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

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Old 08-09-2005, 09:51 PM   #1
Mikael Všlitalo
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Hello guys,

I was thinking tonight about how important lightning reflexes are in many sports and even survival... I can think of dozens of scenarios where even the fittest person on earth would be helpless without great reflexes. Then it occurred to me that Crossfit never mentions reflexes in its definition of fitness, and I have never seen any program, be it GPP or SPP, target reaction time specifically. Heck I even did a search on these forums and found nothing. Then I thought "hey, how could anyone train to improve their reflexes?" I couldn't really come up with an answer, but then again maybe the question is dumb (I'm tired).

What do you think?
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:01 PM   #2
Rob McBee
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Olympic lifts
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Old 08-10-2005, 01:35 AM   #3
Christian Lemburg
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If you really mean reflexes as in the medical definition, training them will most probably take the form of full body coordination exercises - how about gymnastics (balancing!) and olympic lifts augmented by some cross-country running?

If you mean reflexes as in "he really has fast reactions", training them will rather take the form of short sport specific drills to form the right expectation about what will happen next.

Fast reflexes in the second sense (e.g., as in the martial arts) are the result of optimized observation - orientation - decision - action loops (OODA loop, see for more info on this), where time is spent primarily in the orientation and decision phases. The orientation phase can probably only be shortened by "experience" (e.g., in the martial arts, through sparring, scenario training, or visualization exercises), while the trick to shorten the decision phase is to limit it to few alternatives (e.g., in the martial arts, concentration on a few basic techniques that solve many situations).

What I find particularly interesting is the idea that "fast reflexes" (in the second sense) can be developed by visualization exercises. Indeed, in Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense system, visualization of scenarios is used to train high-risk situations where "real-life" training would mean unacceptable risks for the participants.


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Old 08-10-2005, 05:40 AM   #4
bill fox
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Old 08-10-2005, 08:21 AM   #5
Roger Harrell
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Try playing handball with one of those bumpy dog toys. :-)
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Old 08-10-2005, 08:54 AM   #6
Mikael Všlitalo
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Interesting replies guys, thanks.

It is indeed the fast reflexes in the second sense that I was talking about, Christian: that OODA loop is exactly what I meant.

Roger: funnily enough I've fooled around quite a bit with those bumpy toys! It's really frustrating but then you get the hang of it... Which makes me think that it is quite difficult to separate anticipation from reflexes.
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Old 08-10-2005, 09:12 AM   #7
Ray Cooper
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Shooting. As in competitve shooting where you're timed off the draw to engagement. Look into IDPA and IPSC pistol events. Fun too.

Also, boxing or some kinda stand-up MA where you actually hit and get hit would be a good choice. Arguably cheaper too, at least to start.
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Old 08-10-2005, 04:52 PM   #8
Jeremy Jones
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Depends if you wear a mouth piece or not.

Or if you have medical insurance.
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Old 08-11-2005, 08:37 AM   #9
Steve Shafley
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With experience comes reaction time.

You need to drill your response to improve it's time. With anything.

When I played rugby, I used to have all sorts of decision trees, for example:

Ball Carrier is approaching me:
Response 1: Tackle him
Response 2: Go in to strip the ball
Response 3: Threaten him, but wait for the pass to try to pick it off or follow the ball.

This was too much, and I decided my only response was to tackle the ball carrier. This was, in retrospect, the best thing to do in 99.9% of all situations, and the other 0.01% could be improvised.

Eliminating the other options increased my reaction time dramatically. Plus, I no longer focused on his eyes or the ball, only on his center of gravity, and got juked less often.

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Old 08-11-2005, 10:45 AM   #10
Eric Cimrhanzel
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Interesting, I was taught that in both wrestling and football (the brief year I played). When taking an opponent down, don't look neccesarily at him, but look for his center. Don't ever look at his eyes. I didn't understand it at first, but once I did, both tackles on the field and takedowns on the mat went up.

I had forgotten all about that.
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