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Old 05-06-2009, 01:44 PM   #11
Gant Grimes
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Originally Posted by Robert McBee View Post
If we want to generalize then I'll say that the worst about Crossfit is still infinitely better than the programming at the chain gyms.
Let's not go that far. The programming at chain gyms is an insurance-friendly, low risk way to shed a few pounds and "shape up" provided you don't eat crap. The worst of CF leaves you with an overuse injury or in the hospital with rhabdo.

You are correct in that CF programming can generally help a person along the path of "increasing blah blah blah." You will adapt to whatever time and modal domain in which you are working. The trick is to do it efficiently. You can do a half-ass smattering of random exercises and post some pretty decent times after 2-3 years. Or you can follow a good program and get there a lot faster. Justin Laseck, the guy at my gym, has his CF class kicking ass after only a few months. He's done this with a smart, focused program of strength lifting and smart metcons. Other trainers take a lot longer (or just never get there).

"Increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domains" is a nice tagline once you figure out what the hell it really means. But at some point you ask yourself, are all time and modal domains important? Personally, I'm just going to work on the cool ones. Let the other guys work on the sucky ones.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:14 PM   #12
Oliver Gould
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The real problem (and the one at the heart of this article, if it's read as a critique of CF) is that CF doesn't distinguish effectively between its followers. All that crap about "we scale load and intensity, we don't scale workouts" is just that, crap. The people who thrive on metcon rich, 100%-go-for-months-on-end CF tend to get really, really fit, but they are a particular segment of the training population. One of the things I'm most interested in is what separates the people who make a smooth progression from a 20:00 minute Fran to a 3:00 Fran from those who stall out along the way. Many CF coaches will tell you that those who stall are just not trying hard enough, eating well enough, etc, which is both wrong (in many cases) and totally demoralizing for an athlete who is committed but failing to progress. The common traits I see in people who make a smooth progression is that they are 1) Either current or former athletes, and 2) Are pretty strong by CF standards. This isn't new info, its exactly what programs like Strength Bias are designed to deal with. It's also notable that the more structured versions of CF have become very popular, very quickly, especially with people who take their performance seriously.

There are tons of trainers out there who know how to get an athletic person in better shape, and how to produce beneficial change in a complete novice. The problem comes in bridging the gap, which is what a great many people want from CF. They want to go from a weekend-warrior to a true athlete, and that's where real coaching skill is required, where structure and planning plays a huge role, and where the majority of CF trainers I've encountered are seriously deficient.

This isn't meant to sound overly critical of CF, I agree that there are a lot of good things about it, and some awesome gyms out there, but I'm pretty frustrated with the system as a whole and it probably comes out in my posts. For the record, I'm CF certified (which is pretty meaningless), and I did it for 2 years, including working as a trainer.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:22 PM   #13
Emily Mattes
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I thought the article was great, it nicely, clearly crystallized many of the training-related issues I've had with Crossfit.

However, the best counter I've heard to it--which is not so much a counter to the argument as an explanation for why it doesn't matter--is that many people do Crossfit just because they like it. They don't want a planned program, they don't want structure, they like that the workouts feel "random" and it's exciting and challenging for them to be in the gym day after day. Like the gym-goer who's addicted to Zumba or BodyPump, it's not the best program, but it's the one that keeps them coming back.

I think it is important we don't underestimate that factor. My guess is a lot of people who start Crossfitting who are seriously into performance will end up transitioning away from it or doing some sort of hybrid as they learn more about athletics and fitness and programming in general. For the rest, the Tons O' Metcons plan is just what appeals.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:49 PM   #14
Derek Weaver
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I thought that the article was a good wake up call for what CF is supposed to be. It seems that too many people get into CF and look at "Rhabdo" and "Pukie" and just think that working out has to be a non stop suckfest. It's not the case and looking at programming over a year I think there is a clear approach on the mainsite.

The Theoretical Template article seems to get ignored far too often and this was hopefully a nice wakeup call.

Same with Dutch's article.
And if you don't think kettleball squat cleans are difficult, I say, step up to the med-ball
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:47 PM   #15
Dave Van Skike
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Originally Posted by Robert McBee View Post
If we want to generalize then I'll say that the worst about Crossfit is still infinitely better than the programming at the chain gyms.
FTR...this is not a CF bash.

I think it's more like natural selection...some people do poorly with the randomized balls out approach....partly from poor instruction, partly becuase they have never done anything athletic and they're (form a physiological point of view)total idiots.

Others who know their body well figure that shit out quickly. I have a couple good friends, (one exy oly lifter, one PL'er) who have done really well stomping people's mudholes and the local CF affiliate maybe once a week and then doing their own thing the rest of the time.and yet, there are about a dozen others I know who've been shucked out pretty hard with the random approach becuase they didn't know how to scale themselves and the system didn't do it for them...

Nearly everyday I go to a commercial gym at lunch where I see quite a few people making really good progress doing a mix of heavy compound lifts, a little non retarded cardio, sporadically doing circuits with KB's, box jumps and ropework and then maybe some yoga. Their programming seems to work pretty well.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:25 PM   #16
Brian DeGennaro
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This is going to be shorter than I want it to be because I have a lack of time at the moment.

Has anyone noticed that the CF programming on the main site gets progressively more complex over the years? For example, take a look back to 2003, when most of the workouts were singlets, couplets, and triplets, no more, no less. They were also rather simple and low volume as:

"Friday 030523
Complete 7 rounds of:

Barbell Thrusters 3 reps
5 Pull-ups"

And now we have the monstrous chippers such as DT and Eva. Does anyone ever think that CF's programming is just progressing as much as a regular athlete's training progresses? From the simpler, lower volume type training up to the more complex, more taxing, higher volume? If one were following the mainsite WOD from the very start, do you think that he or she would be a fantastic CFer?
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:28 PM   #17
sollo rick
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Default do you think?

do you think that change is from fitness
or marketing?
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:46 PM   #18
Garrett Smith
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Originally Posted by Brian DeGennaro View Post
If one were following the mainsite WOD from the very start, do you think that he or she would be a fantastic CFer?
  1. Possibly, if they hadn't burned out badly and/or multiple times
  2. I see way too many people qualifying for the CF Games who have been CFing less than 2 years (way too many under even a year) to think that CF programming, as mainpage Rx'd, builds athletes--it simply reveals them. Unless they have a head for recovery and/or they are extremely tolerant of the training, they all too often become harshly overtrained.
Actually, one of the biggest issues with "random" training is that it is next to impossible to judge one's training volume and relative intensity. If one isn't setting PRs on various workouts, are they better? Was it a bad day? Who knows? If standard workouts are done on a regular basis, is it "random" anymore?

In any other strength sport, gauging one's output is so much easier. This makes long-term planning easier and more productive as well.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:41 AM   #19
Sara Fleming
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I loved the article.

I love the theory of Crossfit, but I believe strongly in periodization and in practice, I think that Crossfit needs to be applied to the needs of the individual and most individuals don't really know "what" they need. Hence the large number of post about "Am I overtraining" and "What should I be eating because I'm exhausted/fat/something else" and "My insert-body-part-here hurts all the time".

I train at a Crossfit affiliate, but am not yet Crossfit certified (am going to a cert in June) so maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but I do feel that having a focus specified for the individual's needs and then having a plan designed to get them there based on their individual assessment (as opposed to the functional blitzkrieg) is safer and more psychologically motivating.

I start all of my trainees out with a foundational training period with circuits based on basic barbell and bodyweight lifts. I save the power training and complex moves until I know they can handle it which is about three weeks in. This period takes about six weeks and by then, I know they have the basic strength and conditioning to really handle the hard core workouts and I let them try out their chops on the filthy fifty. They have all done great with a little bit of scaling. I don't even start training them to do Olympic lifts until the end of this period and when I do, they usually pick it up reasonably well in one or two sessions (beginner level, ie not smacking themselves in the chin with the bar ).

But, I still find a great deal of value in maintaining a strength maintenance day once a week where I challenge them on limit strength in a 5x5 type of format. Without it, I will see failure to progress in certain movements, lifts, and body composition. Or I'll have clients start to complain of chronic soreness. Personally, I do one strength day a week, one day of O-lifting, and one day of metcon and it works great for me. But, everyone is different. My tiny little gymnastic and power-lifter types seem to do great with just Crossfit.

BTW, My trainees are mostly all middle-aged women and mothers of small children. We all need a little more help getting started on such a high-intensity program. And, by approaching Crossfit this way, my dropout rate has been very low, even among my previous non-exercisers or professed exercise-haters, because as Emily stated, Crossfit is fun.

Anyway, all that to say, great article. I agree wholeheartedly.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:01 AM   #20
Garrett Smith
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Nice work, Sara. Sounds like a solid plan you have there.

As for the noobs making the Games, from the CFJ itself...
Hillari Eaton is part of a growing trend: people relatively new to CrossFit taking top honors at Regional Qualifiers for The CrossFit Games.[...]Hillari concluded by confessing her dietary dirty secret: she just loves ice cream sandwiches.
Or is she Gant's protege?!?
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