can't.

3. I've never been convinced that Westside methods have much relevance to people who aren't benching/squatting/deadlifting truly crazy amounts of weight. Once you get to the levels these people are at, 90% represents just a ridiculous amount of stress.

I can see the utility of a stratified Crossfit, based on the CFT, that gives different recommendations for different strength levels. I think that just about everyone has come around to agreeing that beginners will do much better to bump up their squat/deadlift/press/clean/bench for 3-9 months before getting started. It might be interesting to extend that a bit further.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:27 PM   #277
Brandon Oto
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

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Originally Posted by Darrell E. White View Post
Ah, but Brandon why doesn't this also prove MY point, that these are two examples of sport specific/task specific/goal specific work-out schemes, neither of which is designed to promote general fitness?
Not really. They're all examples of one kind. What would an example of high-intensity-high-volume be? (Aside from CF.) Bulgarian weightlifters? Unlike in most discussions -- when it's a red herring -- when talking about recovery it's actually important to distinguish drugged from drug-free performance.

[By the way, I have to again credit Lyle McDonald with most of this material.]

Why would a program designed around hitting many aspects of fitness differ from this principle?

Quote:
Where in the long-distance athlete articles does it say that higher %'s of intense work-outs is harmful?
It doesn't. I'll let you know if I run into such a study. But given that "evidence" of the CrossFit system is largely a big net of anecdotes, why can't I just offer a contrary swarm of anecdotes from CFers who got run down or overtrained or injured, or especially common, took some time off and came back with big PRs? (This more than anything is what I'm getting at -- not horribly acute overtraining that you can't sustain, but just a type of training that's not working the best it can. Everyone has to work and recover, it's the basis of adaptation.)

Quote:
How is an article on long distance running with rather long work-outs referrable to a program built around the utility of short, intense work-outs and the broad general effect that they have on fitness?
You didn't ask for anything specific. What is the specific thing you're looking for? A study comparing athletes doing multi-modal circuit training at top intensity on a 3/1 schedule compared against a similar cohort doing lower-intensity training? If wishes were fishes?

How about we compromise? We're not going to find a study that focuses on "broad fitness" because it's not quantifiable and nobody outside CF cares much. But I don't see why those adaptations would be qualitatively different from more specific ones. So how about you show me a successful program or a study that shows good results from a workload equivalent to CF's? We'll be charitable and say that 70% of our workouts are max intensity, and they constitute the bulk of our volume. Rest is 3/1.

Fair's fair, right? I gave you three examples, just give me one.

Quote:
Again, I think you further support your contention that Crossfit may not be a sufficient stand-alone program for the fitness needs of individuals with certain particular goals (although the CF Endurance folks seem to be compiling some data to support CF as the foundational program for endurance athletes). But you backed yourself into a corner by stating that Crossfit may not be a good program for ANYONE, specifically because of the frequent high intensity work-outs
Don't think, "the intensity [metcon] is a dealbreaker." Think, "it's not worth the candle." You have a limited amount of time and juice, whether you're novice or advanced, specific or general; all this metcon costs a lot; I contend it doesn't give much back, nothing that we need that badly. Poor value. If the return is low you don't need much in the way of negatives to sour the deal, it's just simple economics.

Quote:
Nor have you supported your contention that CF is perhaps OK for beginners or intermediate level athletes but not athletes who fall into elite categories either in fitness or in some specific sport
I didn't realize this one was in contention. Has anyone heard of an elite athlete anywhere whose program is based on WoDs and CF metcons? I thought we agreed on this one.

(No wiseacring please, athletes whose sport is CF don't count.)

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I am enjoying the conversation, particularly the discussion of concepts and ideas without reference to individuals. It's always more fun this way.
Yes. Not many other people would have inspired me back to this.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:27 PM   #278
Emily Mattes
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Would running 10K or rowing 2K not be considered high-intensity, when most Crossfitters are doing them as hard as they possibly can? It's like saying race-day for an endurance athlete is not high intensity.

Also, those are 10 metcons over 17 workouts, and a lot of those metcons are over 10:00 long . . . I think the assertion of Brandon and the others was that this high a percentage of metcons, especially "long" metcons, was really not that useful, and doing something more like Gant Grimes' hybrid program, with a maximum of 3 sub-10:00 metcons a week was more desirable for sustainable, useful everyday fitness. If your 17-day WOD sample is any indication, Crossfitters are doing a minimum of 4 metcons a week, most over 10:00 (unless you are seriously, seriously beast), sometimes going up to 5.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:29 PM   #279
Brandon Oto
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Awesome, Justin. That does seem like a change. Maybe good things are in the wind.

Edit: but yes, like Emily said, it's still not what I'd be aiming for.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:36 PM   #280
Leslie Powell
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Emily, I'm definitely open to correction, but I'm pretty sure that when studies refer to "high intensity" it has a different meaning than when Crossfitters say "as fast as possible." Again, I'm not 100% certain on this, but my understanding is that "high intensity" usually means efforts that simply can't be sustained for more than a minute or two. So no, rowing a 2K (and I do it often, and it really sucks) doesn't count as high intensity, even if I fall off the Concept 2 and throw up immediately afterward.
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