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Emily Mattes
07-26-2009, 12:08 PM
I've wondered how one goes about programming effective metcons. How do you know what is a "good" metcon and a "bad" metcon? How do you know what is an effective load, choice of exercises, and rep scheme? How do you figure out whether today you should do 15-10-5, or three rounds of the same thing, or interval-type stuff?

There are basics--if you've been training heavy snatches you don't want a metcon workout involving kettlebell snatches the same day, and it is probably not good to follow up a heavy deadlift workout with high box jumps. If you're in a power sport you probably want to keep your metcons to 10 minutes or less, if you're into endurance you might want longer.

But I've heard discussions about how one website has "smart" metcons, and another doesn't, and because I know jack-shit about programming, especially metcons, I don't know the difference. Can anyone offer insight, or point me to some good articles?

Allen Yeh
07-27-2009, 04:06 AM
Good question, I'd like to see how some of the affiliates answer this. As someone that only programs his own now and then and perhaps a friend of family member I'd like to see what the consesus is here.

Steven Low
07-27-2009, 09:19 AM
From Getting Scaling Right: A Systematic Method for CrossFit Programming by Pierre Auge, Performance Menu Issue 53

http://www.performancemenu.com/zen/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_11&products_id=201

Probably the best take I've seen on it. And very in depth.

Garrett Smith
07-27-2009, 11:42 AM
Greg's metcons here are generally awesome.

I'm a big fan of metcons that are right in the range of being able to move relatively continuously through them, maybe only needing to take a couple big breaths between some reps or exercises.

Effective is all in the goals of the exerciser.

I'm of the opinion that marathon metcons (over 20 minutes) should be saved for testing, not training, as they lend themselves very well to burnout and/or injuries.

Jesse Woody
07-27-2009, 01:03 PM
Totally agree with the above. At Primal I set up each week to hit certain specific skills on certain days. For the most part our workouts can be split up as:

Heavy lifting + assistance work- 1-2 days per week
Heavy lifting + short, power-biased met-con 1-2 days per week
Skill work + medium met-con (15:00 or less) 2-3 days per week
Skill work + mobility/recovery ~1 day every 8-10 days
Warm-Up x Longish Met-con (15:00+) ~1 day every 12-15 days

I definitely see a lot more benefit in our athletes from higher-skill and/or heavier days with short met-con so that's the majority of our week. If we hit a more than average number of heavy days one week, we will usually switch the focus of the next week to more skill/met-con focus. Beyond that, paying attention to the rotation of exercises and whether or not they compliment the overall plan of the week is important, as well as keeping track of specific skills that have either been cycled away from for a week or two, or pop up as obvious weaknesses in workouts with our athletes in a certain week.

So, keeping all of that in mind, to me a good met-con is one that first fits within the energy system and movement pool that you want to focus on for the day, and uses just enough variation to make sense without being overly complicated for no reason. If, for instance, I'm planning a medium-length met-con after a session of static gymnastics skills such as L-sits and handstands, I will probably shy away from handstand push-ups or hanging leg lifts, and go for a more running/burpee/pull-up type workout in the 3-4 round range.

So...all relatively subjective, but basically the overriding point is you first have to know your goal, then you design your workout and compare it to the goal to see if it makes sense. Takes a bit of practice and experience, but as you train more people or train yourself more it starts to come together a bit easier.

Greg Chin
07-27-2009, 11:50 PM
I agree with the general consensus that there needs to be some specificity to one's MetCon programming. What I have done in the past is made numerous microcycles/short mesocycles of training blocks that feed into a more overarching fitness goal, following a sort of rough concurrent training methodology. An example might be that I feel my run times are weak so for two weeks I put an emphasis on running in MetCons, mixing modalities and volume, but always including some sort of running work in it, be it a hill sprint with a bag for short distance or a few rounds of 400M with, say, Sandbag Thrusters for rounds. You can further specify from there depending upon your training knowledge of the individual you're programming for in the context of their goals.

My math is no good so I have no formulas for power output, set/rep distribution, etc, but it seems to make conceptual sense to me to order training depending upon categories of stimulus/response (and recovery ability) in the context of what one wants out of their training. If you want to increase general strength in MetCon, then, you'd program a bias into MetCon movements where this was appropriate. If greater work capacity was desired, then, you might put more emphasis on a chipper-style workout. I guess the trick is identifying how one responds to various training modalities and volume/intensity distributions to better order individual training models.

As far as figuring out good programming... Well, it shouldn't hammer you into the ground (too often anyway), and should produced the desired adaptation. While I only dabble in this, and have never studied it formally, my gut tells me that figuring out or defining good programming takes some intuitive thought, again, in the appropriate context of what one wants. And, of course, good programming for some is crap for others. The only programming I can think of that tends to be outright bad is macho-style stuff that is designed to make you feel annihilated as opposed to training economy. I saw some member-made WOD on the CrossFit forums once that was something ridiculous like 3 rounds for time of every barbell squat imaginable that seemed silly.

Ah, here it is:

3 rounds for time of:
225lbs Back Squat x 15 reps
135lbs Front Squat x 15 reps
95lbs Overhead Squat x 15 reps
Air Squats x 55 reps

Garrett Smith
07-28-2009, 05:43 AM
It is too bad that the supposed "genius" of CF programming is too complicated to share with the unwashed masses...

Allen Yeh
07-28-2009, 06:22 AM
Hey now....play nice.

Craig Brown
07-28-2009, 08:17 AM
I think it's really worth rooting around over at www.mtnathlete.com . Rob is killer, explains his thinking clearly, ALWAYS gives creidt- all around good guy. If you look at the differences between his hybrid training which is aimed at mountain guides, his rock climbing training, and his military stuff (now on it's own site) you can see why he's biasing the way he is. Like anything else, you have to know what you want, and be willing to learn/change as you go.

My approach for me is straightforward and set up like my lifting: am I training power (so power bias, pretty heavy, not very long), strength endurance (heavy longer grind), or basic 'cardio' or work capacity which can be lighter or heavier, slower or faster, longer or shorter depending on what I need. I'm just starting to program for others, so I'll be figuring out my approach to that more as I go.

Sometimes the best 'metcon' for me is just one straight blast...100 step ups on a 20" box with a 40# pack followed by max heavy kb swings. Doesn't NEED to be multiple rounds or anything.

I don't do chippers at all. My work is chippers.

Craig

Donald Lee
07-28-2009, 12:56 PM
Joel Jaimeson over at www.8weeksout.com breaks conditioning down into a science. He just came out with a book that explains his approach. If you just want some general conditioning though, what's said has been good.

Garrett Smith
07-28-2009, 01:16 PM
Allen,
Greg here at PMenu has given more insight into his metcon programming thought process than CF.com ever has, even thought Greg may have had much of his initial experiential education through the CF WOD.

I find the lack of info on CF.com's mainsite WOD programming to be much like personal trainers who count reps, rack/re-rack weights, and never explain to their clients why they do certain exercises or what the form points are. It's like trying to create a dependency. I don't like that. JMO.

I don't feel the "Theoretical Template for CF Programming" is very valid here, as for no period of time that I know of has the mainsite followed that template.

I really like what Jesse Woody proposes above, in terms of building entire workouts, and I think Greg's metcons are inspired.

Allen Yeh
07-28-2009, 02:07 PM
I agree with what you are saying in regards to Jesse and Greg, I was just giving a warning in regards to something that skirts one of the few rules Greg does wante enforced around here.

Garrett Smith
07-28-2009, 03:42 PM
I understand. Greg knows I dig his stuff.

Greg Chin
07-29-2009, 07:39 AM
Greg here at PMenu has given more insight into his metcon programming thought process than CF.com ever has, even thought Greg may have had much of his initial experiential education through the CF WOD.

Garrett, if you have the time or know where to find it, could you possibly note where Greg has explained his methodology? I vaguely remember seeing something about this in my time lurking around here, but I can't place it.

I don't feel the "Theoretical Template for CF Programming" is very valid here, as for no period of time that I know of has the mainsite followed that template.

I haven't looked at it in a while, but from what I remember my main problem with the template was that it lacked discussion on contextual specifics, and how to program appropriately for them (beyond utilizing combinations of weightlifting, gymnastics, and "cardio"). Anyhow, it felt like something was missing.

Actually, to scratch the verbosity of my last post, if I were to distill what I think should inform solid MetCon programming down to a basic rule is to index it in the relevant contexts of training needs... not something broad and ambiguous like preparing to be ready for anything.

Steven Low
07-29-2009, 11:00 AM
Actually, to scratch the verbosity of my last post, if I were to distill what I think should inform solid MetCon programming down to a basic rule is to index it in the relevant contexts of training needs... not something broad and ambiguous like preparing to be ready for anything.

Of course.

Gant Grimes
07-29-2009, 12:39 PM
Some more random points, in no particular order:

* I design my metcons around my workouts. Then I decide 1) my exercises, 2) the rep scheme, and 3) the weights, in that order.
* I use sprint based or power based. Nothing else (no K2E or GHD sits).
* Triplets are good. Couplets are great.
* They should complement the goals of your training program. If you don't have goals, stop training until you get some.
* Make use of KBs, DBs, bags, and other items. Get strong on barbells; get fit on implements.
* The majority of my metcons cycle down. I love 21-15-9 (or similar multiples). If you plan it correctly, you're nearing failure every round. Rounds have their place, but you often have to measure your work. AMRAP should be kept under 10 min, preferably under 7.
* Understand the difference between a metcon and simply performing movements in a fatigued state. It's easy to design something that makes everyone tired.
* Consider strongman-type metcons.
* You should be able to do these at full intensity. However, you should also be able to complete them in a short time, and they should not leave you on the floor like a CF metcon. If you're not recovering, you're doing too many reps, going too long, or not eating enough. Probably all of that.
* I usually don't time mine anymore. I go full-on, and that's that. I don't measure progress with some crappy calculator; I measure it with the weights I lift and success in my sport. Don't get caught up in the "science."
* Throwing up is usually indicative of poor planning, not hardcore training. It should happen rarely, if ever.

Brandon Oto
07-29-2009, 01:41 PM
I'm with Gant on many points. The only thing I'd call universally mandatory for a metcon is that it fulfill the right role in your overall program; in order to do that will require different qualities for different people. The obvious example is orienting your conditioning towards particular movements or time domains that you need for your sport or interests.

And some factors are just plain subjective; if you can get similar results from both A and B but you hate A, then B is just a better choice for you.

There's also a major divide I think between a schedule where you're just trying to do enough conditioning to maintain a baseline while improving other metrics, and a schedule where conditioning is one of or your primary priority. Obviously in the latter case you'll be doing a lot more of it and with much more thought and complexity; it's the big rocks, so to speak.

But as far as simple short maintenance metcons go I definitely like the ideas of:

-- metabolic NOT strength- or skill- or anything else-limited. think running, not deadlifting.
-- do shit you're not doing elsewhere in your training (think sandbags not barbells)
-- do shit that you want to improve (think weak points, not strong ones)
-- don't do shit that cuts into recovery from your other training unless conditioning is a priority (think shadowboxing, not slow GHD situp negatives)
-- it needn't be "fun" but it shouldn't be really boring or horrible, because as already discussed it's not a high enough priority that you'll keep doing something horrible for long (keeping it at least somewhat varied helps)

Some more principles and ideas here: http://agt.degreesofclarity.com/conditioning/

Gant Grimes
07-29-2009, 02:32 PM
PS. Proper programming can be difficult. You might need to step back from it all and relax.

http://www.scienceofdrink.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/my-gin.jpg

Jesse Woody
07-29-2009, 02:44 PM
They should complement the goals of your training program. If you don't have goals, stop training until you get some.

This is the essence of the entire thing. Goals first, workout planning second. Great post Gant!

Chris H Laing
08-01-2009, 06:44 PM
* Understand the difference between a metcon and simply performing movements in a fatigued state. It's easy to design something that makes everyone tired.


Anyone care to elaborate on this one?

Scott Kustes
08-02-2009, 05:46 AM
Gant is basically saying "It's very easy to make someone tired." I could put together a series of movements that fatigues anyone, leaves them a sweaty mess on the floor, etc. That doesn't mean that set of exercises is actually advancing them in their athletic pursuits (or at least not advancing them as far as other movements/reps/sets could've in the same amount of time).

Chuck Kechter
08-02-2009, 10:27 AM
Gant is basically saying "It's very easy to make someone tired." I could put together a series of movements that fatigues anyone, leaves them a sweaty mess on the floor, etc. That doesn't mean that set of exercises is actually advancing them in their athletic pursuits (or at least not advancing them as far as other movements/reps/sets could've in the same amount of time).

Exactly!

If only more trainers got that distinction!

Garrett Smith
08-02-2009, 11:31 AM
The final max sets of 5/3/1 seem pretty metcon-ish... :D

Training for GS is generally good for metcon and work capacity...it's also easy on the brain. :cool:

Steve Liberati
08-02-2009, 07:20 PM
It is too bad that the supposed "genius" of CF programming is too complicated to share with the unwashed masses...


wow Garrett, I think you've made your dislike of CrossFit abundantly clear by now. I don't visit the PMenu as much as I like anymore (just not enough hrs in the day!), but everytime I visit the boards...its the same ol' shit hearing you bag CrossFit or make snide remarks about its trainers or programming. Wasn't it just a few months ago that you were working on getting CF affiliated? Guess that didn't work out so well, so now you have an axe to grind and make every opportunity you get on the board or in an article to take a stab at CF.

If its not your thing, why can't you just leave it at that?

Chris H Laing
08-02-2009, 09:24 PM
If only more trainers got that distinction!

I think many trainers understand the distinction but dont know how to apply it to actual metcon programming.

Garrett Smith
08-02-2009, 09:47 PM
Steve,
You didn't address the quote that you included from me.

If CF shared some of their programming ideas, there would be no need for a thread like this, and the best articles on how to program metcons would not have to be in the Performance Menu.

If you don't agree with what I said, then go after that. Otherwise, you're just giving a knee-jerk defensive reaction.

Chuck Kechter
08-03-2009, 11:25 AM
I think many trainers understand the distinction but dont know how to apply it to actual metcon programming.

Maybe.

I've been a PT off and on since 1984, and in all that time I've only met a few -- maybe three dozen, out of hundreds -- that really got the distinction.

Everything is goal dependent (including having no goals beyond "just exercising"). Including type, timing and use of met-con.

By the by, I know you know this... Just writing to write I think... :)

Greg Battaglia
08-07-2009, 12:01 PM
CF.com programming is based on preparing one for the unknown and the unknowable. They've made that information available for years now.

The goal with general Crossfit programming (like that found on CF.com) is to develop a well-rounded individual that could hold his/her own in virtually any physically demanding situation. It's not about specialized goals. Remember the quote from Greg Glassman "Crossfit/nature punishes the specialist"? The Crossfit main WOD is designed with the intention of not having any specific goal other than to increase work capacity over broad time and modal domains.

How do you implement that goal into programming? Work at a high intensity on a regular basis in a broad array of time and modal domains. That's exactly what CF.com does with it's workouts/programming. As for the exact workouts that they use, at the CF cert. I attended last August we were taught that the workouts are basically just random, because you won't know what you'll be confronted with in nature, the streets, or any survival situation at any given time. Remember, CF aims to prepare you for the unknown and the unknowable.

Now, if you have goals other than increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domains, then you will need to make modifications to your programming accordingly. Is Crossfit somehow "wrong" for not implementing YOUR goals into their programming when they've made it crystal clear that the goal of their programming is to, again, increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains?

If you have different goals than what the Crossfit program implements, then maybe you shouldn't be looking to Crossfit to achieve those goals.

Not choosing any particular side here, just giving my honest 2 cents on the discussion based on what I know.

Garrett Smith
08-07-2009, 12:32 PM
Greg,
I'm sure we all understand the info that CF.com has presented.

That info doesn't help with the original question, "How does one program a good metcon". It is this lack of education that allows so many affiliates to just run out and start programming (or "hoppering") obscene chipper workouts day-in-day-out...because they aren't taught not to.

Picking stuff at random isn't programming. Watching CF.com's WODs after a while, one will see that the exercise selection is limited, and the rep schemes will often be repeated often enough to become familiar over time. These both mean that IMO the workouts are not random, as choices have been made.

Or let's say they are truly "random". That sure doesn't lend itself to any scientific validation or scrutiny. Nor does it TEACH anyone how to do anything themselves, which is how someone LEARNS to do something, so they don't have to ask the QUESTION that is this thread. Saying they are "random" also means that the people putting it out there really have no other wisdom or authority on the matter than anybody else approaching it with the same intent.
Work at a high intensity on a regular basis in a broad array of time and modal domains.
Really, for experts in this "metcon" arena, actually setting down standards and general guidelines for programming this really should not be that hard. Not sharing this info is a way to create dependence.

Steven Low
08-07-2009, 12:46 PM
The one problem I see with mainpage is this:

The alternatives out there like MEBB, CFSB, CFFB, or whatever you want to call the programming that Coach Glassman calls "alternative" to mainpage have fairly clear methodologies lined out. Most affiliates like Robb Wolf or others could tell you what kind of programming they run for their clients. While on the other hand the theoretical template of CF programming basically tells us nothing about what mainpage actually is.

So in arguing the efficacy of something for CF games mainpage has doing fairly well for the most part sure. But that doesn't tell us much about "why" it works because we don't know anything about how it's set up. So how exactly are people supposed to try to "advance" fitness and improve upon mainpage if we don't know how he programs it?

I dunno I've always seen most of the people say that CF is open source, and will constantly adapt if they find something better. But the mainpage sure ain't open source... so how can people use that to improve?

And mainpage is definitely not random.


Anyway, this isn't even touching the whole strength bias debate which is another big issue that's been argued zillions of times.


edit: Hah, Garrett and I are on the same wavelength. Pretty much what Garrett said.. it kinda creates a dependence on the mainpage.

Garrett Smith
08-07-2009, 12:58 PM
"Give a man a WoD, he has a workout for a day, teach a man to program his own, and you lose money."

I'm all for someone making a living, a good one at that. However, if there is a secret knowledge that one has and isn't willing to share, then I just wish it would be said straight up. If someone asks me, "how do I learn what you know?", I can tell them where to go to learn it or teach them myself (hopefully helping them avoid making mistakes or unwise investments of their time along the way).

Sharing knowledge of the "how-to" is what I judge that the PMenu does extremely well, and is leading the way in this particular area. Kudos to Greg for putting it out there, and to the contributing authors for their reverse engineering and putting the scraps of knowledge together so they can be shared.

Ben Smith
08-07-2009, 02:30 PM
Gant and Brandon's posts might be the best I've ever seen on the subject.

Re: CFHQ's reluctance to reveal programming methods:

(and Garrett - I appreciate your expertise and input wherever I see it. But I have to agree with Steve that on this subject you do come across as snide. I've read enough of your online corpus to know better, but I'd hate to see people disregard your posts because something like the early parts of this thread was their first exposure.)

I think it's a bit more than HQ greedily keeping the secrets because somehow (I'm not sure how) they profit more this way. I think it's part of the ethos of CF and the black box philosophy - you don't need to know why it works, just that it does.

In fact, HQ may not know why it works, just that it does (and as per another thread I posted to, I'll reiterate that I think that CF is the perfect program for someone with no specific goals - it DOES "work" for that person, in that it probably prepares them to have goals later on). Or if they do, maybe they feel that some mystery is necessary to get people to follow the program. That certainly is consistent with their on-time posting of new WODS - if they mapped it out publicly ahead of time, one aspect of the alluring novelty of the system is gone. I know the anticipation of the next WOD both "hooked" me early and contributed to my training intensity as I progressed.

As for me, I grew some goals quickly and moved on to a different type of training. But I can't think of a better free introductory program that, at least to some extent, combined strength and fitness in a way I could implement in my garage. Last sentence doesn't speak directly to the point, but I don't quite understand why the feelings about CF so often proceed from skepticism to animosity.

Gant Grimes
08-07-2009, 03:35 PM
Randomized training and training for random things are quite different. The best CF "competitors" are strong and powerful, and they didn't get that way by following a randomized program.

"Nature punishes the specialist" is a sexy tagline, but it is not true. Our now-exalted Paleo Man was not a generalist. He was versatile, but he followed similar protocols for hunting, gathering, battering Paleo Woman, and building fire. The more he did them, the more efficient he became. He became successful by removing the random elements from his environment. He adapted.

I'm not going to argue the boundary of specialist vs. generalist, but every species that has succeeded has done so because they do something better than the ones that aren't here anymore. Look at the brief history of our race. Have our specialists ever been punished? Are they punished in the work place today? Hell no. They're the successful ones. Ain't no PhD for general studies, boys.

That leads us to the claim that CF prepares you for the unknown and unknowable. Even if this were true (it's not), is it valuable? Is it even possible to be faced with truly random challenges? I live in Wichita Falls. There is no situation in which I will ever have to run a 7K over a hill like they had in Aromas. Unless Scotty beams me over to the ranch, I know the terrain, I know the weather, and I know the flora and fauna of the area in which I will be operating.

I'll give you this: true GPP theoretically prepares you for any conceivable situation you might or might not encounter in the natural world, however improbable. Smart (IMO) GPP, ergo smart metcons, prepare you for the challenges that are in the x% (you pick) probability range of whatever you might face.

Tom Rawls
08-07-2009, 04:17 PM
I would not want to be the opposing counsel litigating against Gant.

Garrett--Have you considered a vision quest to help you come to grips with your divorce from x-fit? Really, dude, you need a calming tea, therapy, or a couple of days in the desert with buttons.

Scott Kustes
08-07-2009, 06:42 PM
Specialists haven't been punished in nature in any way, shape, or form. Just look at the insects. They account for half of all known species and are pretty much as specialist as it gets. They also outnumber humans on the order of about 1.5 million-to-one, but who's counting when it comes to cutting through marketing?

Kevin Perry
08-07-2009, 09:11 PM
I sense a disturbance in the force.

But really, a person only has to look at the early archives of CF to know that the majority of the workouts were programmed then all of a sudden there was a drop and suddenly nothing made sense. I completely understand where Garrett is coming from. At the certification, all that they mentioned about programming (and understand that only about 15 min was dedicated to talking about programming at the cert) was that you combine a gymnastics elements, weightlifting elements, and the endurance elements and mix and match into metcons with no specific instruction or definition on what a metcon is and how exactly a person programs for one. But for exactly what reason? They never said. I like the idea and the intent of CF but I completely could never understand how you can tell people to just jump into randomized training without attaining a specific goal. If work capacity across broad time domains etc is the goal at least have programming to reflect that and establish how that programming is structured and achieved.

So how do you program a good metcon? By defining specific goals and establishing a base for which to achieve those goals is a major part of it. Not throwing random shit together and expecting to get somewhere. Like Greg said in a previous PM article about training randomly for any task is not the same as preparing randomly for any task (something along those lines). An individual needs to have a "specific goal" to get somewhere otherwise they are gonna keep having shitty numbers and shitty performance when they are just doing random workouts that take them nowhere (anyone check out the majority of the 09 games profiles?).

I'm just saying I completely understand what Garrett is saying. While I think what CF has opened up and given to the community is a fantastic thing, at least give some more guidelines and information on how the programming is achieved.. if there is any to begin with.

Paul Epstein
08-10-2009, 07:23 PM
Great thread.

One thing which strikes me about the specialist vs generalist argument is the fact that there are some specialist skills which seem to make people good generalists, and this tend seems to be largely ignored.

Running a 400m is a good example of this. If you are good at running a 400m you are probably pretty quick off the mark and have reasonable endurance over a couple of kilometres at least.

Weightlifting is another. If you are good at weightlifting you are good at moving heavy things and id suspect youd have enough leg strength to throw a pretty good punch.

Im not leaving my desk job to join a hunter gather tribe so how much more prepared for every day life do i need to be? If i can run away from big guys, punch small guys, lift heavy stuff and lift my own body; isnt that enough?

edit: first post. long time reader.

Scott Kustes
08-11-2009, 09:35 AM
Right-o Paul! There's a reason metcon performance improves for those with greater strength (to a degree). Similarly, if you can run a 45 second 400m, outrunning most anyone isn't going to be an issue, nor is turning out a 5:00 mile (you're talking only 60% of their 400m speed). I've got a feeling most gymnasts, sprinters, middle distance runners, and non-heavyweight Oly/powerlifters could crush any metcon with a short adaptation period. Most metcon firebreathers couldn't do the opposite though.

Stuart Picken
08-11-2009, 03:31 PM
First post!

Brilliant discussion and, I think, a really interesting topic.

in terms of original post I would say most of the bases have been covered, however I've maybe got a little to add. spot on I agree that main tools in a metcon, if barbells represent the bulk of your strength training, should be varied. I like sandbags, sprints, body weight movements I've picked up from various martial arts, rowing and I'm sure I'd like kettlebells too if I wasn't to cheap to get one :P I always think, and again this is relative to my goals, that the limiting factor shouldn't be your strength but the point at which your heart pops. In terms of movement choice (and I'm sure this ain't news to anyone here, but hey clears it up in my head as well) i always think in terms of some generalisations i picked up from the first book on weight training I ever read ('new rules of lifting', a rather lucky indoctrination I think; in terms of what's out there.) that is grouping exercises into the knee extension(squat), hip extension(pulls from the floor), lunge, press, upper body pull, core and the obvious combinations of these. I find it keeps things clearer in my head; metcon ain't squat heavy on a squat strength day. I also don't like knee extension and hip extension on the same day (with possible exception of air squats and dumbbell swings). and pair exercises for maximum metabolic punch - rowing and burpees for example.
any ways, I've said an awful lot without saying particularly anything so time to stop.

also about crossfit, first of i think they've just done awesome things for the fitness community both in their program And in education people about decent exercise. Having said that it's always annoyed me that they haven't been clearer on their programming. I think it'd benefit the whole community and better affiliates mean more clients mean more affiliates mean more money for the glassmans, where's the problem? crossfit'd also probably see more credibility and less scepticism, and yes, you guys are right, no way is it random! For example a couple of months ago people were saying they were doing to much strength and now, weirdly enough, you see new guys commenting on the amount of running. Really think if they were just open about how the construct programming week to week and cycle over the months the whole crossfit community would benefit. hell if money's the worry sell it in a book and it'll be one damn successful book.

well that was quite a witter, sorry guys and gals :p

Greg Battaglia
08-12-2009, 01:09 PM
You guys bring up some really good points. I have to admit that you've changed my mind on the subject and I have no problem with that. I have noticed myself that the stronger I get, the better my met-cons are across the board.

The worst part about it is that it's not something that has been formally researched thoroughly (if at all). Most of our answers must come from speculation and experience. But yeah, I mean look at Josh Everett. The dude does mostly power-based work and is a Crossfit monster. Great discussion.

Steven Low
08-12-2009, 07:36 PM
You guys bring up some really good points. I have to admit that you've changed my mind on the subject and I have no problem with that. I have noticed myself that the stronger I get, the better my met-cons are across the board.

The worst part about it is that it's not something that has been formally researched thoroughly (if at all). Most of our answers must come from speculation and experience. But yeah, I mean look at Josh Everett. The dude does mostly power-based work and is a Crossfit monster. Great discussion.
That's a whole other topic... I don't know how you connected that and tried to bring it into the discussion, lol. :p

Martin Bonn
08-13-2009, 10:43 AM
right so this is a little off topic, but i think this is how the discussion evolved (using a dodgy keyboard here so you might have to insert letters here and there)

firstly i agree with most of what has been said by most people (i.e. goals, length, etc.)

I really liked the point about using implements and exercises that you don t really do in your chosen sport, so if you do barbell sport, leave the barbell out of your metcon (mostly). that makes a lot of sense! you want to keep the mind fresh and not srew up your motor patterns too much i guess.
maybe strongman stuff would be quite good? that s short and intense (obviously adjusting the poundages, we don t want to exhaust ourselves too much now do we!)

on the whole crossfit thing (i m not taking sides here these things are more observations):
the games are mostly a representation of the WODs and their related movements (like cleans, lunges, rowing, running...)(apart from that stakes thing). so in that sense, aren t crossfiters doing very specific training for their 'sport'( i know they don t like calling it that)?
wouldn t a truly random test something that resembles 'real life' more closely?
like setting a house on fire and telling people to rescue someone out of it? ok a bit of a strange thing to do but you get the idea. these tasks would involve all sorts of time and modal domains!

background, feel free to skip!
thougt i just quickly give you my background (don t wanna be keyboard warrior!).
I ve been doing competative MAs for 5 years (judo and jitsu), i ve been lifting for 6, started with bodybuilding stuff (i didn t know any better), moved onto strength and i now got a coach and i ve started to oly lift (it s what i do mostly now).
most of my knowledge is from books and the internet (oh what a dodgy source).
the only thing i know anything about is biochemistry and medicine which was/is the degrees i m doing.

Steven Low
08-13-2009, 11:16 AM
Martin:

We discussed a bit of that here on Dutch's blog:

http://www.dutchlowy.com/2009/07/16/testing/


Also, most of my knowledge is from the Internet... nothing wrong with that. My degrees in biochem too. :p

Stuart Picken
08-13-2009, 02:00 PM
I'm remembering a video that was posted of coach Glassman a while back talking about how these years games were to be, what he viewed as, as broad and fair a test of fitness as possible. He thought obviously inherent in that was to put people out of their comfort zone, stuff they'd never done or trained before. As you guys pointed out and i think dutch summed up perfectly:

"For the most part what the competitors did last weekend was an example of a week of programming on the main site."

out of their comfort zone, i think not :p I feel i've got to be carefull here, and not have it sound like I've at all a negative view towards Crossfit or the Games, i certainly don't, for me they were a real kick up the a** about what Real fitness and training should be about, i just think we saw similar domains and similar tools to how these guys train all year.

hell, throw in some chess boxing!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43Wcbd0dJpQ

on the OP i think you have to be careful with strong man, you've got to look at what i call the 'limiting factor' and be sure it isn't a strength dominant WO or, imo even worse, a strength endurance work out (dunno about you guys but recovery is just :( cindy is a nightmare!). and again Relativity! :p what would be a strength dominant WO for one, might give another man a heart attack. I think you can tell a lot about an athlete by how they perform in metcons, and a lot about a coach on how they make them! they're a bit like the olympic lifts; if there's a weak link, It's gonna show!

Rafe Kelley
08-13-2009, 02:33 PM
Awesome thread. Some great sugggestions for programming Met con. I would suggest though that if you sport has heavy metabolic components you may get all the adaption you need just form practicing your sport with strength and power being what you should really focus on.

I do parkour intervals and repeats as part of my training and that coupled with heavy weight training allowed me to walk in and hit Crossfit PRs while having only done 5 or so crossfit style metcons in the last three months.

I think something most combatitive sports offer similar effects.

Just a tangent on the idea nature punishes the specialist. In this crossfit is probably right, it is fairly well supported observation that species with more specialized adaptions go extinct more often have shorter geologic time spans, and give rise to fewer descendant species.

If you look at the animals that are dying out the quickest in the modern extinction event the tend to be specalist species confined to specific habitats and very strict diets. The species that are thriving tend to be very catholic in their dietary and lifestyle habits like coyotes, rats and crows.

Steven Low
08-13-2009, 04:18 PM
Well, looks like the winners this year didn't really do "mainpage", so I guess we can stop hearing about how mainpage produces games winners.

Wagner (weaknesses + Apex programmed WODs + variable non-3/1)
http://games2009.crossfit.com/competitors/tanyas-training.html

Salo (mainpage + LOTS of extra stuff - strength, metcons,etc. variable non-3/1)
http://games2009.crossfit.com/competitors/mikko-salos-training.html


Ironically, if you boil it down to the main points these people more or less listen to their bodies effectively and work on their weaknesses + larger volume than what mainpage is. Which is fairly astounding to say the least... but in context of having trained 10-15+ years each the work capacity can definitely be built up to handle such training.

Stuart Picken
08-13-2009, 04:41 PM
I think the relationship between generalisation, specialisation and being physically awesome is an interesting one. I'd say all the physical traits of fitness are related; extreme strength at the expense of bodyweight (superheavy weights ) then you've produced a pretty poor athlete. not only is strength to weight ratio gonna be bad, but conditioning (I remember seeing some groovy formulae for lean body mass and blood flow and anaerobic fitness, was probably junk but the principle was pretty sound), probably agility, flexibility (watch a body builder try and get into a front squat position - it's lol). same goes for extreme flexibility, agility, aerobic fitness etc.

i would also say that there's a place for specialisation in one's training. I found the limiting factor in my fitness was strength hence a current specialisation in the olympic lifts.

Perhaps it's a simple case of benchmarks. and thinking about it perhaps crossfit, if you want a generalising template*, is in fact a pretty damn good benchmark.


*which are never going to be true for all cases, for example I found there being more body weight exercises on upper body, and weighted exercises for lower body that my upper body became disproportionately strong due to my long limbs and starting of chunky.


Edit
Salo's training is Sick! perhaps that is a reasonable bench mark for generalised fitness; incredible work capacity in varied domains... hold on, i think Glassman's used that one already ¬_¬

Brandon Oto
08-14-2009, 01:12 PM
Great thread.

One thing which strikes me about the specialist vs generalist argument is the fact that there are some specialist skills which seem to make people good generalists, and this tend seems to be largely ignored.

This is one of the basic principles that keeps coming up in my own thinking. Glassman used to emphasize it as well and it's the whole magic of that old weightlifter-sprinter-gymnast trifecta.

Basically general training is all about carryover. You'll never be able to train every single thing you want to be good at so the key becomes to find the things that will make you good at the most things in ADDITION to the thing itself. But despite that, it's still the case that to really get good at anything you still have to focus down and seriously develop it -- so the GPP game, imo, is deciding what limited set of things to SPECIALIZE in. If you SPECIALIZE in running 400 meters very fast, that's a good and a useful thing, but it also probably means you can run other distances pretty fast, and you've got pretty good overall endurance, and decent strength, and so on. And getting your 400 time faster and faster really isn't a bad way to keep developing these things.

So goes that theory, anyway. Realistically most people probably can't truly specialize in more than one thing, but you can periodize to varying extents, or just "minor" in other things.

Gant Grimes
08-17-2009, 09:48 AM
Nice conversation about carryover (also touched on by Kustes and others). In other words, how specific is your specialty? If you're a 400m sprinter or you have a 200kg clean and jerk, being good at your stuff makes you good at your stuff.

I'm having a good day, so I won't check the CF forums to see if someone has hypothesized about Usain Bolt's Helen time.

Scott Kustes
08-17-2009, 10:12 AM
I assume you mean "being good at your stuff makes you good at other stuff"?

Gant Grimes
08-17-2009, 12:31 PM
I assume you mean "being good at your stuff makes you good at other stuff"?

I think I meant that. I'll leave it unedited to confuse the CFers.

Andy Robinson
08-17-2009, 04:41 PM
I'm having a good day, so I won't check the CF forums to see if someone has hypothesized about Usain Bolt's Helen time.[/QUOTE]

Bolt's Helen time is 7 min. flat...very impressive but IMO he short changed full ROM on a few pull ups.

Andrew Wilson
08-19-2009, 11:09 PM
I was rereading this, this is a great thread, probably the best one I've read in any CrossFit related website, going to keep it alive...

If you're a 400m sprinter or you have a 200kg clean and jerk, being good at your stuff makes you good at your stuff.

I'm having a good day, so I won't check the CF forums to see if someone has hypothesized about Usain Bolt's Helen time.

This reminds me, I was researching the training programs of the Jamaican sprinters after watching the women's 100m dash live. Came across a great dutch site (http://www.snelkracht.nl/index-en.php) (wfs) that had various training programs of Olympic T&F athletes, mainly sprinters and throwers. T&F coaches and athletes have to be the most intelligent in this field from what I've experienced, and they almost incorporate that trifecta Brandon mentioned of Oly-sprinter-gymn, not much gymnastics in their training though. They're specialists, yet to be the an Olympic champion they have to be excellant in another domain ie. olympic lifting for a sprinter/ thrower which is going to carry over in their sport and make them a better or more explosive specialist. This also reminds me of a thought I use to run in my mind "an Olympic champion can be a champion CrossFitter, but a champion CrossFitter cannot be an Olympic champion." or can they? ie. rowing. Food for thought.

What I also came across this site sparked an idea, since they flirt with that trifecta of oly-sprint-gymn, in relation to the first topic of this thread. A sprinter/thrower as multiple and different training sessions a day with different goals. Example as in 3x300m sprint or other sprint training/ buildups, later that day snatch a single heavy, fast bench/push press, throws with various weights etc. Of course this is all periodized to prepare for an event. Combining these seperated workouts into one "wod"- isn't that smart training? (for a metcon-er)A metcon established by combining all the events with a goal in mind for each. Versus sandbag training where you're probably never going to have to use at any point other than yard work. I think of the best athlete can best handle a completely unknown random event that's always prophesized by CrossFit. My experience with CrossFit is that their not necessarily building the athlete to meet their greatest potential when it's time they meet that event, but instead they "randomly" expose the athlete to other balls-out events so when they do meet that completely unknown random event, they've had experience in dealing with it.

Thoughts?

Aside from this, I will say that in relation to introducing physically inactive people to a new physically active lifestyle, there is no better system than CrossFit. All the elements falls from its tree. It may not necessarily build the greatest all round athlete, or structured but it definitely is the best in making people physically active & religiously enjoying it. & this is something that's in dyre need today

Brandon Oto
08-19-2009, 11:15 PM
Why does everything have to be a metcon?

Andy Robinson
08-20-2009, 05:00 AM
Why does everything have to be a metcon?

Because "metcon" sounds cooler than "cardio"...

Adolfo Riveron
08-20-2009, 06:05 AM
Because "metcon" sounds cooler than "cardio"...

energy systems work sounds intense

Gavin Harrison
08-20-2009, 07:29 AM
Andrew, just because something involves weightlifting, running and "gymnastics" in it's training does not mean that it's "fallen from CF's tree" or is even related or inspired by crossfit.

There was a mini competition at the summer olympics in Mexico, where they had everyone compete in 20 or 40 meter sprints and 100 meter sprints. The oly lifters blew the doors off of everyone else in the short distance, even the 100m sprinters, but the 100m sprinters crushed them in the 100m.

Naturally, wouldn't you want a short distance sprinter to gain the benefit of such explosive starting speed, even if you need to do more work for endurance for their event?

Also, people have been incorporating weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting into their workouts forever, as DVS would say, it was called "bodybuilding".

Brandon Oto
08-20-2009, 08:54 AM
I just mean that one of the default CF attitudes is, even when branching out to add more strength or gymnastics or whatever, to automatically go "okay, I'll put it all into a metcon!" Yes, sure, that's a really easy way to add things, but if the things you're adding are not for the sake of conditioning, then you're damaging their efficacy.

Scott Kustes
08-20-2009, 09:35 AM
There was a mini competition at the summer olympics in Mexico, where they had everyone compete in 20 or 40 meter sprints and 100 meter sprints. The oly lifters blew the doors off of everyone else in the short distance, even the 100m sprinters, but the 100m sprinters crushed them in the 100m.
Has anyone ever actually seen this supposed study or results? I haven't, nor can I find it, but I hear it repeated constantly. I'd love to know the origin and see something to actually prove this.

Vern Gambetta calls BS. (http://functionalpathtraining.blogspot.com/2008/01/pure-mythology.html)

Steven Low
08-20-2009, 12:03 PM
Has anyone ever actually seen this supposed study or results? I haven't, nor can I find it, but I hear it repeated constantly. I'd love to know the origin and see something to actually prove this.

Vern Gambetta calls BS. (http://functionalpathtraining.blogspot.com/2008/01/pure-mythology.html)
Yeah, from what I can tell it's BS.

Although it does sound good right? Especially for Oly...

Can't deny the power Oly lifters have from static positions, but still those results are suspect.

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

Rowing as a sport seems a bit underdeveloped insofar as their intensity of training (at least it SEEMS that way... I haven't examined any college programs or anything). Even swimming now incorporates a lot of high intensity work.

Anyway, that was a bit off topic.

We'll see if CF can produce anything superior in the world of athletics, but I wouldn't hold my breath on it. It's a general program, and it IS at odds with training for specialized events like it or not.

Scott Kustes
08-20-2009, 12:55 PM
I don't doubt that Oly lifters are incredibly fast compared to other athletes. But I'd love to see one of them actually get to even 5m, much less 20m, before a Tyson Gay, Maurice Green, Asafa Powell, or even Usain Bolt (who is slow out of the blocks).

I definitely don't doubt that Oly lifters have a better static vertical, on the average...just always wonder why this "study" is constantly quoted when no one actually knows what journal it was published in, what "world class" athletes were involved, or who actually conducted the study, nor can they produce results, only a vague "Oly lifters were better".

Donald Lee
08-20-2009, 01:06 PM
For elite sprinters, in the push-off from the blocks, the rear leg applies force for <.18 sec and the front leg applies force for <.37 sec. Elite athletes are in the support phases for <.2 and .18 sec for their first two strides during the acceleration phase.

I doubt Olympic lifts make you explosive enough to generate high forces that quickly. I'd reckon squat jumps are more useful. Maybe Olympic lifts could be used for the start off the blocks, but why not just do bottom squats off the pins to develop the explosiveness from a deadstop. Even then, acceleration, speed-endurance, and somewhat max. speed usually account for more than the start.

Gant Grimes
08-20-2009, 03:25 PM
Has anyone ever actually seen this supposed study or results? I haven't, nor can I find it, but I hear it repeated constantly. I'd love to know the origin and see something to actually prove this.

Vern Gambetta calls BS. (http://functionalpathtraining.blogspot.com/2008/01/pure-mythology.html)

No, and I've looked for it (as recently as yesterday when it was discussed in that other place).

I've always wondered about the fascination with this because, even it were true, it doesn't really do anything for OLY. IIRC, some OLY guys at the 68 Olympics beat the sprinters in 25m races and out-jumped some women's volleyball team. Right? If this is not BS, it was done over beers after everyone's events were done. Really, the top sprinters shut it down in the semi-final heats. Why would they go balls-out in a meaningless 25m exhibition?

It couldn't show much beyond the fact that elite OLY lifters are genetic freaks like any other elite athlete and can already jump and sprint short distances.

Lifters are great, but they can't beat sprinters. The OLY gods need to let this one go. Otherwise, let's line up. It's easy to do.

Andrew Wilson
08-20-2009, 04:23 PM
A of this study is on PubMed, not necessarily about the Mexico story:
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 19.2 (May 2005): p433(5).
Tricoli, Valmor, Leonardo Lamas, Roberto Carnevale, and Carlos Ugrinowitsch. ”Short-term effects on lower-body functional power development: weightlifting vs. vertical jump training programs.”
Abstract:
Among sport conditioning coaches, there is considerable discussion regarding the efficiency of training methods that improve lower-body power. Heavy resistance training combined with vertical jump (VJ) training is a well-established training method; however, there is a lack of information about its combination with Olympic weightlifting (WL) exercises. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the short-term effects of heavy resistance training combined with either the VJ or WL program. Thirty-two young men were assigned to 3 groups: WL = 12, VJ = 12, and control = 8. These 32 men participated in an 8-week training study. The WL training program consisted of 3 x 6RM high pull, 4 x 4RM power clean, and 4 x 4RM clean and jerk. The VJ training program consisted of 6 x 4 double-leg hurdle hops, 4 x 4 alternated single-leg hurdle hops, 4 x 4 single-leg hurdle hops, and 4 x 4 40-cm drop jumps. Additionally, both groups performed 4 x 6RM half-squat exercises. Training volume was increased after 4 weeks. Pretesting and posttesting consisted of squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) tests, 10-and 30-m sprint speeds, an agility test, a half-squat 1RM, and a clean-and-jerk 1RM (only for WL). The WL program significantly increased the 10-m sprint speed (p < 0.05). Both groups, WL and VJ, increased CMJ (p < 0.05), but groups using the WL program increased more than those using the VJ program. On the other hand, the group using the VJ program increased its 1RM half-squat strength more than the WL group (47.8 and 43.7%, respectively). Only the WL group improved in the SJ (9.5%). There were no significant changes in the control group. In conclusion, Olympic WL exercises seemed to produce broader performance improvements than VJ exercises in physically active subjects.

But with all honesty, have any of you been around any legit international oly lifters? I'm not talking about affliates, I'm talking about actual guys that compete internationally, like 69kg guys that can snatch 140kg or a 77kg guys snatch 157.5kg. The guys that aren't genetic freaks, but just technically work their ass off for years. No offense, but if you haven't it's easy to get confused about explosive power.

Gavin you miss read what I wrote, in falling under the CrossFit tree is meaning that gymnastics, oly lifting, powerlifting, rowing, sprinting, kettlebells etc are all used under CrossFit, and under CrossFit many people are the exposed to them for the 1st time, under any other circumstance they probably wouldn't have been. In that regards they may CrossFit for a time being, then switch to Oly, Powerlifting, rowing, gymnastics, so on.

Gant Grimes
08-20-2009, 05:27 PM
Who was your post directed at, Andrew? I don't think anyone here is disputing that OLY is good for developing explosiveness.

But with all honesty, have any of you been around any legit international oly lifters? I'm not talking about affliates, I'm talking about actual guys that compete internationally, like 69kg guys that can snatch 140kg or a 77kg guys snatch 157.5kg. The guys that aren't genetic freaks, but just technically work their ass off for years. No offense, but if you haven't it's easy to get confused about explosive power.

I've been fortunate enough to get some coaching from Glenn Pendlay while sharing a platform with Caleb Ward. He's still a junior, so I don't know if he's elite enough, but he recently competed at the junior world's, is the youngest American to C&J over 200, and he has snatched 153. He's damn near 280 pounds and he can do a standing back flip. His technique is flawless and fast.

I have also trained with an Outland Trophy winner, a national-level track cyclist, and several international judo players. There is nothing that confuses me about explosive power. All these folks are good people, and they are all genetic freaks who have worked their asses off to get where they are. There is not a single elite athlete anywhere that has gotten there with hard work alone.

Jay Cohen
08-21-2009, 05:10 AM
Gant;

Always good to read your posts.
Hope family is doing well.

Jay

Scott Kustes
08-21-2009, 07:04 AM
No, and I've looked for it (as recently as yesterday when it was discussed in that other place).

I've always wondered about the fascination with this because, even it were true, it doesn't really do anything for OLY. IIRC, some OLY guys at the 68 Olympics beat the sprinters in 25m races and out-jumped some women's volleyball team. Right? If this is not BS, it was done over beers after everyone's events were done. Really, the top sprinters shut it down in the semi-final heats. Why would they go balls-out in a meaningless 25m exhibition?

It couldn't show much beyond the fact that elite OLY lifters are genetic freaks like any other elite athlete and can already jump and sprint short distances.

Lifters are great, but they can't beat sprinters. The OLY gods need to let this one go. Otherwise, let's line up. It's easy to do.
I too looked extensively. It's a mythical study. The only other possibility I've come across is that it is a real study that wasn't conducted at the Olympic Games and involved sub-elite athletes that has since been blown up over time to something it ain't.

Regardless, this is a thread diversion.

Gavin Harrison
08-21-2009, 02:05 PM
Regardless, this is a thread diversion.

Certainly, my point was not to say that oly lifting = amazing at everything, simply that it surely must carry over to other things, like running, jumping, etc. Coaches use what works for their sport because it works, not because it's part of some "holy trinity" of physical development. And just because some program somewhere uses (or not) a mix of Running/Oly/"Gymnastics" doesn't point towards CF theology being any more or less correct.

Brandon Oto
08-21-2009, 02:15 PM
I was discussing the mythical study with someone recently and pointed out that it's really a moot point as to its veracity. It's only ever invoked to prove that Olympic lifters have powerful legs and was anyone really questioning this?

Jody Woodland
08-23-2009, 10:44 PM
Rowing as a sport seems a bit underdeveloped insofar as their intensity of training (at least it SEEMS that way... I haven't examined any college programs or anything). Even swimming now incorporates a lot of high intensity work.

Anyway, that was a bit off topic.



Sorry for being a little late to this thread (great one, by the way) but I was wondering where you got this idea. Even nearly 30 years ago, when I was rowing in my first two years at UBC, rowing training was almost entirely interval based, from "power 10's" with 30 seconds rest, repeated 10-15 times up to 2000m repeats at 90% of race effort and all points in between.

Seems to me it's the recreational and indoor rowing fans that like all the long, slow, low intensity stuff.

Don't want to be too defensive on what might be my first post (? - find out as soon as I submit it), just needed to be a little bit defensive!

Cheers.

(Long time lurker, time to start hanging out here regularly. Feels like home.)

Steven Low
08-24-2009, 09:14 AM
Seems to me it's the recreational and indoor rowing fans that like all the long, slow, low intensity stuff.

Yeah, that's what I was referring to. Well, I guess that's true with any sport..... LSD and people who 5k/10k/marathon. People who go to the gym and do the same thing without progressing.

I guess you outdoor guys know your stuff though. Good. :)

Paul Epstein
08-24-2009, 07:49 PM
I was discussing the mythical study with someone recently and pointed out that it's really a moot point as to its veracity. It's only ever invoked to prove that Olympic lifters have powerful legs and was anyone really questioning this?

i guess the point is (as far as i see it anyway), that the 'study' implies weightlifting has great carryover to acceleration speed. if this was true and i was a coach then i would use this evidence to include even more oly lifting in my sprinters training.

as it is, i understand sprinters do a fair bit of oly lifting anyway so maybe coaches realised via anecdotal evidence anyway?

back on topic. one obvious thing i learned trying to do a metcon after a heavy lifting session last night was to avoid overworking the same body part. instead of doing hill sprints up my street on my push bike i probably should have been doing something upper body orientated.

it seems obvious now but your metcon is obviously related to your goals. doing a traditional crossfit metcon with something like lots of thrusters is probably very good for a rugby player early in the week but is probably not very good for a weightlifter.

the other thing i learned was that metcon should be fun. im not sure why i chose cycling up a hill instead of surfing when there was a gentle offshore breeze blowing:(

Brandon Oto
08-24-2009, 07:54 PM
i guess the point is (as far as i see it anyway), that the 'study' implies weightlifting has great carryover to acceleration speed. if this was true and i was a coach then i would use this evidence to include even more oly lifting in my sprinters training.

Not to beat up this topic but I never really hear this talked about by actual sprinters (or sprinting coaches) doing serious program development. It's always in places like this by people trying to make Big Points about Fitness, and in such circumstances being able to note that arm wrestlers can stand on their head for 11 minutes is extremely well-regarded.

Steven Low
08-24-2009, 08:34 PM
Not to beat up this topic but I never really hear this talked about by actual sprinters (or sprinting coaches) doing serious program development. It's always in places like this by people trying to make Big Points about Fitness, and in such circumstances being able to note that arm wrestlers can stand on their head for 11 minutes is extremely well-regarded.
Regarding RFD there's definitely better weightlifting exercises... plus you can always actually you know sprint or do plyometrics.

I've seen Oly incoporated into some programs I've been reading up on, so it can be done though but usually it's used similarly to deads, jumps squats, etc. where your goal is to just get stronger. RFD is mainly built into the plyo + actual sprinting.

Brandon Oto
08-24-2009, 08:39 PM
As far as that goes I guess you'd expect the main return of something like Oly to be for a more powerful initial, dead-stop push from the blocks. Every stride after that is rebounded and I guess you'd expect plyo-type training to give bigger returns for that.

But we're digressing...

Martin Bonn
08-25-2009, 03:50 AM
i know this is off topic but still....
isn t it about 'return of investment' as well?
say i am a sprinter and it is true that i can improve my times by using oly lifts (just off the blocks, power versions only...maybe only pulls). if i haven t learned these movements early it will be hard to adapt to the new patterns and then wok up to a weight that will actually have an effect. seeing that sprinters spend more time on the track than in the weights room in would seem obvious that they are reluctant to incorporate oly lifting...hence there is no evidence that this stuff works. that s my theory anyways.
i see that in my gym with the rugby players: they stay away from the platform and stick to the traditional slow lifts.
sorry about the off topic post....

Allen Yeh
08-25-2009, 06:05 AM
This is getting pretty far away from the topic. There are some very interesting thoughts in this thread about sprinters and strength training:

http://www.cathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=106

Take a look at the posts by Barry Ross.

Kyle Marston
08-26-2009, 02:46 AM
Gant is basically saying "It's very easy to make someone tired." I could put together a series of movements that fatigues anyone, leaves them a sweaty mess on the floor, etc. That doesn't mean that set of exercises is actually advancing them in their athletic pursuits (or at least not advancing them as far as other movements/reps/sets could've in the same amount of time).

So further to the original question, is it possible for someone like me who knows nothing about exercise physiology other than what I've read in Pmenu and the CFJ make the distinction referred to here?

To say that it depends on your goals seems like an easy way out. Hopefully those of you that know would be able to design a metcon for a client looking to better his MMA conditioning or performance on the rugby pitch, right? Is that just from experience? Is there no other way to get that knowledge (for, say, someone with a desk job--i.e. no way to gain that experience--but a keen interest in the subject)? Am I left with trial and error? Or relying on others with the expertise?

Martin Bonn
08-26-2009, 03:08 AM
This is getting pretty far away from the topic. There are some very interesting thoughts in this thread about sprinters and strength training:

http://www.cathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=106

Take a look at the posts by Barry Ross.

Thanks Allen, that was quite an interesting read! i m personally not really involved in T&F but i liked this stuff...maybe i ll start running around a little too!

@Kyle:
i know that this will sound like another easy way out but hey what can you do?!

1.) I think that it is heavily goal dependent: you have to know what you want to achieve in order to plan a workout to get there! (that s already been said better by other people on here)
to take your example about MMA and Rugby (just assuming for a while that all positions in rugby require the same conditioning which of course they don t):
So MMA is rounds of 3 min with a lot anaerobic work (for those all out efforts) and some aerobic stuff....but essentially it s over in ~15min. Rugby lasts 80min, also has all out efforts like sprinting and tackling but yet also requires you to have the stamina to do it for 80min.....so it should follow that their training should be different.

2.) Experience is a key factor: you can read all you want and know all the theory, putting it into practice is a whole different thing!
e.g.: i can give you a book to read on biochemical techniques in the lab and then ask you to come in and extract a protein...chances are you wouldn t be able to do it, even if you could quote the whole book! A lot of the knowledge you need is due to trial and error in a way.....which is what will give you experience in the long run (if you learn from your mistakes that is!)

Donald Lee
08-26-2009, 09:24 AM
If you wanted to be able to train elite athletes, then you'd have to have at least a basic understanding of exercise physiology and be pretty well read. Otherwise, if you're just working out recreationally, it's not totally necessary. Personally, I find most of the stuff on the internet to be a bunch of crap written by people who have little understanding of exercise physiology, biomechanics, motor control, nutrition, etc. The internet's a big marketplace.

If you'd like to know some books that I'd recommend, you can P.M. me. I admit that I have not had the chance to read many books yet, but I've accumulated quite the library and have some sense of what books are good.

Steven Low
08-26-2009, 10:01 AM
So further to the original question, is it possible for someone like me who knows nothing about exercise physiology other than what I've read in Pmenu and the CFJ make the distinction referred to here?

To say that it depends on your goals seems like an easy way out. Hopefully those of you that know would be able to design a metcon for a client looking to better his MMA conditioning or performance on the rugby pitch, right? Is that just from experience? Is there no other way to get that knowledge (for, say, someone with a desk job--i.e. no way to gain that experience--but a keen interest in the subject)? Am I left with trial and error? Or relying on others with the expertise?
Look at the people who program with heavy lifting and metabolic work. There's some advice in here which you didn't get to that I believe Gant/Garrett/Brandon posts, and there's stuff out there like the front page of PMenu.

Notice how the metabolic work is programmed differently from the strength/power work. Rarely is there a lot if much barbell work in the metabolic... it's mostly gymnastics, sprinting, rowing, etc. while the main strength section is barbell. There's a couple reasons for this which have already been described.

A lot is about experience, but it's possible to also learn a lot from understanding in theory (a lot of which has been hashed out in the first 40 posts in this thread).

Justin Herring
08-26-2009, 01:51 PM
So I've been reading this thread with some interest. Now I'm wondering how one programs a metcon to "fit your goals."

There's a lot of advice in the thread about what a metcon should be. Most of it is pretty straightforward and specific (like what Steve mentions in the previous post). But I don't have much sense for how you should modify metcons to fit your goals. How would your metcons look different if you were, say, trying to prepare for endurance events (running or triathlons), emphasizing strength, oly lifting, rock climbing, or whatever.

For instance, there's advice here that you should go short (relative to CF mainpage), go hard, avoid barbells, etc. Is that always true, regardless of what your preparing for? Or only true if your trying to replicate the program of Grant et al?

I'm not much for programming, so my approach is to borrow from whatever seems like the best fit for my goals at the time. (CF Football, CFE, Catalyst, local affiliate, etc.)

Steven Low
08-26-2009, 07:36 PM
Do you guys want examples or something? Because it doesn't seem like the guidelines in this thread are enough for a lot of you who don't have a lot of experience programming... but seriously there are various sources out there.

In most cases, "metabolic" work for sports training ends up being intervals such as in sprinting. It's very rare from what I've seen that they'd use any type of gymnastics or weightlifting to do metabolic work or complexes.

Matt Corley
09-02-2009, 10:54 AM
Do you guys want examples or something? Because it doesn't seem like the guidelines in this thread are enough for a lot of you who don't have a lot of experience programming... but seriously there are various sources out there.

In most cases, "metabolic" work for sports training ends up being intervals such as in sprinting. It's very rare from what I've seen that they'd use any type of gymnastics or weightlifting to do metabolic work or complexes.

i would love some examples. I'm (re)doing SS right now and plan to move over to Wendler's 5/3/1 once I stall on SS. i really want to incorporate (relatively) short conditioning into the programming. I'm planning on working out Tue/Thu/Sat/Sun.

I was planning on working in tire flips and sled dragging on lower body days and not sure about upper body days.

thanks in advance,
matt

Kyle Marston
09-07-2009, 12:54 AM
Steven—No need for examples for me. If the general guidelines given so far are what’s involved then I think I’ve got a handle on it. I guess I was thinking there is some wickedly complex set of guidelines or rules to be followed, known only to the fitness illuminati. Some folks tend to hype their programming as the super secret sauce so I guess I always assume it must be something way more complex than just thousand island dressing.