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Timothy Holmes
02-11-2009, 03:37 AM
I'm training for the decathlon, and in the off-season want to increase my 'work capacity' to make specific training in season more effective.

I understand the CF definition of work capacity (force-distance., broad time and modal), but I want to know more about the more specific work capacity, that is, being able to do more volume without fatigue and with better recovery. Are they the same?

The CF mainpage (the greatest GPP prgram for developing work capacity EVER! :rolleyes: ) could be tweaked to be more specific to decathlon training. Maybe by taking out the very long metcons, adding rests (a la Power Bias). How could I make GPP program that would be more beneficial to event training?

In general, training activities (those which contribute directly to performance) are sprinting, event-specific drills and full throws/jumps, strength training (weights and plyos). I have read about PLers doing density training using the three lifts to increase specific work capacity. Do I need to do a similar thing?

Steven Low
02-11-2009, 08:13 AM
I'm training for the decathlon, and in the off-season want to increase my 'work capacity' to make specific training in season more effective.

I understand the CF definition of work capacity (force-distance., broad time and modal), but I want to know more about the more specific work capacity, that is, being able to do more volume without fatigue and with better recovery. Are they the same?

They are one and the same. High intensity training at medium or higher volume tends to allow the body to adapt to physiological conditions of the extreme stress that you put on it so there's less overall damage and you can operate well under such conditions.

The CF mainpage (the greatest GPP prgram for developing work capacity EVER! :rolleyes: ) could be tweaked to be more specific to decathlon training. Maybe by taking out the very long metcons, adding rests (a la Power Bias). How could I make GPP program that would be more beneficial to event training?

I'd talk to a decathlon coach for that.

I mean, for "PURE" work capacity for the running aspect you should do 400m sprint intervals for your mile training. This will help improve your 400m as well. Kinda stuff like that.

In general, training activities (those which contribute directly to performance) are sprinting, event-specific drills and full throws/jumps, strength training (weights and plyos). I have read about PLers doing density training using the three lifts to increase specific work capacity. Do I need to do a similar thing?

I like density training, but for pure GPP I think intervals are more effective especially if you're trying to power bias everything.

What did you do from the last thread you made on the subject? If you can figure out what worked and what didn't that would be a good idea.

http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2603

Patrick Yeung
02-12-2009, 04:52 PM
I think CF is too GPP if youre interested in preparing for a sport. You may be better off like you said doing more specific training program.

I am more familar with Triathlons, and found CrossFitEndurance.com a welcome break to my LSD workouts. Have you checked out their site? Of course, that is only for those who have a good base already, but looking at your sig, youd fit in nicely.

Timothy Holmes
02-13-2009, 01:14 AM
They are one and the same. High intensity training at medium or higher volume tends to allow the body to adapt to physiological conditions of the extreme stress that you put on it so there's less overall damage and you can operate well under such conditions.

I'd talk to a decathlon coach for that.

I mean, for "PURE" work capacity for the running aspect you should do 400m sprint intervals for your mile training. This will help improve your 400m as well. Kinda stuff like that.

So there's CF WC, which is broad time and blah, and then there is work capacity which is for the 1500m, a narrow time and modal domain? I guess since the decathlon encompasses so much, conditioning should be broad.

I like density training, but for pure GPP I think intervals are more effective especially if you're trying to power bias everything.

What did you do from the last thread you made on the subject? If you can figure out what worked and what didn't that would be a good idea.

http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2603

Thanks for your post your reply in the thread (and this one), Steven. Useful advice still and as always.

I've found that technical training is king. I've done very little training with a barbell in the last three months (x1 a week tops), but I'm still setting PBs in most events. In the field events, it's due to improved technique, but since I've neglected conditioning a bit, training and competing has become a bit harder. I expect that it will even more dramatic as I learn to use a higher proportion of my physical abilities (strength, speed...). Also, they will contribute more to performance too. I'm trying to learn from my mistake - build my conditioning and make sure that I do something to maintain it closer to/through the season.

Sprinting has been working very well. 60m is now my fav distance. :p Perhaps that's something else I can do that's specific - <60m intervals with short rest (<2'). What do you think? My only concern is the degrading of form in the later rounds...

I'm trying to keep in mind that I'm a "a decathlete that trains to improve fitness to improve your events, not a 'say CrossFitter' who does decathlons" (Scott K.). I definitely didn't do this late time round.

weights (heavy), MB throws/BW circuit
plyos (light), metcon
weights (light), hill runs
plyos (heavy), MB throws/BW circuit (or rest)
hill runs
weights (heavy), metcon
rest

over 6-9 months (off-season to pre-season):
- weights get heavier (maybe start bilateral focussed and move to unilateral or the other way round?)
- plyos get more intense, add speed work (weights and plyos may need to be alternated in intensity in 3 week blocks)
- MB throws/BW circuit become implement throws and specific event conditioning drills
- hill runs become hill sprints become track intervals (intensity might need to be alternated alongside plyos)
- metcon reduces (volume-wise) to maintenance levels

Steven Low
02-13-2009, 12:34 PM
CrossFit is [...] (1) constantly varied (2) functional movement executed at (3) high intensity [which is] measured by increased (4) work capacity across (5) broad time and modal domains

You know, the more I thought about your question (aka what is work capacity?) in the context of CF... the more I think the answer is

"resistance to fatigue" over broad time and modal domains.

This encompasses both the (1) ability of metabolic pathways to supply the body with energy and (2) the ability of the body's muscles/CNS to resist damage and keep operating under stress.

So if I had to say anything I'd definitely say work capacity = the ability of the body to resist fatigue.


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

I like the 60m distance.. although you might need some longer runs for the 1500m unless you're just gonna try to "just do it."

I'd say try it out and see if it works if you can't ask a coach or anything. Looks as good as anything I could produce. :p

Garrett Smith
02-13-2009, 09:58 PM
Steven,
I like "resistance to fatigue" much better. That's a great addition--wordy, but a great tweak to the infamous phrase.

One thing I really realized had been discarded from the definition of "work capacity" (which is only measured in vertical displacement) is TORQUE. This is why, as you well know, gymnasts are regarded as having some of the strongest upper bodies in athletics.

Just because torque is harder to quantify and measure doesn't mean it is worthless in fitness. Sorry for thread hijack.

Steven Low
02-13-2009, 10:03 PM
That is true Garrett... isometric movements tend to be the "best" examples of how torque can make you strong without any vertical or horizontal displacement of weight.

George Mounce
02-14-2009, 05:43 AM
To the OP:

CF is great for the off-season, so is working on weak areas. I wouldn't think too much beyond that. During the season though your training should be more specific for your sport. KISS methodology works good here.

To the others:

Torque isn't left out. It is part and parcel to all development. Just because it says "work" doesn't mean it isn't talking about all forces on the body. The bigger brains like you guys will look into that stuff, but for the masses, the words "work" and "power" well, they suffice! I would agree with Steven here that "resistance to fatigue," a.k.a. endurance (of various forms), a.k.a. stamina (again I like one-word descriptors) is a healthy byproduct of high intensity and GPP training.

Now to go all scientific...read this: http://www.scipub.org/fulltext/ajas/ajas5121670-1675.pdf

Excerpt:

The result of this research indicates that a little
change in angular velocity in joints leads to
considerable power enhancement of weightlifter. The
finding of this research can help Olympic weightlifters
to modify their techniques and enhance their power by
defining the optimum angular velocity. It is
recommended to extend the presented model by adding
muscular models through combinations of springs and
dampers which their coefficients can be obtained from
electromyography.

Another great example: http://www.exrx.net/Kinesiology/Squats.html

Torque Force

Barbell Squat

Contrary to propaganda, prominent weight training authorities demonstrate the squat with the knees flexing forward at the same distance as the hips flex backwards. Fredrick Hatfield, Ph.D., the first man to squat over 800 lbs, recommends the knees to extend over the feet with the back more upright for quadriceps development. "Strength Training for Young Athletes" by Steven J. Fleck, PhD and William J. Kraemer, PhD, illustrate parallel squats with the knees extending beyond the feet (knees moving forward with same magnitude as the hips moving backwards).

Torque force is necessary for the muscles and joint structures to adapt to the respected overload. If the knee does not travel forward during the barbell squat, the quadriceps muscles are not significantly exercised. On the other hand, injury may result if the knee or lower back experience greater torque forces than to what they are accustomed.

Fry et. al. (2003) examined the hip and knee torque forces of variations of parallel barbels squats and concluded appropriate joint loading during this exercise may require the knees to move slightly past the toes.

Try this simplified qualitative method in determining relative torque forces in the knee and hip joints. First take a photograph of the barbell squat in a full descent with a perspective perpendicular to the joints plane. Draw a line of force through the resistance on its center of gravity, straight up and down, parallel to the force of gravity. Gravity acting on both the body mass and added mass (barbell) contribute to the resistance. On the barbell squat, the center of gravity is between the forefoot and heel. If it is not, the individual will fall over, toward the center of gravity. Incidentally, compression forces act upon the joints during the squat stance.

Powerlifitng-style Squat

During the execution of a barbell squat, the knees and the hips travel in opposite directions away from the foot, or away from the center of gravity. Draw a second line on the knee joint parallel to the line of force. Draw a third line on the hip joint parallel to the previous lines. A relative comparison can be made on the torque forces of the knee and hip. Typically the torque forces are similar for the knee and hip joints on the barbell squat; the knees travel forward the same magnitude as the hips travel backwards. Generally speaking, during a powerlift type squat (bar lower behind the shoulders and a wider stance) the knee does not travel forward as far as a bodybuilding type squat. The hips typically travel back further with the torso bent forward on a powerlift type squat. This emphasizes the stronger hip extensors and adductors and consequently reduces knee extensor involvement. Knee torque is further reduced by a wide stance.

The info is out there, I read it often.

Timothy Holmes
02-16-2009, 02:04 AM
*penny drops*

Steven, that sums it up very nicely. For now on, that will be exactly how I think of conditioning. It was interesting to see my 400m times at club meets (usually the last event for the day) over the course of the season get worse as my conditioning decreased.

From this article (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.athleticscoaching.ca%2FUserFi les%2FFile%2FSport%2520Science%2FTheory%2520%26%25 20Methodology%2FCombined%2520Events%2FDecathlon%2F Shelkov%2520Running%2520Loads%2520in%2520Decathlon %2520Training.pdf&ei=BDaZSaHRJYGEsQOYmMCQAQ&usg=AFQjCNFWxYp35kc1oHr7lZpe7fv1rXjEeg&sig2=dxSen4oYmIrfAwWkhY5iBQ):
develop work capacity (my focus for 6 months) :D
train speed/strength
train speed endurance
use event specific speed endurance runs (in season)

-----
"One thing I really realized had been discarded from the definition of "work capacity" (which is only measured in vertical displacement) is TORQUE." I wonder if the original use of "work capacity" was actually so literal... I suspect not.

Brian Stone
02-22-2009, 11:39 AM
I think that some of the points made herein excellently reinforce what I feel is an over-simplicity in the typical CF et al. model of work capacity. It'd be an easier sell to use the P=F*d/t equation in a vacuum, but using it to make strict data assessments is tricky IMV.

For example, this model claims that moving the same load over the same distance in less time is a strictly and measurably more powerful movement. This is going to be true to an extent, but I don't feel it will be as linear as the F2*d2/t2 - F1*d1/t1 would imply. Consider an athlete doing a 400 pound deadlift in a very slow, controlled, 5 second gradual lift vs. that same athlete deadlifting that same load in a tenth that time. It seems to me that calling the latter movement 10 times more powerful discounts the differing groups that will be recruited in each effort as well as the vastly increased isometric stresses demanded by the slower movement. All of these things require work and use energy. The same thing I think can be brought into the great pullup debate.

I'd be interested in any feedback. I'm not 100% sold on this but have just been bouncing it around when reading and viewing some of the scientific analyses I've seen and the underlying assumptions of those analyses.

Steven Low
02-22-2009, 02:05 PM
I think that some of the points made herein excellently reinforce what I feel is an over-simplicity in the typical CF et al. model of work capacity. It'd be an easier sell to use the P=F*d/t equation in a vacuum, but using it to make strict data assessments is tricky IMV.

For example, this model claims that moving the same load over the same distance in less time is a strictly and measurably more powerful movement. This is going to be true to an extent, but I don't feel it will be as linear as the F2*d2/t2 - F1*d1/t1 would imply. Consider an athlete doing a 400 pound deadlift in a very slow, controlled, 5 second gradual lift vs. that same athlete deadlifting that same load in a tenth that time. It seems to me that calling the latter movement 10 times more powerful discounts the differing groups that will be recruited in each effort as well as the vastly increased isometric stresses demanded by the slower movement. All of these things require work and use energy. The same thing I think can be brought into the great pullup debate.

I'd be interested in any feedback. I'm not 100% sold on this but have just been bouncing it around when reading and viewing some of the scientific analyses I've seen and the underlying assumptions of those analyses.
Well, like most theories such as newton's mechanics... which breaks down at high gravity...

We have the CF model that kind of breaks down at heavy weight... even my suggestion here with "resistance to fatigue" doesn't really encompass what heavy weights do.

The main problem is that CF model of work capacity & resistance to fatigue is mainly built around muscular energy pathways. With increasing loads per rep, the physiological response shifts away from the energy pathways and towards CNS/muscle CSA related strength increases. These are, for the most part, not accurately represented by the present models as you have noted.

On CF forums somewhere I proposed something along the lines that work capacity should be taken in context to 1 RM.... but that makes it unnecessarily complicated. If you have any suggestions on how this problem can be approached I'd like to hear it.


In the meantime, I will keep thinking about it some more... I think the dual factor recovery model could play an interesting role as a kind of template for something regarding the energy pathways + CNS/muscle CSA combination. Gotta think creatively though.

Unfortunately, it will be "decently complicated" in the end at least just as Einstein's general relativity solved some of the deficiencies of Newton's mechanics...

George Mounce
02-22-2009, 03:29 PM
My only question is when is string theory going to be applied? :D

Brian Stone
02-22-2009, 06:13 PM
On CF forums somewhere I proposed something along the lines that work capacity should be taken in context to 1 RM.... but that makes it unnecessarily complicated. If you have any suggestions on how this problem can be approached I'd like to hear it.


In the meantime, I will keep thinking about it some more... I think the dual factor recovery model could play an interesting role as a kind of template for something regarding the energy pathways + CNS/muscle CSA combination. Gotta think creatively though.

Unfortunately, it will be "decently complicated" in the end at least just as Einstein's general relativity solved some of the deficiencies of Newton's mechanics...
Steven, I don't have the expertise to approach this too far from a physiological standpoint

However, in keeping with the physics approach being espoused by CF, it seems that going in the other direction might be more beneficial. Measuring total energy output over the span of an exercise or interval would provide a measure of average power output over that time. An energy curve would be even better as it could be differentiated to yield the "real" power curve (which, in turn, could be differentiated to show a more accurate work curve). Unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to measure energy output, even with the right equipment, without introducing a great deal of assumption into the system. You could, at best, get a rough estimate of an energy curve with painstaking analysis. At least that is my understanding.

That said, I'd be interested in seeing this approach done on a group of athletes in a laboratory setting (think "Sports Science") and differentiated as noted above and compared with the curves yielded by the CF model. How they measure up at varying loads and movements should tell a great deal about the efficacy or lack thereof of the CF model.

Ultimately, I do suspect the CF model is an excellent and fast poor man's approach and definitely worthy at this stage of serious consideration at most and is valuable at least. You're correct that the flaws definitely do become apparent with heavier weights, however, and I think in the same respect it breaks down with fatigue, as things like form and the path traveled by the load begin to deteriorate.

Ben Fury
02-22-2009, 06:53 PM
Top to bottom event scores of the 100 highest decathlon scores ever.

1. Long Jump
2. 110m Hurdles
3. 100 meters
4. 400 meters
5. Pole Vault
6. High Jump
7. Shot Put
8. Discus
9. Javelin
10. 1500m

Looks like developing explosive speed/strength to the lower body is where the big boys live. The LSD endurance and upper body explosiveness have to be sacrificed to some degree to get that to happen.

CF is too much of a shotgun to be of much use for such a technically demanding sport. What's been published about how the top guys like Sebrle and Clay train? I'd be mining that stuff for clues. Have their coaches published anything you can pull from?

Here's a page with summaries of decathlon training programming of four top coaches:
http://www.coachr.org/development_and_training_techniques_of_american_de cathletes.htm

Craig Loizides
02-23-2009, 03:18 PM
I think that some of the points made herein excellently reinforce what I feel is an over-simplicity in the typical CF et al. model of work capacity. It'd be an easier sell to use the P=F*d/t equation in a vacuum, but using it to make strict data assessments is tricky IMV.

For example, this model claims that moving the same load over the same distance in less time is a strictly and measurably more powerful movement. This is going to be true to an extent, but I don't feel it will be as linear as the F2*d2/t2 - F1*d1/t1 would imply. Consider an athlete doing a 400 pound deadlift in a very slow, controlled, 5 second gradual lift vs. that same athlete deadlifting that same load in a tenth that time. It seems to me that calling the latter movement 10 times more powerful discounts the differing groups that will be recruited in each effort as well as the vastly increased isometric stresses demanded by the slower movement. All of these things require work and use energy. The same thing I think can be brought into the great pullup debate.

I'd be interested in any feedback. I'm not 100% sold on this but have just been bouncing it around when reading and viewing some of the scientific analyses I've seen and the underlying assumptions of those analyses.

The 2 events you described are different time durations so they would represent different points on the curve. The athlete who lifted 400 pounds in 1/2 second might be able to do a maximum weight of 500 pounds in 5 seconds making him 25 % more powerful rather than 10 times more powerful. The athlete who did 400 pounds in 5 seconds might only be able to do 320 pounds in 1/2 second so again there is only a 25% difference.

If there's a problem with the model I think it's that it doesn't give any credit for the eccentric portion of the lift. A workout like 30 muscle ups for time is very different if you drop off the rings at the top of each rep rather than doing a controlled descent. I guess it's not a problem with the model. You just have to be careful not to compare the 2 as the same workout.

Steven Low
02-23-2009, 06:00 PM
If there's a problem with the model I think it's that it doesn't give any credit for the eccentric portion of the lift. A workout like 30 muscle ups for time is very different if you drop off the rings at the top of each rep rather than doing a controlled descent. I guess it's not a problem with the model. You just have to be careful not to compare the 2 as the same workout.

Hmm, this is true. The eccentric portion of 30 MUs is approximately 15-25% of the work by my estimation of comparitive times.

Both isometric work and eccentric work isn't credited in the power model really. Too hard to do though, so I don't think there's any point.

Brian Stone
02-23-2009, 06:01 PM
The 2 events you described are different time durations so they would represent different points on the curve. The athlete who lifted 400 pounds in 1/2 second might be able to do a maximum weight of 500 pounds in 5 seconds making him 25 % more powerful rather than 10 times more powerful. The athlete who did 400 pounds in 5 seconds might only be able to do 320 pounds in 1/2 second so again there is only a 25% difference.
This is not accurate. The formulas I posted above take t2 and t1 into account. The CrossFit model as described by Coach Glassman in all his lectures not only works for differing times, but expects it. That's the whole point of setting PR's on things like Helen and Fran so you can go back and compare t2 to t1 to find your average power increase over the two workouts. Clearly, both efforts will represent different points on the t axis. Assuming all things relatively constant (BW relatively the same and moving the same loads), the "Work" done in both efforts are virtually the same, according to the CF model.

If there's a problem with the model I think it's that it doesn't give any credit for the eccentric portion of the lift. A workout like 30 muscle ups for time is very different if you drop off the rings at the top of each rep rather than doing a controlled descent. I guess it's not a problem with the model. You just have to be careful not to compare the 2 as the same workout. This is an excellent point and yet another issue with that model.

I think that the CF model is most useful when comparing apples to apples (i.e. assuming that the mechanics of the efforts being compared are virtually identical, thus canceling out the aforementioned complexities). Even so, however, as one perfects the movements on various exercises, they are going to necessarily become more efficient in latter trials, thus actually driving the energy requirement downward.

That said, I want to reiterate that the CF model is powerful in its simplicity. When analyzing even larger and much less complex bodies in motion, the standard basic Newtonian physics models are only a loose estimation until more complexity is introduced into the analysis (friction, wind vectors, etc. etc.). However, those formulas are undoubtedly immensely powerful and useful for good and accurate approximations. I feel the CF model is analogous.

Craig Loizides
02-23-2009, 09:23 PM
This is not accurate. The formulas I posted above take t2 and t1 into account. The CrossFit model as described by Coach Glassman in all his lectures not only works for differing times, but expects it. That's the whole point of setting PR's on things like Helen and Fran so you can go back and compare t2 to t1 to find your average power increase over the two workouts. Clearly, both efforts will represent different points on the t axis. Assuming all things relatively constant (BW relatively the same and moving the same loads), the "Work" done in both efforts are virtually the same, according to the CF model.

This is an excellent point and yet another issue with that model.

I think that the CF model is most useful when comparing apples to apples (i.e. assuming that the mechanics of the efforts being compared are virtually identical, thus canceling out the aforementioned complexities). Even so, however, as one perfects the movements on various exercises, they are going to necessarily become more efficient in latter trials, thus actually driving the energy requirement downward.

That said, I want to reiterate that the CF model is powerful in its simplicity. When analyzing even larger and much less complex bodies in motion, the standard basic Newtonian physics models are only a loose estimation until more complexity is introduced into the analysis (friction, wind vectors, etc. etc.). However, those formulas are undoubtedly immensely powerful and useful for good and accurate approximations. I feel the CF model is analogous.

It's true that a person who goes from being able to do a 400 lb deadlift in 5 seconds to 1/2 a second has increased his power during that lift by a factor of 10, but that doesn't mean work capacity has increased by a factor of 10. In my example, a person increases the weight he can lift in 5 seconds from 400 to 500 and increases the weight he can lift in half a second from 320 to 400. The whole curve has shifted upwards by 25% meaning work capacity has increased by 25% while power exerted during a single rep of 400 lb DL has gone up by a factor of 10.

Brian Stone
02-24-2009, 04:51 AM
It's true that a person who goes from being able to do a 400 lb deadlift in 5 seconds to 1/2 a second has increased his power during that lift by a factor of 10, but that doesn't mean work capacity has increased by a factor of 10. In my example, a person increases the weight he can lift in 5 seconds from 400 to 500 and increases the weight he can lift in half a second from 320 to 400. The whole curve has shifted upwards by 25% meaning work capacity has increased by 25% while power exerted during a single rep of 400 lb DL has gone up by a factor of 10.

Craig, you and I agree, particularly on the point highlighted in bold above. That his work capacity does not necessarily increase by a factor of 10 was exactly my point and the reason for my contention to the CF model. I was only disputing that the example is invalid due to differing values of t. I may have poorly enunciated that in my prior replies.

That's the point, though. The CF model would say that a 5 second 400# DL is absolutely 10 times the work capacity of a .5s 400# DL. That is my dispute, and I believe the three of us are on the same page here.

Craig Loizides
02-24-2009, 09:13 PM
But the CF model doesn't say that work capacity has gone up a factor of 10. The model takes into account both the 5 second DL and 1/2 second DL (as well as all other exercises and durations) and computes a single work capacity. For the example above you can plot out power vs time curves for the 2 examples and then calculate the area under the curve to get the work capacity. The work capacity goes up by 25%.

I think it's actually a really elegant model, but I don't think there's any reason to ever try to actually calculate it.

Brian Stone
02-25-2009, 05:40 AM
Craig, that point conceded. Work capacity was the wrong term; I meant it was Power that was increased by a factor of 10 w/ the CF model.

As for the specifics of integration of the curves and how they related to "true" work capacity, I have to do a little more thinking. Thanks for the insight to all.