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

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Old 08-11-2014, 04:30 PM   #51
Stanley Walter
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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Originally Posted by Drew Cloutier View Post
Soccer players are even worse in their unbalanced fitness than basketball players, the thing though is soccer players are so vehement about how they are the most fit, basketball players are nowhere near that arrogant about fitness.
Basketball players do have some component of strength as well, although it is nothing compared to NFL players.

Soccer is a huge sport. Lots of people watch and are probably amazed that someone can run so much in the course of 90 min. Considering most people just sit around on the couch soccer players suddenly become extremely 'fit.'

IMO, most people have a serious misconception of what 'strength' is and how one goes about obtaining it.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:43 PM   #52
Chris Sinagoga
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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I think it has been pointed out numerous times that while basketball players can be considered in great shape physically, they generally don't compare to NFL players in terms of strength. Therefore they only meet two components of the test. Speed, endurance.

Similar to soccer players IMO.
I think pound for pound basketball players are just as strong. It's a different kind of strength. Not nearly as much weight room numbers, but their positional strength isn't compromised. Same with football players compared to weightlifters.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:57 PM   #53
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

A basketball player doesn't need strength in the same way that a football player does, and excess muscle mass would likely hurt a basketball player's cardiovascular endurance. Someone like LeBron plays 40+ minutes of each game, and he's on the move at fairly high effort levels for a large number of those 40 minutes. Adrian Peterson only plays when his team has the ball and even then he's not on the field for every offensive play.

And the amount of live-ball action in an NFL game is usually about 12 minutes out of a 60 minute game, which means there's usually time to catch your breath after each snap--clearly not the case in basketball, soccer, or rugby--so a football player can afford to focus more on pure strength and repeated 5-10 second max efforts than a soccer midfielder or a rugby flanker who needs the endurance to run for 80-90 minutes straight.

Bottom line? Different sports require different types of fitness, and it's silly to say LeBron isn't as strong as JJ Watt just like it would be silly to say that Watt lacks the cardiovascular endurance of Ronaldo or that Froning isn't as strong as Klokov. All are clearly fit based on the demands of their particular sport.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:52 PM   #54
Clint Harris
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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HA well played Russell G.

Clint,

Not sure what almost as fast means...but I know Carlin ran a 10.24 100m... I'm not that into Rugby are there really quite a few guys close to that sort of speed, or do you just mean quickness on the field, which is admittedly different than straight-away track speed.
(sorry for the book - but you have hit on one of my few interests i life )
Yea, I'm not sure how fast some of these guys are - being that most of them do not have track backgrounds so may not have ever really been measured accurately nor trained. Most are going to be running mid-high 10s. I have also seen where Isles was listed at 10.13 too.
A few of the "speedsters" are also going to be approaching or exceeding 90-100kg too (the bigger guys will be sub 11). Their speeds are usually over that first 20-40m and carrying a ball, so often the 100 doesn't translate well. Even Isles is faster on the field than what his 100m will have us believe - he looks like he's at top speed instantly to my eyes. LOL. Rather than taking a full 100 to be flying.
It's more about how they accelerate into space. Much like NFL players who may may well beat an Olympic sprinter over the first 30 but will be left in the dust in the last 50. Some of the rugby guys may be comparable to NFL in the 40yard dash - but will be more than likely be measured over 40 meters instead.
Some of the speed on the field will translate differently too. Take a few knocks, run backwards a few times, take a knee to the thigh, chase the ball then see how quickly one can gallop down the field. It doesn't always translate to a 100m time ... then there's simply the ability to be in the right spot and time the run. Then repeat it often (offensively and defensively too).

There is no question that to give Isles that little space, no one is catching him. No one! It's almost a given, especially when he is generally subbed on in the dying minutes to take advantage of fresh and amazingly fast legs He's probably the fastest or at least one of the fastest ever to play the game on an International stage. He's definitely hot on youtube at the moment and while it's awesome for him, it's just taking away so much from the real 'current' stars of the game - who are breaking tackles and running around guys too, but to the tune of 50 tries in a season rather than 15. Its kind of short sighted. He has some gifts, so give him some time and experience and we'll see what happens.
Especially if he can get a Rugby brain in him. Unfortunately, more experienced players and teams will work him out and shut his speed down. Granted, it will still be there and will still be potent, but his channels will get shut down and he won't progress. He'll have to work harder to get into space and get the ball - but not at the cost of exposing his defensive pattern (this is where he will start to be a liability on the field). It really sucks for him - he's like 10 years too early in the US camp or simply just because he's American. If he was surrounded by more developed team/players he'd have the potential to be freaking scary. Imagine if he was able to be developed in the Kiwi, English or South African camps. (if his work ethic is there). It will be interesting to see how he comes through after playing in Scotland for a while.
If you look back at some of the great names who were potent weapons when they first came out and everyone was like wow, now what ? But they got quickly shutdown and became a liability on the field. Jonah Lomu springs to mind. Luckily, he was in good company so his weakness was turned around and/or covered. (He was also no where near the fittest - actually, he was sick, but still changed the game forever).

Sevens is typically setup to be played over a tournament. So like the Games, it's run over the course of a few days with multiple events. The fittest guys always come through on Sunday. It is the same in Sevens. 2-3 games a day over the course of a weekend. All played high intensity and short duration (with some subs, like Isles). Unfortunately, at this point, Isles is much like that rookie who comes in and destroys workout 1 on day 1. Where everyone is blown away and couldn't imagine doing it that fast. There's no question that athlete is a beast .... but come the end of the weekend, he or she is long since out of it. Definitely not the fittest. In sevens, the final is usually extended to 10 minute halves (which is a long time) and these guys, who are now running on fumes, now empty the tank. You can literally see they're destroyed yet still get up off the ground and sprint down the field. It's super amazing to see what they can do. More often than not, it is the same core teams making it to the finals. It is certainly a skill and depth of players available, but it is also where fitness is a fundamental to being there in each tournament.

For fast guys, Brian Habana was one of the guys who (got) a lot of coverage for speed. Gimmicky stuff like racing cheetahs, horses, cars and jets. He's not playing 7's and I'm not even sure if he's still active. Dan Norton is current and is a speedster, as-is Shanon Walker. Very talented players. Look to the Fijian team for some really big guys with pace - and you know they're just raw talent playing this game in their village all their lives. Same for the Kenyan's.
The real fittest player(s) in the sevens will most likely come out of the South African or New Zealand camps. Actual on field fitness is an absolute for those teams. Guys get dropped for being unfit (which is real relative because they're all "fit".) My vote for "fitness" might go more for some of the inner positions who both constantly work to get to the ball fast, run in support of these outer quicks (usually getting the inside ball to crash over the line), are in constant contact with opposite numbers, but can still bust out into a gap and run the last 30m with a clean pair of heels. These guys spend all game are muscling someone off the ball, picking it up, running through someone and then going the length of the field by out pacing someone else. They then turn around and work on defense too. It's not just about going down the field to finish off for a try.
It may be someone like Zach Test for USA team. May not be the fastest, but definite work horse who can run the field a few times ... and constantly repeat it too. Scott Curry or Tim Mikkelson for New Zealand, maybe Cecil Africa for South Africa. Those players are just always present. The fittest is most likely going to be a forward or an inside back who continuously spend all game following and working the ball - rather than the finishers.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:46 AM   #55
Drew Cloutier
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
A basketball player doesn't need strength in the same way that a football player does, and excess muscle mass would likely hurt a basketball player's cardiovascular endurance. Someone like LeBron plays 40+ minutes of each game, and he's on the move at fairly high effort levels for a large number of those 40 minutes. Adrian Peterson only plays when his team has the ball and even then he's not on the field for every offensive play.

And the amount of live-ball action in an NFL game is usually about 12 minutes out of a 60 minute game, which means there's usually time to catch your breath after each snap--clearly not the case in basketball, soccer, or rugby--so a football player can afford to focus more on pure strength and repeated 5-10 second max efforts than a soccer midfielder or a rugby flanker who needs the endurance to run for 80-90 minutes straight.

Bottom line? Different sports require different types of fitness, and it's silly to say LeBron isn't as strong as JJ Watt just like it would be silly to say that Watt lacks the cardiovascular endurance of Ronaldo or that Froning isn't as strong as Klokov. All are clearly fit based on the demands of their particular sport.
I don't think its silly at all, its a fact.
By saying any of the things you're saying you're not putting down someone else, you're purely stating X is stronger/faster/whatever than Y.

No one is arguing that basketball players need strength, what people are arguing or at least myself is giving Lebron a 10/10 on strength, when he's nowhere near as strong as guys his weight or less in any/many sport(s), which is what the list was doing.

How is stating a fact silly; Froning is not as strong as Klokov, its a quantifiable fact, look at their squat, front squat, strict press, hell look at a lift neither really trains like Bench. Just because they aren't in the same sport doesn't make it any less true.

We're talking about a list that compared athletes from many different sports and tried to quantify their skills/attributes therefore its even more relevant.

We all fully admit upfront that different sports require a different definition of in shape; an international powerlifter/WL'er, an elite soccer player, a decathlete, a WSM strongman, will all be 'in shape' for their sport and at the top of their game but it would be stupid to think the PL'er/WL'er or the Strongman are running miles and miles and have the cardio of either the decathlete or the soccer player.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:58 AM   #56
Jeff Railsback
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

This is the problem with a 10 point scale. If Klokov is a 10 for strength, Froning can't also be a 10 because he doesn't squat as much. They are both super strong, but if Froning was also a 10 for strength it would appear as equal to Klokov. With a 10 point scale there is only room to rank 10 athletes.

A better system would be to test a squat and the person who squats to most gets 100 points. Everyone else gets a percentage of 100 points based on how much they squatted when compared to the strongest guy.

Do the same thing in other areas like 5k, etc with the same scoring system and you would arrive at a much more accurate ranking of fittest athletes.

The SI version has no logic applied to it and was likely done quickly to meet a deadline.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:23 AM   #57
Douglas Menikheim
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

Really comical. Im curious as to how many people actually say, "yeah this list looks believable". Just seems like commons sense that some of these things dont match up.

How does Usain Bolt rank as a 9 in strength and 9 in endurance!!!! I know sprinters pack a lot more muscle mass, but 9?? How is that comparable to some of the NFL guys listed...doesnt make sense. And a 9 for endurance...he is a sprinter!!
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:22 AM   #58
Stanley Walter
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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Originally Posted by Chris Sinagoga View Post
I think pound for pound basketball players are just as strong. It's a different kind of strength. Not nearly as much weight room numbers, but their positional strength isn't compromised. Same with football players compared to weightlifters.
Basketball is not a contact sport, so no, pound for pound they won't be as strong simply because they don't have to train for it.

NFL players have to train for contact, and therefore are stronger.

Weightlifters train for strength and a bit of endurance, but they don't qualify for the speed portion, so they won't be part of my list either.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:23 AM   #59
Stanley Walter
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
A basketball player doesn't need strength in the same way that a football player does, and excess muscle mass would likely hurt a basketball player's cardiovascular endurance. Someone like LeBron plays 40+ minutes of each game, and he's on the move at fairly high effort levels for a large number of those 40 minutes. Adrian Peterson only plays when his team has the ball and even then he's not on the field for every offensive play.

And the amount of live-ball action in an NFL game is usually about 12 minutes out of a 60 minute game, which means there's usually time to catch your breath after each snap--clearly not the case in basketball, soccer, or rugby--so a football player can afford to focus more on pure strength and repeated 5-10 second max efforts than a soccer midfielder or a rugby flanker who needs the endurance to run for 80-90 minutes straight.

Bottom line? Different sports require different types of fitness, and it's silly to say LeBron isn't as strong as JJ Watt just like it would be silly to say that Watt lacks the cardiovascular endurance of Ronaldo or that Froning isn't as strong as Klokov. All are clearly fit based on the demands of their particular sport.
All of the above are certainly fit and would be considered top tier in their respective sports but the list is for fittest athlete in the world and there has to be a better evaluation than just 'fit' in determining who the fittest is.

Again, strong, fast and great endurance.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:28 AM   #60
Stanley Walter
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Re: Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes

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Originally Posted by Jeff Railsback View Post
This is the problem with a 10 point scale. If Klokov is a 10 for strength, Froning can't also be a 10 because he doesn't squat as much. They are both super strong, but if Froning was also a 10 for strength it would appear as equal to Klokov. With a 10 point scale there is only room to rank 10 athletes.

A better system would be to test a squat and the person who squats to most gets 100 points. Everyone else gets a percentage of 100 points based on how much they squatted when compared to the strongest guy.

Do the same thing in other areas like 5k, etc with the same scoring system and you would arrive at a much more accurate ranking of fittest athletes.

The SI version has no logic applied to it and was likely done quickly to meet a deadline.
The reason Froning would rank higher than most is because he might only get an 8 when it comes to strength, but he would get an 8 with endurance, and 8 with speed. Therefore he would test out higher than other 'top' guys.

Nadal might get a 8 on endurance, and 8 on speed, but his strength would probably test out at 4, and therefore he would be a lot lower on the list.

If you want to measure true strength compare squat, deadlift, press. Big 3.
If you want to measure endurance, measure VO2max. Most sports do this already.
If you want to measure speed, test 3 cone drill, 40 yard dash, etc, etc.

The results would surprise a lot of people. Basketball players would have a great V02max, but crappy strength tests simply because their training does not require them to be able to lift 600lbs. Which is fine, but don't try to paint them as being stronger or equal to strength as guys who train for strength, i.e. football players who generally train JUST strength(d line, o line, etc, etc).
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