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Daniel Olmstead
02-21-2009, 02:58 PM
So my wife and I got into a discussion about intensity and volume at lunch after today's workout.

Here's the context: lately I've been frustrated (http://onrockrockon.blogspot.com/2009/02/improve-dammit.html) at the number and length of rests I've been taking. My trainer saw my blog post about this, and on Thursday he essentially stood by me and forced me through one of the most intense workouts I've ever done (http://onrockrockon.blogspot.com/2009/02/well-i-asked-for-it.html). The resulting case of DOMS has been fairly severe, enough that I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning and sandbagged the hell out of today's workout (http://onrockrockon.blogspot.com/2009/02/fight-gone-sandbag.htmlhttp://onrockrockon.blogspot.com/2009/02/fight-gone-sandbag.html) (my goal was basically just to get through it).

So the discussion was this: given five workouts a week, is it better to go at 95-100% intensity for one, maybe two of them and then 50-60% for the rest, or is it better to aim for a more maintainable 75-80% across? This is assuming that 95-100% for each workout would land you in the hospital. I took the former position, she the latter. The foundation of my argument was basically this quote from Glassman: "Performance is directly correlated to intensity. Intensity is directly correlated to discomfort." I read that to mean that optimal adaptation occurs in that last 5-10% of effort, past the redline where your brain tells you to stop. Her argument is that you're performing more work in total when you strive for a maintainable intensity level.

What do you guys think?

Kevin Perry
02-21-2009, 03:15 PM
I say listen to your body, to keep it simple. One very hard day of work deserves a low intensity day of work or full rest imo.

George Mounce
02-21-2009, 03:22 PM
After reading Coach Sommer's book again, my thoughts have changed on it. I learned something I hadn't been thinking about, and that is how long it takes to body to recover from the stresses of working out. Of particular interest to me was how he schedules training around the replacement of cells in the body.

It is better to gain slowly and stay within your ability to recover than to train so intensely it puts you out of commission. There is no reason to go overboard every day.

It seems in this case you could have upped your intensity a bit, but you did so by going overboard. Slower is better in most cases. Remember we have our whole lives to get better. Improvement doesn't happen overnight. Up intensity a fraction and reevaluate.

Dave Van Skike
02-21-2009, 03:30 PM
"Performance is directly correlated to intensity. Intensity is directly correlated to discomfort."

What do you guys think?

that is the 4th most misguided thing I have ever heard. are you sure this is quoted correctly?

Donald Lee
02-21-2009, 03:35 PM
that is the 4th most misguided thing I have ever heard. are you sure this is quoted correctly?

It sounds like something Greg Glassman would say.

Daniel Olmstead
02-21-2009, 04:04 PM
that is the 4th most misguided thing I have ever heard. are you sure this is quoted correctly?

I love how you have an ongoing list of the most misguided things you've ever heard. I'd be curious to hear numbers 1-3.

If it's apocryphal, it's widespread (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=qgM&q=%22intensity+is+directly+correlated+with+discomf ort%22&btnG=Search) and, as far as I can tell, not refuted.

I am not a Coach-worshipper (which is why I posted this question here. I feel I already know the answer I'd get elsewhere), but I have seen the best gains in my life with CrossFit, so I do think he's on to something. I'm not averse to fiddling with the program to fit my needs/goals, however.

Thanks for that perspective, George. I will do further research into Coach Sommer.

Donald Lee
02-21-2009, 05:14 PM
I feel that these comments by Boris Prilutsky may be useful for this discussion:

Dear Dan.

God
forbid I do not questioning your expertise and want to believe that your
statement based on experience from working
with professionals. From my many years
experience of work with professionals and Olympian athletes I can make a statement:” no 1 leave
the practice until pulls rates will not reach 200-210 per minute. For young well-trained athletes
in order to reach this kind of pulls
rates you have to put so much load on skeleton/ muscular system as well on the other
organs and system that this strains/
loads in the end resulting overtraining.
You can use terms like exercise stress or others but name of this phenomenon is overtraining that athletes
must be rehabilitated from. You cannot survive in professional competitive
sport if you’ll not work hard as I described.

Best wishes.

Boris Prilutsky M.A.
CA, USA



Dear Jerry

Human body is a survivor and during process of hard training most of us not really experiencing symptoms of hard work outs side effects. more than this. those of us who blessed with physiological potentials maybe never will experience severe fatigue, cardiovascular insufficiency est. and probably will perform well in professional sports and in general hard working routine. however, if this abuse of body will be not controlled, during decades( not overnight) degenerative diseases of joints( osteoarthritis) tendons( tendinous. please do not confuse with tendinitis. in most cases tendinous is a result of not managed/ treated tendinitis.) will damage our health. probably a lot of Supertraining members their team members or clients suffering from sports related injuries. as we speak in america many people ( for terrible statistics please search National institutes of Health) group 40- 55 having knee and other joints
replacements. this is terrible evidence. they too young for this. after I got US Global picture on mentioned above conditions I decided to develop 7 volumes self treatment and prevention of sports related injuries DVD collection. It took alot of means and efforts to produce this collection. I wouldn't do this if pictures wouldn't be reality. The biggest misunderstanding in understanding of necessity to manage and treat overtraining side effects is that in process of diseases incubations people surviving in sports until pay time claiming their health. on example of former Soviet Union Olympian
athlets we can learn that vicious cycle of overtraining side-effects can be controlled and managed to the significant extent. this is not a case of 35-40 years old American retired professional and Olympian athlets. I know that maybe some of members will be irritated at a time of reading my post but this is reality.

Best wishes.
Boris Prilutsky
CA, USA

If health and longevity is what you're after, you need to take care of your body and take the slow approach.

Dave Van Skike
02-21-2009, 05:33 PM
I love how you have an ongoing list of the most misguided things you've ever heard. I'd be curious to hear numbers 1-3.

If it's apocryphal, it's widespread (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=qgM&q=%22intensity+is+directly+correlated+with+discomf ort%22&btnG=Search) and, as far as I can tell, not refuted.

I am not a Coach-worshipper (which is why I posted this question here. I feel I already know the answer I'd get elsewhere), but I have seen the best gains in my life with CrossFit, so I do think he's on to something. I'm not averse to fiddling with the program to fit my needs/goals, however.

Thanks for that perspective, George. I will do further research into Coach Sommer.


1-3 involve politics and religion...how fitting that this subject would just barely miss the podium.

Oh yeah..as if you didn't know already, your wife is right. make a note of it.

George Mounce
02-21-2009, 06:42 PM
Well it is true to a sense..

As intensity increases, performance decreases.

As intensity increases, discomfort increases.

So we see that the more intense, the less performance, the more discomfort.

Why push yourself to the point of performing worse (breakdowns in form, technique and safety) along with feeling like you've been hit by a Mack truck for a week and losing out on valuable training time?

Steven Low
02-21-2009, 08:06 PM
You need to work up to high levels of intensity.

You just can't go in and expect to do great things. You'll be crippled by soreness and/or overuse injuries quickly.

I advocate training with high intensity BUT BUT BUT you need to be wary if injuries start to develop to cut back.

Garrett Smith
02-21-2009, 09:25 PM
I think there was another sentence that was left out.

"Discomfort is directly related to burnout and dropping the program eventually."

Craig Loizides
02-22-2009, 10:59 AM
In general I'd rank it

1. Intensity
2. Frequency
3. Volume

Keep the intensity high, but the volume low enough that you can recover.

You also need to learn to pace yourself better. Your last round took more than twice as long as the first. If you had paced better you probably would have finished sooner, gotten a better workout, felt less discomfort, and recovered quicker. This is a good example of discomfort not being related to performance.

Dave Van Skike
02-22-2009, 11:18 AM
discomfort is irrelevant.

George Mounce
02-22-2009, 12:35 PM
discomfort is irrelevant.

It isn't irrelevant if it is impacting your ability to do something. There was an article awhile back about a steroid user watching his quad rip off during a squat. So....discomfort is irrelevant? Its your body saying "I need to recover". Incapacitating soreness (which could be a sign of other things) is a very, very important thing. To just say it is irrelevant is ignorant at best, and I know from your other posts that the machismo you are displaying may be in jest, at least I hope it is.

Dave Van Skike
02-22-2009, 01:06 PM
let me be more clear. there is machismo intended whatsoever.

equating discomfort with intensity is preposterous. discomfort is an unreliable indicator. it's not something to seek nor can it be totally avoided. using your head and watching your output will tell you whether or not you're doing it proper, not some bullshit metric of HARDCORE....

why hardcore? how about smartcore?

Jacob Rowell
02-22-2009, 02:50 PM
Saying performance and intensity and discomfort(speaking about CrossFit metcons only) are correlated, does not mean we have to say that any particular workout's quality is and should be measured by the discomfort it produces. However, from personal experience training others over the past couple years, there is a correlation between a person's ability to cope with discomfort during these workouts and the rate and total improvement of their performance. Again, just talking about CrossFit.


From what I have seen, the people who perform at a higher intensity, more often, generally outperform those who consistently train at lower intensities (in this case, take more rest). Those who stop when things get uncomfortable not only progress slower, but more often/sooner than those who don't.

We frequently program days of lower-intensity workouts, often unscored or untimed, as well as strength work in a moderate rep and intensity range, to manage recovery. I've also switched people to strength cycles on occasion when I saw they were approaching burnout. In my experience, people don't drop CrossFit because of continual discomfort, but instead due to lack of progress.

In short, if you want to get good at CrossFit, there's a time and place for intensity, and you have to learn to manage discomfort. CrossFit workouts for the most part are uncomfortable, and get more so as intensity increases. At some point, if you continue to cruise through your metcons, there simply won't be sufficient stress for any sort of adaptation, and your performance will suffer.

George Mounce
02-22-2009, 03:41 PM
I see, I guess our definitions of discomfort are different. Don't get me wrong, it isn't comfortable when doing something intense, but I'm not talking that kind of discomfort. But there is an edge. If you are puking during a workout (which is seen as "intensity" to some CFers) you have reached a level of "discomfort" that isn't doing you any good. If you are in pain you aren't doing anything good. No pain no gain is an old adage for the idiotic. If you are hurting yourself you aren't getting better, you are being stupid.

If you are so sore you can't workout, you have stepped over your limit of discomfort.

Working hard day in and day out with high intensity can be done by those who have worked up to it, don't get me wrong. But at some point you will break down. Greg Admunson tried to do 2 CF workouts a day at maximum intensity...he was crying at work...his clue bag for "intensity has ramped discomfort beyond the breaking point".

And ya, if its between training smart and having big balls on a message board, I'll take the training smart any day.

Daniel Olmstead
02-22-2009, 04:33 PM
This is very helpful, thank you.

I think this is what happened: I came off a half-volume recovery week well-rested and full of energy. My first workout back was disappointing, so I went way too far with the next one and gave myself a disastrous case of DOMS that negatively impacted my next three workouts. Thankfully I didn't injure myself more seriously. I'm just chalking this week up to a lesson learned, giving myself a couple full days off, then going back to the drawing board on Wednesday.

I think there is a risk, in CrossFit, of promoting this kind of "hardcore" overtraining. The subtle competition that comes from posting your times alongside others, either in class or online, is an effective motivator that can be perhaps too effective at times. The culture of the sport, by and large, treats traditional training safety checks with indifference (at best). I know we're getting a little too close to the moderator rules here, so I won't go into specifics.

Looking forward, then, the challenge is again one of balance: go as hard as you can today without crossing the line that will prevent you from going hard again tomorrow. It seems to me that some workouts (shorter metcons with low/bodyweight, perhaps, like Helen) are better-suited for focusing on intensity. Heavy deadlifts for time, on the other hand, not so much.

Gant Grimes
02-23-2009, 08:43 AM
"Performance is directly correlated to intensity. Intensity is directly correlated to discomfort." I read that to mean that optimal adaptation occurs in that last 5-10% of effort, past the redline where your brain tells you to stop. Her argument is that you're performing more work in total when you strive for a maintainable intensity level.

What do you guys think?

We may as well be discussing religion, because this relies on an entirely different premise. You're assuming that every training session must be programmed such that max intensity cannot be sustained over the entire duration. This is where minds differ.

Intensity has a different operational definition outside of the CF world. Yes, high intensity is wonderful. I go high intensity on most of my training sessions. But the majority of my training is low-rep lifting and short, heavy metcons. I program my metcons so I can go all-out with no rest. But they are short enough that I go straight through without dying, AND I can recover completely between sessions.

I'll do extended effort work @ 85% (10-20 minute sessions) once every week or two. These include tempo-type interval work.

Finally, I'll go for broke and overextend myself once or twice a month (a Fran type effort). I do this ~18 times a year, and it seems to work for me. I doubt I'd get the results or the recovery (or the enjoyment) if I was attempting to do this 6 times a week.

Gavin Harrison
02-23-2009, 10:38 AM
I think there is a risk, in CrossFit, of promoting this kind of "hardcore" overtraining. The subtle competition that comes from posting your times alongside others, either in class or online, is an effective motivator that can be perhaps too effective at times. The culture of the sport, by and large, treats traditional training safety checks with indifference (at best). I know we're getting a little too close to the moderator rules here, so I won't go into specifics.

Based on the war college series, the main page WODs are designed to exceed over time the capacity of the world's fittest athletes. To me this means going balls out 6/8 days/week will by definition eventually crush you.

Intensity should be managed and cycled, no matter how it's defined.

Dave Van Skike
02-23-2009, 10:50 AM
Gant is correct..

though before this turns to religion, I'll just say that 99% of my training time is built around trying to do things right, not "hard".

Intensity is a mathematical formula and I have never had a peak effort where "discomfort" or "pain" was the central object of my attention.

Brian Stone
02-24-2009, 12:15 PM
I think that this might be getting blown out of proportion a bit. I think Greg Glassman's "Discomfort" is analogous to Mark Twight's suffering. (http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php?id=23)

"Suffering provides the opportunity to exercise will and to develop grit."

I think he refers to pushing through the mental and physical lulls that beg the less focused to quit and finish out that last set, not push through joint pain or muscle tearing.

Clearly, such a statement could be dangerous to the uninitiated to any sort of proper fitness or that don't know their bodies and can't intuit the difference between lactic acid buildup and injurious activity.

Gant Grimes
02-24-2009, 02:20 PM
"Suffering provides the opportunity to exercise will and to develop grit."

Here, again, is where I part ways with other well-meaning folks.

There are certainly benefits--mental, physical, and psychological--in going to the brink. But you don't need to do it that often to get these benefits. I'll increase the metcon frequency and intensity 8 weeks out from an event. It's very good for peaking. Beyond that, I'll go all-out maybe once a month because I'm an idiot and a masochist and I enjoy this on a very limited basis. If I was smarter, I would only do it once every 6 months.

I'd also like to say that the concept of "suffering" during your workouts is BS. It's the standard boilerplate crap of wanna-be hardcore gyms and hardcore people. Yeah, training and competition can be extremely difficult, even to the point of breaking you. But if you're in a situation where you can leave the office for a couple hours a day to train, cuss, and spit on the floor, then you're not suffering. Let's leave that euphemism for those in the world who feel the real stuff.

Lastly, a training program isn't worth a damn if you can't recover from it. This becomes important as one passes 30.

Daniel Olmstead
02-24-2009, 02:26 PM
Lastly, a training program isn't worth a damn if you can't recover from it. This becomes important as one passes 30.

I've spent the last year learning this point the hard way (which is probably the only way you really can learn it).

Duke McCall
02-24-2009, 04:30 PM
Interesting discussion. My wife and I have been having a very similar conversation lately.

I enjoy CrossFit and may revert to the mainpage CF WOD at somepoint (as my wife has) for variety and because I enjoy occasionally testing my metcon limits, but I wholeheatedly agree with the following:

I think there is a risk, in CrossFit, of promoting this kind of "hardcore" overtraining. The subtle competition that comes from posting your times alongside others, either in class or online, is an effective motivator that can be perhaps too effective at times.

I also agree that this sort of overtraining is particularly dangerous and debilitating for those over 30 (or in my case 40). I have seen way too many overtraining injuries lately among the CF hardcore. (And no, I do not blame CF. I blame each person for failing to recognize his or her limits.)

Hopefully with age comes wisdom and the recognition that training harder does not equal training smarter.

George Mounce
02-24-2009, 04:38 PM
I'm not sure about the part of being past 30, wasn't there a dude who is well above 30 who does that marathon workout all the time?

I would have to say the effect is more on the CNS. People over 30 tend to have jobs, families, tons of other stress coming from a million different directions. These wear on you just as much as any workout can. I know on a heavy fly day with students who are acting like rocks in the air I have absolutely no desire to workout.

Much of this has to do with Duke's point. People don't see they are reaching their limit. Steven has been a big proponent of people seeing the need to back off, and I'm with him, rest and recovery is extremely important and people don't do it enough. The fault is on the people, their trainers, and the mindset that being super-hardcore day-in and day-out is the best way. Its not.

Garrett Smith
02-24-2009, 08:14 PM
The fault is on the people, their trainers, and the mindset that being super-hardcore day-in and day-out is the best way. Its not.
+1.

See my sig line if you haven't already (probably a million times with all my posts). :D

I feel like I have to drop my OL days when my stress levels get high (like the last freakin' month!). I've found that keeping my two days of gymnastics strength training, two days of hill walking, and two days of yoga work really well--I actually end the week feeling better than the beginning.

The following idea only matters to me, but I thought I'd share it anyway. When the weight of life gets too heavy, I drop training with the weights. I keep the yoga to keep me relaxed while tense, to improve my flexibility. I keep the gymnastics to maintain the strength to "hang on", "support" myself, and/or work on "balance". I keep the hill walking, well, because life can often be like a slow trudge uphill. However, as soon as the stress lightens, the weights come back in immediately, to keep me strong against the weight of life coming down again.

If someone gets some benefit out of that, great. If you think it's cheesy, no skin off my teeth.

Ben Fury
02-25-2009, 01:07 AM
I find that the more I listen to my body, the less I hurt myself. The more I treat my body like a machine and impose my will upon it with predetermined sets/reps/progressions... the more I get hurt.

For every Jack LaLanne that can train heavy for 2 hours every day for decades, there are hundreds of people that get hurt if they attempt it. If you're a genetic freak who adores the pounding of long daily workouts; God bless ya, have at it. But if that's SO not you, don't sweat it.

Taking a day off doesn't make you a wimp. Taking a week off doesn't make you a loser. Quitting makes you a loser. Take a break as needed, but don't ever quit!

Peter Dell'Orto
02-25-2009, 05:58 AM
For every Jack LaLanne that can train heavy for 2 hours every day for decades, there are hundreds of people that get hurt if they attempt it. If you're a genetic freak who adores the pounding of long daily workouts; God bless ya, have at it. But if that's SO not you, don't sweat it.

I actually just re-read this quote, from Nate Green's "Built for Show," talking about athletes crediting God with their talent but themselves with their hard work:

"Any of us can get into better shape, but some genetically gifted individuals will always be able to work harder than their peers, and recover faster from their workouts."

I thought that was really good to put into a workout book, especially one aimed at young male trainees likely to go for broke if you let them. It's a good thing to keep in mind when you train. Not everyone has the same maximum strength/speed/whatever, and not everyone has the same recovery rate, either. Maybe you just can't work as hard as the next guy over, and if you tried you'd get hurt.

You can work hard, you should work hard, and you must work hard...but you don't have to judge your level of work by how hard others are working. You have to judge your level of work by what results you get out of it. If you go to the gym and don't go all out, but you keep improving and don't get hurt in the process, that's sufficient. Adjust your work to taste - try a little harder, see if it's still within your limits. If it works better, fine. If you start getting hurt or your results roll back, back down.

The 100% intensity, all-the-time, I work harder than you bit can be helpful for competition, but I think in the long run it wears you down. There has to be a reason they go all-out day-in/day-out in Special Operations selection courses, but they don't keep doing that after you get in. I'd suspect "results in more injuries than improvement" is the reason for that.

Justin Lascek
02-25-2009, 02:52 PM
Here, again, is where I part ways with other well-meaning folks.

There are certainly benefits--mental, physical, and psychological--in going to the brink.

Lastly, a training program isn't worth a damn if you can't recover from it. This becomes important as one passes 30.

Some observations and points (apologies if they are redundant, I skimmed a portion of the thread).

1. Gant, without knowing the definitions of your terms, I would alter your three terms to physical (physiological), emotional, and psychological. I have a feeling that's sorta what you meant.

2. Gant's end point about age is entirely relevant to this discussion. He knows by now that if him and I did the same training protocol together, I'd recover faster since I'm much younger (not much Gant, but you get the point). We can't overgeneralize given that one variable that recovery is dependent on is age.

3. Since this discussion is in the Fitness/GPP section, I believe that scaling the work would be relevant to yield an intensity in which you can recover from. Or perhaps the management of your intensity depending on the amount of work needs to be managed in a more appropriately (something your coach should be doing). Regardless of whether or not your coach is capable of this, open the communication with him regarding your recovery/adaptation rates. If he drives your dick in the wall every day, especially if you're older, you're not going to adapt and progress.

Can you say dick in this forum?

Edit: There are plenty of other variables at stake as well. Nutrition (did somebody say steak?), sleep, rest (sets), rest (bouts of exercise), emotional stress, etc. Are they all in check?

Garrett Smith
02-25-2009, 03:21 PM
Can you say dick in this forum?

You just did. Twice. No worries.

Matthew Bacorn
02-25-2009, 04:00 PM
I would be willing to bet that training experience has alot to do with recovery too.

Ive recently realized that fitness doesn't necessitate 5 miles a day and have moved in a strength direction over the past few months. At first, i thought i was above the advice and programs of other, since i was "in shape" and all.

Well i had no plan, did too much, had bad form, tried to eat to lose weight, and wondered why i had no energy. I wonder...

Someone along the line musta got through to me, and 1 week into SS i had more energy today than i have in months.

Short story long, i have become a total believer in prioritizing recovery.

Kevin Perry
02-25-2009, 07:30 PM
too many friggin variables to consider with intensity and volume.

matthew eucalitto
02-27-2009, 08:06 PM
Based on how the rest of the conversation went, I'm assuming that the OP uses CF, or the basic CF methodology. However, one of the main tenets of CF is that rest and recovery is important. Yes, as some said, the competitive nature of posting times/scores in CF makes it hard for some to suck it up and take some time off, however that can hardly be attributed to Coach Glassman.
I would say that if the OP's trainer refused to listen to his client when he said he was over-tired/overtrained, well he's a terrible trainer, and is not in any way following the overall CF methodology.

Steven Low
02-27-2009, 09:42 PM
Based on how the rest of the conversation went, I'm assuming that the OP uses CF, or the basic CF methodology. However, one of the main tenets of CF is that rest and recovery is important. Yes, as some said, the competitive nature of posting times/scores in CF makes it hard for some to suck it up and take some time off, however that can hardly be attributed to Coach Glassman.
I would say that if the OP's trainer refused to listen to his client when he said he was over-tired/overtrained, well he's a terrible trainer, and is not in any way following the overall CF methodology.
Sounds like a decent summary... unless OP wants to refute?

If you're not progressing you should be resting... or employing other methods of recovery/programming.

Resting is most of the time the case for CFers...

Daniel Olmstead
02-27-2009, 10:18 PM
No, I don't blame my trainer. I made a post to my training log complaining about not attacking my workouts with enough intensity and taking too many rests, he read it and just pushed me that one workout so I could feel what it was like outside my previous limits. It was a valuable lesson, and I'm glad he did it. He doesn't make a habit out of it, and is often counseling me against overtraining.

Now, as for my OWN propensity to do too many workouts and wear myself out - yeah, that's something I'll cop to. I'm working on it.

matthew eucalitto
02-28-2009, 09:51 PM
Sorry, read your original post wrong.

But, my point remains that there have been a few slams against the CF methodology for promoting an environment where people will not rest enough, or will push until injured. This may be what some athletes and trainers create as an environment, but it goes against the basics of training with CF.

I guess my point, although I brought it up because I misread your post, is that CF as a methodology, and taken in the purest form does actively promote rest...in fact, as much rest as your body needs...however, like any group, not everyone will follow these general guidelines, and will then point to the program as the reason they are fatigued/injured...everything ends up being bastardized, especially as money gets involved.

As far as intensity... there seems to be no consensus on a definition of "intense" and therefore the subject can not be adequately discussed. To me, elite athleticism requires intensity. It may not need to be constant, but without truly intense training in some sense of the word, you can not push yourself to the next level, physically or mentally. The mental edge a truly intense workout will give you sets an athlete apart from those who refuse to go to that level. Genetics have large part to play, but intensity in training (also formerly known as "heart") will set apart the gold and silver medalists from the rest

Kevin Perry
02-28-2009, 09:56 PM
done properly CF will promote rest only if the athlete is properly conditioned. The problem people blame CF probably more has to do with their inability to adapt to the demands quickly enough likely because they are too new to the program and not familar with the concepts and movements.

However, if someone were to properly introduce programming they could take better advantage of the program IMO. This would include backoff weeks every few weeks plus active and passive days as needed.

Rest of course is where progress is made as has already been said ten billion times in this thread, I just felt like saying it again.

George Mounce
03-01-2009, 04:35 AM
done properly CF will promote rest only if the athlete is properly conditioned. The problem people blame CF probably more has to do with their inability to adapt to the demands quickly enough likely because they are too new to the program and not familar with the concepts and movements.

However, if someone were to properly introduce programming they could take better advantage of the program IMO. This would include backoff weeks every few weeks plus active and passive days as needed.

Rest of course is where progress is made as has already been said ten billion times in this thread, I just felt like saying it again.

The back-off method was introduced quite some time ago, if I remember correctly by Larry Lindemann (sp?) to CF programming. Many people use it still.

Peter Dell'Orto
03-01-2009, 06:24 AM
The back-off method was introduced quite some time ago, if I remember correctly by Larry Lindemann (sp?) to CF programming. Many people use it still.

If I'm remember it correctly it was every fourth week was 50%, every fourth month was a week off:

3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week off

...but I may be misremembering or misinterpreting. I only ever saw it as a quote of a quote of a quote, not written up by the original person who suggested it.

I really think that approach or something very much like it should be ensconced in the main page workout. Put the deload version of a workout in the WOD, and put "Do I got 100% every workout?" right in the FAQ and Getting Started sections. Learning how to periodize and balance your work with your rest isn't something that's simple and intuitive. I'd really like to see that placed front and center. In the long run, that would be better for the trainees and IMO better for Crossfit.

George Mounce
03-01-2009, 07:41 AM
If I'm remember it correctly it was every fourth week was 50%, every fourth month was a week off:

3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week off

...but I may be misremembering or misinterpreting. I only ever saw it as a quote of a quote of a quote, not written up by the original person who suggested it.

I really think that approach or something very much like it should be ensconced in the main page workout. Put the deload version of a workout in the WOD, and put "Do I got 100% every workout?" right in the FAQ and Getting Started sections. Learning how to periodize and balance your work with your rest isn't something that's simple and intuitive. I'd really like to see that placed front and center. In the long run, that would be better for the trainees and IMO better for Crossfit.

I'm going to do something similar, just do my back-off week after my 6-week cycles. I think everyone can benefit from back-off and complete rest weeks, not just the CFers.

Garrett Smith
03-01-2009, 08:10 AM
I've found I can take every 4th week off from OL, keep my gymnastics and yoga and hill walking, and I feel great on my first week back.

Dave Van Skike
03-01-2009, 08:33 AM
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week off


is a really old axiom. I think it's even in The Keys to Progress.

Matthew Bacorn
03-01-2009, 09:52 PM
Its hardly surprising that CF results in people pushing themselves too far, seeing as an arena is provided in which they can promote their own struggles.

'I can out-suffer you' and 'Look what I can do' have become cultural axioms that are hardly unique to the fitness world.

The issue isn't small enough that we can point to any groups or fads that promote it; its in everything we do. This is just another version of a fish tale

Derek Weaver
03-02-2009, 11:44 AM
I think that to the uninformed, any program results in people pushing themselves too far. I've been part of the CF addiction, and I've witnessed the bodybuilding addiction of people afraid to take a rest day or saying "I took two whole days off... gotta get back to it".

People may want to check out the Last few posts on the CF Santa Cruz page, it's a safe link by the way: http://www.crossfitsantacruz.com/ I think they're applicable to the discussion.

Gant Grimes
03-02-2009, 12:00 PM
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week 50%
3 weeks on, 1 week off


is a really old axiom. I think it's even in The Keys to Progress.

Mine's kinda like that, but different.

1 week on, regular weekend
1 week on, enjoy myself too much over weekend
1 week on, minus Monday, which is a recovery day because of weekend
1 week on, eat crappy over weekend; ignore training on Saturday and go fishing
something happens, miss several days of training
2 weeks assorted, random crap, eat crappy on weekend
repeat as needed

Peter Dell'Orto
03-02-2009, 03:29 PM
Mine's kinda like that, but different.

Your plans always seem to include stuff like fishing and ice cream. This is why I can get behind your ideas with such enthusiasm.

Kevin Perry
03-02-2009, 03:31 PM
Mine's kinda like that, but different.

1 week on, regular weekend
1 week on, enjoy myself too much over weekend
1 week on, minus Monday, which is a recovery day because of weekend
1 week on, eat crappy over weekend; ignore training on Saturday and go fishing
something happens, miss several days of training
2 weeks assorted, random crap, eat crappy on weekend
repeat as needed

Yea i'd say my training reflects this right now with good results, this week should be a very good weekend with extra days needed for recovery the following week...

George Mounce
03-02-2009, 03:35 PM
Instead of going overboard one weekend, I just space it out with a glass of red wine every night with dinner. :p

matthew eucalitto
03-02-2009, 06:06 PM
I am currently sticking with the CF main page WOD as I'm trying to build up some Metcon ability, and get rid of the fat I put on from a few years of an office AF job..but I find that sticking with exactly what is posted, and taking rest every 4 weeks keeps me fresh and I see gains constantly.

This is not a slam against any other group, but I am really glad I found these forums as the conversations are much more coherent and relevant...and people are willing to actually discuss ideas rather than slamming them down.

So thanks.

Garrett Smith
03-03-2009, 06:11 AM
I had to think about this subject last night.

Yesterday was March 3rd, my last previous snatch workouts were on January 27th and 20th, so this was the first time I had snatched in something like ~5 weeks.

I tend to be of the belief that OLs require relatively consistent practice. I didn't get that in this case, obviously.

Well, I started my lifting last night with my goal weight of 72.5kg for 1 rep. I got to 70kg, felt really good, so I jumped to ~80kg. (I do these big jumps sometimes, I feel fine about it, others sometimes don't)

Missed the first one, nailed the second. PR by 3kg after 5 weeks off?!?

Due to this recent event, and the fact that my 6-month-old just started teething (which means reduced sleep again), I'm considering taking 1 week off every 2 weeks of OL training, keeping the yoga and gymnastics as usual on my "off OL" weeks.

It would appear I do well with more, rather than less, rest.

Stephen Brown
03-03-2009, 09:00 AM
Mine's kinda like that, but different.

1 week on, regular weekend
1 week on, enjoy myself too much over weekend
1 week on, minus Monday, which is a recovery day because of weekend
1 week on, eat crappy over weekend; ignore training on Saturday and go fishing
something happens, miss several days of training
2 weeks assorted, random crap, eat crappy on weekend
repeat as needed


Publish this before someone steals it.

Patrick Donnelly
03-08-2009, 08:41 PM
This is not a slam against any other group, but I am really glad I found these forums as the conversations are much more coherent and relevant...and people are willing to actually discuss ideas rather than slamming them down.

So thanks.

I agree. There have been several good reads here lately. More than enough to keep me busy. Thanks, everyone.

Christian Mason
04-02-2009, 11:26 AM
This is purely anecdotal, but I've found that when I back off the intensity a touch I can actually handle a good deal more volume. This seems to be something missing in the (3-weeks on/half intensity week and 3 weeks on/week off) planning.

I've had better luck viewing it more as a circular wave pattern. When intensity is at the lowest, volume is at the highest and vice versa.

The old Crossfit adage of "If you want more work than the WOD, you didn't go hard enough" may be true during the point of peak intensity in the cycle I mention above - but I've found that intensity peaks are better when they're shored up with significantly higher volumes of lower intensity work (hmm, kinda like classic peridozation).

Gavin Harrison
04-03-2009, 08:43 AM
This is purely anecdotal, but I've found that when I back off the intensity a touch I can actually handle a good deal more volume. This seems to be something missing in the (3-weeks on/half intensity week and 3 weeks on/week off) planning.

I've had better luck viewing it more as a circular wave pattern. When intensity is at the lowest, volume is at the highest and vice versa.

The old Crossfit adage of "If you want more work than the WOD, you didn't go hard enough" may be true during the point of peak intensity in the cycle I mention above - but I've found that intensity peaks are better when they're shored up with significantly higher volumes of lower intensity work (hmm, kinda like classic peridozation).

What you're calling "Circular Wave" or "Classic Periodization", is called "Linear Periodization" by the rest of the world.

Garrett Smith
04-03-2009, 09:33 AM
See the quote in my sig for words of wisdom on high intensity.

For WODs, the increased power output going from 90% effort/intensity to 100% effort/intensity is not worth the stress/strain it puts on the adrenals and CNS recovery long-term.

Yeah, that's why someone wouldn't "race" every day, much less every weekend. Burnout and injuries are sure to follow. Some folks seem to think that this doesn't apply to their style of workout because one author said so.

Donald Lee
04-03-2009, 12:25 PM
Here are some relevant bits from Supertraining regarding strength training. I know strength training and CrossFit are somewhat different, but this may be interesting food for thought nonetheless:

It is vital to recognise a training maximum TF max or training 1RM (single repetition maximum), which is always less than the competition maximum CFmax in experienced athletes, because optimal motivation invariably occurs under competitive conditions (Fig 1.1). Zatsiorsky states that the training maximum is the heaviest load which one can lift without substantial emotional excitement, as indicated by a very significant rise in heart rate before the lift (Medvedev, 1986). It is noteworthy that, in the untrained person, involuntary or hypnotic conditions can increase strength output by up to 35%, but by less than 10% in the trained athlete. The mean difference between TFmax and CFmax is approximately 12.5 +/-2.5% in experienced weightlifters, with a large difference being exhbited by lifters in heavier weight classes (Zatsiorsky, 1995).

....Intensity is usually defined as a certain percentage of one's maximum and it is most practical to choose this on the basis of the competitive maximum, which remains approximately constant for a fairly prolonged period. The training maximum can vary daily, so, while it may be of value in prescribing training for less qualified athletes, it is of limited value for the elite competitor.

It is relevant to note that competitions involve very few attempts to reach a maximum, yet they are far more exhausting than strenuous workouts with many repetitions, since they involve extremely high levels of psychological and nervous stress. The high levels of nervous and emotional stress incurred by attempting a competitive maximum require many days or even weeks to reach full recovery, even though physical recuperation would appear to be complete, so that this type of loading is not recommended as a regular form of training.

In other words, any attempt to exceed limit weights requires an increase in nervous excitation and interference with the athlete's ability to adapt, if this type of training is used frequently. In attempting to understand the intensity of loading prescribed by the apparently extreme Bulgarian coaches who are reputed to stipulate frequent or daily use of maximum loads in training, one has to appreciate that training with training maxima (which do not maximally stress the nervous system) is very different from training with competitive maxima (which place great stress on nervous processes).

Christian Mason
04-06-2009, 09:00 AM
What you're calling "Circular Wave" or "Classic Periodization", is called "Linear Periodization" by the rest of the world.

The "circular wave" was my off the cuff rambling.

But I was using classic and linear periodization interchangeably. This seems to be
common practice at my schools grad program. Is this incorrect or a regional quirk of some kind?

Gavin Harrison
04-06-2009, 08:59 PM
There are so many types of periodization that it seems contrived to call one classic, and more descriptive names are better for discussion in any case. I think it's probably called classic periodization in most schools because it's the most common in the western world.

Garrett Smith
04-07-2009, 06:07 AM
Nice post, Donald.