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

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:01 PM   #1
David Johnson
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10 Fitness Domains: Quantitative Measurement Tool and Report

I did not want to hijack the other 10 fitness domain discussion, but I'd been thinking of doing this for a while, and that discussion spurred me into action.

I'm not pretending this is prefect, or even particularly well thought-out, but I'm into measurement, data, and charts and thought this might have some use for others.

I've attached an Excel spreadsheet that proposes tests to assess individuals on each fitness domain (one per domain). The workbook has the following components, all of which could be modified for your own needs:

1) a test for each fitness domain. I proposed one in almost every category (with a little help from google, but I could not quickly find an accuracy assessment). This is probably a bit too ACSM for this crowd. Personally, I stayed away from making the tests CrossFit benchmarks, so as not to have a pro-CrossFit bias in the tests. That's a debatable choice. Also, I think more than one test per domain would make this report too difficult to interpret. If you want more tests, see the well-done Athletic Skill Standards.
2) a 10-point scoring criteria for each test. There are a lot of ways to do these (standardized results from research, independent performance measurements, examination of available performance data e.g. race results). I made most of it up myself!
3) Athlete information, including performance data and scoring results from each test.
4) A radar chart that summarizes test performance data in a super-cool way, which is really the inspiration for this whole mess.

I think it could have the following uses:
1)Provide individuals with a comprehensive assessment of their fitness across the 10 domains to highlight strengths and weaknesses
2) Give a individuals a starting place for thinking about/talking about fitness goals
3) Demonstrate the CrossFit approach to fitness in an easily accessible, visual fashion. I created example fitness patterns (some rather harsh) in charts to demonstrate some of the problems with many mainstream fitness approaches. I also made up some fictitious, yet plausible 3-month and 2-year CrossFit progress examples. Short of putting these athletes in a no-holds barred mortal combat situation, this is just another way of demonstrating that elite specialization in some sports often occurs at the detriment of other fitness areas. A teaching tool, really. I could easily be convinced that this is the only legitimate use for this tool. (I'm questioning my use of the word "Elite" in the model charts. Maybe, maybe not.)

There are tons of limitations here, most of which are primarily self-evident and hopefully do not merit much discussion. A few issues that could probably be resolved to a satisfactory level would be:
1) What single test is the most appropriate measure of each fitness component (Or a battery of tests to select from with pros and cons)
2) What standards are appropriate for each test? Do we need separate standards for different populations (Male/Female seems logical)? What distribution is appropriate across the 10-pt scale? I'm really going for simplicity here. I'd be against having categorical standards for age groups (beyond MAYBE 2 groups), or any different standards for athletes/general population like some of the on-line assessments seem to have.

Issues that might not be able to be solved are:
Are some fitness domains more important than others?
Are some more fundamental? (I'm thinking that scoring a 10 in strength is better than a 10 in accuracy, but maybe that's just because I can DL over 2x BW, but can't putt a golf ball to save my life. Tiger thinks accuracy is important, and he's worth a bit more than I am.)
Why waste time doing something like this?

Constructive criticism is welcome. Thanks, All-
Attached Files
File Type: email Crossfit_Fitness_Components_testing.xls (25.0 KB, 721 views)

Last edited by David Johnson : 01-28-2009 at 02:08 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:52 PM   #2
Joe Cavazos
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Re: 10 Fitness Domains: Quantitative Measurement Tool and Report

Looks good. Changes I would make:

1) Multiple tests per domain. It's impossible to determine an athlete's strength profile, for example, from just a Deadlift. Here are my suggestions for domain tests (commas denote separate tests):

Cardiovascular endurance: 800m run, 2K row, 5K run
Stamina: 3 minutes max Squats, 3 minutes max Push-ups, 3 minutes max Strict Pull-ups
Strength: Deadlift, Front Squat, Shoulder Press, Weighted Pull-up (BW + x lbs.)
Flexibility: ???
Power: Power Clean, Power Snatch (+ Grace?)
Speed: 100m run, 1 minute max Rope Jumps w/ alternating steps
Agility: ???
Balance: ???
Coordination: ???
Accuracy: ???

The ambiguity regarding a Grace test in the Power domain revolves around how broadly in terms of time duration we want to define "Power." Flexibility seems like it could be scored pretty easily, I just don't know how. The latter 4 I don't know how to score and am not even sure they can be scored in a meaningful way. If someone can prove otherwise, please do, but I think we could get a lot of mileage out of this rubric even without the last 4.

2) I think a score of 10 should be at or near the world record for that test. I don't think the goal here should be to only judge CrossFitters. How can you give yourself a 10 for having a 600 pound Deadlift if there's a guy with an 800 pound Deadlift. Does he also get a 10?

Scoring according to the tests I suggested above will definitely get messy, and there will be plenty of guesswork involved. The simplest way, though, will probably be to score each individual test from 1-10, and calculate the domain's score to be the average of its component tests.
My WFS Log || Stats I'm least proud of: Max Muscle-ups: 1 | Max Push-ups: 38 | Max HSPU: 9 | 19" Vertical Leap | Max L-sit: 5 sec.

Last edited by Joe Cavazos : 01-28-2009 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:20 AM   #3
David Johnson
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Re: 10 Fitness Domains: Quantitative Measurement Tool and Report

Joe- Thanks for your thoughts. I definitely agree that adding more tests would make it a more valid measure of skill- I just worry that too many tests would compound the problems of coming up with scoring criteria (which will exist in any case). But that’s not to say it shouldn’t or can’t be done.

As far as the criteria go, an idea would be to have the numbers correspond to percentiles (if you score a 6, you’re in the 60th percentile for that measure). A 10 would be top 1% or something, which would not be the world record, but certainly pretty elite. You’d then need tests that have corresponding data that could be used to produce such rankings. Using this method, I think you could use multiple tests per fitness component and average them to come up with the score in that area.

I’m pretty much with you on dropping the last 4. They’re included because they’re a part of the Crossfit fitness model, but I think measuring and scoring them is more problematic. Part of the problem, I think, is that they are not as pure of physical concepts as the others (eg. Power = (force x distance)/time).
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