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Crossfit isn't Functional Training!

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  • #64595
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    *shots fired*

    Change my mind!

    #64596
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    This is a video of one of the books I have. The current sessions I am doing do not mirror most of what you see in the video, which are pretty advanced athletic training progressions. I am currently on simpler exercises. So don’t let is phase you out.

    #64600
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Below is another video by Mike Boyle, just as an example. Simply pulled it off the web.

    So for example one of the EP workouts I recently did in my small training class, once all the foam rolling, stretching, activation and warmup was complete, involved 4 exercises, two upper body and 2 lower body. I’ll just explain this as an example of one workout.

    The idea was to combine an upper body with a lower body with such a weight that you would do 5 sets of each and HAVE TO REST. You would do each combination for 15 minutes and see how many sets you got done in that time.

    I was doing goblet squats combined with Dumbell rows. Goblet squats is with a kettle bell held to the chest, or when it gets heavier I graduated to one in each hand held high, held held over the back of my forearms with my elbows tucked in – that allows you to carry more. This activates core and squats. I was doing 100lb kettle bell until I just found that was such a heavy weight held to the front that I went to 2 x 60 lb held as described. Then do 5 each side with a dumbell row over a bench. I managed 7 sets in 15 minutes last time. It is exhausting and you will be blown cardio wise.

    My next combination was bench dumbell press combined with hip raises (thrusts or whatever they are called). The is involves shoulders on a bench or box, feet flat on the ground with a bar weight across you hips. You can do single leg or double leg. Single leg is the progression (functional training always progresses from bilateral to unilateral movements). I last did double leg with 110lb over my hips. Ass to the ground, raise hips to parallel. This is an amazing hamstring exercise and as I have mentioned elsewhere, my core and hamstrings were destroyed from my back surgery.

    The program (class) I am doing is Explosive Performance which is a big box gym marketing name for functional training, which is basically athletic / sports training.

    #64601
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    Ok, there’s a lot more nuance than a binary functional/not functional answer.

    Crossfit has both doctrine and common tactics seen at the individual gym level. First let’s start with doctrine:

    Greg Glassman (founder) defined fitness as: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains

    Also, lifted from their website:

    Overall, the aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness supported by measurable, observable and repeatable results. The program prepares trainees for any physical contingency—not only for the unknown but for the unknowable, too. Our specialty is not specializing.

    While CrossFit challenges the world’s fittest, the program is designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for any committed individual, regardless of experience. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change the program. The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.

    They ahve a worthy goal. In sports science, what crossfit is going for is what’s called General Physical Preparedness (GPP).

    Now, there are a number of factors that impact their goal:

    1. Quality control

    There has been, and probably always will be, a quality control problem when it comes to individual coaches/affiliates. There are sometimes radical differences from gym to gym in terms of programming, coaching ability, equipment, etc. Some gyms will have phenomenal coaches who provide routine critical feedback, individualized modification/substitution to the day’s workout and set the tone for the group. Some gyms will have coaches who are simple cheerleaders. Some gyms will have programming/lack of guidance on modification/substitutions that lead to high injury rates among members.

    2. For the Masses

    How do you make workouts that are under 1 hour, allow many students to get through on a daily basis, with a basic set of equipment, with varying coach skill, with vastly different student abilities? More or less what crossfit has done. There’s a training progression that usually starts with the air squat, shoulder press/push press/push jerk, deadlift, etc. Most gyms have an onboarding class that runs for a few weeks to teach people basic movements. Why those movements? Because they form the core skills for strength and conditioning with the least amount of complexity. Almost all of crossfit’s movements are based in the sagittal plane, with little to no rotation. I would definitely say it’s a weakspot in their methodology. Working in the other planes isn’t really a big deal, but most people aren’t used to it, especially movements with rotation. Rotation isn’t bad, it’s just something that can increase the risk of injury

    3.

    ..more to come

    #64602
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Thw flip side to quality control is people and coaches not knowing what functional training is. It becomes a buzz word. It is not squatting on a balance ball! Boyles book can be described as a great reference and puts many of the myths and misunderstandings to bed. He even includes olympic lifting where appropriate.

    Functional fitness is really simply legitimate athletic training. That can be applied across any sport all the way to tactial athletes.

    #64603
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    functional training is. It becomes a buzz word

    yep, exactly, that was going to be another point. It’s the same as “tactical”.

    Functional fitness is really simply legitimate athletic training. That can be applied across any sport all the way to tactial athletes.

    I think it’s a matter of accessing the individual and their goals and developing a plan to progress towards their goals within various constraints (time being the biggest) while managing risk of injury/overtraining.

    #64604
    Profile photo of Darkrivers
    Darkrivers
    Participant

    I think any training that focuses on cardio, Building core strength, and functional movements could be defined as functional fitness. I am far from being any kind of expert but I have definitely improved my functionality from doing crossfit. I agree that there is a quality control issue as every crossfit gym has different curriculum and coaches vary in quality. I love the gym I go to but have been to others I didn’t like. Personal motivation is also a factor as it seems like many people rest more days than they train.

    If you're gonna fight, fight like you're the 3rd monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark... And Brother, it's starting to rain! James from Texas

    #64605
    Profile photo of Darkrivers
    Darkrivers
    Participant

    Like anything else there is no program that is a magic pill. Only hard work and consistency.

    If you're gonna fight, fight like you're the 3rd monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark... And Brother, it's starting to rain! James from Texas

    #64607
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    3. Fitness Training vs Sport

    Crossfit as a daily workout and Crossfit as a sport are two vastly different things. Sometimes people get their wires crossed with preparing themselves for life/sport and competitive Crossfit. In order to be competitive in crossfit the sport,besides relative strength and crazy good work capacity, you need to be good at olympic lifting (snatch and clean&jerk) and you need to be good at gymnastics (muscle ups, handstand walks, etc). Oly lifting and gynastics while benefitial, are high skill movements. Whenever you have someone doing high skill movements, risk of injury is increased. This is probably my number 1 gripe against Crossfit (and I used to compete and coach it by the way). Asking the average person to perform high reps of snatches in a conditioning workout is negligent in my opinion. Crossfit asked people to do just that in a number of Crossfit Open workouts (and obviously this happens at the affiliate level too). I like olympic lifting, I’m pretty good at it too, but in my opinion, it’s placing an unnecessary level of risk on people.

    #64608
    Profile photo of Darkrivers
    Darkrivers
    Participant

    I agree with that. The gym I go to has scaled down movements for every workout so that you can better match what you are doing with yours personal goals, skills, abilities, and risk threshold. I think trying to paint with such a broad brush is problematic. Like saying all tactical training is the same. What I find to work for me is just for me. Everyone has to determine a modality that works for them and is something they will do consistently. A lot of the movements you are doing in your workout are movements we do at the gym I go to. If only more people would take PT seriously…..

    If you're gonna fight, fight like you're the 3rd monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark... And Brother, it's starting to rain! James from Texas

    #64609
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    “Functional training means training in a way that will benefit either what you do for a living, what sport you train for or just to have efficient movements. CrossFit is kind of a jumble of putting hard things together in succession to just really really tax you.”

    #64610
    Profile photo of Darkrivers
    Darkrivers
    Participant

    “CrossFit is kind of a jumble of putting hard things together in succession to just really really tax you.”

    I don’t get the hate for crossfit. It seems like you are saying that it is useless for tactical training.

    If you're gonna fight, fight like you're the 3rd monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark... And Brother, it's starting to rain! James from Texas

    #64611
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    Like mentioned before, crossfit is meant to be a GPP program. One philosophy is, GPP is done “in the off season” or at least as the focus of a training block (periodization), and then progresses to more sport/work specific programming.

    It all comes down to programming- both at the macro and micro levels.

    #64612
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Also, if you read Boyle, he includes Olympic Lifting but more in regards to training young athletes. He specifically says it may not be appropriate for many adults approaching functional fitness. Probably hence so many injured by crossfit.

    What is interesting about Boyle is that progressions usually start two leg and progress to one leg. So for example two leg squatting progresses to split squat and ultimately to raised rear foot split squat.

    Lunges fall in there, which is functional equivalent to kneeling, and hence must be prepared for as part of the new MVT prereq. This is why people are finding it hard: they are not functionally prepared for lunges or burpees.

    #64613
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    “CrossFit is kind of a jumble of putting hard things together in succession to just really really tax you.”

    I don’t get the hate for crossfit. It seems like you are saying that it is useless for tactical training.

    The point is that crossfit as a philosophy is not functional training. Functional training is superior to crossfit. You are more likely to be injured doing crossfit.

    As for application for tactical training, fitness is fitness, so long as you are not injured.

    I am urging people to open their minds and learn more about true functional fitness training. Especially as we age, it will be far more beneficial for you. But know your subject, buy a good book on it such as Boyle, get some coaching etc.

    It is great Johnymac is doing Fitmas, but as we dicussed together, we could try and push functional fitness but it is explaining correct movement that is hard. Just like quality tactical training, get a manual and do some classes to learn off a professional.

    #64614
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    The lower the skill required to execute a movement, the “better” it is to put into a conditioning workout (IE goal being to increase work capacity). The reason is twofold:
    1) Higher skill movements, requiring speed, balance, flexibility, etc. must be executed much slower- that makes it harder to accomplish more work relative to current work capacity
    2) Fatigue will set in, especially specific muscles, and can incline someone to change form (not good but it happens) (recruiting fresher muscles) and asymetric movements will by necessity, be placing potentially more load on fewer support muscles, and easier chance for injury. Hence why crossfit generally sticks to symmetric movements

    Boyle’s methodology is good, and progression is good, and dynamic, multiplane, and/or asymetric movements are good- you just have to know when and how to utilize them as part of programming and in reference to the athlete’s level.

    This is why people are finding it hard: they are not functionally prepared for lunges or burpees

    Yeah, lunges and burpees are the closest we have to what’s asked of a student on the live fire ranges. Lunges being an asymetric movement, and burpees being symetric but compound/dynamic, might require people to prepare beyond their current fitness level.

    #64615
    Profile photo of Darkrivers
    Darkrivers
    Participant

    Functional movements include things like- Burpees, lunges, box jumps, get ups, squats, planks, carry movements, deadlifts, runnning, pull ups, drags, etc….

    Am I on the right track here?

    If you're gonna fight, fight like you're the 3rd monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark... And Brother, it's starting to rain! James from Texas

    #64621
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Attaching a photo of the workout board from an Explosive Performance class a week or so ago.

    Today we went in determined to do a leg day, based on some of what we learned so far, so we threw together an ad hoc leg day (not a class, just wife and I). Just to give you an idea, not saying it was ideal:

    Foam roller: parts of legs.

    Stretching: various.

    Main event:

    4 sets of kettlebell deadlifts super setted with goblet squats. 100lb kettlebell held at arms length for the deadlifts, up at chest per goblet position for the squats.

    4 sets of single leg hip thrusts, shoulders on bench, feet on floor, with 50lb barbell on hips. Vice alternate rear lunges with a 65lb kettlebell held goblet.

    Then, first time in a long time given the fusion and current patella tendinitus, on to the squat rack. Practising form with bar only, then with 25lb plates. All went well with back and knee.

    After that, couch stretches for the front of thigh and then foam roller on thighs to work out the muscles pulling on the patella.

    No specific cardio today. One aspect of cardio I like to throw in at the end of such a workout is sprints on the spark. Set it to max resistance and then do maybe 10 sets of sprint at max for 15, recover to the minute, go again.

    Supposed to be going to the Saturday workout tomorrow. That is unusual, with a free weekend. Looking forward to more of that over the winter.

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    #64651
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Made the saturday class today, great circuit based class. Outline;

    Foam roller.
    Stretching.

    8 minute cardio circuit, each minute divided into 20 secs easy, 20 medium, 20 hard. I chose the water rower. It has to be a machine that you do not have to adjust, you just adjust your output.

    Then a circuit, consisting of 30 then 30 secs on each station, second iteration you repeated, changed leg, arm or direction:

    1) farmer carry.
    2) shoulder touches: wide leg push up position, alternate one hand to opposite shoulder.
    3) banded bicep curls.
    4) banded deadlift.
    5) plank.
    6) rear lunge, rear foot on a slider.
    7) plank on ball, rotating arms in a circle on the ball.
    8) air squats, arms going like jumping.
    9) one arm standing kettlell lifts, k/ bell held upright in hand (base to ceiling, handle down).

    Then, guess what? Repeat the cardio session. I went on the rower again.

    That was a great workout!

    Let me know if anyine is vaguely interested in any of this. Of not I’ll just quit posting. Simple.

    #64652
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    It has to be a machine that you do not have to adjust, you just adjust your output.

    Airdyne is commonly found at yard sales and such, and a badass piece of equipment

    #64657
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Let me know if anyine is vaguely interested in any of this. Of not I’ll just quit posting. Simple.

    I am reading with interest.

    Airdyne is commonly found at yard sales and such, and a badass piece of equipment

    I see these regularly in the used market.

    #64660
    Profile photo of JohnnyMac
    JohnnyMac
    Participant

    I see these regularly in the used market.

    Well worth the money on the secondary market. These were commonly prescribed by doctors in the late 80’s/early 90’s for heart patients… They mostly went unused.

    The variable resistance (based on user input) is what separates it from other stuff. This piece of equipment has been vital for managing impact during training peaks and working around injuries.

    #64661
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Foam roller.
    Stretching.

    Because of this thread I have read some articles, but could you explain from your point of view the foam roller application?

    #64663
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Well for the record I have not used the airdyne. For the variable interval workouts in the gym I have used:

    Cybex Spark
    Water rower
    Some u shaped running machine with huge resustance potential that can be adjusted so it is like pushing a sled.

    We do foam rolling and trigger points at start of the session before stretching. You can also do it at the end if you want.

    Foam rollers are rolled over the various parts by rolling your body part over the top by using bodyweight. It is a form of massage. For example you can lay on it on your front and roll up and down to get front of quads. Or roll sideways to get ITB. This all originally came into the mainstream from the rehab side.

    Trigger points means rolling on a hard ball. So you can put one under a calf and roll back and forth on it until you find the trigger point or knot and work on that.

    Balls are good for some stuff like chest where you can’t make a roller work. Can also put the ball on a foam block and then work the arm out to the side as you hit the trigger point in the pec with a ball.

    They hand out some excellent products from a company called hyperice. There is a vibrating trigger ball which is excellent (shush your dirty minds).

    I have an issue in my forearm that I have been hitting with the hypervolt, a really effective massage gun.

    Honestly I have been going to Explosive Performance at OneLife. Whether it is the guys at this gym or in general I don’t know. They are not a fully national chain. I would urge a few months of these sessions but only if you can find a place reputable. Then you learn to fish. I can begin to collect equipment so I can run my own home or travel sessions. Always good to keep the classes up because being pushed by experts in a group coached session is excellent. Sounds like we could make some parallels there with tactical training! :good:

    #64664
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Plus I always train in my green MVT t-shirt and have so far had to give out 2 freebies to coaches! :yahoo:

    #64666
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Sounds like we could make some parallels there with tactical training! :good:

    No doubt!

    I’ve done some online reading, but I’ll have to check into what’s available in my area.

    I am feeling pretty good right now, but know I can improve. Just have to be careful as injuries are extremely costly at this point in my life.

    #64668
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Sounds like we could make some parallels there with tactical training! :good:

    No doubt!

    I’ve done some online reading, but I’ll have to check into what’s available in my area.

    I am feeling pretty good right now, but know I can improve. Just have to be careful as injuries are extremely costly at this point in my life.

    Well the functional training from a good coach is really one of those YDKWYDK things. I thought I was doing ok. But I was really unkowingly in a hole. I approached the guy for some tips on how to get back into training legs after spinal fusion and while dealing with a dodgy knee. I found myself rolling around on the ‘turf’ having it physically proved to me that my core and hamstrings were shot, and the only way to fix the knee was to fix that.

    Many people would just quit. There are many parallels here with ego and tactical training. Many people allow ego to prevent themselves from being teachable.

    #64688
    Profile photo of Jake
    Weber
    Participant

    I’m definitely enjoying this thread. I’ve been CrossFitting for just over a year now and I find it to be the most functional training available to me but it’s not for everyone. However, there are a lot of functional movements performed at my box on a regular basis so the overlap into functional fitness should be highly visible. We do farmer’s carries, sandbag cleans, clean and jerk, goblet squats, front squats, back squats, lunges (forward and reverse), rope climbs, deadlifts, overhead press, push press, and I can go on. Would anyone consider any of these movements as non-functional?

    If you want a rowing machine for cardio and strength, buy a Concept 2. It’s one of the best pieces of overall fitness equipment on the market.

    My mom said I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. So I chose to be a man.

    #64690
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    @weber – LOL Wow. Crossfitters! It’s like a religion. Just cuz your ‘box’ (LOL) runs some aspects of functional fitness training, doesn’t excuse the rest of it.

    And LOL, the advice, but I already sold a concept II and a water rower after my fusion surgery.

    I’m not looking for advice in this thread, simply putting information out there. As I’ve been forced to state elesewhere on this forum, I like to do so in a self-depreciating manner to try and give others the benefit of my experiences. My ego is literally not tied to this.

    #64691
    Profile photo of Jake
    Weber
    Participant

    LOL literally no ego here either! Promise. Guess I’m confused as to whether you wanted to be proved wrong or just prove your point. :unsure:

    My mom said I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. So I chose to be a man.

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