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View Full Version : Donny Shankle wiht a 1:47 Grace


Allen Yeh
03-14-2008, 08:06 AM
http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitRogue_DonnyShankleGrace.wmv

Already posted at the CrossFit board.

I think it's nice how he killed that time while doing muscle cleans and strict presses for half the reps.

Geez.

The CrossFit board link:
http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=28368

Troy Archie
03-14-2008, 08:27 AM
I want to see someone do Isobel.

Derek Simonds
03-14-2008, 08:38 AM
I'll just say that Donny is amazing.

I like how Glenn said he hasn't done more than 1 or 2 reps at a time in a couple of years.

Mike ODonnell
03-14-2008, 09:28 AM
Pretty strong stuff. Is his background in Oly lifting? It just looks so light to him...amazing.

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-14-2008, 09:37 AM
That's awesome. I don't care if he did muscle clean it and didn't get full lock outs. Great work.

I tried squat cleans and split jerks with 135 a few days ago. Did 12 reps and thought I was going to pass out. However, doing the muscle clean and press is something I might put me into the 20s. But I don't know if I could get 30.

Isabel is the 135 snatch for time, correct? I wouldn't even consider that unless I was strapped in. I'd bash myself in the forehead for sure. Hat's off to those that have completed it.

A few of my goals before I turn 40 is to do Linda (could be Helen, I forget my girls "three bars of death") with the correct weights and do Grace. Not a care to the time, just to get through the exercise itself. I'll have to think long and hard about Isabel.

Absolutely inspirational.

All the best,
Arden

James Evans
03-14-2008, 09:51 AM
I'm sure I read somewhere that Josh Everett had done Isabel in 90 seconds.

Dave Van Skike
03-14-2008, 10:06 AM
Strength, the quality........Über Alles.

Robb Wolf
03-14-2008, 10:39 AM
Strength, the quality........Über Alles.

Seriously. It's quite the buy-in for whatever game you want to play.

Mike ODonnell
03-14-2008, 10:40 AM
Seriously. It's quite the buy-in for whatever game you want to play.

Chess?

Garrett Smith
03-14-2008, 10:49 AM
Great place for a strength/power discussion.

So, as was said above, Donny had not done more than 1-2 reps at a time in a couple of years. If I remember correctly, his C&J as stated on the video was something like 158kg. So, Grace was ~39% of his (for the sake of argument) max C&J. A low percentage of his max, no metcon prep (at all?) and he puts up a great number with no "practice" of that WOD.

Power bias training, anyone?

This is starting to make me think that metcon, as it is currently done, is an unnecessary drain on resources (calorie, adrenal reserve, minerals from sweating, etc.). Doing lower rep sets with higher weights to build higher limit power/strength would seem to give the best of most worlds.

Besides, lifting heavy weights or doing gymnastics strength exercises is way more fun than a grueling metcon.

That video totally confirmed my belief in the approach I'm now taking towards my personal workouts.

Derek Simonds
03-14-2008, 10:55 AM
A few of my goals before I turn 40 is to do Linda (could be Helen, I forget my girls "three bars of death") with the correct weights and do Grace. Not a care to the time, just to get through the exercise itself. I'll have to think long and hard about Isabel.

Absolutely inspirational.

All the best,
Arden

I have the same goal. Fortunately or unfortunately whichever way you want to look at it I am lighter then you. Hopefully that helps me somehow. :)

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-14-2008, 10:56 AM
I have the same goal. Fortunately or unfortunately whichever way you want to look at it I am lighter then you. Hopefully that helps me somehow. :)

:D Funny, I also have a goal to be under 240 by the time I turn 40. Struggling these days. Good luck.


All the best,
arden

Dave Van Skike
03-14-2008, 11:15 AM
Chess?

I give you...ChessBoxing. http://site.wcbo.org/content/index_en.html

Gant Grimes
03-14-2008, 12:03 PM
And the action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43Wcbd0dJpQ

josh everett
03-14-2008, 12:08 PM
yes i did do 30 reps of power snatch in 90 seconds.
I beleive my grace is in the upper 2min range. the sn is much faster as it is 1 motion. also because it only requires 1 jump/drive with the legs it has a lower cardio cost. There is a qulaifier to my time though... I beleive I was catching in a small split stance then begining to lower the wt as i was standing up, thus finishing about 2" or so short on each rep. It's a pretty suttle move but when tony budding asked me about it I went back and repped out some snatches for speed and i was indeed lowering the wt before reaching full extension of the hips. At any rate i have not repeated isobel but i have done sets of ten for time and i can do 10 reps in 20-21 sec. The time I did isobel I did 20 straight reps without dropping the wt in 45 sec. then it took me 45 sec to do the last 10 reps.. ibeive in 7 then 3 reps. they basically become muscle snatches as the nervous system and coordination disapear about rep 15.

Allen Yeh
03-14-2008, 12:55 PM
That's awesome. I don't care if he did muscle clean it and didn't get full lock outs. Great work.

I think it's crazy that he did muscle cleans and still got that time, muscle cleans are "harder" and slower than power cleans. The fact that he strict pressed half the reps was pretty crazy too.

Garrett Smith
03-14-2008, 12:59 PM
Do you think chess (gameplay) ability will ever make it into the definition of fitness?

Josh, based on what you're saying and Donny's time with no metcon or practice of that WOD, I'd say that based on your assessment of how Isabel progresses for you that getting your muscle (and power) snatches just plain stronger would really help with that last half. Or just getting an outrageously strong power snatch without worrying about the metcon "training" for Isabel at all (or very little). Some/many are saying DUH! to that last part, I get that.

The way I'm seeing it, gymnasts (without much metcon training) can come in and rock the bodyweight oriented WODs. WLers (without any metcon training) can come in and rock the OL-oriented WODs. By pushing one's training more towards absolute increased strength at gymnastics AND OL (separately), the respective WODs would get "easier" (because they are a smaller % of max), without having to use much training time at all on the "middle ground" metcons.

I guess the point I'm getting at is that I'm beginning to believe that more time devoted to strength (and obviously technique) training as opposed to the mixed metcons will likely have a quicker benefit overall to one's overall fitness.

For example--
2-3 days/week pure OL and/or PL work
2-3 days/week pure gymnastics work focused on increased (relatively) low rep strength, like increased weighted push-ups/pull-ups/dips/etc.
*Maybe* 1 day of metcon where one doesn't "fry" themselves

This is as opposed to just grinding out metcon after metcon and hoping for improvement. Much like LSD cardio doesn't push the end capacity higher, I think the longer metcons, especially those that only use one modality don't force increased adaptation. I do realize that CF has incorporated more ME days into the rotation and I believe that is the right direction, for sure. What I'm wondering, and will be experimenting with, is if separating the modalities even more and simply focusing on absolute strength/power will have more benefits both short and long-term.

Neill Smith
03-14-2008, 01:34 PM
If training gymnastics and OL will improve those aspects of the WOD, won't running and rowing cover the remaining ground? I'm not talking LSD, but rather max effort 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m workouts (and the corresponding rowing distances).

But wait, doesn't segmented training build segmented capacity?

Dave Van Skike
03-14-2008, 01:49 PM
using these sorts of things as a gauge of overall background fitness is interesting I guess. but at a certain point obsessing over benchmark metcon workouts is like fretting about how well you can do a card trick.

expending much thought at improving one's "sally" time or their "chuck" time seems like a waste of physical resources. unless of course you're on the chuck and sally olympic team.

Mike ODonnell
03-14-2008, 02:21 PM
Do you think chess (gameplay) ability will ever make it into the definition of fitness?

Nowadays with people just getting dumber and dumber....it might have to be!!

Workout of the day....3 rounds of running 400 meters, do Sudoku, 100 pushups/pullups, and find Waldo.....repeat.

I did some past adventure races where they throw these challenges in on purpose in the middle of the race....you have to figure out a puzzle...or a math problem....sometimes the answer is so simple but you are so stupid from being tired that you try the most difficult solution possible...and then realize you are a moron because after 5 minutes you realize the correct answer is that Moses did NOT have any animals on the Ark....or have an Ark for that matter....

Garrett Smith
03-14-2008, 03:25 PM
Dave,
I totally agree.

Neill,
Here's my observation on your "segmented" statement. Donny obviously trained in very low rep ranges to build his strength base (a very segmented way of training). He then unleashes quite a "Grace" time, definitely outside of any of his typical rep range training parameters and probably with movements that he may not train much at all. So, his segmented training (movement and rep-wise) would seem to be the reason he could put up such a time.

I would guess that gymnasts of any capacity likely never find the need to do standard push-ups or pull-ups, as they are so far beyond those exercises in terms of developing bodyweight-exercise strength. Yet if there was a WOD that was only push-ups and pull-ups, a gymnast would likely kick butt, using movements that had not been specifically trained and in rep ranges that they likely rarely if ever venture into. This would solely be due to a single push-up or pull-up requiring so little of a gymnast's potential strength capacity on that move.

Basically, I don't think it is as segmented as we are led to believe, especially if we put a majority of our efforts into the two modalities (gymnastics and OL-specific training) that make up the majority of the CF WODs.

Also, I'd rather put up a good snatch + C&J number, as well as do things like front levers, back levers, and press handstands, than to put up big numbers on a workout like "Cindy".

Mike ODonnell
03-14-2008, 04:36 PM
You can teach a strength athlete endurace pretty quickly....

You can't teach an endurance athlete strength quickly....

In my book, majority of training should be strength and diet....conditioning can come at any time later with practice....

Garrett Smith
03-14-2008, 04:51 PM
Also, I just find putting up a single rep PR or getting a new gymnastics strength move so much more satisfying than cutting seconds off or getting more rounds of an overly repetitive metcon.

I also believe that the adrenal-tapping tendencies of too much (or too long) metcon is really starting to rear its ugly head. It is not talked about much by anyone but me. I think that tendency drives people away from metcon-heavy programs after being on them a while--they outrun their adaptation potential and don't stress their recovery (especially if it is interfering with their 3-on 1-off schedule!). That's in addition to their achy joint(s)--likely due to decreased cortisol production (cortisol, if one didn't know already, is the body's MOST potent anti-inflammatory compound, bar none).

Neill Smith
03-14-2008, 06:04 PM
That's great feedback, Garrett.

Here's what I'm getting at. Some CrossFit tenets are:

Segmented training builds segmented capacity.
Fitness = work capacity (functional movement capacity) over broad time and modal domains.
The best way to improve fitness is a program that uses highly varied, random functional movements performed at a high level of intensity.

Looking at how OL and gymnastic specialists perform in metcon workouts, is it possible to agree with all three statements above?

Gary Valentine
03-14-2008, 06:51 PM
his C&J as stated on the video was something like 158kg.

the man is 94 kg national champion. he has snatched 158 and cj 200 kg. -g

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-14-2008, 07:28 PM
I think it's crazy that he did muscle cleans and still got that time, muscle cleans are "harder" and slower than power cleans. The fact that he strict pressed half the reps was pretty crazy too.

I didn't realize. Even more impressive.

All the best,
Arden

Eric Jones
03-14-2008, 08:11 PM
I personally think that this video is awesome to watch (trust me, it was even cooler to be there) but it does not serve as good evidence that exclusive maximal strength training is good for overall fitness. Donnie rocked the workout, but he was SMOKED for seriously four hours after that. He was able to do that since he is absurdly strong, but I would say that he is out of shape. We have a few athletes here alone that can do sub-5 min. Graces, but could then do it again...and again, no problem.

While the Olympic lifts are unparalleled in producing power and usable flexibility, they are part of a more complete program. Short, medium, and long (30min. or more) power and kettlebell heavy metcons are staples at Rogue and CrossFit in general. They mesh great with dedicated strength and speed training. I have yet to see a motivated client stall in progress in either strength, power, or work capacity. Heavy metcons are mentally tough, especially when done often, but it is up to good coaching to modulate the program to manage fatigue to keep them doable. Case in point, the PM-WOD and Greg do an outstanding job of moderating fatigue to keep intensity at an average high.

It's all up to what is important to you. O-lifting will set the stage for awesome work capacity, but it will not develop it by itself.

Keep pushing the limits.

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-15-2008, 03:01 AM
Wow!!! If the there was a little icon on it's knees praising, i'd put it here. Absolutely fantastic work. Unreal.

All the best,
Arden


yes i did do 30 reps of power snatch in 90 seconds.
I beleive my grace is in the upper 2min range. the sn is much faster as it is 1 motion. also because it only requires 1 jump/drive with the legs it has a lower cardio cost. There is a qulaifier to my time though... I beleive I was catching in a small split stance then begining to lower the wt as i was standing up, thus finishing about 2" or so short on each rep. It's a pretty suttle move but when tony budding asked me about it I went back and repped out some snatches for speed and i was indeed lowering the wt before reaching full extension of the hips. At any rate i have not repeated isobel but i have done sets of ten for time and i can do 10 reps in 20-21 sec. The time I did isobel I did 20 straight reps without dropping the wt in 45 sec. then it took me 45 sec to do the last 10 reps.. ibeive in 7 then 3 reps. they basically become muscle snatches as the nervous system and coordination disapear about rep 15.

Gant Grimes
03-15-2008, 06:02 AM
Basically, I don't think it is as segmented as we are led to believe, especially if we put a majority of our efforts into the two modalities (gymnastics and OL-specific training) that make up the majority of the CF WODs.

If you keep reworking this thing, you're going to get something similar to CrossFit v.2008. I agree with a lot of what you said, and I think Coach is already there.

A couple months ago, I decided to do gymnastics, explosive lifts, and slow lifts with a sprinkling of metcon in these areas (usually odd things, like tires, sledge, KBs, sandbags, and stones (if I could pick the damn things up). No chippers, and no long metcons outside of the Heroes, Eva, and the Filthy Fifty (which isn't long), and I like the way things are progressing.

Derek Simonds
03-15-2008, 10:56 AM
Wow!!! If the there was a little icon on it's knees praising, i'd put it here. Absolutely fantastic work. Unreal.

All the best,
Arden

Arden speaking of the little icon. The family and I were watching you and team USA take Gold at the ESPN outdoors games on TV this morning. I think it was 2005.

Pretty nice peice of undercut axe work.

Keith Gallick
03-15-2008, 12:34 PM
For what it's worth, I've been training the CA workout of the day (minus the metcon) for about 12 weeks. I haven't been near the C2 for about 6 months. Today I hit a 1:24.6 for 500m about 5 seconds off my best having done zero metcon for months.
I definitely feel that good basic strength allows for impressive performance in the 0-90ish secs range.

Keith

Dave Van Skike
03-15-2008, 12:57 PM
I personally think that this video is awesome to watch (trust me, it was even cooler to be there) but it does not serve as good evidence that exclusive maximal strength training is good for overall fitness.


mobius strip alert..overall fitness...for what?

It shouldn't be a surprise that someone who trains for "grace" gets good at doing "grace". what continues to surprise the cognoscenti S&C is that a strength athlete, who doesn't train for this type of effort and is, at least by some definitions "out of shape", can walk in deliver a crushing effort. a longer endurance event like a 5k might be different.

how many "out of shape" metcon jocks can walk in off the street and load even a small 250 pound atlas stone or flip a little 600 pound tire?

at the end of the day the SAID principle rules,
the most transferable quality is strength
the least transferable quality is endurance.

that reality should play a role in one's definition of overall fitness and the decision of where to spend their physical capital.

Garrett Smith
03-15-2008, 01:35 PM
Gary,
I admit the error. That makes Grace only ~30% of his max.

Neill,
Thanks for the reminder of the tenets. I've got them pretty well down, as I've been into the CF thing since I helped Ken Urakawa get CF Southwest off the ground in 2005 (CF was in the low 20's of total affiliates at that time). :)

Keith,
Thanks for the "testimonial" to what I'm getting at.

Gant,
I have been known for catching on to things quickly, and I like to think I have a knack for improving them (at least to fit my needs). I have my own fitness interests as I've stated here, being a CF monster isn't one of them. I thought it was interesting that my perception of what was producing impressive times in some CF WODs was absolute strength training (sometimes to the general exclusion of metcon or including very little, as you and Keith mentioned).

Eric,
While I appreciate where you are coming from, I want to add some things. I am yet to see "repeatability" in the definition of fitness. If a guy runs the fastest 100m sprint in the world and then can't get out of bed for a week, that doesn't take away his record nor make it less impressive. If he runs a 9 sec. flat 100m, and then someone comes and says, "Oh yeah? Well I could run a 23 second 100m multiple times in a row!", ie. 2.5 times as slow, it just doesn't mean much at all to me.

Sure, Donny may be "out of shape" in ways, possibly many ways. He intended to specialize--it was his performance outside of his "specialization" that was surprising and impressive to me personally. Considering his time on that workout, I'd say he has significant "work capacity" in the OLs at weights rx'd for typical CF workouts. He may stink at any other workout that isn't OL-specific, his work capacity may be limited to weights that are a smaller % of his max than a typical CFer, and I don't believe it takes away from his performance.

The question to me is--and realizing that everyone is different in their recovery capacity/habits--at what point does metcon-specific workouts reach diminishing returns? How would that be assessed? I'm thinking that a minimal amount of metcon (whatever that is) and the most time devoted to absolute strength training could possibly produce the greatest fitness. Gant himself has demonstrated some serious improvements simply with his Tabata protocols.

All I feel after long metcons is wasted and useless. If I could get around them for the most part through absolute strength training, I'd take it.

Dave,
You posted while I was writing this. You summed up a good part of what I said in those three lines.

Patrick Donnelly
03-15-2008, 02:24 PM
Besides, lifting heavy weights or doing gymnastics strength exercises is way more fun than a grueling metcon.


That's a toss up in my opinion. They all kick ass. I've had some grueling power-biased MetCon too. For example,

Three rounds for AMRAP:
1:00 max touch-n-go deadlifts
1:00 max HSPU
3:00 rest
Use a weight you can "handle."


All that ever goes through my mind as I do that one is "It's not fair... It's not fair... It's not fair..." I have no idea what the hell isn't fair, but I can assure you that it isn't!

Neill Smith
03-15-2008, 04:16 PM
Garrett:

Your sarcasm is misplaced, but no worries. It's easy to misinterpret the sentiment behind a post. I'm not trying to remind anybody of the CrossFit tenets. What I am saying, is that it's interesting that those tenets are being eroded (or evolving). If you're right that a program with minimal metcon work produces the greatest fitness, I'd say that's pretty revolutionary in the CrossFit and broader fitness communities.

I've been trending in that direction myself. It started with the ME Black Box, and continued with the CA WOD. I find that I can improve my ME performance while keeping my benchmark metcon times just slightly below PRs. If I train the other way--heavy focus on metcon--ME lifts fall off precipitously, and I often feel over-trained/under-recovered.

I also think that sprinting could fit into this approach. ME doesn't have to mean maximum strength. I'd be curious to see the effectiveness of a program with OL/PL, gymnastics, and sprint training, plus the occasional balls-out metcon workout.

Eric Jones
03-15-2008, 04:32 PM
Garrett,

I agree with everything you said and can really appreciate your own disgust with heavy metcons, especially since I have been know as a consummate metcon avoider myself. The problem lies what your definition of fitness is and what you want to do with your physical capabilities. I actually agree with you that super high level displays of human power like a sub-10s 100m or Donnie Shankle's Clean and Jerk are the most impressive things that people can do.

I really like Greg Glassman's definition of fitness of being "relatively high work capacity across broad time and modal domains." Take your theoretical metcon challenged sprinter versus the slower but well conditioned one. In another context, that is the difference between a winning and losing football team. Who can keep the highest average power output longest? Now who is more impressive? Will someone who doesn't ever train for heavy metcons get crushed at the CrossFit Games?

I think this is great discussion! Garrett, I think your question of how much metcon is needed is the essence of what CrossFit is and needs. We want divergent capabilities, so what is the best way to get it all?

Eddie Clark
03-16-2008, 01:01 AM
This is a great thread.

"Overall fitness for what?" That is the question. Fitness to achieve one impressive, explosive feat of athleticism? Or the ability to complete several mediocre efforts tirelessly?

Does this discussion just boil down to the need for specificity?

My workouts are more like Grants. O-lifts, slow lifts, and a sprinkling of metcon stuff. And I am digging the progress.

Arden Cogar Jr.
03-16-2008, 03:32 AM
Arden speaking of the little icon. The family and I were watching you and team USA take Gold at the ESPN outdoors games on TV this morning. I think it was 2005.

Pretty nice peice of undercut axe work.

Thanks so much Derek. I think it was 2005. The GO Games have since ended, but there is talk of returning during 09. Hopefully, I'm not too old to do the more strenuous events. Actually, it's one of the reason I train. It keeps me going.

I too am enjoying this thread. I'm far removed from most of it. I don't believe in debating things that we should just do. I know I need to get more metcon into my workouts and I lothe it. I like the idea of continued improvement without necessarily having to go for PRs very often. My body just can't take it. I prefer to shoot for ranges instead of maximal effort. I see that as having much less injury potential. When you start to get old, getting less hurt sounds really cool for some reason.

Great topic.


all the best,
Arden

Garrett Smith
03-16-2008, 08:25 AM
Neill,
My apologies.

I would like to say that I appreciate the capacity of this forum to really explore this topic without some common knee-jerk defensive reactions that might happen elsewhere.

The specificity thing actually is rearing its head (or appears to be) in the incongruity between "CrossFit--The Sport of Fitness", and the last sentence in the "Elite Fitness in 100 Words": "Regularly learn and play new sports." The pursuit of either of those is antagonistic to being good at any one of the sports in particular. Ie. for one to be really good at CrossFit the sport, one would not want to "waste" their time and precious energy/recovery on other activities not productive to the desired goal.

Also, I have a hunch that Greg E. will likely cover this stuff in a PMenu very soon, much more eloquently and in detail than I ever could.

Back to specificity, I feel that the most benefit I can gain from my training is by regularly staying with strength based workouts (OL, PL, gymnastics) with occasional forays into shorter metcons and very rare longer metcons. I don't want to get "specific" in particular, I just know what kind of training I enjoy and am likely to do for a long time.

Robb Wolf
03-16-2008, 08:41 AM
If training gymnastics and OL will improve those aspects of the WOD, won't running and rowing cover the remaining ground? I'm not talking LSD, but rather max effort 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m workouts (and the corresponding rowing distances).

But wait, doesn't segmented training build segmented capacity?

Well...I guess it depends on what we are calling segmented training. I REALLY like the relay version of helen: one person takes off on a run, comes in and tags a team mate, they bang out 21 kb swings and person 3 does pull-ups (or the kb'er does the pullups...differnet strategy...) or one can do the run, swing and pull ups, then rest 2-3 minutes and go again. This stuff is sooo damn potent and I think it's a nice way to bring ones overall time down with decreasing rest periods. If you OL heavy, get some basic gymnastics skills and nail the running distances from 50-800m you will be a savage....but I'm not sure that is the BEST way to get soldiers ready for deployment or the generalist fitness populace (the folks I see every day) ready for the demands they face. No problem with that however, pick what you wnat when you need it and run with it!

BTW-Donny is NOT out of shape, he is an OL'er, and damn good at it. that said, an interesting question MIGHT be: would Donny do better at the OL's with additional GPP work (think WSBB here). I have no idea, but is suspect the answer is "no".

Mike ODonnell
03-16-2008, 09:06 AM
I see that as having much less injury potential. When you start to get old, getting less hurt sounds really cool for some reason.

Second that...as I train to keep a healthy functional body and an active/fun lifestyle (play competitive sports or just do whatever outside)...so if my training hurts me...then my lifestyle is compromised.

If you OL heavy, get some basic gymnastics skills and nail the running distances from 50-800m you will be a savage.

Bingo...great summation. My ass is not doing 5-10ks on a regular basis (although once in a while I like to just hit the trail and run for however long I feel like it)....But I'd rather be a 400-800 meter runner with strength and explosiveness/quickness which translates better into the sports and activities that I like to do. I also like Robb's approach to cycles of effort with rest for training people. To me I'd rather keep reps in the 5-10 range for most lifts or bodyweight exercises, add weight when it starts getting too easy, get my GPP in whenever I want, and sprint/bike for conditioning. Longer intensity stuff just drains me, I feel more worn down...and it's just not that enjoyable for me.

Also from a longevity standpoint...with the CR studies we see the less food we eat, the longer we can possibly live. So an excessive overload of activity that has me needing 4000+cal just to recover (and creating a ton of free radicals in the process) is not going to be my goal. I instead aim for short bursts of intensity that I can perform and recover from on 2500-3000 cal max.

Garrett Smith
03-16-2008, 02:14 PM
MOD,
We're totally on the same page.

Maybe it's my relatively short attention span, but the idea of doing more and more push-ups (pull-ups, whatever), faster and faster, so that I could get better at doing more push-ups faster, just isn't that appealing to me.

Or taking something as potentially graceful and powerful as the OLs and brutalizing their form for the sake of power output, just doesn't sound good to me.

Also, I would like to point out, and this is aimed towards this new area of GPP training in general, is that these haven't really been under "long-term" scrutiny in terms of producing health and longevity (I'm talking decades here, not less than ten years). The data will likely start showing up soon. As with anything out there, claims are being made (any exercise will improve health parameters in the short term) and we're still waiting.

To extend that--competitive gymnasts have short careers, as do competitive OL folks in general. I believe my statement on gymnasts is relatively well accepted, while some may argue the OLer statement. I'm basing it on the paucity of OL competitors in the USA WL Masters National competitions--usually two, maybe three competitors per weight class, per age group. A medal for practically showing up and completing one of each lift. Not a huge field to compete against and not a good sign for "longevity" in that activity. It was actually looking at the scarcity of master's competitors that made me reconsider if I really wanted to pursue that arena.

So for me, keeping the above in mind and doing my best to integrate that into what I want to pursue (as was mentioned previously) should be interesting. As my goal is longevity of training and function, not super-high-output ASAP, balancing those in my "experiment of one" will give me lots to work on and observe.

Steve Liberati
03-16-2008, 03:22 PM
From a physiological POV, I think the 'strength/power rules' is certainly plausible and more effective for developing elite fitness as the foundation for molding elite athletes. However, we're missing one key and often overlooked component that a solid, GPP program such as CrossFit (with its "long" metcon workouts from time to time) adequately delivers...that is mental toughness. Not so much for the general population as for athletes and (even more so for soldiers, LEO, UFC fighters and the like), but mental toughness it absolutely crucial for these crowds. What fitness program tests your toughness more than going "full blast" on say Cindy or Eva? I can't think of many..certainly not gymnastics or OL'ing, imo.

So I would agree that personal goals is really the deciding factor in this discussion.

Derek Simonds
03-16-2008, 05:56 PM
I just got back from the USAG FL State meet and I will tell you that there wasn't a competitor out there that wasn't mentally tough. I know that a gymnastics competitor is different from someone who trains at gymnastics. Same as an elite level O'Lifter is different from me. I also believe that a competitive O'Lifter is very mentally tough. I believe mental toughness comes with many different pieces of our workout puzzle.

I have learned a lot about my own mental toughness pushing hard on some of the longer metcons. I also find that I push significantly harder on the short metcons because I am not trying to save myself so I can complete the prescribed rounds / time.

Garrett Smith
03-16-2008, 06:10 PM
I'm more a believer in the
"Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
and
"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."
Both quotes are from John Wooden (http://thinkexist.com/quotation/sports_do_not_build_character-they_reveal_it/208017.html), who seemed to know a few things about elite-level athletics.

I do believe that one can improve their mental toughness through slogging through long metcons. How much that can be improved, I don't know. I've also been wondering about this in terms of "memory"--once we've done a hellish metcon and set a time, we set both a performance standard and a "suffering" standard. Our nervous system remembers both. It's tough to voluntarily make the body suffer, hence the need for competition to drive people deeper down that road.

Maybe Donny would have a heck of a time beating that Grace time in the future, if he even wanted to, because the aftermath sucked so badly for him.

On another hand, maybe his naivete about how he'd feel after doing it allowed him to put up such a great time, precisely due to the fact he hadn't experienced anything like that in years. He obviously was able to undergo all that physical discomfort without any training or long metcon work, which IMO agrees with the first quote.

Steve Liberati
03-16-2008, 06:58 PM
I just got back from the USAG FL State meet and I will tell you that there wasn't a competitor out there that wasn't mentally tough. I know that a gymnastics competitor is different from someone who trains at gymnastics. Same as an elite level O'Lifter is different from me. I also believe that a competitive O'Lifter is very mentally tough. I believe mental toughness comes with many different pieces of our workout puzzle.


Derek,
With all due respect, no where in my post did I suggest that Oly lifters and gymnasts are NOT mentally tough. All I said was O-lifting and Gymnastics cannot come close to preparing a soldier or cop or athlete for an extreme situation that requires high levels of mental toughness. Just pointing out that the intensity level (relative to the participant of course) of performing over 25 rounds of Cindy tests one mental toughness and tolerance for pain than a gymnastics or Oly lifting session ever could.

But I think we're starting to drift a little off the original topic here comparing programs rather than discuss the merit of Dr. G's post about long duration metcon being unnecessary for developing one's overall fitness level.

I not only think longer metcon workouts is important for several distinct populations i.e LEO, military, cage fighters, etc (who need CrossFit the most) but crucial if being the best and increasing their survival value is at the top of their priority list.

Mike ODonnell
03-16-2008, 07:18 PM
In continuing the shorter vs longer metcons and strength (lower reps) vs higher reps comparison....

Aren't most people/occupations/sports when we talk about performance/survival...going to need a quick burst of all out 95+% effort in 30sec to a couple minutes and not 20-40 min of continual 60% effort? A fighter fights and rests then repeats, a LEO has to apprehend a suspect quick and forceably (is that a word?), most sports are quick bursts of energy that need all out effort and then recover and repeat. So wouldn't the best training best reflect their needs? (which of course can vary by occupation or sport/position)

Also if an activity wipes someone out for hours afterwards, how does that affect their immediate performance in their job/occupation/lifestyle?

Kind of like the old days of BB mentality of training to not make yourself be able to walk the next day...or days. What good is that if you have to play sports or do anything active? Hence why I like short bouts, strength and quick recovery to move on with my day and do other stuff. That and I still have plenty of conditioning to do a 60% longer effort should the need every arise.

Gant Grimes
03-16-2008, 10:23 PM
These thoughts aren't new. Rip's been clamoring for this for a long time. Coach Rut and Greg E. both came up with programs in response to it. A lot of athletes have been training this way and I have yet to see anyone say, "damn, I wish I hadn't spent all that time getting strong."

Since I have nothing better to do, I'll be the guinea pig once again.

12 weeks.
*OLY: Mon, Tue, Fri
*Starting Strength (sub front squats one day): Wed, Sat
*Metcons will be done on Mon, Tue, Fri, and sometimes Sat. NOTHING longer than 10 mins; most should be done under 6.
*Gymnastics skill work on the OLY days.
*Weekly Tabata.
*I reserve the right to play Judo, mountain bike, or whatever leisurely activity comes my way.

May as well get in on MOD's IF Challenge since I fell off the wagon the last couple weeks (traveling, family functions, ice cream, chocolate cake...). I'll measure weight, waist, BF% (relative), strength and metcon benchmarks, and before/after pictures (what the hell...).

Place your bets as to results.

Allen Yeh
03-17-2008, 03:53 AM
Wow this thread has blown up and has taken a few turns off-topic. It wasn't my intention to stir all this up when I posted it but just to showcase a elite weightlifter trying out a CrossFit workout.

Whoever said he's "out of shape" err maybe out of shape for doing metcons but not for what he specifically is shooting for in his life right now.

Gant,

You are one crazy mofo. Where shall I be sending my condolences to? That is one crazy schedule and I know I don't have enough ways to recover from 1 week of that. I'll definitely be watching your log in interest.

Derek Simonds
03-17-2008, 04:15 AM
Derek,
With all due respect, no where in my post did I suggest that Oly lifters and gymnasts are NOT mentally tough.

No problem, Steve. I wasn't trying to come off snippy. I had just got out of the car after a 5 hour drive back from the meet and was a little tired when I read the post.

BTW I am with Allen. I enjoy the discussions as long as they don't turn crappy and I certainly didn't mean to come off that way.

I said it early in the post Donnie is a bad man! Boots, blue jeans and all.

Greg Everett
03-17-2008, 10:58 AM
I do think it's funny that people have watched that video and been impressed with his "metabolic conditioning" - But as garrett points out, 135 lbs is 30% of his max. That's like most CFers doing Grace with an empty bar. What it is instead is a demonstration of why greater strength levels improve the ability to perform that kind of work.

John Seiler
03-17-2008, 11:40 AM
This thread reminds me of a conversation with a guy I used to work out with. Joe is a St. Louis City Police Officer. Probably about 5'10' and 230#; a little extra fat around the mid-section but still a very powerful guy. He was telling me about a call he got in building where the elevator was out. His power allowed him to 'sprint' to the 14th floor. Very fortunately by his description, there was not an emergency or fight when he got there as he was completely wiped out by running up the stairs.

As has been mentioned, the question for us to ask is: Fit enough for what? In this case a slightly extended effort turned a First floor monster into a Fourteenth floor milquetoast. On the other hand, most of Joe's encounters take place on the first floor. Where does he place his efforts?

I think what Donnie's incredible performance does is place what we already know in very stark relief. As CF and CA type WOD's continue to grow in popularity we'll see even more "razor's edge" athlete's like Donnie turn in mind-boggling performances. As we see these athlete's strengths in our context, we'll continue to refine how to proceed.

The value of strength and power have very clearly been exposed as the foundation of performance in GPP and our focus should lean that way. This might be even more true of the general populace (non-competitive athletes) that is so clearly lacking in strength/power.

Mike ODonnell
03-17-2008, 11:53 AM
If I could go back in time and meet my 13yr old self....(amoung other things I would tell myself about future women to avoid...and save my money and not take that terrible tasting weight gainer fuel)...would be to take gymnastics and get someone to teach me Oly lifting. Sadly I only started to realize these things after age 30 as the only Jerks that I Pushed up to that point were in the bar...but I guess it's never too late!

John Seiler
03-17-2008, 12:40 PM
If I could go back in time and meet my 13yr old self....(amoung other things I would tell myself about future women to avoid)...would be to take gymnastics and get someone to teach me Oly lifting. Sadly I only started to realize these things after age 30...but I guess it's never too late!

Amen, brother!!!

For those who haven't caught it yet, here's TC's interesting take on paying back Joe Weider for all that wasted time:
http://www.t-nation.com/article/atomic_dog/an_ax_in_joe_weiders_chest

Mike ODonnell
03-17-2008, 12:52 PM
Amen, brother!!!

For those who haven't caught it yet, here's TC's interesting take on paying back Joe Weider for all that wasted time:
http://www.t-nation.com/article/atomic_dog/an_ax_in_joe_weiders_chest

That is pretty damn funny...
As such, many of us emulated the alleged Muscle and Fitness workouts of the stars — 2 hours a day or more, 7 days a week — without the benefit of chemical enhancement.
If only we had the internet to actually get real info....oh well. I don't read too many T-nation articles anymore but I have to admit that is a good one and true to most of what he says.

sarena kopciel
03-17-2008, 02:50 PM
OK so I just read this thread now for the first time and I am not an "experienced lifter" or even a former bodybuilder, I am just a new grandma that found CF in the summer of 06 as I was trying to lose weight and overcome type 2 diabetes!!! Initially an hour wasnt even enough for me to do a CFWU. Eventually with changes and tweaks to my nutrition (mind you a health food freak here!!), I started to CF WODS pretty regularly with some scaling--eventually getting as near to RXd as possible. Yet as someone my age, I came into the game with previous injuries etc.

My injuries would reappear and reappear then somewhere else. I couldnt shake them. I was in PT a few times in 15 months and nursing this and that! I am not "blaming" the CF but it appeared to not be working for me. I was accused of overtraining, which I was at times too. I guess it was the some is good, more is better syndrome!!

Long story short, I started exclusively Olifting back in November 07 from 3-5 week and pretty much stopped CFing at the same time. While I am working form, I have hit some nice PRs on my squats (82kg BS). My weight hasnt really changed in a while (up/down 3-4lbs for several months) but that may be normal due to cold winter weather and increased (hopefully" muscle mass. I had my bf measured in late Nov or early Dec; it is being repeated tomorrow and I hope there is change (although I am not IFing as regularly now as then, so I am not sure).

I just know I am doing low reps with high intensity and I feel great despite a lot of consistent training. My focus has improved and I am not getting injured. I think training this way has taught me that more is not necc better and less may actually be better. I dont think I have done a metcon in months now.

When talking to my coach the other day about CF being a good training methodology for GPP, he said in what regard. I used the classic example of say running away from someone chasing you. He said that if that is the goal of CF, why are they training indoors in gyms and not outdoors in the real world? It kinda made sense to my simple mind.

Basically, my point is stress (whether "good" or "bad")is stress on the body and the high reps heavy duty metcon were really tearing me apart both physically and mentally!! As my coach (http://www.next-step-conditioning-systems.com/about-israel-sanchez.html) says consistently people first need to concentrate on form and then intensity will follow. Also that training in your 40s needs to be totally different than how a 20 yo will train. As much as I didnt want to hear it or see it, I can really respect those principles now. Now if I dont make a lift, I dont get pissed. I just say oh well, next time I will try again or even drop the weight further and concentrate on form and consistency!

I look at some of the "balls to the walls" CFers that are at it everyday, some even claim that they did so and so with no WU. To me that is just plain stupid and they may not recognize it, but there bodies will talk to them and call for the respet it so wants and deserves!

Just my opinions, thoughts, ramblings....

Oh Dr G, you did teach me this as well....

David Mathews
03-18-2008, 08:14 AM
For me I look at a guy like OPT who has a strong xfit total and now,correct me if I am wrong,is doing the pmenu workouts, and crushes any WOD thrown at him,and realize that maybe it's best to strive for this kind of balance.Some of us need more strength work and some need more metcon and at some point it needs to be balanced.When I see LEO,military,firefighters(people who's life hangs in the balance) doing a good deal of metcon with strength work(oly lifts,deads,squats,press etc.) where they feel it is needed says volumes.Hell, the navy SEAL website now has a crossfit WOD section they do 6 days a week. I do think too many people are so worried about overtraining that they don't feel like they can safely achieve this amount of work capacity to develop an OPTlike combination of fitness. Unless you are specializing in something this seems to me the route to take.Earlier in this thread someone said they would take the guy who could run a 100m dash once in 9sec over the guy who could run it over and over and over in 23 sec.Well I want the guy who can run it over and over and over and over in 12 sec.:) Btw Donny Shankle is one strong dude!

Greg Everett
03-18-2008, 08:28 AM
OPT doesn't do our WOD. I supplied him programming for a 6-wk cycle a while back (O-lifting only) to get his numbers up, and then he returned to his regular training.

Garrett Smith
03-18-2008, 09:20 AM
Greg E. totally summed it up again.

My last C&J max was 96.5kg. If I was "out of shape" metcon-wise, I'd still be able to demonstrate major AKP if the rx'd weight was only 30kg!!!

Derek, the major difference between the theoretical 9-sec. 100m dash world record holder (who could only do it once and is then spent) and the guy who can run a 12-sec. over and over again is that everybody will know the first guy's name and the second guy will languish in obscurity. Kind of like everyone here now knows who Donny Shankle is...

If celebrity status is important to a person, that is...

Gant Grimes
03-18-2008, 12:20 PM
Derek, the major difference between the theoretical 9-sec. 100m dash world record holder (who could only do it once and is then spent) and the guy who can run a 12-sec. over and over again is that everybody will know the first guy's name...

until somebody beats his record.

The funniest thing about this thread is that we're debating Donny's fitness after he did a half-ass Grace and crushed everyone who came before him...after winning the national weightlifting title a few hours before.

I'm interested in the whole package. I can't do Grace like Donny, and I can't do 30 MUs for time like Jordan Jovtchev. But I am reasonably strong, can do the catalog of benchmarks fairly well, and am enjoying an active, pain-free (except for Judo) life after the age of 30. I'm comfortable being the second guy (or the third...).

Nobody will remember my name, but I wouldn't trade places with Earl Campbell for all the money in the world.

Kalen Meine
03-19-2008, 05:57 PM
I smell navel gazing. I think we as a group, trapped between the uber-specificity horrors of the the marathoner who can't jump on one end and the powerlifter who can't finish a flight of stairs on the other, and surrounded by general Bally's-esque ineptitude, have just lost sight of the fact that most athletic and athletic training activities bump all the sliders a bit, not just the ones being targeted.

I think the corollary to our "comes in second in everything" uber-generalist is the weightlifting/gymnastic/track athlete who comes in first at their sport and third or fourth in everyone else's. We can be friends with those kids too.

Dave Van Skike
03-19-2008, 06:32 PM
is the weightlifting/gymnastic/track athlete who comes in first at their sport and third or fourth in everyone else's. We can be friends with those kids too.

In the interest of beating the horse, I'd like to see a case study on that. try
third in the chosen disciple and no show everywhere else.

Ever met an actual weightlifter who ran track remotely competitively ? or a competitive gymnast over the age of 20?

I've seen strongman and woman competitors who also compete in highland games. I've seen highland gamers who were also shot and discus throwers, frankly the common thread is that they train a lot like a powerlifter...you know, those guys "who can't finish a flight of stairs"

Patrick Donnelly
03-19-2008, 09:04 PM
Anyone see the CF WOD for 3/20/2008?

Mike ODonnell
03-19-2008, 09:39 PM
400 meter runs? Funny enough I live in a development with a circular street...exactly 800meters. Unfortunately I don't think the neighbors would appreciate me running through their kitchen and hopping their pool and fence like Ferris Bueller to make it 400 meters.....not sure where I am going with all that just wanted to reference Ferris Bueller. 400 meters are fun!

Steve Liberati
03-20-2008, 04:33 AM
not sure where I am going with all that just wanted to reference Ferris Bueller

MOD, you post too much. ha!

Steven Low
03-23-2008, 05:48 PM
Well, not to really beat a dead horse but I've already kinda experienced the opposite side of the oly lifting/gymnastics.

As some of you may know I've been really just doing strength cycles with rings and a pullup bar (+ weight added for pullups and stuff) for the past like half a year and even some before my knee got busted.

In terms of WODs like 30 MUs for time, I can put up sub 3 performance fairly easily (sub 2:30 with slightly bent arms + no eccentric) and most of the other stuff bodyweight stuff comes easy as well. On the other hand, with a prolonged effort like Cindy I am pretty sure something like the pushups would be the limiting factor into the 20+ rounds area.. so obviously NOT that great in extremely prolonged situations. Well, I'll let you be the judge; here's one of the more 'metcon + work after' situations I did recently (last Thurs):

30 MUs for time (full extension w/ eccentrics & ~regulation straps): 2:57
dynos for 2ft full hang: 3x of right, left, right left, both hands
kipping clapping pullups: 1x30, 1x20

After the 30 MUs I was able to do dynos (with just upper body) and more power work in kipping clapping pullups (made sure I made pullup level with every clap).

Other than random stuff like this I rarely do metcons at all right now. I'd say that's fairly good efforts for pretty much no metcon. Work capacity in probably sub 10 min efforts for at least upper body work is in "elite" CF range.


Now, considering I like to help people with gymnastics goals, when I look at helping people out it ALWAYS boils down to goals. So clearly, if what you need is mostly strength or power for your profession/job/whatever then that is what you need to focus on. Specificity is definitely important even with something like mostly CF.

I'd say if your goals are along the lines of GPP related there ALWAYS must be at least some form of GPP in your routine (generally probably at least once a week). Depending on your ability level, doing pure GPP may be better to a point (if you capacity is poor, but your strength exceeds your work capacity). On the other hand, if your work capacity is good and your strength is poor, you would definitely be more benefited by doing strength work. I think we can all agree on that.

Now, the real question is muddled a bit in obscurity: what about someone who's work capacity is poor and strength level is poor as well as someone who's work capacity is high and strength level is high. There's a couple of ways to approach this and my comments on the CF forum about doing something like SS first for the poor/poor person are what I stand by as strength is harder to gain. However, as you guys know GPP and strength tend to return diminishing gains as you improve. At what point should there be a strength/power bias over GPP? Well, having not given this much thought I really don't know myself. All I do know though is that I can put up fairly strong short-medium effort workouts with my "high" max strength in gymnastics (really more like low-intermediate in REAL gymnastics terms) as can Donnie (to a MUCH greater extent) on Oly because of his enormous power and strength.

In JUST speculating this is probably what I would have to say on this topic. Namely, I would say a mixed power/strength and GPP hybrid would be a good idea. CF workouts themselves are SIMILAR in nature to the extent that you have your max efforts (recently C&J 1-1-1-1s, metcons (girls) and endurance (5k, 10k, etc.) type workouts. The main thing we have to look when comparing something along the lines of a power/strength + GPP vs. CF is generally that there's diminishing returns because you're working all aspects rather than specializing on say just power, strength or endurance. On the other hand, what I'm saying is virtually the same thing in respect although slightly different. If GPP is randomized via something like CF and volume toned down slightly (besides occasionally for longer efforts like heroes) in regards to either metcons/endurance, then you get a slightly more strength/power biased program which is theoretically more effective if strength/power give better returns to GPP. Given that we have a high frequency the high conditioning level is definitely a factor here that would prevent people with less work capacity to do such a thing. Basically, it would just boil down to something like maybe 1-3 oly lifts/gymnastics strength and then CF afterwards.

The one criticism I have with this is again the diminishing returns you get when combining power/strength work with endurance biased work that you would generally get with CF's metcons and endurance runs. However, this is basically the inherent dilemma that we're going to face regardless as there is always going to be a tradeoff. Biasing it a little more one way or another is going to give significant decreasing gains one way or the other. Adjustment therefore needs to be either slightly more power/strength or endurance biased FROM CF's GPP standpoint to achieve greater GPP. Again, I think this goes bak to goals.

The only thing I can see with certainty that will increase gains is higher frequency. With higher frequency it's pretty obvious that you get faster adaptations as per a 3/1 cycle you're gonna have about 3-9 lifts per week + 3 "CFs". However, obviously this may not be as sustainable in the long run and can lead to overtraining/overuse more easily... but that's not something we're going to worry about.

To be honest, I don't think there is really a clear cut answer to the question. Especially in modifying something like CF it may be arbitrary to shift a bit of focus towards strength/power biasing workouts a bit more... but are the gains worth it? I dunno.

Anyway, yeah, I guess that's it.


p.S. Wanted to add that max power is generated at about 40-50% of 1 RM IIRC. Although not sure if that would be the case if you were combining multiple exercises into something like a metcon. But I do think that by playing with the numbers depending on the exercises you can do you can "maximize" power if you want to call it that.

I know there's been pretty big discussions on power vs form so I'll leave it at that for now I guess.


P.S.S. Most *male* elite gymnasts are in their 20s and early 30s. There's just a few olympic level gymnasts and they're usually in their late teens. It's the girls that tend to peak earlier (before massive puberty growth spurts and such that decrease strength to bodyweight ratio and such). Guys just tend to keep on getting stronger which is great especially for events like rings. People like Jovtchev who were once the exception are now getting relatively more common at least with the men.

Patrick Donnelly
03-24-2008, 07:07 AM
with my "high" max strength in gymnastics (really more like low-intermediate in REAL gymnastics terms)

lol...

Steven Low
03-24-2008, 05:27 PM
lol...
It's true. Best I got is cross.. which is a B on an F scale of moves, lol.