September 11, 2004
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What pair of performance measures might well describe the CrossFit ideal? E.G., 4:30 mile and 374 C&J.
Posted by lauren at September 11, 2004 7:56 PM
Is that the Walleye version of a surfboard?
What pair of performance measurements would describe the Crossfit ideal? IMO it would largely be non-equipment dependent activities. A run, some bodyweight exercise (pushups, pullups, HSPUs, etc.). Then again, with the many Oly-style lifts we do, it would probably be unfair to ignore them. Toss the Squat Clean & Jerk in there somewhere...
Before CrossFit my goal was to run a marathon under 4 hours and bench press 300 lbs while keeping my weight around 200 lb. This March I was a little slow on the marathon but hit the bench right at a 200 lb BW. Started Crossfit right after that and have totally reevaluated my goals.
Based on all I have learned over the last 6 or so months, I would set one performance measurement based on the C&J lift. I would recommend weight based on a % of BW as a standard (e.g. 1.5 x BW for C&J is my next year goal - long was to go!) I personally don't like the idea of the mile time. The number of continuous pullups or HSPU might be good, but not sure if this is right either. Maybe some sort of lifting of repetitions in a time period (e.g. squat or deadlift 150% bw 30 times in x minutes)??
Just rereading above - I think my post sounds like what a "big" CrossFitter would like to measure. I wonder if the "smaller" folks will have a different take?
As well, thought not a performance measure, and not sure it applies to this question, I would think that % of body fat would be something important to consider in some way. My body fat % has maintained the same (below 10%) for the last 6 months while doing Crossfit (while gaining 8 lbs to a current weight of around 208 lb). Most importantly I have cut my workout time by hours each week compared to marathon training while feeling better, getting stronger, more flexible, etc, etc, etc (and all the other things we have all realized thanks to CrossFit).
By the way, Thanks Coach.
It's so very difficult to choose only two that encompass the Crossfit ideal. I mean, it's not only strength and endurance, but power, balance, coordination, speed...
I suppose to throw all that into just two non-sport-specific events, I would pick the rather obscure 3000 meter steeplechase and the clean and jerk. The advantage of the steeplechase over the mile is that the length ensures that a transition to an aerobic state is made, and of course the additional hurdling and terrain changes. Like Steve, I think the C&J is a great test of the remaining fitness factors, and I would think a percentage of body weight would be an appropriate target.
3000m steeplechase - 11 minutes
Clean and jerk - 150% bodyweight
Only two?.....Hmm....first must be the muscle up. I think it must combine the most elements of upper body strength into one exercise. I would say the second would have to be "The Exercise"
a la Dan John (i.e. squat snatch followed by OH squat). This exercise is huge for strength/power development for the whole posterior chain and will severely tax the core.
It would look something like this:
21 - 15 - 9 reps
"The Exercise" @ 75%BW
Adjust load as necessary.
Score 9 or more on the rings.
Score 8 or more on 'Tabata thrusters' with dumbells combined weight equal or more than 1/2 bodyweight.
My vote is Clean and Jerk 200 lb. for 15 reps, 15 Consecutive Muscle Ups.
Barry, you stole my thunder. I was going to use those two moves as well.
I think Coach mentions in the CFJ that it's one of few exercises that, when done at high reps, hits all 10 aspects of fitness. I was still debating about a set weight or a % of body weight, though.
With the muscle-up, I was going to have it set at 20 reps . . . while holding an L-sit.
As an aside, I find it very appropriate that today is a day of rest...may we all remember our fallen bretheren.
Did yesterday's WOD.
Cesar, if you read this, you should post yesterday's workout on yesterday's page, so you'll be able to check back on it later and reference against other's.
Wow! I just went to the speed101 link for Matt Waever (the guy in the photo). What an amazing story of a great athlete w/ a great mind and a rock solid resolve.
Congratulations Matt and thanks for being so damn inspiring!
There are so many variables to consider. Body size, athletic capabilties, body weight, age. Not knowing the scientific results of each exercise, I would have to state that two metrics for crossfit could be:
1)Some type of dynamic movement--ex--running for time over a certain distance.
2)Some type of static (static meaning staying in one area--not static as in standing still) strength test. An olympic lift--Some sort of Tabata sequence--squats, push-ups.
This is a hard one to crack. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the Reminder, Eric H. It is good that today, we rest. Lest we forget...
My thoughts on the crossfit ideal is pure function, and peoples veiw on function will differ greatly. My personal idea of function is survival, from military survival to just surviving the office. the ability to survive depends on how well a person handles his own body( climbing, dodging, pushing,running, etc.)I would have to say the mucle up for double didgits, and man makers( snatches for 50-40-30-20-10reps while running 400's between sets)with a 1-1/2 pood kb.
He said performance measures, not specific exercises, so:
1. run 1.5 miles and 175 lb. overhead squat for 15 reps, all within 10 minutes.
2. Complete all listed below within one hour:
a. 400 lb. deadlift for 50 reps
b. under 6:30 2k row.
c. 3 minute strict L-sit without apparatus on the floor.
d. 40 consecutive strict overhand pullups
e. 40 consecutive strict ring dips
f. swim 1000 yards in under 12 minutes
g. 335 lb. clean and jerk.
h. under 60 second or less 400m run.
I really don't like the bodyweight percentage based weightlifting tests, because the running and gymnastics favor small guys already and making the lifting bodyweight-based just makes it more slanted in the favor of ripped but weak guys like me. There's inherent beauty in 400 lb. deadlifts for reps and a 335 lb. clean and jerk combined with a 3 minute L sit, 40 pullups and dips, and an under 60 sec 400 meter run. Yes a 140 lb. guy with a 220 lb. clean and jerk and 4:30 mile is impressive, but I'd rather see a 200 lb. guy with a 300 lb. clean and jerk and a 4:30 mile.
The problem (as I see it) you're going to run into with some of your numbers is that they are totally unrealistic for a lighter person (be it a man or a woman). There has to be some type of adjustment, IMO, for size/gender/bodyweight. Otherwise you might as well stack up an NFL tight end against a housewife...and then it's a foregone conclusion.
To me, the truly impressive athlete is one who's pushing the envelope of their personal limits. A small person who's OH Squatting 100% of their bodyweight (let's say 115lb.) is a lot more impressive than a 225lb. guy OH squatting 175lb. (only 77% of his).
I'm sorry, but I just don't buy into the idea that a smaller person has an advantage. If you look at 2 individuals with a similar body composition (let's say 5% bodyfat)I'd bet that their scores/times in events that are viewed to "favor" the smaller athlete will be similar...even if one is 135lb. and the other is 225lb. I've seen light people that couldn't do pushups...couldn't do pullups...couldn't run a 6 minute mile to save their life, etc. It's not the size/weight, it's the body comp., the mental focus, the training background.
If you want to discuss pure gymnastics (i.e. pommel horse, high bar, etc.) then yes, I'll grant you that due to physics a smaller person has advantages due to things like rotational inertial, etc. But I don't think that transfers to the limited gymnastic-type activities in Crossfit.
This is going to sound like gushing hero worship, so forgive me in advance.
The female athletes of the crossfit community, specifically Lynne and Kelly, are my crossfit ideal(s). As a man, I believe that I have a genetic advantage (testosterone, wide shoulders, etc) to be capable of the feats of strength and athleticism that crossfit seems to be based on. Not only that, but my social conditioning has geared me towards these areas since childhood.
Judging by the regular posting after workouts, Lynne and Kelly continually push the limits of what I would imagine the human body is capable of. I can't wait for the day when I can deadlift double my bodyweight, let alone triple it. Nor can I comprehend 5 sets of 20 pullups. When I read the posts documenting these feats, I don't see satisfaction either. I see plotting and planning the next amazing physical feat. Where many would find these abilities emasculating, I think they are inspiring.
So that's my crossfit performance measure. Taking a lesson from the girls. Continually pushing my body to see what it is capable of and how far it can go. Not letting my mind limit my body. Chasing Kelly, Lynne and the rest of the crossfit women out there who are probably working much harder than I belive I'm capable of.
Oh, one other thing. No offense here, I don't know how many folks who will read this are familiar with the shape of your average 911 dispatcher but, well, let's just say it makes Kelly's feats all the more amazing. Thanks for reading.
This takes care of a year's worth of positive thinking and compliments for me.
I remember reading that the amount of strength increased by adding muscle doesn't compensate for the additional bodyweight, resulting in lower relative strength at higher bodyweights regardless of bf%. Thus even at the same bodyfat percentages a 225 lb. man and 150 lb. man will not be equal in terms of pullups and pushups and the like, all things equal.
Secondly, we are talking about ideals here, not realistic goals for the average joe. Yes 175 lbs. is a hell of a lot to overhead squat for reps after running, but this is heroic, olympic-calibre standards we're talking about. No i couldn't even conceive such a feat now, but i've been training hard only for about a year and thus can only overhead squat 115 for reps.
In addition, yes a 175 lb. overhead squat is very heavy for a light person, but remember that the athlete will have just run a mile and half in around 8 minutes in order to complete the goal of the run and squats within ten minutes. 8 minutes for a mile and a half is much more difficult for a large guy than a small guy. Thus, IMO it all balances out. Now in terms of making it fair for the women, i think there should be separate standards for them. Yes we have some pretty amazing women here, but they can't really compare with guys like Greg Amundson and that Weaver dude. Women can beat men, but the strongest/fastest man will always beat the strongest/fastest woman.
Let's not forget the importance of size in sport and nature. Size and brute strength can often result in domination. Yes speed and conditioning are essential, but look at wrestling. The middleweights are very fast and in very good shape, but they would not have a chance in hell against a 225 lb.er of similar experience.
Again, we are talking about ideals here, not realistic goals. For me, a guy who is flat out strong, fast, and enduring is what we are looking for, as a perfect ideal, not a guy who has really good endurance and is strong for his bodyweight of 145, or a guy who is really strong and is a good gymnast and runner when you consider that he weights 220 lbs. I'd expect that such an ideal would be between 180 and 190 lbs.
I'd be very interested in reading the article you mention, if you could provide a link I'd appreciate it.
It seems to me that Crossfit is a method of training individuals...and as such, the individual must be judged on his/her own performance/merits. As fluid as CF is (we rarely if ever do the same thing during consecutive WODs) it would be, IMO, counter to its nature to impose rigid standards (i.e. 400lb. Deadlift) rather than use the more flexible numbers that arise with percentages of bodyweight (i.e. 200% bodyweight Deadlift).
In the end, I guess it gets down to this: there is no way you can expect Sally Housewife to match up against John Freesafety in a pure numbers game. And setting standards that make it impossible for them to compete/compare on an even (or nearly even) playing field, ends up marginalizing Sally's efforts. The important thing (as I see it) is whether or not Sally (and John) are working at/near their maximum...not what that maximum is.
CF is not a sport, nor is it a life-and-death struggle. What does a 400lb. deadlift (for a 225lb. man) get you that a 200lb. deadlift (for a 100lb. woman) doesn't? Nothing. There is no prize, there is no million-dollar conract. It's all about putting out...not what you're putting out.
Two events/performances that embody the CrossFit ideal:
150 Wallball throws, 20lb medicine ball, 10' target in under 5 minutes
15 touch and go bodyweight clean and jerks
Close behind would be 20 consecutive muscle-ups and/or 15 freestanding handstand pushups
While single feats such as high 1RM deadlift/squat/c&j are super impressive, I don't think they embody the CrossFit IDEAL. Competitive Olympic lifters are tremendous athletes, but the potential for gassing after a few reps is always there and not tested by the single rep max.
Running, swimming, rowing, biking are all great tests of endurance, and an integral part of CrossFit, but I still opt for the high rep multi part exercise like wallball throws as a better single test of fitness because the four favor skinnier and less well rounded athletes (in non-stationary workouts). Please don't misunderstand. Almost all internationally competitive athletes are tremendous athletes, and I am so impressed with their accomplishments. I am only suggesting these single events are not as good measures of the CrossFit ideal.
Also, I put the muscle-ups and HSPUs as third because if one athlete could do the muscle-ups but not the cleans and another could do the cleans but not the muscle-ups, I would vote for the second as the fitter overall athlete. But not by much.
Rest day was used to work on shoulder flexibility for snatch/OHS and handstand walks. Up to 5' feet on the walks, and felt greatly improved in general on the stands. 20' more to go...
Shucks, I'm blushing. Those are mighty kind words. It's nice to be appreciated! You hit the nail on the head with "I don't see satisfaction either. I see plotting and planning the next...physical feat." As many others have noted here and on the discussion board, it's rising to the challenge, and putting out the effort, that embodies the CrossFit ideal to me.
I've been so long to reply because I don't know what to say! Thank you.
That's okay. I really never expect anybody to read my diatribes anyhow. Keep up the good work.