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

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Old 01-18-2008, 02:11 PM   #1
Tom Woodward
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Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

This may be more appropriate for the competitions section, but I think it deals with CrossFit theory as well.

Recently, there has been discussion on the main page comments regarding the use of time as a measuring stick in CrossFit WODs. The issue was raised that using time to measure performance is unfairly biased towards shorter athletes, especially with bodyweight or % of bodyweight WODs. A quick example can illustrate:

Take two elite CrossFitters like AFT and Josh Everett. I'm not sure of the heights of either, but lets assume AFT is 5'9" 155 and Josh is 6'3" 210 and they have the same strength to weight ratio. In a WOD like Linda, not only is Josh using heavier weights, he also has to move his deads, cleans and benches farther per rep than AFT. If they have the same strength to weight ratio, the relative force will be about the same since it's a % of BW workout, but Josh is at a clear disadvantage in the distance piece of the equation.

Due to this disadvantage, the probable outcome is that AFT will beat Josh on time (and thus overall since time is our measuring stick) but Josh would blow him out of the water on power.

At the CF games, we use a measurement to determine the most complete, all around CrossFit athlete. Based on the example above, is AFT a better athlete than Josh because he beats him on time or is Josh a better athlete because he beats him on power? OR, are the two not comparable because their heights are so very different?

I'd contend the second question is true and we need height classes at the CF games

I welcome criticism of my example and any and all feedback/suggestions on this topic.

Special thanks to Austin b for kicking this off on the comments!
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:21 PM   #2
Paul Hauf
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

As a shorter guy, I can't say that I'm inclined to agree, given that height is an advantage in almost every sport.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:22 PM   #3
Steven Low
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

What about CFT where Josh would thrash AFT because he can lift so much more? Exactly.

Well, look at it this way. The real world doesn't make considerations for your height or weight when determining fitness (which is what CF is based on). Either you can do the task or you can't. Therefore, it is what it is.


P.S. Search. There's a lot of threads on this.

P.P.S. Power output is not the be all end all. Generally speaking, the smaller guys will have a greater power output as they have a higher strength to bodyweight ratio so your argument isn't that great. ROM doesn't significantly add as much work as you think comparing a 2.75 ft DL to a 3ft DL.

The big thing in this section is weight but that's only in a few WODs scaled to bodyweight like Linda. The rest are just set like Fran at 95 lbs thrusters and bodyweight pullups. Bodyweight + set weights tend to even out as the big guys can more easily put up the thrusters but have a harder time with the pullups than the smaller guys.

P.P.P.S. The answer is no. There should be no weight classes or height classes.

Last edited by Steven Low; 01-18-2008 at 02:32 PM..
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:14 PM   #4
Derek Maffett
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

Little people are just better at different things. I'm already going for an "elite" time on the 30 MU's workout, yet my fitness level as considered in relation to pretty much every other workout is far from elite. My body type gives me natural strengths and weaknesses, and I have no choice but to live with them.

Or you could just save your precious time and read Steven's post.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:28 PM   #5
Tom Woodward
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

Thanks for the input, Steven. I respect your opinion on these boards and I suppose the real question I would ask you is: If you measured 1000 different elite CFers of all different body types, heights, and weights across all the Benchmark Girls, Heroes, CFT, and CrossFit fit tests, what body comp. comes out on top consistently? An OPT (5'10" 160-170) or a Josh Everett (6'3" 210)? I know there are probably threads on this and I'll search for em, but my tendency is to say it would be a sub 200 pound, sub 6 foot athlete. I just know from reading the comments every day on the main page that OPT and Speal (BW 138) consistenly crush everyone at Benchmark WODs.

What I'm really wondering is if it's even possible for me at 6'5" to achieve the times of an elite 5'10" CFer on a Mary, a Linda, or even a light weight fixed WOD like Fran.

Maybe the extra difference is marginal as you say, but I'd be hard pressed to believe that a 6'5" guy will EVER win the CF games if benchmark or benchmark-like WODS are used. Hell, the CFT was part of the last one and two guys under 170 finished 1-2.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:37 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

Sorry, what I meant by:

Quote:
Generally speaking, the smaller guys will have a greater power output as they have a higher strength to bodyweight ratio so your argument isn't that great.
Is that they have higher output per their bodyweight or per musculature you could say. So scale the power output to their weight as opposed to just determining max power output.

For example, if it's a "for time" workout like Cindy the smaller guys are gonna get a huge amount of rounds which more than makes up for the lack of range of motion (a couple of inches) as well as scaled bodyweight generally speaking of course.

Basically we have smaller guys who have good strength to bodyweight ratios whereas tall guys generally can lift more weight although their StB ratio isn't that great. StB is all well and nice, but smaller guys are just better at it because of biomechanics, less ROM, whatever you want to call it. It's just a perk of the bodytype. Since you cannot control your bodytype (aka genetics), it is what it is. You do the best with what you got (well, you can control your weight somewhat so yeah).

Since CF is fitness based we do not have to worry about this. You have a given task you do it to the best of your ability.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:38 PM   #7
Lynne Pitts
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

Tom,

I might beat you on pullups, but you'd kick my 5'0" fanny all over the rowing WODs. Wallball is a lot easier for tall folk; I have to chunk that 20 lbs 2 or 3 feet farther than you, with a lot less mass in my a$$ to do it with.

Running favors the skinny guys. CFT favors the mesomorphs. Bodyweight exercises probably favor the more compact athletes (although more muscular athletes have, duh, more muscle to work with).

The beauty (or pain) of CrossFit is that EVERYONE gets some advantage, and some big disadvantages.

Interesting topic, but you'll get no sympathy from me!
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:48 PM   #8
Steven Low
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Sorry, what I meant by:



Is that they have higher output per their bodyweight or per musculature you could say. So scale the power output to their weight as opposed to just determining max power output.

For example, if it's a "for time" workout like Cindy the smaller guys are gonna get a huge amount of rounds which more than makes up for the lack of range of motion (a couple of inches) as well as scaled bodyweight generally speaking of course.

Basically we have smaller guys who have good strength to bodyweight ratios whereas tall guys generally can lift more weight although their StB ratio isn't that great. StB is all well and nice, but smaller guys are just better at it because of biomechanics, less ROM, whatever you want to call it. It's just a perk of the bodytype. Since you cannot control your bodytype (aka genetics), it is what it is. You do the best with what you got (well, you can control your weight somewhat so yeah).

Since CF is fitness based we do not have to worry about this. You have a given task you do it to the best of your ability.
As far as CF games go, if you're fairly lean you'd probably have a shot. You can probably kill OPT or Spealer at CFT and possibly do well in the run with long legs (aka less overall steps you gotta take). Your only problem would be doing fairly well in the hopper which may or may not be biased towards short(er) CFers at like what 5'10"? I think last year's was push jerks 135 lbs and pullups so.. I mean you'd have an advantage with brute strength on push jerks probably and a disadvantage on pullups. It might even out.

Basically what you want to do is focus mainly on your weaknesses. As a taller guy you're probably not going to have a much of a problem (unless you came in uber weak and are still uber weak) with the strength work such as high CFT numbers. You'll definitely have to bust your balls a lot more on the bodyweight work than normal. That's what a lot of CF is about anyway -- focusing on your weaknesses.

Looking at the CF girls right now there is a pretty much slightly biased towards the amount of bodyweight work (although it has been getting better with Rippetoe being in more and more strength geared work). That means you'll have to work harder to post elite times. You may never be able to do as well as OPT or Spealer at them.. but they probably will never be able to lift as much or potentially run as fast. It is what it is.


Evaluating CF games I don't really have any sympathy for ya here: I think it's a fairly good test of mixed modal capacity neither biased towards bigger or smaller guys as each have something they should be fairly good at. Lighter, endurance -- run; heavier, strength -- CFT; moderate, metabolic -- hopper.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:58 PM   #9
Tom Woodward
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

True, Lynne. There are some workouts that favor the smaller athletes (like the one that I'm assuming is named for you. Kelly Moore could probably out rep every linebacker in the NFL on "Lynne"). And then there are others like Elizabeth that a 150 lb guy might not even be able to complete as Rx'ed, much less beat a larger athlete for time.

My original point was about the CF games and I suppose I can take solace in the fact that Coach will set up the games to be as equitable as possible to all body types (thus the inclusion of the CFT AND the run last year). And I have no reason (and probably never will) to doubt Coach's methodology after all he's given me with this program.

Thanks for the response all.
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:07 PM   #10
Tom Nguyen
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Re: Height Classes in CF Games/CF in general

The grass is always greener on the other side. I'm 5'5 138lb - wish I had longer legs and weighed more for BJJ. Wish I weighed more because a 1000 CFT will never happen at 138. (7.25xBW!!)

Wish I could dunk.

Wish I didn't have to hem all the pants that I buy.

I also don't imagine ever seeing a sub-150lb guy winning the Crossfit games.
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