Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Degree In S&C In One Paragraph

Does CrossFit target type-2b fibers and the phosphagen system; does it help with your power, your acceleration? Yes it does, most definitely.

To be fast and strong, you need a good strength base-strength training and heavy lifting is the way to achieve this. To develop this strength into high power, Olympic-style lifts are king(cleans, jerks, snatches, and their variations, etc.). One study showed measured power in the jerk drive ranging from 2,140 watts (2.9 horsepower) in the 56-kg class to 4,786 watts (6.4 horsepower) for a
110-kg lifter. The same researcher calculated that during the second pull, the average power output, from transition to maximum vertical velocity, was 5,600 watts for a 100-kg male and 2,900 watts for
a 75-kg female. Peak power over a split second would be higher still.
Average power outputs for powerlifting events are: bench, 300 watts; squat, 1,000 watts; and deadlift, 1,100 watts. The numbers are much lower because the lifts are performed slowly. They also show that the term powerlifting is a misnomer and highlight the need to include fast, explosive movements such as the Olympic lifts and maximal sprints in your training. Powerlifting is essential in developing a strength base, but you have to work fast as well.

However, while Olympic weightlifting develops excellent vertical acceleration, the principle of specificity means that translating that power into horizontal acceleration and sprint capacity requires
practical application and practice. The soldier, law enforcement officer, and football, basketball, rugby, tennis, and soccer player (to name just a few) also need to do specific work to translate the
vertical power they develop in the gym into horizontal acceleration of the body. Like the Olympic lifts, sprinting is very technical, and optimizing your sprinting technique requires focused work at that

OK, two paragraphs, but what a densely populated few words from my friend Tony Leyland.

Boil it all down and it is both simple and uncommonly referenced:  If you want to move with power, you have to train strength and speed, and if you want the power to apply to a specific skill - running - you have to run, too!
CrossFit was conceived as a strength and conditioning program - a program that prepares the athlete for the unknown and unknowable challenge.  A good S&C program should enable an athlete to easily add sport specific training and excel - which CrossFit does.
A good S&C program should also address the weaknesses that a sport inherently has.  Examples:
-Swimmers have very low core strength - their trunk muscles, and skill in using them to bear a load, are like rubber!  Deadlifts, overhead work, and squats are the cure.
-Baseball players and golfers perform asymetrical motions over and over - that's a recipe for problems.  They need dumb bell work, one leg and one arm work, and overall S&C to shore up under used movements and their muscles.  They should train for power, while giving their bodies relief from the highly repetitive asymetrical force generation inherent to the sport.
-Cyclists have strong legs but never practice using the legs to power the arms, nor do they have any exposure to eccentric loads.  If you would like to do more than cycle, better broaden your base of fitness in the off season.  It's great to be able to ride all day, but it's a small, small slice of "fitness."
-Runners have all of the above problems - PLUS they don't have strong legs (exception - sprinters).

If there's some specific thing you have to be exceptional at to have the life you want, no problem, go for it.  But if the goal is to train for life or combat - constantly varied functional movements at high intensity is your prescription.

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