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Brandon Enos
07-07-2007, 11:23 PM
Just wondering which one everyone chooses and why? Structured routines where you know what you will be doing a month or more from now, or more of a random crossfit style?

I found that so far the best thing for me is a semi-random schedule. I sit down on Sat or Sun, my rest days and figure out my workouts for Mon - Fri using a hard day, easy day, hard day... template. I also try to leave enough room to make subs if things have to change due to school, weather, etc.

I love this style because it keeps things random enough to A.) keep me from getting bored and B.) doesnt let my body adapt to any one thing. It also prevents me from throwing a day out since I know what it is I have to do that day.

Steven Low
07-08-2007, 08:49 AM
You'll make more progress (strength and mass-wise) on a structured routine a la programs like Starting Strength tweak a bit to your conditioning level + massive amounts of food.

Random is EXCELLENT for GPP.

Most people want a decent combination of both.

Robb Wolf
07-08-2007, 09:24 AM
Steven pretty much hammered that. Some consistency and structure is important for strength development, potentially detrimental for some elements of conditioning, especially if maintaining strength/power is important.

This is an important distinction folks need to make between S&C and their chosen sport. We certainly want efficiency at our sportive endeavors.

Brandon-
You might like Rutman's ME-Black Box template.

Scott Kustes
07-08-2007, 11:54 AM
Semi-random for me. I have been doing a reverse ME-Black Box so to speak. Instead of WOD-ME-WOD-Off, I have been doing ME-WOD-ME-Off. The strength portion is fairly structured. Heavy squats once or twice every week. Heavy deads once a week. Heavy overhead press once or twice per week. Bench press once a week. The WOD portion is random, generally whatever Metcon is up on the CF mainpage (or most recent if the WOD is a strength day), unless I just have some odd hankering for one of the Girls. Call me a masochist, but occasionally I just have to get my punishment from Fran. Warmups and between sets included lots of pullups and gymnastics skills.

This setup finally moved me beyond the 300lb plateau I was at with squats, moved my deadlift from 405 to 445, and moved my overhead press up nicely as well, without sacrificing much in the way of conditioning. Strength needs to be structured as Steven said....lift heavy, lift often seems to work best for strength development.

Steven Low
07-08-2007, 04:00 PM
Yes, high frequency heavy lifting with good fatigue management is the *BEST* way to gain strength and mass. It's pretty absurd how fast you gain strength if you can manage fatigue well.

Russell Greene
07-08-2007, 11:50 PM
Caveat: this is a long and rambling post, and if you just want to get big and strong and don't care about Crossfit, it won't mean or matter much to you:

I understand you guys in theory, but I just got my ass handed to me by two guys whose main training program is the WOD, which is as far as I can tell pretty random, with a bit added work, often extra metcon.

I guess an important question is what priority do you put on strength versus GPP.

I also think that people who already have good form on heavy lifts need much less direct heavy work than people who still haven't developed that form yet.

Doing lots of heavy lifting comes at the expense of GPP training, so if GPP is a priority, a structured lifting program may not always be a good idea.

When you think about the athletes that come into crossfit and do the best, it is the gymnasts and weightlifters, obviously. I am going to argue that this is not due to energy system training, but rather due to neurologically training. Top aerobic athletes, contrary to popular belief, are almost always very highly proficient in the glycolytic pathways which Crossfit loves, in their chosen disciplines. Top distance runners tend to be blazing fast in the 400 and 800, for example, not compared to specialists, but certainly compared to everyone else. Lance Armstrong can hold a 400 watts power output for 20 minutes. For comparison, according to the Performance menu output calculator, a 175 lb. man doing Fran in 2:20 is operating at 372.5 watts.

However, almost certainly Lance would fail miserably at Fran, and would continue doing so even with extended exposure to Crossfit, whereas a middleweight weightlifter who comes into Crossfit with substantially less power output capacity outside of the phosphate-dominant domain, will, with 6 months' of gradual exposure to Crossfit's intensity, will be able to put up a pretty good, though perhaps not great time. So it is not glycolytic ability really that is determining who has the most potential coming into Crossfit. It is exposure to the movements. Power, and strength, output is very highly movement specific. So the weightlifter is already very comfortable with squatting and pulling, he just has to improve his metabolic conditioning. The enduro athlete has to learn how to squat, which he most likely doesn't know how to do, and learn how to pullup, which he probably can't do very well either. Then he will have to develop enough proficiency in those movements to make 95 lbs. a very light squat and press and his bodyweight very easy to do a pullup with. This will probably take a while.

Technical proficiency + intensity + diet = crossfit success. Most people who do crossfit work hard; not everybody, especially those who are just training themselves, has achieve technical proficiency. The top athletes, (Annie, Nicole, Brendan, AFT, OPT), etc., usually have awesome technique. The advantage for gymnasts and weightlifters is that they generally already have this technical advantage coming in.

Secondly, extraordinarily high levels of strength or lean body mass are not required for Crossfit excellence. Many, perhaps most, of the top guys have Crossfit totals in the 900-1000 lb. range, which is strong, but not out of the world for anybody willing to dedicate himself to lifting heavy weights. As for muscle mass, Chris Spealer is a dominant Crossfit athlete at 132 lbs., and OPT is 165.

So the main point of heavy lifting for crossfit is that it enourages learning technical proficiency in the exercises, given the higher loading meaning higher quantity of neurological recruitment, the lack of time component, and long rest periods. However, very high levels of lean mass development or strength development are not necessary for elite Crossfit performance, and too high levels of strength or muscle certainly can be detrimental. A 900 lb. squat can be as much of a liability as a 4 minute mile is to Crossfit success (credits to Greg Glassman for the quote.)

According to my conversations with Brendan Gilliam, who was there, the original Santa Cruz Crossfit style used to be a warmup, then 20-30 minutes of technique work on gymnastics or weightlifting overseen by Coach Glassman, then a 5-15 minute killer workout. So, 7 years ago or whatever it was, Coach Glassman put his workouts on the web, and though he clearly encouraged plenty of practice on the basics of gymnastics and weightlifting, what people mostly focused on was the the 5-15 minute scorcher. The people following the workouts online generally haven't had a qualified coach helping them with form, and they often don't know have much technical knowledge themselves, and they usually don't commit to the same amount of time practicing the movements that the Santa Cruz people do.

So the internet people usually don't make the same results as the Santa Cruz people, except for the people who come in with gymnastics or weightlifting backgrounds. People conclude, reasonably, that vast exposure to strength training is the difference between who succeeds at Crossfit and who doesn't. But many people have come into Crossfit with little exposure to strength training, and within a few years, without focusing on strength training, reached very high levels of fitness. They are the ones who took the time to learn how to squat, clean, handstand, kip, etc., and usually are the ones who had someone qualified teach them how to do it. It is technical proficiency that is key here, and not the muscle mass or absolute strength levels that one comes in with.

Phew, that was a long post. Hope it makes sense to somebody.

Russell Greene
07-08-2007, 11:54 PM
Just to clarify, that was meant to underline why a structured strength routine may not be necessary, and may in some cases be detrimental, to developing Crossfit ability, and why many, if not most of the best Crossfit athletes just follow the WOD.

Jonas Lind
07-09-2007, 12:23 AM
Steven - By fatigue management, I guess you mean not working to failure?

Steve Shafley
07-09-2007, 05:44 AM
So, Russ, you've found that the best Crossfitters ususally "Crossfit" as proven in a competition?

Astonishing.

I like the whole premise behind the Crossfit Games. The real competition will really do a lot to sharpen the saw, so to speak, and sort out who's willing to put up or shut up.

I suppose they are sitting on the CFG results for a CFJ, eh?

Allen Yeh
07-09-2007, 06:01 AM
They posted the results last week.

Steve Shafley
07-09-2007, 06:49 AM
I've been vacationing for 10 days or so.

I'd be interested in knowing the backgrounds of the winners of the XF games. Russ pointed out that the first day's events trashed him. I've found that people whom haven't had to maintain performance levels for multi-day events generally don't develop that kind of physical resiliency and mental toughness they need for those sorts of situations. It's very specific and hard to develop unless you are aware of the need. I bet the next XF games will be even more competitive.

For me, playing multi-day rugby tournaments and going on rugby tours introduced me to those concepts, and it was rough going intially. Multi-day tournaments in high school wrestling also were instrumental in teaching those lessons.

Steve Shafley
07-09-2007, 06:56 AM
Looking at the results: Cool stuff. You'll definitely improve next time, Russ. Grueling but fun weekend, it looks like.

Robb Wolf
07-09-2007, 07:32 AM
Russ-
FANTASTIC post.

James R. Climer
07-09-2007, 11:33 AM
Russ-
FANTASTIC post.

I second that, and rank it up there
with Eugene's tome on the CF Certifications.

That post cranked out clarity. It answered
questions floating around in my cluttered
brain box I hadn't even put into words yet.

In some way, it should make its way into
a journal or something.

Steven Low
07-09-2007, 04:21 PM
Steven - By fatigue management, I guess you mean not working to failure?

Yes and no. Failure *can* be used (VERY sparingly) with a high frequency routine, but the general gist of it is maintaining is so that you are not exhausting the muscles to the point where they can recover enough day after day of work. Generally, the volume needs to be low if you're just starting, but when you build up to it by increasing your conditioning levels you will gain strength very fast. For example, any elite athletes in any sports like gymnastics, weightlifting, etc. are training 5-6 times a week and get insanely strong because their fatigue is managed to the point where they can workout everyday but they are stressing their muscles enough to force constant adaptations.

----------------------

Nice post Russ.

Technical proficiency is definitely a big key. I can kick the crap out of a lot of people in kipping pullups and muscle ups even though I don't do a lot of them and am not as strong as a lot of others because I have the body awareness and technical knowledge of how these lifts work. It would seem then that this should relate throughout all aspects of CF as well because there is technique in pretty much every single movement.

I do think you deemphasized strength a bit much though. It does help immensely to have a high level of strength though as conditioning can be gained much easier than strength.

Robb Wolf
07-10-2007, 07:50 PM
This is a nice old post from CF:
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/21/428.html

Interesting how few of these people talk to each other any more...

I don't have time to launch into this much right now but I want to mention the results we had with Glen Cordoza:
initial fight gone bad 276
6 weeks of DL, Weighted pull up and weighted dip AND fight training (thai boxing, jits etc)
Result: fight gone bad:368
No CrossFit WOD's...but obviously varied functional training...just very interesting to me especially in light of Russ's post.

Dave Van Skike
07-10-2007, 08:16 PM
This is a nice old post from CF:
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/21/428.html

Interesting how few of these people talk to each other any more...

I don't have time to launch into this much right now but I want to mention the results we had with Glen Cordoza:
initial fight gone bad 276
6 weeks of DL, Weighted pull up and weighted dip AND fight training (thai boxing, jits etc)
Result: fight gone bad:368
No CrossFit WOD's...but obviously varied functional training...just very interesting to me especially in light of Russ's post.

nice add.

FWIW, just perused the crossfit main page reviewed latest vid from glassman...got to say, (and this is coming from an admitted non-crossfitter and deep koolaid skeptic)....very compelling case to be made for this Brand of varied "functional" fitness. It's the best packaging of the func. fitness meme out there. Need more people stripping the hype and politics off it and putting it out there for what it is....Uber GPP, and damn good shit at that.

Russell Greene
07-10-2007, 11:17 PM
I was not downplaying strength as a quality. I love strength. If strength was free, I would want every athlete to come into Crossfit with a 1000 lb. deadlift. Unfortunately, an exclusive focus on strength training has a high opportunity cost for GPP training, especially for people who can't afford to just not train endurance for months on end.

The argument for focusing on strength before GPP usually gives the example of a strength athlete coming into Crossfit and being able to do very well much faster than normal people. I think Robb has used Natalie Woolfolk, who has a gymnastics background and is a kick ass weightlifter, as an example. Not that he was saying this directly, but comparing Natalie's results after 6 months of Crossfit with an untrained person's results after 6 months is unfair. You are effectively comparing the results of, say a dozen years of training for Natalie with 6 months of Crossfit training for the untrained person.

Obviously we would all want every athlete to come in at 18 years old having spent their childhood doing gymnastics, weightlifting, and 400m sprints. But that doesn't necessarily mean that people who are aiming to maximize GPP need to first go on extensive powerlifting or weightlifting or gymnastics programs. I don't think that's necessary, or even advisable, especially given the amount of Crossfit athletes who have forgone such an approach and nevertheless gone on to reach extraordinary levels of power output.

Now, if the next batch of top Crossfitters turns out to be powerlifters who do Crossfit a few days a week in the off-season and crank out 2 minute Frans with 135 lb. thrusters and weighted vest pullups, I will be forced to reevaluate my position.

From a personal perspective, I actually prefer structured lifting programs. They allow me to manage fatigue more effectively, and allow me to see regular progress on the same few lifts, which is nice. But my results as a long term Crossfitter are nothing special.

Robb, I really liked that Cardoza article. It emphasized the point that if Crossfit is Functional, Intense, and Varied, then MMA training is Crossfit. If we use the Technical Proficiency + Intensity + Diet equation, the martial arts training provided the intensity and the strength work, especially the deadlifts, provided the technical proficiency. In other words, deadlifts teach you how to lift stuff, with direct transfer to the power and efficiency of push presses, wall balls, sdhp's, box jumps, and rowing, and the MMA stuff trains the energy systems required for FGB, and the combination yields an impressive result.

When I first came into Crossfit years ago I was extremely puzzled by how Kelly Moore who was so much fitter than I was in every other category, was struggling to run one 7:30 mile, whereas I could run 7 minute miles in my sleep. I first thought that it was due to our different body types, but then I thought of many shorter people who were great distance runners. I then came to the conclusion that it was mostly neurological training. Kelly had awesome strength, power, speed, and endurance in fields where she had extensive training and thus was neurologically efficient, and running just wasn't one of those fields, whereas I had been running all over the place since I started soccer in kindergarten. Allen Yeh is another good example. Here's a guy who is in great gym shape, but just did not run much when he was younger, and thus is having a hell of a time making running come easily to him now.

Robb Wolf
07-11-2007, 09:32 AM
Dave-
I've said this previously...and no matter what Pat O'shea has done regarding Interval Weight Training or other similar approaches I think what Coach Glassman has formalized is GENIUS. Devany has some similar observations regarding training and functionality, arrived at by completely different means and I find that hugely compelling.

We are training a new batch of trainers and I can not describe how many concepts I try to impart to these trainers that are a direct outgrowth of what I've learned from CF. Core to extremity, universal motor recruitment, broad inclusive fitness...core training is DL's, body rows and push-ups not crunches.

When Glassman talks about Fitness it reminds me of when Cordain talks about nutritional sciences...the level of sophistication and foundational understanding makes most of the folks in their respective fields just scratch thier heads...most of this stuff (exercise/nutritional science) is still floundering in the study/taxonomy stage. Conduct an experiment, name some stuff....with no underlying theory to tie things together and make sense. That's my take on that anyway, I know others do not see it that way.

Russ-

The Natalie Wolfolk thing perfectly illustrates my point here. You either come to the game with strength or you make the strength but you need to get relatively strong to turn good numbers on the WOD's, or most things I give a damn about. If 135lbs is a heavy-ish front squat a 95lb thruster is going to be a crusher. Coach Glassman alluded to this in the "Messing Around With Fran" CFJ. Further adaptation lies in the movement of additional load, possibly at the expense of average power output for THAT WO, not necessarily in greater power output in a given WO.


I think it's important to give a full accounting of these methods and progressions. What Brendan shared with you is SUPER important and is not talked about enough in the larger CF context IMO. CrossFit, OL, PL and gymnastics can all be tools...means to an end or the END...the goal. It's important to know which way one is approaching this.

So what is the best method for making progress here? Concurrent, Conjugate, block? I'm still not sure but I do think that if the individual is stronger they have the potential to perform better.

Dave Van Skike
07-11-2007, 09:51 AM
Robb and Russ

Thanks for your thoughts on this.....I think Cordain and Glassman are good examples in this discussion becaase both seem to have redefined the overall question of "fitness" and "nutrition" from a systemic and/or ecological point of view as opposed to an example based or expiremental point of view: Athlete A is fit for sport B, eats food C and therefore we know..X..about "fitness"

That is the genius at work, (I'll even give that nutter DeVany credit for this)... panning far enough back to truly view the question of fitness in context.

David Wood
07-12-2007, 07:05 PM
Robb:

Man, seeing that post again almost made me cry . . . I know it's unlikely, but I frickin' *dream* of reconciliation.

Great thread here; thanks to all.

Robb Wolf
07-13-2007, 09:26 AM
Robb:

Man, seeing that post again almost made me cry . . . I know it's unlikely, but I frickin' *dream* of reconciliation.

Great thread here; thanks to all.

Yea...I know what you mean. I seriously miss being at the certs, meeting new people, catching up with old friends. Who knows, nothings impossible.

I have been, am now and likely always will be a staunch supporter of the CrossFit community (and beyond). I am also a firm believer in the technology...the areas in which I am or have been critical involve elements I'd like to improve. You know, "community developed..."

A lot of shit has gone down and I've really tried to maintain an objective stance...some have noticed that, some not. Oh well!

Jonas Lind
07-13-2007, 10:55 AM
Yeah, for us forumlurkers it has been sad to see this whole thing. Discussions on the CF boards were much more lurkable before.
I love CF, I follow the WOD, and I think coach G is a genious. But CF has a side to it that sometimes freaks me out, and I've also stated that over there at times. So, to me, its not hard to have an opinion. - Even though its just based on reading posts on the internet...
Go Robb!

Leo Soubbotine
07-13-2007, 11:08 AM
I had a problem after a cert.

Being very upset with the quality of the cert and Coach's comment during it- "Post the good, the bad and the ugly in the comments next day" - I did 3 days later due to our long drive from Golden, CO and stop made at Witchita Falls Weightlifting club at 9 pm for about 3 hours to pick Mark Rippetoe's brain (great old school guy with lots of knowledge and very very helpful. Great respect). That made my day and overall opinion on the cert and whole trip a little better.

I expected much better quality of instruction (to say that the excercise hands on section and knowledge of LII trainers was sad is a compliment) due to cert's price and fact that CF is not recognized by any insurance company meaning that to run a facility you'd need to spend more cash on other cert. Crazy.

So after posting the comment - I'm pretty sure it was erased later (though don't quote me on that) and recieving a call from Nicole - I was very unhappy with the hypocricy.

CF is great. Great system, great results, lots of pain and fun. But something is wrong with management.

Steve Shafley
07-13-2007, 11:28 AM
That's too bad. My observations of the aftermath of the Ann Arbor cert seemed pretty positive, but I was only there to meet up with Pierre Auge, and didn't crash anything other than the aftermath.

I have to say that the XF folks I've met, in person, have been positive, enthusiastic, and fit.

Leo Soubbotine
07-13-2007, 11:38 AM
The community is great. Almost everyone is fit, strong, lean and excited.
Coach and his lecture was excellent.

The excercise part was a joke. Level 2 trainers couldn't teach the squat and especially the deadlift. I had to keep my hips almost at parallell to make them happy - and I'm 6'3'' and long legs and arms...

Olympic lifts were obviously worse due to the lack of foundation (squat and dead). The press and variations are the easiest.
And the lifts is the key part for me as a trainer to teach my clients.
I was very disappointed.

There's was much more but I don't want to go there in details.
It's a better idea to me to get excercise knowledge as a trainer outside of CF when real coaches will help you with the technique and combine the knowledge to teach CF to clients.

Very excited to see Danny Camargo tomorrow for a 2 hour olylifting workshop. He's a regional USAW coach and Team Florida head coach.

Steve Shafley
07-13-2007, 11:49 AM
Trouble is that the OLs really can't be learned in a day.

Danny John fixed up my power clean and snatch with a few simple cues...they became way better, but, for me to really cement all of that, I'll need a long period of hammering the motor learning.

This is why I like that template of:

warm up
skill practice
workout
whatever you want if you've got time.

Leo Soubbotine
07-13-2007, 11:54 AM
Yeap that's I've been doing. Discovered that if the bar contacts the thighs during a lift - that's better and stronger (was working on my p.clean and press for strongman comp) before ever reading about it.

My point was - don't bother teaching olylifts if you have no clue about the squat and dead. They need to work on quality of their trainers before letting them teach at LII. May be make them attend Powerlifting and Olylifting certs before attempting to teach LII.

Allen Yeh
07-13-2007, 06:02 PM
They need to work on quality of their trainers before letting them teach at LII. May be make them attend Powerlifting and Olylifting certs before attempting to teach LII.

I've met some great CF trainers and I've met some terrible ones but CF or not it was exactly the same way with just about every S&C coach or personal trainer too. The conclusion I came to was that it is very much more about what skills/mindset the individual brings to the certs than the actual cert itself CF, NSCA, ACSM it is unfortunately not a CF certification specific thing.

Another thing is experience, even if they had attended powerlifting/o-lifting certs if not taught about the differences between taller/shorter people face with certain things they wouldn't think to change anything.

Jonas Lind
07-14-2007, 02:26 AM
I don't know. There seems to be alot of good trainers in CF. And the certs have a very good reputation(though a tad pricey) for a reason.
Sounds like a one time thing. Or maybe its you?!(Just kidding)

Allen Yeh
07-14-2007, 06:36 AM
I don't know. There seems to be alot of good trainers in CF. And the certs have a very good reputation(though a tad pricey) for a reason.
Sounds like a one time thing. Or maybe its you?!(Just kidding)

The thing is the people you see/interact with on the internet are the minority compared to the number of people that go/attend/teach at the cert.s

Jonas Lind
07-14-2007, 11:32 AM
Very true Allen.