Monday, 25 January 2010

Questions For Melissa Urban


Here at Evolve Your Fitness, our sole commitment is to performance data, not to any particular method of training, eating, or recovery. Our mission is to spread data-based fitness training to the world. Unfortunately for our free time, very few people are receptive to our way of thinking. It sometimes feels like running uphilll, in sand.

A little while back, we had a brief exchange with Melissa Urban of CrossFit Whole9 in the comments section of her blog. After a few posts, we still had a few questions for her, but we didn't want to hijack the thread, so Jacob contacted her privately. He never received a reply. We're hoping this post will yield better results.

The Claim: Ms.Urban claims that she trains her athletes to be more capable for "real life," not to be better CrossFitters, and that prioritizing strength is part of this. Kipping muscle-ups and ring dips don't count, strict pullups are superior to kipping, and a structured barbell strength program is necessary.

The Question: Upon what data has Ms.Urban made the assumption that strength is more important than any of the other 10 components of fitness for "real life?" Why is kipping not as valuable as the ability to pull or push with the upper body alone? We agree that strength development – from strict pullups and muscle-ups to increasing your 1 rep max back squat – is important to general fitness, and to real life, but why is strength more important than cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, or accuracy?

The Claim: Based on Ms.Urban's belief that strength development is the most important component of fitness, and her programming, which is vastly different from generalized (i.e. non-biased) CrossFit programming, we can safely infer that Ms.Urban believes crossfit.com programming is insufficient for strength development.

The Question: Why? Russ and I have both made tremendous strength gains solely on mainsite and mainsite style programming. So have our athletes, and apparently plenty of others. We're still waiting for someone to provide us with contradicting data. If Ms.Urban has such data, we'd very much like to see it.

The Claim: Ms.Urban openly states that she does not train people to be fitter by CrossFit's standards, nor does she use CrossFit's exercise methodology with her clients. Yet, for some reason, Ms. Urban owns a CrossFit affiliate.

The Question: Why does Ms. Urban affiliate herself with an organization whose goal she does not share and whose methods she does not employ?

108 comments:

Apolloswabbie said...

I wonder if this will produce a fruitful discussion ...hope so

Tsypkin said...

As do I, Paul. I look forward to your input.

Robb Wolf said...

"Strength Before Strength Endurance" is a common feature of the Pseudo-Science of Exercise. That beginners make rapid progress on CF.com programming is not surprising, it is called The Novice Effect:
http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/the_novice_effect/

Dave Tate on a recent CFJ piece stated something to the effect "Strength is the one variable that will improve ALL other performance parameters".

EXACTLY what would pass as "data" in your mind? Please define your terms here so when some "data" is presented it is up to your standards.

So, We are now questioning whether Melissa is "fit" to be a part of CF because she has what, in your opinion, is a contrarian position?

Keep in mind, what you post here will quite literally live on forever. Give it some thought and be clear about what you are hoping to accomplish.

Tsypkin said...

Robb,

"Strength Before Strength Endurance" is a common feature of the Pseudo-Science of Exercise. That beginners make rapid progress on CF.com programming is not surprising, it is called The Novice Effect:
http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/the_novice_effect/"

Russ has been doing CrossFit for 7 years. I've been doing it for 4 years. Both of us still make consistent gains in all fitness domains, including strength. We don't claim to have elite strength numbers, but then again, those types of numbers require a sacrifice in some, if not all, of the other 9 domains of fitness.

"Dave Tate on a recent CFJ piece stated something to the effect 'Strength is the one variable that will improve ALL other performance parameters'."

Dave Tate saying it doesn't make it true. I can teach someone to deadlift, squat, press, clean, and snatch if they're weak but coordinated. It will be a lot harder if the situation is reversed.

"EXACTLY what would pass as 'data' in your mind? Please define your terms here so when some "data" is presented it is up to your standards."

We're not asking for double blind placebo controlled studies. You use anecdotal data – often – to support your claims. We're doing the same, and asking for the same. Show us that athletes from all backgrounds are making superior progress in CrossFit's definition of fitness on a program which prioritizes strength, to those athletes on general CF style programming, and we'll consider it data.

"So, We are now questioning whether Melissa is "fit" to be a part of CF because she has what, in your opinion, is a contrarian position?"

We never said Melissa isn't fit to be part of CrossFit. We're asking her: why are you part of CrossFit if you don't support the goal or employ the methodology? It's not a rhetorical question: we want to know.

Russ Greene said...

Applying "Strength before strength-endurance" to general fitness training has a crucial flaw. It classifies all non-strength performance as "strength endurance". Is an 800m run really best classified as "strength endurance"?

Aren't there many more factors determining success at a workout than the load's percentage of your 1RM?

It is also interesting that athletes who compete in the 1-10 minute time domain, from running, to swimming, to rowing, to cycling, nearly universally focus on developing conditioning and endurance first, and then focusing on speed later. Perhaps they aren't training optimally for their sports, but until athletes using other methods defeat them in the 800m sprint, 2k row, and 200yard freestyle, such talk will merely be conjecture.

Our standard is clear: for strength-specialized training to be classified as superior, then the athletes who use it must consistently outperform those who use all other methods. Their superior performance will thus be measured in pounds, feet, and seconds (or kilos and meters for the rest of the world.) There are many possible outlets for demonstrating such superior performance, the most obvious, though certainly not exclusive example being the CrossFit Games individual competition.

redteamo said...

While certainly not the last word on the subject, there are a number of existing scientific studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals showing a link between strength training and improved athletic performance in other sport activities that don't involve weighted loads (cycling, cross-country skiing, running). A search on Google Scholar will turn these up (unfortunately you may need university library privileges to access many of the articles), but here's a link to one where you can at least read the abstract: http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/Maximal_Strength_Training_Improves_Cycling_Economy.99480.aspx.

Of course, I want to re-emphasize that these studies are in no way the last word on the subject. There are many angles from which they can be critiqued. Most are based on very small sample sizes. Also, due to the quirks associated with designing the kinds of experiments that will be published in academic journals, the kind of strength training they have their study subjects do rarely resembles the kind of strength training people like us do (eg. in the paper linked above, the one thing the strength trainers did differently from the control group was half-squats, three times a week). More importantly for the question you are posing in your post, these experiments are comparing strength training plus sport-specific training vs. sport-specific training alone, NOT strength training + sport training vs. "straight CrossFit" + sport training vs. sport training alone. Nevertheless, the findings are quite suggestive, and could provide a trainer with a fairly solid empirical foundation for incorporating a specific focus on strength training within a broader CrossFit strength and conditioning program. At the very least, the published research makes it such that it wouldn't be fair to say that a specific focus on strength training is simply based on irrational belief.

Also, on the anecdotal front, I can say that the results at my home box (Team CrossFit Academy near LA) speak to the benefits of incorporating a strength training focus. Our affiliate switched from more of a "hopper" training model to a "Relative Intensity" model, as outlined by Pierre Auge in his article in Performance Menu. This model combines a progressive overload barbell sequence with shorter CrossFit WODs, with WOD loads scaled based on percentages of athletes' 1RM for whichever lift corresponds most closely to the WOD movement. I personally don't have the hard numbers (you could contact Coach LeClair for them), but my understanding from talking with him is that in the six months since we switched to the Relative Intensity model, PRs have dramatically increased across the board, for athletes of all levels. I'm not only talking about PRs on weight loads, but also PRs on benchmark WODs. Again, this is far from conclusive evidence, especially since there was no control group for comparison, but it is suggestive that there might be something to it.

Does all this mean that a strength training focus is absolutely necessary for improved athletic performance? Absolutely not. There are plenty of amazing athletes who do not train like this and still get great results. However, it isn't quite fair to claim that there is no evidence whatsoever pointing to the benefits of focusing on strength training as part of a broader CrossFit training regimen.

--Barry Eidlin

Melissa Urban said...

From Melissa:

Guys, I kind of hoped you'd take the hint. However, you are now attempting to turn an opinion piece posted on our own web site into a full scale scientific "debate", AND are making some bold (and misinformed) statements about our personal fitness philosophies. In addition, you've chosen to pursue this in a public manner not particularly becoming to real-world business professionals. As such, I am now compelled to respond. (Note, disappointing as it may be, I'm going to keep my response short and classy.)

If you don't like, believe, or agree with the opinions we've stated on our web site, then we kindly ask that you not read our web site. And if you don't think the way we train is the way YOU should train, then we respectfully insist that you not follow our programming. That is what WE do when we disagree with someone's stated opinion, and it has worked out really well for us. (Unfortunately, however, I do not have any data to defend that claim.)

Even that is more time than I can afford to spend on this subject. Shame that you've chosen to waste today's post on useless provocation, instead of providing quality training and fitness information for your clients.

Best,
Melissa and Dallas
www.whole9life.com

Jay Ashman said...

Why is this constantly an argument? Every affiliate reserves the right to program the way they see fit and what works best for them and their clients.

Just because she uses the CF name doesn't mean she has to agree with what mainpage puts out, that is the beauty of not being a franchise.

As is known, I don't agree with mainpage programming nor do I agree with chippers or long cardio workouts. Most real sports are anaerobic based and training for them requires bursts of intense work followed by rest to properly prepare you for them.

If your goal is the CF Games, then by all means follow mainsite, but most of our clients aren't looking for that as a goal.

IMO it is safer and more effective to have a structured strength program with shorter duration conditioning workouts (5-15 minutes) which will make you fitter and stronger.

I don't want to argue about this, and I am sure Melissa doesn't (judging by her comments on that blog post) because everyone has their own idea of what fitness is.

She has had progress from her clients, as have you, and as have I. Incidentally none of my clients have goals of competing in CF. I have rugby players (3 of them), a baseball player, 2 MMA fighters, a golden gloves boxer and a couple regular people looking to improve. Not to mention the online clients who I give custom workout programs to, and the people who follow my online workouts.

There is a desire for strength based programming, and it works.

The only data I care about is: are you getting stronger, faster and more conditioned? If you answer yes to those I am happy.

When my clients perform better on the field of play, and not just in the gym, then I consider my program to be a success, and so far it is.

I don't count exercise as a sport, it is a means to get better at your sport.

I hope you understand that just because someone has an opinion that is against what mainpage has to offer, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be using the CF name to promote their business. If that was the case you would call out Rob Orlando who is from a strength sport and utilizes strongman methods in his training with phenomenal results. He is a Games competitor and Timmy and Mike Burke from his gym are two names that are solid competitors as well.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsypkin said...

Barry,

Good post, and thanks for your input. But unfortunately, you missed the point of our argument with strength specialization. We're not saying it doesn't work: it definitely works. We're saying that there is no data which shows that strength specialization lends itself to superior results when the goal is increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

Mike said...

Hmm. Not exactly what I expected when I saw the topic on my reader.

I see this topic as being very individual, but I would have to agree strongly that nearly every athlete walking through a gym door could use more maximal strength.

I definitely don't put dot-com on my list of "be-all-end-all" programming, and I tend to lean towards a strength bias myself, but once again, individuality is taking precedence.

Many, many affiliates choose not to follow the dot-com programming. I don't see how that's an issue with Melissa.

tundranerd said...

Perhaps I'm mistaken... Although the post is terse, I don't think the point was to be abrasive, as much as it was to incite a constructive dialog.

When an opinion piece is published in the public forum it is subject to the critique of the public.

Thus, if EYF is indeed mis-informed on whole9life training methodology, It would benefit all of us to see cogent points and counterpoints. The readers can form their own respective opinion through the skew of bias, evidence or Yoda (jarjar if you're into that).

Gant Grimes said...

This is a shameless use of Melissa's name and standing to drive traffic to your site.

You two stalk the Internet looking to pick fights on this stuff. Why? If you are such authorities, why is nobody coming to you for a tussle? Why is nobody linking to your site? Trying to build your reputation through open letters and Internet flame wars is not the way to go.

You frequently challenge people to find a better way to demonstrate superior methods of fitness according to the 10 aspects of fitness as defined by CF at a forum like the CF Games. How convenient. Look, and I mean this in the nicest way, nobody gives a damn about CrossFit except for CrossFitters. The rest of the training world, including professional athletes, do not recognize or care for CF's definitions or competitions. The people who podium at CF aren't even CFers.

Using Russ's 7 years of training and Jacob's 4 for validation is pointless. Russ, in his own words, threw around some barbells at the YMCA before doing CF. I don't know Jacob's background, but anyone who sticks with a program long enough is going to make gains.

Quit asking for evidence and start providing some of your own. You have the burden of proof here. There is a mountain of evidence that stands against you, and it includes the amateur and professional S&C coaches who do something else. It also includes the SMEs who have left CF. Dan John. Mark Twight. Mark Rippetoe. Robb Wolf. Greg Everett. You'll also see the Mike Boyles, Joe DeFrancos, and Ross Enamit's, people who train athletes who want nothing to do with CF. Hell, Jim Cawley, from whom Couch pilfered the 10 aspects of fitness, cannot stand CF. Does that tell you anything?

No, the burden is you to provide evidence, not only that CF training is superior, but that CF's definitions of fitness are valid and that the Games are a worthwhile measure of it. Quit asking others to do what you cannot.

Both of you guys have good numbers, and the programming at CF Monterey is pretty sound, especially compared to the crap on cf.com. Be happy that you're doing well by your trainees and quit trying to make names for yourselves doing something classless like this.

Like Robb, I'm wondering exactly what it is you're trying to accomplish. Unlike Robb, I won't be back to find out.

Tsypkin said...

Jay,

"Why is this constantly an argument? Every affiliate reserves the right to program the way they see fit and what works best for them and their clients."

This isn't about telling anyone how to program: it's a critical analysis of a program that a lot of people see. I asked Melissa these questions because a lot of people follow her blog. If that wasn't the case, I would probably not have seen the original post that prompted me to ask her the original questions. When she didn't reply, we posted it publicly, because, well, we wanted to know.

"Just because she uses the CF name doesn't mean she has to agree with what mainpage puts out, that is the beauty of not being a franchise."

Agreed. As I said to Robb, we're not questioning whether Whole9 should or shouldn't be an affiliate. We asked for her reason for affiliating, if she doesn't employ the methodology or agree with the goals. Why call yourself CrossFit if you're not CrossFit? Do you tell people you're a long distance running coach? Again, we're not saying she shouldn't be affiliated: we're asking why she chooses to be.

"As is known, I don't agree with mainpage programming nor do I agree with chippers or long cardio workouts. Most real sports are anaerobic based and training for them requires bursts of intense work followed by rest to properly prepare you for them.

If your goal is the CF Games, then by all means follow mainsite, but most of our clients aren't looking for that as a goal."

It may be true that most of your clients aren't inclined towards the CF Games. But that doesn't imply that the best way for people who are just looking for general fitness is strength specialization, or that it's not worth debating what will best develop that general fitness.

(Continued)

Tsypkin said...

(Continued)



"IMO it is safer and more effective to have a structured strength program with shorter duration conditioning workouts (5-15 minutes) which will make you fitter and stronger."

Why?

"I don't want to argue about this, and I am sure Melissa doesn't (judging by her comments on that blog post) because everyone has their own idea of what fitness is."

Then why argue about it? No one is required to respond to us.

"She has had progress from her clients, as have you, and as have I. Incidentally none of my clients have goals of competing in CF. I have rugby players (3 of them), a baseball player, 2 MMA fighters, a golden gloves boxer and a couple regular people looking to improve. Not to mention the online clients who I give custom workout programs to, and the people who follow my online workouts."

Again, just because YOUR clients aren't shooting for the CF Games doesn't mean the best methods of getting there aren't worth debating.

"There is a desire for strength based programming, and it works.

The only data I care about is: are you getting stronger, faster and more conditioned? If you answer yes to those I am happy."

This is a lot like saying "if it works, it's good enough." We're not saying your programming doesn't work. In fact, I've said many times that it DOES work. But the question is, does it work BETTER? YES, our goal is IWCABTAMD. You can choose to pursue another goal, you can even believe our goal isn't worthwhile, but that doesn't invalidate the debates or data pertaining to our goal.

"When my clients perform better on the field of play, and not just in the gym, then I consider my program to be a success, and so far it is.

I don't count exercise as a sport, it is a means to get better at your sport.

I hope you understand that just because someone has an opinion that is against what mainpage has to offer, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be using the CF name to promote their business. If that was the case you would call out Rob Orlando who is from a strength sport and utilizes strongman methods in his training with phenomenal results. He is a Games competitor and Timmy and Mike Burke from his gym are two names that are solid competitors as well."

Again, we didn't say Melissa shouldn't use the name. We asked her for her reasons for affiliating with an organization with which she seems to fundamentally disagree.

redteamo said...

@Jacob: I'm pretty sure I got the point of your post about questioning whether or not strength training leads to superior performance when the goal is increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Here is the evidence I provided:

1) citations from peer-reviewed scientific journals demonstrating a statistically significant relationship between incorporating max-effort strength training into a conditioning program and improved athletic performance at a variety of sports.

2) anecdotal evidence from my box about how incorporating a strength training focus into our programming led to improved performance across a broad variety of benchmark CrossFit WODs.

Granted, I fully recognize that both pieces of evidence have flaws. The first only measures the relationship between strength training and improved performance in one sport-specific domain (although different studies have looked at this relationship as applied to a variety of sports, which partially mitigates this flaw). The second is purely anecdotal, based on programming at a single box (albeit a relatively large one, with over 200 athletes), and didn't involve a control group.

However, I would say that these findings would at least suggest that there could very well exist a relationship between combining strength-focused training with more generalized CrossFit training and improving work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

--Barry

Russ Greene said...

Barry,

A good way to test whether your gym's methodology is truly superior for producing fitness is to compare your athletes with those at other gyms. The most prominent (though again, not only) place this is happening is in Aromas, California. If most of the top 15 athletes at the 2010 Games specialize in barbell lifting, you have my word that I will start specializing in barbell lifting. At this point, however, the community-wide experiment that we've all been participating in, has yet to show barbell strength specializers consistently outperforming all other athletes in tests of work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You are indeed right that such a result may happen. My contention, however (and I think you'll agree here), is that we have not seen nearly enough such data to support the superiority of barbell-strength specialization.

Russ Greene said...

Melissa,

I do not understand your antipathy towards debate. I like, tundranerd, believe that those who express their opinions in public should not be dismayed when other people critically discuss their points.

We have not called you any names. We have not said that your programming is ineffective, because it is effective. If you are offended because we have asked you questions, then please know that we only asked questions of you because we believed you capable of intelligently answering them.

Now, to address why we engage in what you describe as "useless provocation", it is because we have found that in our experience that intelligent debate has lead both us and those we debate to more critically examine, and therefore improve, our methods. A good example is one of my previous exchanges with Robb Wolf. In this example, I mentioned our standard of superior methodology to him. Robb considered my comments and responded accordingly:

"Russ, You are spot on and there is no doubt some serious selection bias is represented on this blog. How many people migrate here and do NOT benefit from a lower carb intake and just never mention that? Impossible to tell. In the example of Joe Friel he transitioned from a high carb, grain based diet to a relatively high carb paleo diet and saw improvements. I think that food quality issue pops up pretty consistently. From there it’s a matter of finding optimized intake levels. Focussing on PWO nutrition goes a long way to drive this but there is obviously no singular magic ratio that looks anything like 40-30-30.

so, yea, I need to make sure the message is “food quality, appropriate macros” as opposed to “quality and low carb”. That is a more accurate an encompassing message."

Robb's post, in my opinion, was a well-reasoned response to my earnest critique of his post. Is this not a positive result?

redteamo said...

Russ, thanks for the comment. First off, I would wholeheartedly agree with you that there isn't nearly enough evidence to say anything conclusive about the benefits of strength training + CrossFit. But by the same token, I would expand that to say that the evidence for the superiority of *any* particular training regimen is pretty shaky at best. Sure, we have observed good results from a variety of types of programming, and if what you're doing is working for you, then by all means continue with that.

However, there is a difference between having shaky evidence and having no evidence. Given how incredibly hard it is to come up with any kind of conclusive evidence in the world of physical performance (leaving aside anything else in the world of science), there is inevitably going to be a lot of back and forth and contradicting one another when it comes to the question of programming. We have to look at the evidence we have, make judgments based on that, and consistently re-evaluate our position. That goes for trainers doing what we could call "strength-biased training," CF.com, or any other method.

The boxes I have encountered that have incorporated a "strength bias" of some sort, be it MEBB, Relative Intensity, or something else, do tend to have thought through the programming question quite thoroughly, i.e. they have examined and evaluated some evidence, and have found it promising enough to incorporate strength-biased training into their CrossFit programming. In the case of our box, the head coach started by testing the Relative Intensity programming on the coaching staff and interns. When he saw very promising results with this (by definition) more advanced population, he then expanded the programming to the entire box. This was not simply a case of blindly following some new trend just for the sake of following a trend.

Also, in terms of figuring out the best overall approach, I would argue that from a scientific perspective, the same/same comparison of testing training regimens within one box offers some advantages over comparing between boxes. By comparing before and after with the clientele within a single box, you can better isolate treatment effects, since you are at least to a certain degree controlling for population, trainer, etc.

Of course, looking at the top qualifiers at the CrossFit Games has a certain validity to it, but even there you run into problems. For starters, I'm almost positive that if you went down the line and looked at the training regimens of each of the top 10 male and female competitors, you would find that each had a different and highly specialized training regimen tailored to their own strengths and weaknesses. I could be wrong, but I doubt it would be possible to find a general pattern among the different regimens that could hint at what "really" worked for every competitor.

Also, given the built-in randomness of the event selection, and given the fact that every CrossFitter, no matter how well trained, is not perfectly well-rounded, we have seen a huge variation from year to year in terms of rankings. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the Games themselves changing dramatically from year to year as they have grown and attracted a wider array of competitors. So maybe we are now getting to a point where the Games can start to serve as a consistent marker of overall fitness. We'll see how similar or different this year's crop of top finishers looks compared to last year's. But for now I don't think that the Games provides reliable enough data to provide any kind of conclusive evidence for what constitutes a superior training regimen.

Dallas said...

Gant, your first two paragraphs are very, very telling. Well said.

Julie G. said...

Tysypkin ...I just removed your site from my iPhone homepage. Not that you care, but you just made an a$$ of yourself. Who would want to be a part of this negative, attacking dialogue.

Jay Ashman said...

I'm done arguing methodology and defending what I believe to be a superior training method for LIFE AND SPORTS, not the niche CF Games.

We went over this several times here, with Dutch's blog, on my blog and now with Melissa. Quite frankly it gets old and its uncalled for to keep beating this horse with "data" and "evidence based fitness" and "IWCABTAMD" snippets.

There isn't any need to go and prove your way is based upon evidence and data because every workout system has data. Joe DeFranco, incidentally who thinks CF is a fucking joke, produces REAL athletes, pro-bowlers, first round draft picks, etc.. My buddy Bob trains Nicky Polanco, who by Nicky's own admission credits Bob for making him a faster and stronger athlete. Who is Nicky? one of the best lacrosse players in the world, trains at my gym, I see him often and no CF method is used for him.

You want results and data? Those are data points.

I'm not here to say my way, Melissa's or Dutch's is the best, but we get results and I know Melissa and Dallas get some goddamn good results.

Quit trying to argue that point and train your people the way you know best and leave other people's training methods and reasoning alone.

As long as good form, solid programming and results happen, who gives a shit how they get there, as long as it works.

Robb Wolf said...

Russ-
I think the big distinction here is when you took me to task on the food stuff, you were right. In this case...y'all are wrong IMO. I cannot improve on Gants' analysis...I can list quite a number of coaches who are in the same camp as myself. That does NOT make me, or them right, but I think it's enough to give one pause.

As of yesterday NorCal Strength & Conditioning has been open and serving the Chico community for 6, starting 7 years. We did the .com WOD for the first two of those years and I found it to be lacking in progression and frequency of exposure to core movements, especially in beginners.

I did well, my clients never got near my numbers...until we used more focus in strength movements ranging from gymnastics to barbell moves. Since enacting what is essentially a Max Effort Black Box type of template, along with a structured On Ramp program, we have produced top tier crossfitters and top athletes from a variety of sports. Again, this could all be selection bias, maybe we just troll the Track & Field team at California State University, Chico...but the reality is we have progressed some people in a very significant way. I'm not the smartest person, but I'm quite aware of what program worked better.

Russ, TYSPKIN- have you or your clients ever run through a different mode of programming? Have you ever run one group of beginners through one method vs another? These are the important questions. Focussing on who wins the CF games...well, when we still have people WALKING ON from OTHER SPORTS kicking a hole in peoples asses who do CF all the time...all you can derive from this is that the "Sport of Fitness" is at best in it's nascent stages or at worst hyperbole born of pithy sound bites.

And frankly...it's none of your business WHY Melissa or anyone else is involved with the organization. Open Source? Community Driven?

Russ-In your running example do you remember what Coach Glassman recommended for broken runners? The air squat. Do you remember why? Weakness. I'd suggest ruminating on that.

Off to practice Pseudo-Science.

Tsypkin said...

Robb,

"Russ-
I think the big distinction here is when you took me to task on the food stuff, you were right. In this case...y'all are wrong IMO. I cannot improve on Gants' analysis...I can list quite a number of coaches who are in the same camp as myself. That does NOT make me, or them right, but I think it's enough to give one pause."

I would agree...but it's unfair to act as if we haven't. Clearly we consider it something worth debating.

"As of yesterday NorCal Strength & Conditioning has been open and serving the Chico community for 6, starting 7 years. We did the .com WOD for the first two of those years and I found it to be lacking in progression and frequency of exposure to core movements, especially in beginners.

I did well, my clients never got near my numbers...until we used more focus in strength movements ranging from gymnastics to barbell moves. Since enacting what is essentially a Max Effort Black Box type of template, along with a structured On Ramp program, we have produced top tier crossfitters and top athletes from a variety of sports. Again, this could all be selection bias, maybe we just troll the Track & Field team at California State University, Chico...but the reality is we have progressed some people in a very significant way. I'm not the smartest person, but I'm quite aware of what program worked better."


Congrats on 6 years. When you were doing .com for your athletes, how much rigorous skill work were they doing? I found the same thing to be true with .com and similar programming, until structured skill work is applied pre-WOD. I think one of the main reasons strength biased programming creates progress is that it forces the athletes to get better at moving correctly. But the same can be said for focusing on advanced (for CrossFitters) gymnastics.

""Russ, TYSPKIN- have you or your clients ever run through a different mode of programming? Have you ever run one group of beginners through one method vs another? These are the important questions."

Yes. I have done strength biased training. Not surprisingly, I got stronger, and in the short term I saw increases in my fitness. After 6 months however, I was stronger and worse at everything else than I had been before. I have had athletes do strength biased training and the same thing has happened. Interestingly, upon their (and my) return to generalized CF style programming, they had higher energy levels, less aches and pains, slept better, etc...which seems to contradict, though only anecdotally, the many claims I hear of CrossFit being "too much" (not saying you're making this claim Robb, just that I've heard it quite often.)

(Continued)

Tsypkin said...

(Continued)

"Focussing on who wins the CF games...well, when we still have people WALKING ON from OTHER SPORTS kicking a hole in peoples asses who do CF all the time...all you can derive from this is that the "Sport of Fitness" is at best in it's nascent stages or at worst hyperbole born of pithy sound bites."

Has this happened? Can you give me details? I'm not being argumentative here, just ignorant. Very interested to hear more about this.


"And frankly...it's none of your business WHY Melissa or anyone else is involved with the organization. Open Source? Community Driven?"

It's funny you should mention open source. We posted a few questions, without insulting anyone, questioning their intelligence or motives, or accusing them of anything whatsoever. In response we've been insulted, our intelligence has been questioned, and we've been accused of being classless, unprofessional, and my personal favorite, this post as a "shameless use of Melissa's name and standing to drive traffic to our site..." (a site which we don't make any money off of), even though we sent Melissa a private correspondence first. TundraNerd said it best: "When an opinion piece is published in the public forum it is subject to the critique of the public." THAT is open source.


"Russ-In your running example do you remember what Coach Glassman recommended for broken runners? The air squat. Do you remember why? Weakness. I'd suggest ruminating on that."

This is true, but I think the view has been expanded by now: it's not merely a lack of strength that plagues broken runners, but a lack of the ability to move. I'm not saying that runners shouldn't get stronger...I'm saying they also need to get more agile, coordinated, balanced, accurate, flexibile, fast, and powerful. If you're saying that the one they need most is strength just to help them function normally again, you may be right, but that is a) not surprising, considering that strength is almost inevitably going to be a distance runners biggest weakness and b) that is not the argument. We're talking about developing greatest fitness by CF standards, not restoring healthy function in a broken runner.

Russ Greene said...

Gant,

"You two stalk the Internet looking to pick fights on this stuff. Why? If you are such authorities, why is nobody coming to you for a tussle? Why is nobody linking to your site? Trying to build your reputation through open letters and Internet flame wars is not the way to go."

I addressed why I believed that debate on the internet is worthwhile in my post to Melissa above. We are not trying to pick "fights", start flame wars, call people names, or hurt anyone's feelings. If there is any bitterness in this debate, it has not come from any mean or inappropriate statement that Jacob or I made. Please quote us if you believe otherwise.

"You frequently challenge people to find a better way to demonstrate superior methods of fitness according to the 10 aspects of fitness as defined by CF at a forum like the CF Games. How convenient. Look, and I mean this in the nicest way, nobody gives a damn about CrossFit except for CrossFitters. The rest of the training world, including professional athletes, do not recognize or care for CF's definitions or competitions. The people who podium at CF aren't even CFers."

Call me crazy, but when Melissa, a CrossFit gym owner, started making statements about fitness training, I assumed that she was talking about fitness as CrossFit defines it. I came to learn that my assumption was wrong and that she has a different goal in her training. To quote Melissa, "Our affiliate is not interested in building better CrossFitters."

This quote seemed to conflict with another quote I found on her website: "Our primary focus is training people in the CrossFit methodology." This is why we chose to ask her what her reasoning was, since as a professional fitness trainer, we assumed that she had intelligent reasons behind her choices.

"No, the burden is you to provide evidence, not only that CF training is superior, but that CF's definitions of fitness are valid and that the Games are a worthwhile measure of it. Quit asking others to do what you cannot."

Definitions are inherently subjective, and thus vary from individual to individual. We at EYF agree with CrossFit's definition of fitness and think that the 2009 Games were the best yet source of data concerning this definition. You are of course free to disagree with this definition of fitness, as is Ms. Urban.

It is important to recognize here that we are not defending Crossfit.com's methodology as an ideal model but rather defending the use of data to support arguments and inform the way that trainers choose their methodology. Whether or not you call the way Mikko Salo trains "CrossFit", it is effective, and one possible guide among many to how those pursuing CrossFit's definition of fitness should train.

Russ Greene said...

All,

Before we can have meaningful discussions about performance, we need to agree on what performance goals we're striving for. At EYF, we are pursuing increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. If that is not your goal, then further argument about data will be meaningless.

I never have insulted any other training goal, so it confuses me when people come here and insult training for CrossFit.

I encourage CrossFit trainers who do not train to increase fitness as CrossFit defines it, or work capacity across broad time and modal domains, to specify so publicly so that further confusion does not result.

Russ Greene said...

I apologize for the excessive posting, but I have to cover one more point, the idea that strength will improve performance across all physical skills.

Number one, this statement is true of most of the 10 physical skills, from accuracy, to coordination, to power, and speed. Strength is not special in this regard.

Secondly, as with all of the other physical skills, it is only true at non-specialist levels of performance. That is, if you are training for fitness, it is just as possible to be too good at deadlifts as it is to be too good at marathons. The physical adaptations required to specialize in the barbell lifts are contrary to the physical demands of work capacity across broad time and modal demains. As Dutch Lowy, who recorded a 1:10 slower Fran time after dramatically improving his olympic lifts, or Casey Burgener who found it near impossible to finish most CrossFit workouts when he first attempted them (with a world-class background in Olympic Weightlifting.)

Specialization in the barbell lifts or strength in general is not the fitness panacea that some hold it to be.

Tom said...

Calling out a respected coach in a public forum, to provoke this so-called "debate" is misguided at best. This is an unwinnable argument.

Even if this elusive "data" were available, it would not resolve the debate. There is no precise, quantifiable definition to the balance we Crossfitters seek. How strong/conditioned/flexible, etc. is "enough" in real terms, and in comparison with other aspects of fitness? If someone has a 300 lb squat and 4 minute Fran, how fast does their 5k need to be to be "balanced"? How advanced must their gymnastics skills be? We can set general standards, but there is no precise, "right answer."

Miss Urban, Dallas, and others may choose to prioritize strength more than others. Mark Rippetoe surely prioritizes it even more. I would guess Tucker and Brian MacKenzie, and John Welbourn have different balances in mind as well. Dave Castro even stated in a Journal piece that .com is not "Crossfit," it is but one of many implementations of it.

Furthermore, the "CF Games performance" argument is flawed, because the programming of the test itself reflects a certain view on the appropriate balance of capacities. Anyone can claim the 2009 Games events were too long, or too heavy, or too short, or lacking "enough" gymnastics, and on and on. Even HQ has admitted the Games are in their infancy, and the programming is evolving dramatically from year to year (just compare 2007, 2008, and 2009). The CF Games is not an infallible test. Again, this is an unwinnable argument.

In the end, these are differences of .1% when compared to a Gold's Gym. I know people love to geek out on this stuff, and want to figure it out as precisely as they can, which is fine. But I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and calm down.

I usually enjoy the info here, and nothing against Russ and Jacob, but I think at the very least, the tone and insinuation of this post was counterproductive. I think a simple apology to Miss Urban would be appropriate.

Dallas said...

"Further argument about data" has already been "meaningless" for a long, long time. I'm headed to the gym to get better at a bunch of stuff.

tundranerd said...

Give me a break... Adults now have to apologize for public discourse?

Russ Greene said...

Tom,

If you are going to describe our "tone" as "counterproductive", then please quote something that we said that you found offensive. As of now, I am confused as to what specific statement of ours was out of order.

We are not going to apologize for critically analyzing and questioning a post that Ms. Urban made in the most public of all public forums, the internet.

The Games are not a perfect test, nor are they the only possible source of data on WCABTAMD. Our only point is that they are one, admittedly imperfect source of data. Ms. Urban is free to provide any other source of data that she prefers, including, of course, that of her own clients.

For a discussion to be intelligent, it should be based upon things that have happened. This is all that we mean by data: things that happened which were measured and recorded. I do not think that this is an unreasonable standard. Nor do I think that holding a "respected trainer" to this standard is rude or disrespectful.

Tom said...

The actual training questions of this post could have been just as thoroughly explored without the personal aspect. I'm not going to get into a point by point exchange, as the main thrust of my previous comment was that this is a largely unwinnable and endless debate. This will be my last post.

As for apologies - no, no one "has to" apologize for anything, ever. They're just one of those optional extras of human interaction.

Apolloswabbie said...

I'm continue to be surprised at the emotional energy invested in what "programming is best." The details of what programming is best (provides the most fitness, fastest, w most favorable injury curve) is not known, and won't be knowable for a long time, beyond informed opinion. Robb's example is informative and still - doesn't it meet the definition of CF?

If I believe, based on my clients, how my box is set up, and what I see ('believe I see' is more accurate), the "ACME" programming is best for me, who should take offense to that? As I stumble into the problems Robb articulated as I'm training small numbers of athletes in a gym not set up for CF AT ALL, I can see the virtue of an on ramp and of utilizing some "%1RM" formula to help athletes scale their WODs, but wouldn't consider it some non-CF genius insight so much as a blinding flash of the obvious for the way I Coach and the athletes I am fortunate to work with - which is not to say that I don't admire and appreciate the way Robb figured it out, quantified it and gave it to anyone who'd like to use it. There's a mountain of conflict over details which can't possibly justify the emotional energy spent trying to assert as fact what is patently unproven and may be unprovable.

I would say it's weird except that we are in the world of the unproven (it is not proved what makes the most people the most fit the fastest w the best injury curve), therefore, expert opinion, standing in the community, ego, branding, etc. becomes a major emotional driver for these types of discussions.

Coach Glassman made a significant leap by daring to quantify what he was saying. Imperfect definitions? Difficult to prove conclusively? Of course. That's why no one even tried before Coach. Instead they all stood around like morons in raincoats yelling "Mine's longer than yours." Coach said "here's the way we ought to measure this instead of just bragging and endlessly opining." Radical. Really.

GG, "shamelessly using MU's name"? That's a hoot. This is hardly bad publicity. If they implied there was an inconsistency in her marketing language, they also highlighted that she was important enough, significant enough, to challenge. Even if it's attention she does not desire, I don't see any way it can damage her brand. She's a smart, smart lady and will use this to her advantage, no doubt.

"Poor, poor Melissa"? "Pull the other one."

We have a template for building fitness, and definitions of the terms, and a directive from HQ to 'be fruitful and multiply.' Seems like Robb, MU, and CFM are doing that. Oly lifters will do it with an oly bias, barbell sluts will do it with a barbell bias, football players will do it w a football bias, and Brian M does it with an endurance bias. It's Fing beautiful man, and I get to learn from all yous guys. Lesson of the month for me is don't get on a high horse thinking some programming detail or another is a genius insight worth the time it takes to brag about it while implying CF.com is complete rubbish.

Apolloswabbie said...

"Dave Tate on a recent CFJ piece stated something to the effect "Strength is the one variable that will improve ALL other performance parameters". "

Robb, I would trade some strength any day for speed, but strength is easier to generate through training. The question for someone chasing IWCABTMD is about balancing limited training time such as to develop the best balance of adaptation. I don't see it to be clearly the case that folks who have exceptional strength (compared to other CFers) always do better.

But even that is a different question than what to do with clients, who are not starting from and average strength base.

Statement: "METCON only programming serves newbies poorly." I speculate no one in this discussion would argue with that statement.

Certainty about how much strength work is enough for folk chasing "fitness" will likely emerge through what we do in the next 5-50 years. I don't know if that OPINION better supports EYF or W9, nor do I care, nor should they.

Harold said...

Jacob and Russ:

I am curious about a couple of things. You state that the data from the games is perhaps the best source of data on crossfit that exists. I am curious what inferences about crossfit as a methodology you think can be drawn from those data?

To my knowledge, I am the only person that has analyzed those data for HQ (there may be others, but they have not been cited by HQ or contacted me). I was excited to analyze these data and hope I can do so in the future to make contributions to this field of study. Also, I am happy to share my technical paper with anyone who requests it, although it will be a boring read unless you have a good grasp of matrix algebra and maximum likelihood estimation theory. Shoot me an email at doranhcd at yahoo dot com if this kind of stuff is interesting to you.

Now, as far as I can see, those data don't tell us anything about the efficacy of crossit (.com) or its variants at other affiliates. I saw many correlations in the data that indicate things like athletes with big deadlifts tend to be able to do more pullups. People with fast Fran times also have good Helen times.

People with a big clean and Jerk do better at Grace than athletes with a smaller clean and Jerk. Taller people can do more pull ups than shorter people. These are correlations, and so we don't know which way the cause is. In other words, do more pullups lead to bigger deadlifts or vice-versa? Or, is there some other non-observed variable that leads to both?

What we did learn is that people who train in a crossfit-esqe form tend to do well in a crossfit games competition. I say crossfit-esque, because I don't know how to formally define a crossfit WOD, does anyone?

We saw coach on the main page visiting affiliates saying, "you are crossfit". Is Melissa's implementation any less crossfit than yours because she and Dallas have a different perspective on what "functional movements with high intensity" means in day-to-day practice?

I am certain that they have opinions informed by observing their athletes that some form of a linear progression for pull ups is useful (e.g., first a strict then kipping). I don't tend to think that, but that's why I love crossfit. We are free to implement the core ideas in different ways and that variability should be valued, not challenged.

I have traveled to many different boxes in our country and have experienced multiple different
implementations of crossfit. Literally crossing the country from Oahu to Washington, DC. Jacob, I trained under your methodology for a long while and now I train with someone else--both experiences I value although they are drastically different.

I am of the opinion that the games data don't lead to any suggestions that training in a crossfit manner is better than training in a non-crossfit manner. I do strongly believe this and have observed lives changed under this kind of training. But, I don't need empirical data to make this judgment.

Harold said...

(con't)

Mikko came out on top. That's for sure. In the Sisu documentary, we learned that he does multiple WODs per day--everyday. Does that mean we should all trend in that direction if our aim is to be a top crossfit competitor? Maybe. We clearly need great GPP and work capacity to do what the guys and gals did at the games this last year.

But, what would have happened if the WODs were more in the wheelhouse of Spealer, or Tincher, or Orlando? If Spealer won, would we all go train at elevation? If Orlando won, would we focus more on strong man type activities?

One observation I have is that Khalipa and Mikko are very different. They are built differently and appear to have different strengths and weaknesses. I expect this coming year another person to come from out of the woodwork who may be different from both of them. So, since we don't yet see consistency in the top athletes, how can we make any statements about what it takes to become a top athlete.

There is a very important lesson from the field of Sabermetrics that should be considered here. Sabermetrics is the statistical analysis of baseball data and has emerged as a big field. One thing they have learned is that all of the data, predictions, etc cannot be applied to the world series. Even though there are (at most) 7 games, there is too much randomness in such a short time span making data extremely limited. This has also been discussed in basketball. Data are very useful for regular season, but come March Madness, data and statistics are useless. Again, too much randomness in such a short time span.

The point I am making is that the games data are similar to the world series and March Madness. It's exciting to watch, but such a short time doesn't give us data that are too horribly useful because of so much randomness.

Data are good. But informed, professional judgment is always better.

My .02 cents.
Harold

Tsypkin said...

Harold:

The main inference that Russ and I make, based not only on the athletes placement but on what we know of their training, is this:

Though the athletes in the top 16 are all strong, none of them (again, to the best of my knowledge) do strength specialization. They don't display levels of strength consistent with strength specialization (a 500lb deadlift at 180lbs is strong, but not powerlifter strong.) They certainly don't do additional strength work at the cost of anything else. Nor, it seems, d they subscribe to any sort of linear progression in their strength training: Mikko Salo does strength work every day, but it's not organized (he posted on his Facebook that one day he did 5x5 deadlifts, the next day 5x2 split jerk and 5x5 squat clean. Doesn't sound like any weightlifting program I've heard of.) Also, the difference Mikko holds from most other CrossFitters is not the structure of his training but the volume he can handle: one day of his training looks fairly similar to a 3 day cycle of crossfit.com programming. Moe Kelsey competes in triathlons, Blair Morrison (7th place) in marathons, etc.

Also, I agree that the data, thus far, are not abundant nor conclusive. However, I have to ask: how are we to achieve "informed, professional judgment" without studying and analyzing that data which are available?

Harold said...

Jacob: You should study the data. I am absolutely an advocate for that. You have chosen this as your career and you want to be good at it. That's commendable. I've known you for a few years and believe that one of these days you will be a leader in fitness.

IMHO, I don't think the structure of this blog post was the best way to spark the discussion. That's my view and I realize you may not share it as I see in your other posts.

When I was young (I'm almost twice your age, remember :) someone once told me to be a "velvet hammer". Be firm and clear on your views, but not in a way that sparks too much chaos. I share this with you only for what it's worth.

My current coach (who you know and I will not name for his anonymity) is a functional fitness guru and has studied many, many different aspects of training. In fact, he has even tried quite a few of them. He has seen what works and what doesn't, read academic journals, attended and participated in events for over 20 years. His long experience and study in the areas of functional fitness training has made him worth his weight in gold.

You're on that same path. Challenge assumptions, parse through data, read and try other training methods, visit other boxes, and talk with coaches at other locations who do things very differently. Your collection of these data over your career will make you invaluable.

People tend to have good reasons for things they do. In the end, you may not share those views, but it's always worth seeing the world from their perspective.

I don't intend to come off too nerdy. I have a kick ass deadlift and a smokin Helen time!

Matt said...

Upon what data has Ms.Urban made the assumption that strength is more important than any of the other 10 components of fitness for "real life?"

How about the obvious fact that lifting 10% of your 1RM is going to be more conducive to endurance than lifting 80% of your 1RM?

How easy would the beloved "Fran" workout be to someone that could do 50+ consecutive chinups?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boLl8rGhJvE

That guy trains for pure strength and with 55 consecutive chins he'd beat anybody doing main page programming.

Find me the person coming in off the ground that can match his 954 deadlift and 700+ lb squat doing main page programming.

Do you understand now?

This is basic exercise science: strength may not improve every other quality directly, but it implicitly improves your potential for every other quality.

That you need to be told this shows a shocking ignorance and a disturbing lack of attention to reality.

Joe Mama said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Mama said...

Evolve Your Fitness will continue to pursue CrossFit’s definition of fitness: work capacity across broad time and modal domains. We will use whatever methods that the available data suggests to be effective. Loyalty to any particular methodology, source of information, or personality is a recipe for mediocrity. We’re too passionate about fitness to follow anything other than performance data. We hope that the rest of the CrossFit community remains focused on performance as well.

HA! Loyalty to any particular methodology (???), source of information (others before you), OR personality (Couch?) IS A RECIPE FOR MEDIOCRITY!! HaaaaHAAAAHaaaaaa....you betcha!!!

Couch said...

What data are you looking at? CrossFit talks about data, but they are using anecdotal eveidence at best. People plug in Fran times, but look at the slop on many of them. What level is acceptable? The Games? EVERY athlete that was profiled in the months preceeding the games DID NOT perform well. Miko? Who heard of this guy before? Most of the guys who trully kill it in the CF arena were succesful elsewhere first. A few exceptions. CF will get you fit as hell with main page, but a strong guy will be better at CF much (much) faster than a CrossFitter will get strong. 2X bodyweight deadlifts are celebrated in CF, when in reality most high school fottball players lift well over that. Rob Orlando is one of the best example of a guy that was super strong, and very quickly got very good at CF. Even-Esh and Josh Everett don't do main page wods at all, and guys like Rut, OPT and Dutch have concluded that strtength bias makes a better athlete. You want data RUT HAS DATA! Melissa Urban is an example of a coach who goes with what works for her athletes, which is why you get no love for attacking her. Attack Gym Jones or Ross Training if you need to beef, thay won't fight back and no one really cares if they do.

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

I can do over 50 consecutive chinups while still heavily fatigued from previous workouts, not to mention 17 consecutive bar muscleups, and a single pull-up with 140 lbs. Fran is still not easy.

Had you read the debate above, you would have noticed my point that while strength does improve your potential for other aspects of fitness, the same can be said for coordination, balance, speed, power, accuracy, agility, flexibility, and even the beleaugured endurance (all to a point, past which further development is detrimental.)

That guy with the heavy deadlift and good pullups, is definitely very strong. I highly doubt, however, that he can run long distances quickly, press to a handstand on rings, or do Murph in under 40 minutes. As such, he cannot be described as possessing high work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You have committed the classic error of extrapolating fitness from just one workout.

I am not denigrating that lifter's athletic ability. He is world class. However he does not train for work capacity across broad time and modal domains, just as Crossfitters don't train for elite level powerlifting totals.

Russ Greene said...

Joe,

Based on what evidence do you assert that we only get our information from one source? A quick run-down of sources that I've read includes Greg Everett, Robb Wolf, Charles Poliquin, Mike Boyle, Dr. Ken Leistner, Louie Simmons, Roger Harrell, Coach Sommers for gymnastics, and much more.

Joe Mama said...

We hope that the rest of the CrossFit community remains focused on performance as well.

Riiiiiiiggghhttt....until they say something that YOU feel "is not crossfit" (WTH that means) or doesn't fit YOUR (or Couch's) definition - "broads for time, modal blah, blah, blah" - to which you then want a "debate," when all that matters is results for the individual and their particular goals/sport.

And I still think you should have asked Melissa over for a paleo-BBQ...

Joe Mama said...

Based on what evidence do you assert that we only get our information from one source? A quick run-down of sources that I've read includes Greg Everett, Robb Wolf, Charles Poliquin, Mike Boyle, Dr. Ken Leistner, Louie Simmons, Roger Harrell, Coach Sommers for gymnastics, and much more.

Hmmmm...let's see...Everett? Disagrees with Couch. Wolf? Disagrees with Couch. Poliquin? Disagrees with Couch. Boyle? Disagrees with Couch. Leistner? Who knows, but probably disagrees with Couch. Simmons? Will certainly disagree with Couch, soon. Harell? Who cares. Sommer? Has disagreed with Couch over sloppy form, not sure on the rest.

Oh wait...Urban? Kinda disagrees with Couch...and apparently YOU!! So why don't you start a debate with the other guys?

Since you openly admit to using sources that disagree with man behind the curtain, when are you going to de-affiliate?

Or do you admit that crossfit is not 100% then end-all-and-be-all of "fitness," and that there is no OTW??

And if there is no OTW, then why call out Urban?

tundranerd said...

Both sides are purely anecdotal until adequate research has been done.

I'm a relative newb at crossfit, have no bias for any particular methodology, but I'm trying to improve, and given that I look at life threw the skew of science... I appreciate that EYF is asking the question and not falling victim to group think for no other reason than the sake of group think. Unfortunately, most of the comments sounds like a discussion with flat-earthers.

Furthermore, I don't understand why Melissa is unwilling to substantiate her claims. Stating your opinion is fine, but when questions are raised and the only retort is "Don't read my blog"...

Couch said...

"Stating your opinion is fine, but when questions are raised and the only retort is "Don't read my blog"..."

What about "I can out perform 49% of CrossFitters?"

"I don't want to grade my own papers." (on letting others validate the efficacy of CrossFit protocols) Who?

"Vertical force translates well into rotational force."

Google this, ask anyone with any background in anatomy or exercise. Unfounded.

Kyle Maynard can do CrossFit but I can't?

The ONLY data supporting CF is conjecture. Melissa Urban has as much data to support her opinions as CF does.

"...CF is used by elite level athletes and professional sports teams worldwide"

Name any athlete that was NOT already good before CrossFit? Look at the Martin's kids, if the program was all that, they should be dominating everyone in every sport, and yet he can't even dominate in CF

Russ Greene said...

Joe,

Your universe seems to be divided into a simple dichotomy: CrossFit or non-CrossFit.

From the fact that a source disagrees with Greg Glassman on one point, you cannot infer that all that he has written is in conflict with CrossFit.

Greg Everett has written extensively on the role of the first pull in the olympic lifts in positioning an athlete better for a powerful second pull. I implemented his stuff, and it worked. My clean went up. That doesn't mean that I have to agree with Greg on every single point.

Robb has put out a lot of stuff on how to modify Zone proportions to different populations: i.e. PWO nutrition, lower carb for some folks, etc. I have found this stuff useful, but I still disagree with Robb on other points such as weighing and measuring food quantity (just as Coach Glassman and I are not automatically in agreement on every point.)

I used Coach Sommer's stuff on the planche and levers, but I don't agree with him on the lack of need for weightlifting.

You will notice a similar pattern with every other source that I listed.

Russ Greene said...

Labels and names don't interest me. They are about who gets credit for performance. I just care about performance. Whether you call what Mikko Salo calls CrossFit or not, it clearly works. The same goes for Tanya Wagner.

My point is that those pursuing work capacity across broad time and modal domains should look to those methods which have consistently achieved elite levels of WCABTAMD for guidance.

Matt said...

Matt,

I can do over 50 consecutive chinups while still heavily fatigued from previous workouts, not to mention 17 consecutive bar muscleups, and a single pull-up with 140 lbs. Fran is still not easy.


I'm not talking subjectively easy. It would be easy in the sense that his maximum ability is well above the threshold to perform the event. That's all that matters.

Had you read the debate above, you would have noticed my point that while strength does improve your potential for other aspects of fitness, the same can be said for coordination, balance, speed, power, accuracy, agility, flexibility, and even the beleaugured endurance (all to a point, past which further development is detrimental.)

And? You don't seem to understand that training for the event is not doing the event.

Strength requires specialized development and years of training. Endurance simply...doesn't.

Train a beginner to get strong, and endurance, balance, speed, power, flexibility, and anything else you care to name will improve as an effect.

If you just do half-ass strength workouts because you're trying to train everything else, then you don't get strong.

Preparation is not the event.

That guy with the heavy deadlift and good pullups, is definitely very strong. I highly doubt, however, that he can run long distances quickly, press to a handstand on rings, or do Murph in under 40 minutes. As such, he cannot be described as possessing high work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You have committed the classic error of extrapolating fitness from just one workout.

And you've committed the not-so-classic error of assuming that fitness has anything to do with "broad time and modal domains".

However even if I accept that as a definition of fitness (which it is not), the fallacy is yours:

How much training would it take to get Konstantinovs to perform well at CrossFit's tests of strength endurance? A few weeks, at most a few months.

How long would it take to get the average CrossFitter to within even 200 lbs of his deadlift by doing the random main page programming?

Preparation is not the event. Being strong lays a foundation that can be expanded on much more easily once it's already there. If you don't build a foundation, then you just end up mediocre.

I am not denigrating that lifter's athletic ability. He is world class. However he does not train for work capacity across broad time and modal domains, just as Crossfitters don't train for elite level powerlifting totals.

So? I guarantee you that I could take beginners, train them for a year or two for pure strength gains, then introduce conditioning work and have them destroy the average CrossFitter.

That's not just science wanking, that's how athletic preparation is done. If you want evidence, I present Exhibit A:

The Olympics

Joe Mama said...

Labels and names don't interest me.

Apparently the "Crossfit" label interests you plenty. If the Crossfit name doesn't matter, why the claim that Urban doesn't train to Crossfit "standards"?(which are poorly represented by most affiliate videos)

IF the name doesn't matter, why do you care what she does?

Train your people and let the results do the talkin'.

Russ Greene said...

Joe,

We don't care whether or not Melissa chooses to affiliate, or what methods she uses. We were simply curious as to her reasoning for affiliating. She probably has several legitimate reasons, though we can't know because she refused to answer.

This is not a witch hunt, and we are not trying to kick anyone out of CrossFit.

Russ Greene said...

"Strength requires specialized development and years of training. Endurance simply...doesn't."

Endurance doesn't require specialized development and years of training? Name one athlete with elite level running, rowing, swimming, triathlon, or cycling performance who didn't specialize in endurance for years.

"So? I guarantee you that I could take beginners, train them for a year or two for pure strength gains, then introduce conditioning work and have them destroy the average CrossFitter."

It's not hard to destroy the average performer in anything. If you are so confident in your methods however, please feel free to demonstrate their efficacy with results.

As for how I choose to define fitness vs. your definition, such matters are inherently subjective. I recognize that. Perhaps we can distinguish between general and specific fitness. This blog's topic is developing general fitness. We have chosen to define general fitness as work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You are free to disagree, of course.

Lastly, I find it ironic that you brought up the olympics. Look at how olympic swimmers, runners at 800m and above, rowers, and cyclists train. They're not specializing in powerlifting, that's for sure.

Matt said...

Endurance doesn't require specialized development and years of training? Name one athlete with elite level running, rowing, swimming, triathlon, or cycling performance who didn't specialize in endurance for years.

To the same degree that building strength and requisite muscle-mass does? Absolutely not!

Further, the sports you mention are only partly dependent on the actual endurance/conditioning component - much of that foundation is built early and maintained. Endurance gets FAR too much credit, when in reality technique/skill and specific forms of endurance (aka speed endurance) are the critical factors involved.

Again, specialization rules. As a generalist, your best efforts will be applied in those areas that will stimulate the greatest general improvements. That means you need strength/power, first, since those take the longest to develop.

Aerobic base can be trained in literally weeks or months, in comparison.

It's not hard to destroy the average performer in anything. If you are so confident in your methods however, please feel free to demonstrate their efficacy with results.

Sure, as soon as you demonstrate that your programming is superior to everyone else in the world that actually knows how to train high-performing athletes.

Your Bro-down only leads you to bad places, my friend.

As for how I choose to define fitness vs. your definition, such matters are inherently subjective. I recognize that.

Fitness is a term from exercise science, which makes it as subjective as gravity.

If you think science is a matter of opinion, you're free to demonstrate this by walking off the nearest tall building. Reality will quickly disagree with you.

'Fitness' has a concrete and well-defined meaning. That you choose to ignore this or to redefine it has no bearing on the reality of the situation.

Perhaps we can distinguish between general and specific fitness. This blog's topic is developing general fitness. We have chosen to define general fitness as work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You are free to disagree, of course.

Your definition of "general fitness" is properly called "work capacity" - the ability of the body to perform different tasks involving different energy systems.

'Fitness' is by definition specific. You cannot be fit for something without knowing what that something is in the first place.

CrossFit has merely decided to make fitness synonymous with work capacity. You're training to get better at CrossFit, in other words. This has no reflection on any other sport or activity, including "real life".

Lastly, I find it ironic that you brought up the olympics. They're not specializing in powerlifting, that's for sure.

I'm sorry, can you show me where I said to specialize in powerlifting?

I said that specific strength training would build a vastly superior foundation than doing random workouts, and I used a very strong powerlifter as an example of how strength can extrapolate quite readily to other elements of fitness, far more than the inverse is true.

You won't ever approach that level of strength, even in relative terms, by doing 'metcons' and lifting heavy weights once a week. Ever. In contrast, the very strong person can specialize on specific modes of endurance for weeks or months at best and turn out superior performances - for the mere reason that your contested weights are so light in comparison to that person's absolute strength level.

Endurance trains up fast. Strength does not.

How you take 'train like a powerlifter' from the argument 'strength needs to be trained specifically' I do not know.

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

Gravity is an empirically-derived phenomenon. Please show me how one can derive a definition for general fitness empirically.

If an aerobic base is so easy to develop, then find me an athlete, any athlete, who can achieve Mikko Salo's 17:15 5k time quickly without serious and prolonged training in the glycolytic and oxidative pathways.

Russ Greene said...

That's a 5k row, not run.

Joe Mama said...

"Our charter is open source, making co-developers out of participating coaches, athletes, and trainers through a spontaneous and collaborative on-line community." Greg Glassman

Open source...co-developers...which is how you should have treated another affiliate's decision to expand the definition of Crossfit.

Instead, you chose to call someone out, which goes against the concept of "collaborative community," and create your little pissin' match about "what is crossfit?"

So go back and tell Couch what a good job you did quelling the dissenters and how you held up the Crossfit flag when the hoardes were breaching the castle walls...

Now I must get back to IGX...

Matt said...

Gravity is an empirically-derived phenomenon. Please show me how one can derive a definition for general fitness empirically.

You understand that physiology is a quantifiable science, right?

And that all human performance is an extension of some rather straightforward principles of physiology? Things like force and power production, energy systems, adaptation, and so forth?

Fitness can be empirically defined as your ability to cope with the demands of a specific activity.

Seriously, this is exercise science 101 right here. There can be no fitness without context.

If an aerobic base is so easy to develop, then find me an athlete, any athlete, who can achieve Mikko Salo's 17:15 5k time quickly without serious and prolonged training in the glycolytic and oxidative pathways.

Are you even reading what I'm writing before you respond?

What does "prolonged training in the glycolytic pathways" have to do with aerobic base?

Did you ever once see me say that *no* specificity at all was required?

And now you've only dug yourself a new hole: I want you to show me how "random workouts for time" trains glycolytic pathways in a superior fashion to specific modes of training.

Thanks.

macpoudre said...

"Here at Evolve Your Fitness, our sole commitment is to performance data, not to any particular method of training, eating, or recovery. Our mission is to spread data-based fitness training to the world. Unfortunately for our free time, very few people are receptive to our way of thinking. It sometimes feels like running uphilll, in sand."

How do you propose to spread data-based fitness training when none of the posts on your blog's first page contain one iota of data, let alone its analysis? Where are you hiding all your data?

I submit that people aren't receptive to your way of thinking (datadatadata, gimme data) because you have nothing of interest to offer (data?).

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

Exercise physiology is a quantifiable science but definitions are inherently subjective.

You have chosen to define fitness specifically since that's what the textbooks say. I also recognize the existence and importance of specific fitness. I also recognize the value of a more generalized level of physical fitness. If you don't care about general fitness, that doesn't mean that I can't or shouldn't care about it myself.

As I mentioned previously, the subject of this blog is how to develop high levels of work capacity across broad time and modal domains. If you are asserting that strength is the key to developing WCABTAMD and that endurance significantly less important, then I ask you why the men with the highest levels of WCABTAMD train endurance so seriously. Moe Kelsey, number three, competes in triathlons, Jason Khalipa adds substantial hill running to his routine, and Mikko Salo said that distance running is the key to his work capacity.

The level of extended work output that a 17:15 5k row indicates is not developed quickly or easily, or through specialization in barbell lifting.

Russ Greene said...

Mac,

Do you accept the 2009 CrossFit games as an acceptable source of data on work capacity across broad time and modal domains?

If not, why?

If so, then consider that they are our primary source of data on work capacity across broad time and modal domains at this point in time.

Russ Greene said...

Joe,

I don't see how asking relevant questions is contrary the open source idea. It seems to me that the avoidance of these questions is more contradictory of CrossFit's goal of an open source community.

Matt said...

Exercise physiology is a quantifiable science but definitions are inherently subjective.

I see, so gravity is a subjective definition?

Don't play these semantics games. You're only making this argument because it supports your position, not because it's a reasonable or logically sound argument.

Fitness has a concrete definition just as gravity does. That you choose to ignore that, and the fact that science has indeed chosen to define it that way, is a big part of the problem.

Playing word-games doesn't change that.

You have chosen to define fitness specifically since that's what the textbooks say. I also recognize the existence and importance of specific fitness. I also recognize the value of a more generalized level of physical fitness. If you don't care about general fitness, that doesn't mean that I can't or shouldn't care about it myself.

No, you realize the value of developing goal-less work capacity. You can keep calling it fitness all day, just like I can keep calling the Sun a Hoondoggle.

That doesn't mean people are going to take me seriously.

As I mentioned previously, the subject of this blog is how to develop high levels of work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

Do you seriously think that's an actual goal? Honestly?

Have you even thought about what that means before you repeat it?

Do you know anything at all about how the body adapts and how different motor qualities are developed? Any formal education in this area at all?

If you are asserting that strength is the key to developing WCABTAMD and that endurance significantly less important, then I ask you why the men with the highest levels of WCABTAMD train endurance so seriously.

Sigh. Let me spell this out for you, one more time:

Your post called out Melissa for emphasizing strength in her programming, asking her why she neglected other fitness elements.

I've been responding to that claim ever since, by stating that emphasizing strength in training will lead to the best performances in everything else, by and large.

You were, and still are despite being told otherwise, making the assumption that the training is the event. Preparation for an event does not mean doing the event. No athlete, with any goal in mind, does that.

Training for the event prepares you for the event. To train strength endurance, guess what you need? Strength. To train power? You need strength. Having more strength will never be a detriment to anaerobic performance.

Strength improves strength and just about everything else at the same time. It gives the most return on time invested for beginners, and it can easily be coupled with any specific conditioning work that needs to be done.

You're creating a black/white fallacy by assuming that training to get stronger means training like a powerlifter and never doing any other activities. That's not the case, that's not what I've said, and I'd really appreciate it if you'd understand that and stop repeating it in every post.

This is a simple argument, and if you'd actually try to understand it instead of just repeating your original statements, you might see that.

macpoudre said...

I accept the CrossFit Games as a venue for CrossFitters to determine who is the best at CrossFit. Since you equate being good at CF with fitness, I don't mind playing along.

Now, I'll simply quote Harold:
"I am curious about a couple of things. You state that the data from the games is perhaps the best source of data on crossfit that exists. I am curious what inferences about crossfit as a methodology you think can be drawn from those data?"

I don't see where in these comments or elsewhere you have provided any insight in this regard, other than vague assertions - based on even vaguer observations - along the lines that adding strength-specific training to the basic .com prescription is neither useful nor necessary.

In other words, you have repeatedly failed to offer anything of value in a debate that you insisted on starting yourself. You really should be better prepared next time you decide to call people out in public.

Ryan said...

Read up on the Cavendish experiment here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavendish_experiment
This is how the gravitational constant is determined.

It can of course be derived from greater principles such as Einstein's general relativity.

The point is, a measurement in physics can be made with great precision. All the while dependent and independent variables being well defined.

Please do not suggest exercise science is this precise.

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

If you don't want to call WCABTAMD fitness, that's fine. We won't call it that. We'll just call it work capacity across broad time and modal domains. This is my goal as well as the goal of this blog.

You have written a lot about why training for strength yields improved performance in other fields.

How is strength unique in this characteristic? Isn't the same true of many other aspects of fitness, from speed to coordination?

If such methods are so obviously superior for WCABTAMD, then why are the top athletes at the CrossFit games devoting so much attention to the development of the glycolytic and oxidative energy parthways?

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

To be more specific, does you suggested method of training for WCABTAMD vary substantially from what the top athletes at the 2009 games used to prepare? If so, how and why?

Matt said...

Read up on the Cavendish experiment here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavendish_experiment
This is how the gravitational constant is determined.

It can of course be derived from greater principles such as Einstein's general relativity.

The point is, a measurement in physics can be made with great precision. All the while dependent and independent variables being well defined.

Please do not suggest exercise science is this precise.


Did you see me trot out any data or suggest that exercise science was as precise as physics?

Please do not invoke strawmen arguments at every opportunity.

Further, on what grounds do I have to prove ExSci is as precise as physics in order to be correct? We don't need anything approaching that level of measurement to make concrete extrapolations.

Or do you assert that our working knowledge of physiology is incorrect, with regards to motor functions and adaptations to exercise?

If so, I look forward to your in-depth critique of peer-reviewed sources.

Russ Greene said...

Mac,

People have gotten very fit using barbell strength specialization. People have gotten fit without it. I don't know a whole lot more on this specific subject than that observation. Superior methods should produce consistently superior results than those achieved by alternate methods. My point is that the available performance data on WCABTAMD is not clear in its support for the superiority barbell strength specialized training.

Joe Mama said...

From: http://whole9life.com/2009/12/beware-the-lure-of-the-sexy-met-con/

If you’re looking for some kind of pissing match between my deadlift and your Fran time, you’re out of luck. This is just what our affiliate does – we like picking up heavy stuff, and we think everyone needs to be stronger. If you think that’s not the best way to well rounded fitness, then our programming isn’t for you. That’s the beauty of the program – as a CrossFit affiliate, we are each left alone to do our own thing.

I’m not feeling the need to continue, mostly because I’m not interested in proving our CrossFit is better than yours. That wasn’t the point of the article at all. Do what works for you, and we’ll do what works for us. And then we’ll write about it – eloquently, apparently. Thanks for that compliment.

Best,
Melissa



Nothing more to say on that...

Matt said...

You have written a lot about why training for strength yields improved performance in other fields.

How is strength unique in this characteristic? Isn't the same true of many other aspects of fitness, from speed to coordination?


This is first-year exercise physiology. Adaptations to resistance exercise are very widely studied, and there's all the data you could ever want right here:

Pubmed

The summary is what I've said: resistance/strength exercise creates all manner of positive adaptations across the body, from the muscles to the connective tissues and skeleton to the cardiopulmonary, endocrine, and nervous systems.

Strength is the foundation of every other activity.

If such methods are so obviously superior for WCABTAMD, then why are the top athletes at the CrossFit games devoting so much attention to the development of the glycolytic and oxidative energy parthways?

You still haven't read anything, have you?

Where did I say you had to neglect endurnace training?

One. More. Time. Your original post was questioning why strength was being emphasized.

The answer: because strength improves all of these facets directly or indirectly. At the very least it raises the fitness potential.

The same cannot be said for other methods. Endurance does not carry over to strength or flexibility or power the way strength carries over to power and endurance and flexibility.

This is well-studied and established knowledge.

macpoudre said...

"People have gotten very fit using barbell strength specialization. People have gotten fit without it. I don't know a whole lot more on this specific subject than that observation."

I think that settles it, then.

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

How does strength differ in its applicability from speed? Is not speed a determinate of strength just as much as strength is a determinate of speed? If not, please explain Westside's dynamic effort workouts.

How many of those exercise physiology studies were testing work capacity across broad time and modal domains?

If you don't answer anything else, please answer this: how do your recommendations for training for WCABTAMD differ from the methods that the top athletes at the 2009 games used? Do your recommendations differ from them at all?

Jay Ashman said...

This whole blog post was a massive mistake from the first word "Questions".

You went to her blog, she said thanks but no thanks; you sent her a private e-mail which she ignored (that should have been a hint), and then you call her out publicly.

I hope you can understand why the dissenting views are being directed your way because you don't pick fights with people who don't want to fight about it.

I am enjoying having my e-mail on my phone blow up with these comments by the IGXer's debating a point that doesn't need to be debated.

It IS exercise science 101. It is basic strength and conditioning. As your strength improves your ability to improve in other areas of fitness and skills improve as well. Strength helps speed, balance, endurance, stamina, flexibility, etc.. If you have great endurance and little strength, you are limited in what you can do. If you have great strength and average endurance, you still have the ability to be a pretty good athlete.

This is becoming a massive pissing contest where nobody is backing down, and it all stemmed from a stupid blog post calling out a CF trainer for her FREE WILL choice of programming and questioning her motives for being an affiliate, which is none of your business.

I'll continue to have my phone blown up via e-mail half the night because I enjoy reading the replies, but in my honest opinion, I am siding with the IGXer's on this one.... they may be assholes at times on their board for sure, but they got it dead on balls correct in this instance.

Russ, if you don't think they are correct... train with a S&C specialist instead of in a CF system and I'll bet you will change your mind.

There is more to fitness than measuring data from the CF Games. It is just a small speck overall...

Matt said...

How does strength differ in its applicability from speed?

F = ma

or if you prefer

F * T = m * delta-v

Speed requires force.

Is not speed a determinate of strength just as much as strength is a determinate of speed?

No. Strength is a product of force production.

Speed is a function of force applied rapidly. In other words, speed implies strength.

There's much more nuance to it than that, but to move something fast requires a very large, if brief, impulse (rapid change in momentum).

That doesn't just come from thin air. Your muscles have to contract to make it happen.

If not, please explain Westside's dynamic effort workouts.

Westside's DE workouts emphasize rate of force development or speed-strength (which is NOT speed), which is the rapid generation of force.

"Speed" is a misnomer.

How many of those exercise physiology studies were testing work capacity across broad time and modal domains?

Look up "red herring" on Google.

If you don't answer anything else, please answer this: how do your recommendations for training for WCABTAMD differ from the methods that the top athletes at the 2009 games used? Do your recommendations differ from them at all?

I can only tell you what I would do:

* Focus on strength training most of the time, at least for a few years until a foundation is built.

* Sequence strength with rational and dedicated conditioning/endurance sessions - some short, some long.

* As strength and muscle mass improve over a few years, scale back the emphasis on specific training for those qualities and start pushing more dedicated power/speed and long/short conditioning workouts.

You have to look at it as a development process over months and years, not just a matter of "go do a workout".

Tsypkin said...

Matt,

"You have to look at it as a development process over months and years, not just a matter of "go do a workout"."

I agree with this.

We know Mikko Salo has, for approximately 15 years, been doing heavy lifting, as well as extended endurance work and shorter glycolytic pathway work. I spoke to him about this, and he said he has been doing all of this equally, with no specific focus on any one at the expense of the other.

ince he is, to date, the best example we've seen of work capacity across broad time and modal domains, I ask: if he had trained in the way you recommend, do you believe he would have achieved the same levels of WCABTAMD more quickly? Would he be fitter (by our standard) now than he is?

macpoudre said...

Jay,

What's IGX got to do with this? Who cares (and how would you know) if person A or B also posts on IGX? And why the need for an "IGXers are assholes but" disclaimer?

In short, how many cocks are you trying to fit in your mouth at once?

Jay Ashman said...

mac, because its been publicly stated here by a previous posted about "going back to IGX", so that door was already open.

And yes it is a disclaimer. I tend to shoot from the hip, so if that offends you or pisses you off, don't take it personally.

How many cocks? I prefer zero, but thanks for asking. I answer to myself and speak for myself, I don't have any hidden agenda nor do I kiss ass. I see the value in a lot of training systems and I recognize that I don't know it all.

If you knew anything about the way I train and train people you would know I don't follow traditional CF methods in the least, I am just stating my opinion on this particular argument that I feel that Russ and Jacob are wrong with their definition of fitness and Matt, etc. have really hit the nail on the head.

macpoudre said...

"I spoke to him about this, and he said he has been doing all of this equally, with no specific focus on any one at the expense of the other."

Numbers. We need numbers. Unless you can provide a detailed comparison of Salo's training regimen with .com over the last few years as well as your own, you don't have a leg to stand on to make any sort of claim regarding the relative importance given to strength, endurance, or other forms of training. For all we know, Mikko lifts heavy every day, which would be much closer to CFSB/CFFB or PMenu than CF.com.

All you have is speculation and you're both wasting your time and insulting your readers' intelligence when you claim to have any knowledge of these issues based on such shitty "data".

Jay Ashman said...

Not to mention, Mac, that IGX comment was only a small part of why I posted and it was meant more tongue-in-cheek than anything else... don't take shit so personally.

Matt said...

Since he is, to date, the best example we've seen of work capacity across broad time and modal domains, I ask: if he had trained in the way you recommend, do you believe he would have achieved the same levels of WCABTAMD more quickly? Would he be fitter (by our standard) now than he is?

I'm not sure that's an avenue worth exploring, honestly, because genetic variability between individuals and the limits of our knowledge on that makes it a moot point.

We simply don't have any way to assess effects between different collections of training programs. The reality of it is that whatever gets results works.

My thought process begins at efficiency. I know what will "get results" for 99.9% of people that aren't genetic anomalies that will thrive on just about anything you throw at them.

The multi-year process I outlined is about as efficient as you can get, based on what we know of both physiology and what has worked for high-performing athletes for decades now.

Whether he would do better or worse with another approach to training is something that I can't answer, and no one else can, either. We can point to genetic elites that do just about any and every kind of training you can imagine; but that has little carryover on what the average person should be doing.

Tsypkin said...

Macpoudre,

"Numbers. We need numbers. Unless you can provide a detailed comparison of Salo's training regimen with .com over the last few years as well as your own, you don't have a leg to stand on to make any sort of claim regarding the relative importance given to strength, endurance, or other forms of training."

You're right that we would do better with more numbers. I'll do my best to get them.

"For all we know, Mikko lifts heavy every day, which would be much closer to CFSB/CFFB or PMenu than CF.com."

Mikko does lift every day. But he also does a long distance run or row every day, as well as 1-2 CF style metcon workouts. He generally trains 5 days on/1 day off. It's not strength biased, because he's doing a ton of everything else as well. Also, his lifting does not seem to follow any program or progression...at least I've never seen a program that has someone doing 5x5 deadlifts one day and 5x2 split jerk and 5x5 squat clean the next day.

This is how he has been training for the last 2+ years. Prior to that, he was doing the same with regards to his lifting, running, and rowing. I can't say if he was doing circuits of any kind.

Matt said...

It's also worth noting that someone already possessing a high level of athletic ability, including a background of strength training and conditioning, is going to have dramatically different needs from your rank beginner walking in the door with no history of exercise.

That's something that seems to be glossed over as well. What develops an athlete is not what the developed athlete needs to do.

Tsypkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsypkin said...

Matt,

"My thought process begins at efficiency. I know what will "get results" for 99.9% of people that aren't genetic anomalies that will thrive on just about anything you throw at them."

It's entirely possible you won't believe me, but I am in fact a pretty good coach, at least as far as WCABTAMD goes. I have trained a lot of athletes, most of whom have not been genetic anomalies.

If you want to take a look at what the programming at our gym looks like, check out www.crossfit-monterey.com. In addition to what is posted there, we do rigorous skill practice every day.

I have not yet had any athletes fail to make serious gains on this programming, in strength and everything else.

Something interesting to note, take it for what it's worth: With one notable exception, all of my athletes who have made the best and most rapid progress (i.e., got fitter than my other athletes, faster) came from running backgrounds. Some came from track backgrounds, most from distance running. They have consistently blown away my other athletes.

The one notable exception was a former PLer who had previously deadlifted 705 in competition, at a bodyweight of 250lbs. When he started training with me, he pulled 585lbs x 4. However, he was also a member of Army SF, and spent a lot of time running, rucking, and doing calisthenics.

All the other former strength athletes I have worked with have been better off than (most) folks who came to me with no serious training background of any sort, but they displayed greater deficiencies, and had a harder time correcting them, than those who came to me fast and with good endurance.

macpoudre said...

Jay,
Nothing personal indeed. I've never posted at IGX. Personally, however, I've never quite understood your "I don't do CF but I'm an affiliate but IGXers are evil but they're also spot on" song and dance, but just like Ms. Byers and others, you're free to do as you choose.

Back to our data-fuelled debate, wherein data is defined as "nothing much".


Tsypkin,
Mikko does lift every day. But he also does a long distance run or row every day, as well as 1-2 CF style metcon workouts. He generally trains 5 days on/1 day off. It's not strength biased, whatever.

I don't know what you call that, but I wouldn't call it CrossFit. And he certainly lifts much more often than what goes up on the mainpage. If anything, it's evidence that standard CF programming isn't the best way to produce a CF games winner, which you say is your definition of elite fitness.

Do you plan on including a long run and lifting every day in your training? If not, why not?

See where this cursory examination of random data points leads us? Nowhere? Yep.

Matt said...

I have not yet had any athletes fail to make serious gains on this programming, in strength and everything else.

Define "serious gains", though.

Newbies (which includes people that have emphasized endurance to the exclusion of a strength regime) respond to just about any form of resistance exercise or overload, and they'll improve fast - sometimes in spite of the methods being used.

Taking them to a higher level of performance is a different matter entirely. That is, if you want someone who has substantially above-average strength and above-average endurance, you have to start being much smarter with your programming over time.

Something interesting to note, take it for what it's worth: With one notable exception, all of my athletes who have made the best and most rapid progress (i.e., got fitter than my other athletes, faster) came from running backgrounds. Some came from track backgrounds, most from distance running. They have consistently blown away my other athletes.

That makes sense if your primary metrics of performance revolve around or require a high degree of cardiovascular endurance.

I'd imagine they don't do quite as well in strength-biased measures, in absolute terms, even if they do improve rapidly (which I'd also expect).

All the other former strength athletes I have worked with have been better off than (most) folks who came to me with no serious training background of any sort, but they displayed greater deficiencies, and had a harder time correcting them, than those who came to me fast and with good endurance.

It doesn't surprise me that most strength athletes are imbalanced and specialized towards particular qualities.

About the only thing you'll find in strength that's directly suited for "CrossFit" is strongman.

As for 'deficiencies', if you're talking endurance and flexibility, then I'd be inclined to agree if you're talking someone that's trained with poewrlifting-dominant modes of training and done little or no accessory training beyond that; but that was my entire point.

As I've continually said, I'm not talking about pure powerlifting creating people with excellent work capacity. Elements of powerlifting, yes - basic lifts, a solid routine, and smart progressions are mandatory.

But a well-conditioned IPF powerlifter (shocking, I know, but many of the Russian and European IPF lifters actually are quite "fit" by your definition of general work capacity) isn't really falling into that category.

The Russians were having their SHW Olympic lifters playing soccer as general preparation work decades ago. They realized the value of having an efficient base of conditioning, but at the same time they still emphasized skill and strength above all else.

If I were coaching people for your activity, that basic strength protocol would be the foundation for everyone. Other modes of training would certainly be there, secondary to that. Until certain benchmarks of strength were met, they would not be the emphasis.

Tsypkin said...

Macpoudre,

"I don't know what you call that, but I wouldn't call it CrossFit. And he certainly lifts much more often than what goes up on the mainpage. If anything, it's evidence that standard CF programming isn't the best way to produce a CF games winner, which you say is your definition of elite fitness."

The primary difference between Mikko's training and mainsite is that he can handle a level of volume that the vast, vast majority of people can't. Two days of his training he recently posted:

1) 7k run, 5x5 deadlift, 100 muscle-ups for time

2) 5k row + 4 x 4 min row/2 minute rest, 5x2 split jerk, 5x5 squat clean, 3 cycles of: AMRAP in 3 minutes, 5 c&j with 60kg/10 burpees, 1 minute rest between rounds.

Each of these days is fairly similar to one cycle of mainsite programming with some extra work thrown in.

"Do you plan on including a long run and lifting every day in your training? If not, why not?"

No, because I cannot handle that level of volume. Maybe after 15 years I will be able to, but as of now, I can't.

Jay Ashman said...

Mac, no blood no foul. I wish I could contribute to this, I'm enjoying reading it but I'm on my blackberry working the door at a bar and its kinda hard to debate that way.

I'll just enjoy reading it from here.

Its definitely one of the better debates I've read about this topic...

Tsypkin said...

Matt,

"Define "serious gains", though."

If you'd like, I can get specific numbers for some of my athletes. I'll choose several who represent a fair spectrum of previous athletic experience, time spend training with me, and genetic predisposition, though you'll have to take my word that I'm not cherry picking.

"Newbies (which includes people that have emphasized endurance to the exclusion of a strength regime) respond to just about any form of resistance exercise or overload, and they'll improve fast - sometimes in spite of the methods being used.

Taking them to a higher level of performance is a different matter entirely. That is, if you want someone who has substantially above-average strength and above-average endurance, you have to start being much smarter with your programming over time."

One of the two fittest guys I'm training right now is a former semi-pro rugby player. His training before coming to me was CrossFit, partially mainsite and partially his own programming. Before that, he did a lot of sprinting and plyometrics, and some lifting. He was also a track athlete when he was younger (high school, not sure about college.) He came to me with the following:

Bodyweight: 183lbs
Squat Clean - 125kg
Split Jerk - 120kg
Squat Snatch - 90kg
Deadlift - 210kg
Press - 80kg
Back Squat - 185kg
Front Squat - 150kg
Weighted Pullup - 60kg
Power Clean - 120kg
Hang Power Clean - 115kg (2)
Power Snatch - 80kg
Hang Power Snatch 80kg
Push Jerk - 110kg
Ring Muscle-Ups - 7 from full turnout
Bar Muscle-Ups - 20
Handstand Pushups - 21
Pullups (kipping) - 50
Pullups (deadhang overhand) - 16
L-pullups - 10
Ring dips (kipping) - 33
Double Unders - 86
10k row - ~42 minutes
5k row - 19:17
2k row - 7:03
500m row - 1:28
10k run - 39:50
5k run - 18:00
1 mile run - 5:10
400m run - :59 (on grass)
100m run - :11.8 (on grass)

I also have his times for CrossFit benchmarks. If you're willing to send me your e-mail, I'll show you his training log (since starting with me.)

Before he started with me, he had suffered two sacroiliac sublaxations, he doesn't deadlift heavy any more.

He continues to PR his benchmark workouts, as well as rowing, running, and lifts. He recently PRd his 3 rep max back squat despite not squatting heavy for four months.

(Continued)

Tsypkin said...

(Continued)

"That makes sense if your primary metrics of performance revolve around or require a high degree of cardiovascular endurance.

I'd imagine they don't do quite as well in strength-biased measures, in absolute terms, even if they do improve rapidly (which I'd also expect). "

They actually do quite well here - I have a 114lb girl from a distance running background (runs about 60 miles a week,) who deadlifts 235, front squats 135, back squats 160. I can't recall any other lifts but I can get them for you.

A 125lb girl from a similar background recently did a workout with 60 power cleans at 85lbs. Her form needs work, but I suspect in a few months she will clean & jerk between 125-135. We haven't tested her max squat, press, or deadlift yet.

"As for 'deficiencies', if you're talking endurance and flexibility, then I'd be inclined to agree if you're talking someone that's trained with poewrlifting-dominant modes of training and done little or no accessory training beyond that; but that was my entire point."

I'm also referring to their coordination, agility, cardiorespiratory endurance, speed, etc. They often have trouble learning fairly basic gymnastics movements - they've got the strength but not the coordination. It's often difficult to get them to run correctly, and even at short distances they are relatively slow.

"As I've continually said, I'm not talking about pure powerlifting creating people with excellent work capacity. Elements of powerlifting, yes - basic lifts, a solid routine, and smart progressions are mandatory.

But a well-conditioned IPF powerlifter (shocking, I know, but many of the Russian and European IPF lifters actually are quite "fit" by your definition of general work capacity) isn't really falling into that category.

The Russians were having their SHW Olympic lifters playing soccer as general preparation work decades ago. They realized the value of having an efficient base of conditioning, but at the same time they still emphasized skill and strength above all else."

We emphasize skill a lot. You can get skilled in the lifts with organized and regular skill practice, without emphasizing strength or sacrificing anything else.

The problem with linear progression training for CrossFit is that everything else become secondary in order to ensure continued gains in the lifts that are being emphasized.

"If I were coaching people for your activity, that basic strength protocol would be the foundation for everyone. Other modes of training would certainly be there, secondary to that. Until certain benchmarks of strength were met, they would not be the emphasis."

What strength benchmarks would you advise (let's say for a 5'10, 180lb male)?

Rocky said...

I'm having a hard time understanding some of you affiliates. Crossfit is given credit when someone does well and is given credit when someone like Miko (who has trained for years on end without calling it Crossfit...oh yeah, Crossfit didn't exist) does well but don't consider that Crossfit isn't what got him to that point. Ross Enamait has more work capacity than you ever will and yet he's never done Crossfit (and no he didn't post on the message boards..tell Maximus he's a liar for saying that). Militaryathlete is getting more and more military operators every day b/c CF programming is lacking...half the affiliates simply suck and have no clue how to program. Here's a hypothetical for you (sorry it's not real data): you have two guys who want to do FRAN, guy 1 can 1RM press 250 pounds, do 50 real non-kipping pull-ups non-stop, and weighs 200 pounds; guy 2 can 1RM press 120 pounds, do 50 real pull-ups non-stop, and weighs 200 pounds. Who do you think finishes first 99% of the time? If you say you don't know, you are only fooling yourself. Pure strength translates over more areas of life than any other fitness attribute. Heck, CF's current poster boy, Zach Evan-Esh, sends emails out all the time about strength workouts b/c deep down he's a good dude and can't see Coach is using him. Louie is a strength guy. Let me know when a world class "PAID" athlete starts using Crossfit. By the way, let me know when CF stops losing all of the "elite" military members it used to coach.

freddy c._one world said...

Tsypkin,

Came upon your site today. Never knew you were such a hard line Kool-aid drinker. When you put the Kool-aid down its actually quite refreshing. Try it.

Russ Greene said...

Freddy,

I was expecting more substance from a poster with your background and experience. What specifically do you disagree with, and why?

As to drinking the kool-aid, we at EYF have experimented with a stunning variety of training protocols, using sources of inspiration as varied as Bryce Lane, Dan John, and HIT. If your are insinuating that we have are so close-minded as to not step outside of the world of CrossFit.com, then your comments are baseless and mistaken.

Matt said...

Tsypkin -

A guy walking in the door weighing 185lbs, cleaning 125kg and back squatting 185kg, coming from an athletic background, and playing semi-pro rugby doesn't count as a "beginner".

We emphasize skill a lot. You can get skilled in the lifts with organized and regular skill practice, without emphasizing strength or sacrificing anything else.

A wise man once told me that, at least with regards to the lifts, "skill is strength". That's yet another piece of wisdom being neglected.

The problem with linear progression training for CrossFit is that everything else become secondary in order to ensure continued gains in the lifts that are being emphasized.

How is that a "problem"?

For that matter, yet again, where did I say linear progression was mandatory, or even what I would do?

You really don't understand that there are ways to sequence in strength work and metabolic/conditioning work, in the same week and in the same workout, that is more intelligent and, importantly, more productive, than "do random things for time"?

Matters of "emphasis" aside, do you just not understand the after-effects of fatigue? If I'm trying to get someone strong, throwing in cleans or deadlifts in a "metcon" isn't going to do it. If I'm trying to get someone strong, having them do deadlifts the day after cleans and sprints and pullups 'for time' isn't going to cut it.

Repeating myself yet again: what well conditioned and well-prepared athletes can do is an entirely different matter from what raw beginners need to be doing.

Tsypkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsypkin said...

Matt,

"A guy walking in the door weighing 185lbs, cleaning 125kg and back squatting 185kg, coming from an athletic background, and playing semi-pro rugby doesn't count as a "beginner.'"

That was my point. He came to me a developed, fit athlete, and he continues to make progress on "random stuff for time," as you call it.

"A wise man once told me that, at least with regards to the lifts, "skill is strength". That's yet another piece of wisdom being neglected."

I agree. But that's not the same as saying "skill is dependent on strength." If anything, strength is dependent on skill, especially at novice levels.

"How is that a 'problem'?"

If operating under the assumption (as I am) that strength is only as important as the other 9 components of fitness, it doesn't make sense to prioritize it to the point of losing gains in the other components.

"For that matter, yet again, where did I say linear progression was mandatory, or even what I would do?

You really don't understand that there are ways to sequence in strength work and metabolic/conditioning work, in the same week and in the same workout, that is more intelligent and, importantly, more productive, than 'do random things for time'?"

Okay, forget linear progression. Let's say structured weightlifting programming. It still requires that you prioritize that programming at the expense of everything else.

Why do you assume everything we do is "random?" I can't speak for HQ, but my programming is not randomly designed. I don't roll dice. Just because it doesn't follow a specific structure does not mean that there is no though process.

"Matters of "emphasis" aside, do you just not understand the after-effects of fatigue? If I'm trying to get someone strong, throwing in cleans or deadlifts in a "metcon" isn't going to do it. If I'm trying to get someone strong, having them do deadlifts the day after cleans and sprints and pullups 'for time' isn't going to cut it."

Again, this is true if you are operating under the assumption that strength is more important than anything else, which I am not. I don't try to get people stronger through metcons. We do heavy weightlifting too. But the ability to lift light weights rapidly while fatigued is valuable, and it is not merely a function of your 1RM. The ability to lift heavy weights while fatigued is valuable to me as well, and my programming reflects that.

"Repeating myself yet again: what well conditioned and well-prepared athletes can do is an entirely different matter from what raw beginners need to be doing."

This is an obviously true statement, but you're not really elaborating on it enough for me to agree or disagree. Are you saying that rank beginners need structure, while developed athletes can do "random stuff for time?" Vice versa? Neither?

freddy c._one world said...

Just meant that some of the verbage used by Jacob in the first couple of comments I read sounded like "CrossFit or nothing else."

No way I read through this whole thread, so maybe I am wrong...

Matt said...

That was my point. He came to me a developed, fit athlete, and he continues to make progress on "random stuff for time," as you call it.

Because he already has a foundation of strength and is adapted to exercise.

Providing examples that back up my argument isn't helping your case.

I agree. But that's not the same as saying "skill is dependent on strength." If anything, strength is dependent on skill, especially at novice levels.

Skill *is* strength. Full stop.

If operating under the assumption (as I am) that strength is only as important as the other 9 components of fitness, it doesn't make sense to prioritize it to the point of losing gains in the other components.

Have you paid attention at all to the entire discussion before this?

The entire point is that getting strong will lay a foundation, by either directly or indirectly improving your (general your) ability to perform in Every. Other. Fitness. Quality.

Repeat that one more time, just to make sure we're on the same page:

Developing Strength Improves Your Potential In Every. Other. Fitness. Quality.

Nowhere does that statement imply that you should ignore everything else. It implies that strength lays a foundation, and that prioritizing strength indirectly improves everything else.

Okay, forget linear progression. Let's say structured weightlifting programming. It still requires that you prioritize that programming at the expense of everything else.

See above.

Why do you assume everything we do is "random?" I can't speak for HQ, but my programming is not randomly designed. I don't roll dice. Just because it doesn't follow a specific structure does not mean that there is no though process.

The bolded bit contradicts the "not random" premise. If there is no specific structure, then it's impossible to track progression in any metric. You're just crossing your fingers and hoping.

Again, this is true if you are operating under the assumption that strength is more important than anything else, which I am not.

Nobody said strength is "more important" and for the last time, will you stop operating on that fallacy?

I've explained this, repeatedly, and yet one more time in this post. That you refuse to understand it is the entire crux of the argument.

I don't try to get people stronger through metcons. We do heavy weightlifting too.

Without any structured plan for improvement, which is effectively planning for no improvement.

But the ability to lift light weights rapidly while fatigued is valuable, and it is not merely a function of your 1RM.

It is a function of your 1RM, for the simple reason that the higher your 1RM is, the higher "light weight" is.

A 700 lb deadlifter is using "light weights" with more than a 315 lb deadlifter can get off the ground.

You can't have strength endurance with a weight you can't even pick up.

The ability to lift heavy weights while fatigued is valuable to me as well, and my programming reflects that.

Then by your own definition, you should be concerned with getting people stronger.

Are you saying that rank beginners need structure, while developed athletes can do "random stuff for time?" Vice versa? Neither?

I'm saying that it's not surprising someone with an established base of strength and athletic conditioning can succeed on "random stuff for time", in spite of the programming rather than because of it. Conditioning is so general that the specific means used, once you get past "long" or "short, is basically irrelevant.

A big/strong guy can effectively do random stuff because he doesn't need any specificity to his conditioning.

Now take that same approach to a raw-dog beginner getting off the couch for the first time in his life, and get him to a 180kg squat. Tell me how well that works.

Russ Greene said...

Matt,

It is not clear to me whether you consider that novices need a structured lifting program to make progress, or that more advanced athletes do. Jacob can give you plenty of examples of advanced athletes making progress on the same unstructured lifting programs which you consider ineffective.

As for novices, I have taken a newbie to lifting to a 565 lb. deadlift and 365 lb. back squat within two years of training. This guy trained only in general CrossFit except for his inability to squat frequently due to a knee problem from playing soccer. Jacob reached a 460 lb. deadlift and 355 lb. squat within a couple years of serious training too. Neither of these guys consistently used a structured lifting routine as you advise. I realize that their numbers aren't impressive for specialists at barbell lifting, but they're not specialists.

Furthermore, though both of these guys have better absolute strength than I do, I can beat them in the majority of workouts due to better muscular endurance and technique.

You are assuming that a foundation in barbell strength is more advantageous than a foundation in any other aspect of fitness, as well as that an unstructured lifting routine will not yield sufficient strength or work capacity improvement in beginning athletes. My experience as a trainer, a small part of which I have covered above, has shown me at the very least that your assumptions frequently do not hold.

Matt said...

It is not clear to me whether you consider that novices need a structured lifting program to make progress, or that more advanced athletes do.

Then you aren't reading.

Both will benefit from a structured program. This is just not in question if you've paid any attention to strength sports and exercise science over the last century.

More advanced athletes will by definition already have a base of strength and conditioning. The fact that an already strong athlete can improve his general conditioning with large amounts of general conditioning falls into the "no kidding" file.

Jacob can give you plenty of examples of advanced athletes making progress on the same unstructured lifting programs which you consider ineffective.

Okay. Since you've got the data, let's see it. I want to see improvements in lifts from beginning to end, changes in anthropometry, and workout logs that cover that time frame, just to show there was no strength emphasis.

Furthermore, though both of these guys have better absolute strength than I do, I can beat them in the majority of workouts due to better muscular endurance and technique.

I've never said this wouldn't be the case. But you've long since stopped paying attention to what I'm saying, in order to keep repeating yourself.

You are assuming that a foundation in barbell strength is more advantageous than a foundation in any other aspect of fitness

Now I know you're just not reading, because I flat out said in the last response that this wasn't the case.

I even said it with Big. Paused. Words.

as well as that an unstructured lifting routine will not yield sufficient strength or work capacity improvement in beginning athletes.

Oh I didn't say that either. Newbies can grow and get stronger from mowing the grass. Up to a point, anyway.

The "up to a point" is the part that's relevant here.

My experience as a trainer, a small part of which I have covered above, has shown me at the very least that your assumptions frequently do not hold.

So you say. You claim to have the proof, that random programming focused on "broad time and gin domains" can not only create equal or greater strength results than a dedicated strength program, but can do it while simultaneously developing all these other fitness elements too.

I've yet to see a person that could just show up and lift random, unplanned weights, then do a bunch of random exercises for time, and get within striking distance of a 600 lb deadlift without drugs or impressive genetic potential or usually both.

So let's see the data.

Tsypkin said...

Matt,

I will compile the data you requested. It'll take me a few days to go through my athletes workout logs and get it sent to you. Where would you like me to send it?

Also, you say:

"So you say. You claim to have the proof, that random programming focused on "broad time and gin domains" can not only create equal or greater strength results than a dedicated strength program..."

We didn't say "equal or greater strength results." We said sufficient strength results to achieve optimal WCABTAMD, that is, sufficient strength without sacrificing other components of fitness. We're not claiming that a dedicated strength program won't create greater strength results, we are only claiming that it will do so at the expense of other elements of fitness.

Matt said...

You're still confusing specialized strength training (aka training like a powerlifter) with foundational strength training, i.e., making strength the dominant mode of training and letting everything else flow from that.

If you can't (or more likely, just won't) recognize that, after all the times I've said it, I don't know what else to tell you. I can't keep repeating it, and at this stage I don't see the point.

In any case, any outside readers will hopefully have gotten it.

Heather said...

I disagree with this created controversy. Why should Urban and Wolff have to defend their programming in this way. They clearly state what they are about, and people are free to take it or leave it. I agree with Robb Wolff on the “data” question and get sick of those who throw that out there. If you read enough exercise magazines, you will find that all data contradicts itself. Same thing with diet. What I like about crossfit and Urban, is each has a program and sticks with it. Each posts/allows others to post reactions, and allows people to tweak it as they like. I don’t agree with everything Urban says, but I read her blog and get out of it what I like as I do anyone’s blog or other source of information.

It’s annoying to read a post by someone who wholly disagrees with Urban’s programming challenge her in this way because it’s an easy thing to do. It would be more effective to discuss your own programming, how it differs, and why you prefer it, and leave it to Urban to respond, or for readers to incorporate.

For everyone that likes a strength bias and regular pull-ups, you will find someone who is the opposite – so why go tit for tat with this supposed “data”. Urban never attacked anyone's programming. She simply provided reasoning for her own.

Responding to this kind of criticism is a lose lose for Wolff and Urban. When they are the better people and pull away from these kinds of unproductive back-n-forth posts, they are being “called out” or “backing down”.

Boo.

Jon said...

The Question: Why does Ms. Urban affiliate herself with an organization whose goal she does not share and whose methods she does not employ?

You got your answer now.

http://whole9life.com/2010/03/parting-ways-with-crossfit/

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