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S&C UnderGround >> Study shows CrossFit increases aerobic capacity


2/28/13 4:44 PM
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Adventure Runner
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439334

Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition.

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I went to buy the article, but it's $50. I'm not that curious about their methods or week over week results. I'm a bit skeptical considering the body of other research showing diminished returns on aerobic capacity from high intensity training after only a few weeks or so, but I thought this was thought-provoking enough to post.
2/28/13 6:39 PM
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Leigh
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If you are sedentary then I have no doubt at all that it increases aerobic capacity. Compare it to a steady distance work plan over 12-16 weeks and I don't think it will stack up. Phone Post
2/28/13 7:11 PM
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Adventure Runner
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Leigh -  If you are sedentary then I have no doubt at all that it increases aerobic capacity. Compare it to a steady distance work plan over 12-16 weeks and I don't think it will stack up. Phone Post

The study supposedly "spanned all levels of aerobic fitness". I don't find increases particularly surprisingly. Most research shows that the introduction of high intensity training in even highly trained individuals has a positive effect for at least a short time. Even Lydiard, who is king of high volume training when it came to training his Olympic champion track athletes (800m sprinters regularly ran 100+ miles/week in his base cycle), cycled in short periods of high intensity and speed work.

What I would be surprised about is if "aerobic fitness" (eg VO2Max) increased week over week for the full 10 weeks or whether it plateaued after 3-6 weeks like one would expect. With that said, I'd agree steady distance work over the same time span in most individuals would produce better results in aerobic fitness. Perhaps not body composition, which was also a feature of this study.
2/28/13 7:31 PM
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tristar
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Here is Bret Contreras' recently published article:
http://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/2013/02/28/crossfit/
2/28/13 7:41 PM
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Adventure Runner
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tristar - Here is Bret Contreras' recently published article:
http://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/2013/02/28/crossfit/

Thanks, tristar. I wonder if they measured vo2max and body comp on a weekly basis or if it was a a before/after type of thing.
3/1/13 9:48 AM
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Shanle929
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I have no facts for you to read, but a close friend of mine does CrossFit regularly and is 42. She completed a full marathon in 4:17. It was her first one. So from that I'd say there is some validity to it. Phone Post
3/1/13 9:56 AM
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Leigh
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What training did she do outside of Xfit?
3/1/13 10:24 AM
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Adventure Runner
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A 4:17 is essentially the "average" pace. Most major marathons have an average finish time around there. So she did CrossFit and probably ran at least a little bit, and she finished around middle of the pack. I wouldn't say that's a glowing endorsement.
3/1/13 10:45 AM
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Taku
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Edited: 03/01/13 12:08 PM
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Don't know anything about the CF study, or how it was conducted.

However there is a very well documented study from the 1970's that used high intensity strength training and (among many other dramatic improvements) the participants decreased their average time in the two-mile run by well over a minute with only six weeks of strength training only. 

Another one of the guys I have worked with also ran (an easily completed) a marathon having only run a max of 8 miles total distance per training session and all done in intervals of 1-2 minutes at high speed and 1-2 minutes of lower speed recovery.

TAKU

 

3/1/13 10:45 AM
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paw
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Any comments on:

"The researchers recruited 54 subjects but only 43 of these (43 males and 20 females) completed the study. Two dropped out because of time-constraints and 9 dropped out because they experienced overuse injuries."

That injury rate seems very high to me.

3/1/13 10:51 AM
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Adventure Runner
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paw - 

Any comments on:

"The researchers recruited 54 subjects but only 43 of these (43 males and 20 females) completed the study. Two dropped out because of time-constraints and 9 dropped out because they experienced overuse injuries."

That injury rate seems very high to me.


I wouldn't be surprised if those were a portion of the people not in very good shape. Xfit is not easy on the body or the mind. If you push too hard too soon, you'll be in a world of hurt.
3/1/13 12:12 PM
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Taku
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The overuse issue not a surprize at all. With CF standard recommendations I expect overtraining. This is just one of many reasons they experience such a high injury rate.

CF coaches and practioners seem to feel that injuries are just part of the game. For some they are even a twisted badge of honor. As a professional coach it's my job to prepare athletes for the demands of their given sport. Hurting them is not an option. DO NO HARM.

This year marks my 25th year as an S&C coach / trainer. I have not injured one person in all of that time. 

I'm pretty happy with that result.

TAKU

3/1/13 1:52 PM
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Adventure Runner
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Taku - 

The overuse issue not a surprize at all. With CF standard recommendations I expect overtraining. This is just one of many reasons they experience such a high injury rate.

CF coaches and practioners seem to feel that injuries are just part of the game. For some they are even a twisted badge of honor. As a professional coach it's my job to prepare athletes for the demands of their given sport. Hurting them is not an option. DO NO HARM.

This year marks my 25th year as an S&C coach / trainer. I have not injured one person in all of that time. 

I'm pretty happy with that result.

TAKU


That's cool, Taku. I agree about the badge of honor way of thinking. Even in my non-CF racing circles people post injuries as a badge of honor... the more severe the better. I think that's misguided. I just screwed myself over making a horrible judgement call ice climbing. It's just embarrassing and completely avoidable. I was thinking about blogging about this lately as my FB feed was filled up with photo's of xrays and mri's. I wanted to say, "Yeah. That's not cool, guys."
3/1/13 2:22 PM
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Wiggy
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That injury rate seems very high to me.

Last Saturday, I had to help my (ex) bro-in-law move.  After everything was done and everyone else was putting shit away (I was there to lug the stuff out to the u-haul from the old house and into the new one from the u-haul), a couple of us were sitting around watching TV.  It was a basketball game, IIRC.  Anyway, a Reebok/Xfit commercial comes on, and I made a comment (not to anyone in general) that I couldn't stand Xfit.  Someone asked me why.

Knowing he wouldn't know what I meant with regards to a lack of programming/progression and I didn't really wanna have to explain the whole Xfit kool-aid phenomena, I simply said, "Becuase it injures so many people".

My (ex) sis-in-law bellows out with a gigantic "AMEN!!!!"

She's a physical therapist, and as it turns out, there's been a *massive* influx in the past 6-12 months of new patients into her office - most of which have been military wives that seriously jacked up their back doing Xfit.

Wiggy - http://www.workingclassfitness.com/book

3/2/13 1:57 AM
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Shanle929
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She only ran an average of 6 miles before. And average pace? Can you run 26.2 miles that fast. And it was her very first one. And a woman in her 40s. She killed it. But my girlfriend and I saw her 3-4 times a week. You can believe or not. But her doing CF every morning at 5 am and what amount of running she did. I'd have to agree with that study. Phone Post
3/2/13 9:50 AM
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Adventure Runner
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Shanle929 -  She only ran an average of 6 miles before. And average pace? Can you run 26.2 miles that fast. And it was her very first one. And a woman in her 40s. She killed it. But my girlfriend and I saw her 3-4 times a week. You can believe or not. But her doing CF every morning at 5 am and what amount of running she did. I'd have to agree with that study. Phone Post

The average finishing time for Boston last year was 4 hours and 18 minutes. It was very hot though, and even the elite times were considerably slower than most years. The average finishing time is usually closer to 4 hours. Take a look at the 2010/2012 comparison numbers. For a 40-44 year old woman, we are looking at 3:57/4:24 and for a 45-49 year old woman, we are looking at 4:04/4:34.

So yes. A 4:17 is an average pace for a woman in her 40's. In reality is slightly slower than the average pace most years. So I believe you. She did CF and ran 6 miles regularly and finished at the average pace. I don't see why that'd be hard to believe. 50% of the women in her age group finished better.

http://www.runtri.com/2012/01/boston-marathon-average-finish-times-by.html

I'm not saying this in a derogatory way. She should be happy with that accomplishment. I'm just setting facts straight as you seem to think they are different.

I can run 26.2 miles that fast too. Not sure what that has to do with anything or why you asked. I expect my finishing time to be around 4:15 this year. I've been unable to run for over a month now with a torn muscle and ligaments in my leg (the race is in 6 weeks), and I need to keep my legs fresh for a 7 day mountaineering expedition the week after. It will be my easy pace. It's almost a 10:00/mile. Normally I'd be in the 7's and 8's in a 20-30 mile run.
3/2/13 7:54 PM
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Taku
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I have never run a marathon and never will. No interest what so ever, and I think that long distance running is not good for you.

That being said...30 years ago (yes I am old) I used to run 5 miles a day, 5 days per week (+ soccer practice). I could easily run a five minute mile at that time. At that time I weighed under 140 lbs @ 5'-7". I have never run more than 5 miles at a time (long soccer games not withstanding).

Since I retired from soccer, I have not run farther than 65 yards at a time.

Okay...just talking here.

TAKU

3/2/13 10:25 PM
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BshMstr
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Taku - 

Don't know anything about the CF study, or how it was conducted.

However there is a very well documented study from the 1970's that used high intensity strength training and (among many other dramatic improvements) the participants decreased their average time in the two-mile run by well over a minute with only six weeks of strength training only. 

Another one of the guys I have worked with also ran (an easily completed) a marathon having only run a max of 8 miles total distance per training session and all done in intervals of 1-2 minutes at high speed and 1-2 minutes of lower speed recovery.

TAKU

 


wasthis the West Point study that Arthur Jones was involved in?
3/3/13 3:41 AM
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Taku
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YES.

One of the most well documented studies ever conducted. The data for was collected by reps from the famed Cooper clinic. This was done because Cooper and Jones hated each other. Jones asked for Cooper to track all the data so that he (Jones) could not be accused of tampering with the numbers) Cooper refused to believe the results (even though his guys were taking in the info) because he could not believe that people were improving their running times etc, with only strenth training as the main form of exercise.

TAKU


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