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Old 08-31-2007, 06:54 PM   #1
-Ross Hunt
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Default High-Rep O-lifts for Metcon: Yay or Nay?

What do you say? Are high-rep barbell clean and jerks and snatches a solid, hardcore way to develop metcon, or do they just deliver all the pain of a metcon workout and all the pain of an oly workout with none of the benefit of either?


I saw good metcon results from doing Grace on a regular basis a couple years back. I recently did Isabel on a dare and was underwhelemed by the metabolic impact. Of course, I could always just do it faster... I guess. I knocked it out in 4:50, and I was breathing hard, but I definitely wasn't flatlining the way I would during a workout where I wasn't constantly dumping the bar and refixing my grip. Indeed, it seems to me that constant loading of the body greatly intensifies metabolic impact. Any exercise where the body is still loaded while you're resting, or where the athlete is otherwise 'punished' for resting (e.g. repetition full squats-to-broad-jumps for distance with added load) seems to be more productive for metcon.
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:13 PM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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good question...I would say to benefits of doing high rep Oly lifts may or may not be underminded by the potential of the form for each...does the barbell come to a stop on the floor everytime or are you bouncing it? Does the high rep reduce form that is more important come heavier lifts? Are you reducing the explosiveness of the exercise by pacing yourself? Is the high rep condusive to tendonitis issues?

From a person who doesnt follow crossfit workouts, in the end I would personally keep the main Oly lifts heavy and/or very explosive with stress on form for maximum benefit....and then get my metcon through sprints, 1 arm DB/KB lifts, etc.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:18 AM   #3
Jonathan Owen
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I stopped doing them because I was training for a meet, and since I def. want to compete again, I will not be doing any high rep oly stuff. When I was doing consistent cf wod's, my form sucked on the oly's, but by the end of a high rep set my form sucked even more than when I started. For my needs I would rather do three good c&j than doing a 30 rep set where the last 10 or 15 become "two hands anyhow." If I want metcon I can get all I want from swings, tire slams with a sledge etc...

Just my 2 cents

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Old 09-01-2007, 04:02 PM   #4
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I have a ton to say on this (article length), but the basics:

There's nothing inherently problematic with high rep oly lifting in metCons - the injury potential arises from shitty technique and attempting lifts beyond the athlete's ability. Those things can be true at any number of reps.

I do encourage learning the lifts in isolation before using them in metCons to ensure a solid technique base both because of the above reason and because it will help prevent the reinforcement of shitty technique through so much fatigued repetition.
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Old 09-01-2007, 05:24 PM   #5
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I've personally noticed that, while paying close attention to weights used and my own form, that it seems like my form almost gets better as I do my 30 rep OL workouts. I base that completely on completing more reps as a group towards the end of my workout, and my observation that I often feel more "pop" in my lifts towards the end.

Maybe I'm crazy. Or, as has happened before, maybe I just pay a ton more attention to my form than nearly anyone else I know. That and checking the ego at the door in terms of weight used.
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Old 09-01-2007, 06:38 PM   #6
Chris Forbis
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I haven't done them in a long time, but my lift efficiency seemed to improve with high rep cleans. My theory is that as my strength endurance diminished, the form had to improve in order to be able to complete the lift.

I have since abandoned high rep stuff on anything requiring a degree of technical proficiency. I even take my higher rep free squat sets pretty seriously. My back seems to appreciate this focus on form.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:27 PM   #7
Steve Shafley
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Default Interesting adjunct to the high rep OL thread

Conclusion is quite spiffy.

Quote:
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Aug;39(8):1291-301.
Effect of Explosive versus Slow Contractions and Exercise Intensity on Energy Expenditure.
Mazzetti S, Douglass M, Yocum A, Harber M.

1Human Performance Center, Anderson University, Anderson, IN; and 2Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

OBJECTIVE:: The primary purpose of this study was to compare the effects of explosive versus slow contractions on the rate of energy expenditure during and after resistance exercise. METHODS:: Nine men (20 +/- 2.5 yr) performed three exercise protocols using a plate-loaded squat machine, and a no-exercise (CONTROL) session in a randomly assigned, counterbalanced order. Subjects performed squats using either two second (SLOW) or explosive concentric contractions (EXPL), but identical repetitions (), sets (), and loads (60% 1RM). A secondary objective was to compare high- versus moderate-intensity exercise. Thus, a third protocol was performed that also used explosive contractions, with heavier loads (80% 1RM) and six sets of four reps (HEAVYEXPL). Eccentric reps (2 s), work (reps x sets x load), range of motion, and rest intervals between sets (90 s) were identical among all three protocols. Expired air was collected continuously for 20 min before, during, and 1 h after exercise and for about 1.5 h during CONTROL. Blood samples (25 muL) were collected before, immediately after, and 15, 30, 45, and 60 min after each protocol, and these samples were analyzed for blood lactate (mM). RESULTS:: Average rates of energy expenditure (kcal.min) were significantly greater (P </= 0.05) during (7.27 +/- 2.00 > 6.43 +/- 1.64 and 6.25 +/- 1.55, respectively) and after (2.54 +/- 1.44 > 2.38 +/- 1.31 and 2.21 +/- 1.08, respectively) EXPL compared with SLOW and HEAVYEXPL, despite significantly (P </= 0.05) greater blood lactate after SLOW. CONCLUSION:: Squat exercise using explosive contractions and moderate intensity induced a greater increase in the rate of energy expenditure than squats using slow contractions or high intensity in all subjects tested. Thus, by using explosive contractions and moderate exercise intensity, experienced recreational exercisers can increase their energy expenditure during and after resistance exercise, and this could enhance weight-loss adaptations.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:29 PM   #8
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What this means is that complexes of ballistic movements = R0XX0RZ for fat loss.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:34 PM   #9
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nice study. thanks. Robb and I just had a conversation about this kind of thing yesterday.
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:56 PM   #10
-Ross Hunt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Jones View Post

Like in the video just posted to the CF main site about technique vs. intensity, I see the two as complimentary. Proper or correct movement is exactly that because it is the most biomechanically efficient movement pattern to complete the task. As you fatigue, you must rely on proper form just to move the weight.

I believe that the statement that I have set in bold is misleading. Yes, you must optimize 'proper' technique to move weight. But the proper technique for max total power output with 135 pounds in 5 minutes, e.g., is absolutely not the same as the proper technique to get peak power output with a maximal weight (e.g., 195-205 pounds).

This is obvious at the most simple level in the comparison of the power and the squat lifts. The most efficient way to clean 135x30 is to power them all. The discrepancy becomes glaringly obvious in the case of the snatch. You don't do Isabel fast by keeping your hips low, not breaking the back angle until the bar comes past the knee, and getting a perfect third pull. You do it by starting with your hips a bit higher, shooting them a bit during the pull, and jumping your feet out wide because you sure as heck aren't going to squat snatch the thing anyway.

To make this a bit clearer: It is 'most efficient' to throw every muscle into you've got into a max oly lift, and that means using proper olympic technique. In the context of metcon, it is most efficient to favor stronger muscle groups and shorten the total length of bar path per rep as much as possible. The most efficient bar path between floor and overhead for one 100% snatch is perfect squat snatch; the most efficient bar path between floor and overhead for 30 65% snatches is a sloppy power snatch.

For an even more dramatic example, consider Girevoy Sport technique, and its emphasis on relaxation and smoothness rather than speed and power.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Jones View Post

...If the groundwork is laid correctly, then you will not really revert to terrible form. We recently had a 190lb client do a 5:20 Grace with 30 pretty much textbook power cleans and push jerks.

Bottom line though, high rep O lifts are great at building silly levels of functional work capacity.
That's a pretty nice time; but he would probably go 4:50 by going sloppy.

But I don't want to ignore the forest for the trees here. I agree with what Robb said above; if you're not really interested in your oly technique, oly movements are great tools to have in your bag for metcon.
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