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

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Old 06-25-2007, 01:23 AM   #1
Luke Hope
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I have been doing crossfit for 2/3 months, heavily scaled. After a few *bodyweight* routines that were just too hard for me physically, I decided that I need to work to gain strength: I'm pretty puny at 147# at 5'7". I don't have a strength training background.

To remedy this, I'm following Rip's Starting Strength program (and working on pullups/dips), and holding off on Crossfit for a while. I still do MA and cycle for metcon.

So what would be an appropriate strength base for crossfit as RX'd, in terms of 1RM (or 5RM) in squat, deadlift, power clean, press (and bench press)? I presume 3x15 ring dips/pullups is necessary, too.

Hope you can help! Any other hints are welcome too.

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Old 06-25-2007, 01:31 AM   #2
Brandon Oto
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Interesting question. I could imagine two approaches to this -- an objective 1RM for doing the workouts as RX'd (the "standard CrossFitter" approach, or at least the "baseline" one), and a relative bodyweight scale (i.e. "you should be able to deadlift 1x bodyweight before you start the WoDs"). Either way I'd be interested to see some opinions.
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Old 06-25-2007, 06:17 AM   #3
Craig Van De Walker
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IMO you should not hold off on Cross Fit. Read all of the FAQs, start here, what is fitness etc.

Do Rips program and add at least two of the CF met con workouts a week (scaled of course), instead of cycling.

I would also suggest looking at your diet. Are you eating enough protien and fat.

What are you Cross fit total numbers for all of the moves as a baseline?

I made the assumption from your post that you are weak. You gave height and weight only, but keep in mind just because you are light does not mean you can't be really really strong!
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:16 AM   #4
Tom Fetter
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Who knows what the "right" thing to do is.

After doing essentially nothing at all for 20 years, I did Starting Strength for about 3 months and met/exceeded Rip's "Novice" strength standards for my weight. While I want to get significantly stronger - at least to his "Intermediate" standards, I also want to lean out more quickly and get my heart in better shape ... so I've switched to doing the WODs. I'm scaling where necessary to keep my MetCon WODs to 30 minutes or less, so long as the heart rate stays up for that full time.

As an experiment, I'm going to just do CFWU and the WODs over the summer, and see what changes. I'll include ME black box stuff or maybe a 4-6 week strength-only cycle come the Fall if my strength's not growing fast enough to suit me on the WODs alone.

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Old 06-25-2007, 09:20 AM   #5
Gant Grimes
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Luke, like other posters have said, this is hard without knowing numbers. I'll offer a couple suggestions based on my thoughts and experience.

CrossFit favors the strong (what doesn't?). You need an adequate strength base to get the maximum benefit from the WOD. Scaling is fine, but the WOD (especially benchmarks) are designed with specific power/work/volume goals.

If you don't feel you're ready to total yet, do Starting Strength exclusively (+pull-ups/dips). Don't worry about met-con fitness; that will come (it's easier to make a 500-lb. squatter a CF start than it is to get a champion marathoner to turn in a sub-4:00 Fran).

Once you total, if your total improves 70 pounds or more in a month, continue with Starting Strength (plus full CF warmup). You are still making wild gains and haven't found your baseline.

If your total improves 30-70 pounds in a month, you can switch to Black Box (lots of threads on this). At this point you will have a solid strength foundation to perform the metcon stuff while still improving strength with ME days.

Once your total improves less than 30 pounds a month, this means you strength gains are starting to plateau. You can do WOD exclusively. Or stay with Black Box to drive strength.

Again, these are my opinions only. I'm new to this; others may have better insight. And all this Black Box stuff is not to say that CF alone doesn't improve strength. It does. My total went up 140 pounds in six weeks doing CF only.

Best of luck.

(Message edited by gant on June 25, 2007)
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:53 AM   #6
Michael Tong
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CrossFit WODs cast such a broad net in fitness that I would find it hard to say a certain strength standard would get you to 'RX'd WODs'. For instance, just because one can squat x lbs, and press y lbs., doesn't necessarily mean you can do Fran without breaking the sets. Flexibility, muscle endurance, and many other factors play into WODs as RX'd.

However, since it does seem like you want to improve strength, and as others have said, just baseline your numbers and work to improve them. You probably already have this reference in SS but I will post anyway in case you don't or others may need it. (WFS)
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:18 AM   #7
Nick Cruz
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I am / was in a similar boat to you. When I started CF (1 year ago) I didnt (and still dont fully) posses the strength requirements needed for some of the big and fast workouts. In order to remedy this, for the past 3 months I have been using the Black Box ME method for strength gains AND eating 3x-5x fat requirements as rxd in my zone plan (19 blocks per day for me).

Using this method, and not quitting Crossfit, I have continually bettered my metcon times AND my raw strength numbers are going up at a much faster clip than they were before I started doing the black box.

I was going to do Starting Strength exclusively for a few months to get my numbers up but I just couldnt bare to quit crossfitting. I enjoy it way too much to put it to the side for a while.

Good luck with whatever path you choose. Ultimately, you will end up in the same place, strong and healthy.

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Old 06-25-2007, 11:14 AM   #8
Jerry Berg
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when i started crossfitting, my strength was my limiting factor, i could smoke the bodyweight met-cons, but i started to lose traction on the heavier CF workouts.

so i shelved crossfit. i've been doing starting strenght type workouts for 6 weeks, and will continue for another 6 and my gains on the lifts (DL, CL, BP, MP, BS) have been huge, PRs every day in the gym, huge.

some on the board will suggest doing both met-con and ME type lifts at the same time, but my strength gains were pretty measly until i just cut out all the met con.

i also started eating everything i could get my hands on. THIS was the important part. strength gains started coming when i started eating enough.

its been MY experience that it's a lot harder for me to gain strenght than overall i'm concentrating on it now and will get back into the WODs in August. I did this program with the idea that i could always get back to my same level of fitness, but when my strength cycle is over, the plan is that i will be able to do ALL WODs faster and with heavier weights.

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Old 06-25-2007, 11:38 AM   #9
Lincoln Brigham
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Josh Everett, Strength & Conditioning Coach at UC Riverside, has found that keeping the metcon workouts did NOT negatively impact the strength levels of his athletes. In fact, they did even better.
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:55 PM   #10
John Seiler
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That's one of the beauties of metcons/CrossFit as compared to pure cardio. Many powerlifters and strongmen use GPP to improve conditioning without losing muscle or strength.

(Message edited by john_seiler on June 25, 2007)
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