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Old 02-22-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
Steven Low
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I think that some of the points made herein excellently reinforce what I feel is an over-simplicity in the typical CF et al. model of work capacity. It'd be an easier sell to use the P=F*d/t equation in a vacuum, but using it to make strict data assessments is tricky IMV.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Unfortunately, it will be "decently complicated" in the end at least just as Einstein's general relativity solved some of the deficiencies of Newton's mechanics...
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Last edited by Steven Low : 02-22-2009 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:29 PM   #12
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My only question is when is string theory going to be applied?
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:13 PM   #13
Brian Stone
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On CF forums somewhere I proposed something along the lines that work capacity should be taken in context to 1 RM.... but that makes it unnecessarily complicated. If you have any suggestions on how this problem can be approached I'd like to hear it.


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

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

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

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

Ultimately, I do suspect the CF model is an excellent and fast poor man's approach and definitely worthy at this stage of serious consideration at most and is valuable at least. You're correct that the flaws definitely do become apparent with heavier weights, however, and I think in the same respect it breaks down with fatigue, as things like form and the path traveled by the load begin to deteriorate.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #14
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Top to bottom event scores of the 100 highest decathlon scores ever.

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

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

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

Here's a page with summaries of decathlon training programming of four top coaches:
http://www.coachr.org/development_and_training_techniques_of_american_de cathletes.htm
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:18 PM   #15
Craig Loizides
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Originally Posted by Brian Stone View Post
I think that some of the points made herein excellently reinforce what I feel is an over-simplicity in the typical CF et al. model of work capacity. It'd be an easier sell to use the P=F*d/t equation in a vacuum, but using it to make strict data assessments is tricky IMV.

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

I'd be interested in any feedback. I'm not 100% sold on this but have just been bouncing it around when reading and viewing some of the scientific analyses I've seen and the underlying assumptions of those analyses.
The 2 events you described are different time durations so they would represent different points on the curve. The athlete who lifted 400 pounds in 1/2 second might be able to do a maximum weight of 500 pounds in 5 seconds making him 25 % more powerful rather than 10 times more powerful. The athlete who did 400 pounds in 5 seconds might only be able to do 320 pounds in 1/2 second so again there is only a 25% difference.

If there's a problem with the model I think it's that it doesn't give any credit for the eccentric portion of the lift. A workout like 30 muscle ups for time is very different if you drop off the rings at the top of each rep rather than doing a controlled descent. I guess it's not a problem with the model. You just have to be careful not to compare the 2 as the same workout.
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:00 PM   #16
Steven Low
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If there's a problem with the model I think it's that it doesn't give any credit for the eccentric portion of the lift. A workout like 30 muscle ups for time is very different if you drop off the rings at the top of each rep rather than doing a controlled descent. I guess it's not a problem with the model. You just have to be careful not to compare the 2 as the same workout.
Hmm, this is true. The eccentric portion of 30 MUs is approximately 15-25% of the work by my estimation of comparitive times.

Both isometric work and eccentric work isn't credited in the power model really. Too hard to do though, so I don't think there's any point.
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:01 PM   #17
Brian Stone
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The 2 events you described are different time durations so they would represent different points on the curve. The athlete who lifted 400 pounds in 1/2 second might be able to do a maximum weight of 500 pounds in 5 seconds making him 25 % more powerful rather than 10 times more powerful. The athlete who did 400 pounds in 5 seconds might only be able to do 320 pounds in 1/2 second so again there is only a 25% difference.
This is not accurate. The formulas I posted above take t2 and t1 into account. The CrossFit model as described by Coach Glassman in all his lectures not only works for differing times, but expects it. That's the whole point of setting PR's on things like Helen and Fran so you can go back and compare t2 to t1 to find your average power increase over the two workouts. Clearly, both efforts will represent different points on the t axis. Assuming all things relatively constant (BW relatively the same and moving the same loads), the "Work" done in both efforts are virtually the same, according to the CF model.

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

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

That said, I want to reiterate that the CF model is powerful in its simplicity. When analyzing even larger and much less complex bodies in motion, the standard basic Newtonian physics models are only a loose estimation until more complexity is introduced into the analysis (friction, wind vectors, etc. etc.). However, those formulas are undoubtedly immensely powerful and useful for good and accurate approximations. I feel the CF model is analogous.
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:23 PM   #18
Craig Loizides
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This is not accurate. The formulas I posted above take t2 and t1 into account. The CrossFit model as described by Coach Glassman in all his lectures not only works for differing times, but expects it. That's the whole point of setting PR's on things like Helen and Fran so you can go back and compare t2 to t1 to find your average power increase over the two workouts. Clearly, both efforts will represent different points on the t axis. Assuming all things relatively constant (BW relatively the same and moving the same loads), the "Work" done in both efforts are virtually the same, according to the CF model.

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

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

That said, I want to reiterate that the CF model is powerful in its simplicity. When analyzing even larger and much less complex bodies in motion, the standard basic Newtonian physics models are only a loose estimation until more complexity is introduced into the analysis (friction, wind vectors, etc. etc.). However, those formulas are undoubtedly immensely powerful and useful for good and accurate approximations. I feel the CF model is analogous.
It's true that a person who goes from being able to do a 400 lb deadlift in 5 seconds to 1/2 a second has increased his power during that lift by a factor of 10, but that doesn't mean work capacity has increased by a factor of 10. In my example, a person increases the weight he can lift in 5 seconds from 400 to 500 and increases the weight he can lift in half a second from 320 to 400. The whole curve has shifted upwards by 25% meaning work capacity has increased by 25% while power exerted during a single rep of 400 lb DL has gone up by a factor of 10.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:51 AM   #19
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It's true that a person who goes from being able to do a 400 lb deadlift in 5 seconds to 1/2 a second has increased his power during that lift by a factor of 10, but that doesn't mean work capacity has increased by a factor of 10. In my example, a person increases the weight he can lift in 5 seconds from 400 to 500 and increases the weight he can lift in half a second from 320 to 400. The whole curve has shifted upwards by 25% meaning work capacity has increased by 25% while power exerted during a single rep of 400 lb DL has gone up by a factor of 10.
Craig, you and I agree, particularly on the point highlighted in bold above. That his work capacity does not necessarily increase by a factor of 10 was exactly my point and the reason for my contention to the CF model. I was only disputing that the example is invalid due to differing values of t. I may have poorly enunciated that in my prior replies.

That's the point, though. The CF model would say that a 5 second 400# DL is absolutely 10 times the work capacity of a .5s 400# DL. That is my dispute, and I believe the three of us are on the same page here.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:13 PM   #20
Craig Loizides
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But the CF model doesn't say that work capacity has gone up a factor of 10. The model takes into account both the 5 second DL and 1/2 second DL (as well as all other exercises and durations) and computes a single work capacity. For the example above you can plot out power vs time curves for the 2 examples and then calculate the area under the curve to get the work capacity. The work capacity goes up by 25%.

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