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  • #46
    I haven't participated in this discussion despite following it closely because I just started CrossFit two and a half weeks ago and don't feel qualified to say anything. However, I have a question for all of you who hate CrossFit. What do you recommend for someone like me who isn't good at figuring out proper weight-lifting form by looking at pictures in books or watching Youtube videos? I've been lifting on my own for almost two years now with very little results and very poor form. The reason the results are poor is because I was afraid to go too heavy because I knew that I was doing everything wrong. At one point I did pay $80 for one personal training session at my gym, and it was the biggest waste of money ever. The trainer was a complete idiot who kept telling me to squat with my toes pointing forward, which, of course, I couldn't do, and I think is wrong because every time the topic of squats comes up in this forum, everyone says to do it with toes pointed slightly outward (and Starting Strength says the same thing--30 degrees outward). In any case, there is no way that I can afford a personal trainer on a regular basis, and personal trainers at my gym apparently suck anyway.

    So I decided to start CrossFit--if only to get some proper instruction. And, now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I can do a back squat properly. It really feels different when you do it right.

    And something like a kipping pullup. There's no way that I'd ever learn how to do one of those on my own. I could watch a million Youtube videos of other people doing it and never be able to figure it out. I need someone to watch me and tell me what I'm doing wrong and how to do it right (and physically move me to get me to do the right movement sometimes). Where the hell else am I going to get that kind of instruction?

    Plus, I love the group environment at CrossFit, and it gets me to push myself harder than I ever could on my own. I'm still doing on-ramp sessions (will start the real thing next week) so I really can't say anything about actual WODs, but so far it doesn't feel like chronic cardio to me. The cardio parts are fairly short (less than 20 minutes, and less than 10 on most days).

    Edit: I have to qualify the above by saying that I'm a chronic cardio addict--otherwise known as a runner so even if CrossFit turned out to be chronic cardio, I'd probably love it even more. Now, CrossFit has taken a toll on my running. I want to CrossFit all the time, and, sometimes, that means backing off on the running to avoid overtraining. Not really ideal considering the fact that I have a 10-mile race in three and a half weeks. But I sort of knew that would happen when I decided to start CrossFit three weeks ago instead of after the race.
    Last edited by diene; 04-09-2013, 08:05 AM.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by serenity View Post
      And something like a kipping pullup. There's no way that I'd ever learn how to do one of those on my own.
      Please explain the necessity of learning the kipping pullup.

      Your argument for CrossFit is that you spent $80 on an incompetent trainer, so personal trainers as a group are clearly not worthwhile?

      Again, what's your goal of training and why do you think CrossFit is the best program to help you achieve that goal? If your goal is to learn to squat, and you think CrossFit was the most efficient way to go about it (which is the main point of your post, I think), I disagree.
      The Champagne of Beards

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      • #48
        Originally posted by serenity View Post
        I haven't participated in this discussion despite following it closely because I just started CrossFit two and a half weeks ago and don't feel qualified to say anything. However, I have a question for all of you who hate CrossFit. What do you recommend for someone like me who isn't good at figuring out proper weight-lifting form by looking at pictures in books or watching Youtube videos? I've been lifting on my own for almost two years now with very little results and very poor form. The reason the results are poor is because I was afraid to go too heavy because I knew that I was doing everything wrong. At one point I did pay $80 for one personal training session at my gym, and it was the biggest waste of money ever. The trainer was a complete idiot who kept telling me to squat with my toes pointing forward, which, of course, I couldn't do, and I think is wrong because every time the topic of squats comes up in this forum, everyone says to do it with toes pointed slightly outward (and Starting Strength says the same thing--30 degrees outward). In any case, there is no way that I can afford a personal trainer on a regular basis, and personal trainers at my gym apparently suck anyway.

        So I decided to start CrossFit--if only to get some proper instruction. And, now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I can do a back squat properly. It really feels different when you do it right.

        And something like a kipping pullup. There's no way that I'd ever learn how to do one of those on my own. I could watch a million Youtube videos of other people doing it and never be able to figure it out. I need someone to watch me and tell me what I'm doing wrong and how to do it right (and physically move me to get me to do the right movement sometimes). Where the hell else am I going to get that kind of instruction?

        Plus, I love the group environment at CrossFit, and it gets me to push myself harder than I ever could on my own. I'm still doing on-ramp sessions (will start the real thing next week) so I really can't say anything about actual WODs, but so far it doesn't feel like chronic cardio to me. The cardio parts are fairly short (less than 20 minutes, and less than 10 on most days).

        Edit: I have to qualify the above by saying that I'm a chronic cardio addict--otherwise known as a runner so even if CrossFit turned out to be chronic cardio, I'd probably love it even more. Now, CrossFit has taken a toll on my running. I want to CrossFit all the time, and, sometimes, that means backing off on the running to avoid overtraining. Not really ideal considering the fact that I have a 10-mile race in three and a half weeks. But I sort of knew that would happen when I decided to start CrossFit three weeks ago instead of after the race.
        Have you read the Starting Strength book? If you have, have toy posted videos of your lifts on the SS forum for critique? If you have, have you checked to see if there's a Starting Strength coach in your area that you can meet with?

        That aside, you'd be better off not knowing how to do kipping pull-ups. They're only useful for CrossFit, not for strength or the health of your shoulders.

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        • #49
          I'm starting Cross Fit today and checked out the WOD online. It actually seems like a doable ass kicking workout. However, I can see where you could really get injured IF you do try and do the movements to fast for your fitness. I guess my question would be, how intense is the push to be really fast? Like are the coaches in your face telling you "quicker".
          My old class, they would NEVER push you to go faster on weighted exercise. They might get in your face to punch faster or row faster or sprint faster. But if it was weighted, the focus was 100% on your form.
          I'm of the mindset that if someone told me to do deadlifts faster, I'd ignore their urging.

          http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
          Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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          • #50
            Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
            I'm starting Cross Fit today and checked out the WOD online. It actually seems like a doable ass kicking workout. However, I can see where you could really get injured IF you do try and do the movements to fast for your fitness. I guess my question would be, how intense is the push to be really fast? Like are the coaches in your face telling you "quicker".
            My old class, they would NEVER push you to go faster on weighted exercise. They might get in your face to punch faster or row faster or sprint faster. But if it was weighted, the focus was 100% on your form.
            I'm of the mindset that if someone told me to do deadlifts faster, I'd ignore their urging.
            Just like with any other paid membership where you have coaching, you will find out right away if your Crossfit gym is quality or not. Is there an urge during some WODs to do deadlifts at a faster pace? Yes, at some point, a WOD like that might come up. In a quality program, this type of work out would be a lighter deadlift (for example, "as perscribed", the deadlift might be 115 lbs. However, that should not be your one rep max, so in a workout with higher rep for time deadlifts, you would probably scale that weight down even further). Again, if the place you are going to is quality, they will urge form over speed any day. The object is not to get people hurt.

            People get hurt in Crossfit mostly because their ego gets away from them and they do too much, too fast, too soon. I am a shorter, lighter person so for the most part, I usually am one of the last to finish in my gym, and do so usually with less weight than other people. That being said, my coaches have NEVER pushed me past my limits or encouraged anything other than great form during any type of lift.

            I paid for a personal trainer once that tried to instruct the kettlebell swing. I practically threw my back out learning, because he did not stress good form, and was out of the game for two weeks. That was with a really light kettlebell, too. When I relearned the swing at my Crossfit gym, I learned it the right way, and now am doing safe, effective American swings at 35 lbs. Does that mean all personal trainers are horrible and all Crossfit gyms are great? Of course not. Crossfit is fun and effective for me.
            ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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            • #51
              Kipping pullups are really, really low on my list of things to master. I'll be happy to be able to string together some regular pullups without kipping.

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              • #52
                Now, after my previous reply, where I basically bashed CrossFit, I will concede this to it:

                CrossFit has been great because it does teach the right movements/lifts. Problem is in how they apply it in a 'WOD' and the intesity/speed expected.

                I think everyone who is not already knowledgeable on lifting should go to a quality CrossFit box and do the on-ramp/fundamentals classes. Why? Because good luck trying to find a competent personal trainer for the ~$150 that will give you 4 to 6 sessions that will teach you how to properly swing a kettlebell, do wallballs, box jumps, and all the olympic lifts without injuring yourself. Then, armed with that knowledge, quit CrossFit and then you'll be able to take that knowledge and bring it with you to workout at your globo-gym, backyard, or anywhere else where you have access to a barbell and kettlebell. And you'll be able to do the workouts at the right level of intensity (i.e., NOT chronic cardio and NOT lifting weights for speed/time, which is ALWAYS ridiculous).

                For me, I was able to learn how to properly do the lifts by joining a CrossFit affiliate. Fortunately my affiliate had a couple of top-notch oly lifting coaches (with certs outside of CrossFit HQ's). I then honed technique on my own using Starting Strength (the videos) and youtube (lots of free, great stuff on there), and just plain being able to do the lifts on my own without having to push through the reps as fast as possible with an eye on a timer or a stupid scoring whiteboard.

                Again - the problem with CrossFit is not the movements prescribed, it is the perception that 'high intensity' is always the goal. That lardass Greg Glassman's whole schtick is high intensity (though he's smart enough not to Rx it to himself, obviously). High intensity equals speed + exertion. Speed and weightlifting are not a match.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                  Please explain the necessity of learning the kipping pullup.
                  I can't explain the necessity of a kipping pullup. I only used it as an example of one of the many things that I couldn't learn on my own.

                  Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                  Your argument for CrossFit is that you spent $80 on an incompetent trainer, so personal trainers as a group are clearly not worthwhile?
                  I didn't say that all trainers suck. I said that (a) the trainers at my gym appear to suck (it could be that I was unlucky and ended up with a sucky one, but the person at the gym whom I spoke to about training assured me that all of their trainers are comparably skilled so one can only assume that they all suck comparably) and (b) I can't afford regular personal training even if it was worthwhile.

                  Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                  Again, what's your goal of training and why do you think CrossFit is the best program to help you achieve that goal? If your goal is to learn to squat, and you think CrossFit was the most efficient way to go about it (which is the main point of your post, I think), I disagree.
                  The point I was trying to make is that I am someone who is in need of proper weight-lifting instruction, and I can't get that instruction by looking at pictures in books and watching Youtube videos because my brain does not do a good job translating pictures and words into physical movements. I need someone to watch me do things and critique me. I need to do get verbal feedback when I'm doing the lift right versus when I'm doing it wrong. Then I can get a "feel" for what it feels like when I'm doing it right, and then I'll know how to do it right from there. It's hard to explain. But getting physical movements right isn't my strong point, and I know this because I used to do martial arts and had the same problem there.

                  My point is that for someone who needs instruction and who doesn't have a lot of money to spend on a high quality personal trainer, CrossFit is a good option. Though not one-on-one (and hence not as expensive), you get sufficient individualized attention and instruction for someone like me to learn how to lift properly. I can think of no other place or class that can give me the same level of instruction at the same price. This was my main reason for starting CrossFit.

                  I also enjoy the group environment, as mentioned before, the psychological aspects of working out with a group and how that makes me push myself harder and blah blah blah.

                  My fitness goals are pretty simple--to improve strenth and endurance, especially upper body strength. I'd like to complete a Tough Mudder race someday. I'm currently signed up for one in October--a friend of mine wanted to put together a team so I signed up, with the understanding that I may not do it if I don't feel prepared when the time comes. Will CrossFit prepare me for it? I hope so. Why is that my goal? Just because. Is CrossFit the most efficient, the best, etc.? I don't know. I never said that it is. But for me, right now, it's the best option that I can think of and afford.

                  Originally posted by quikky View Post
                  Have you read the Starting Strength book? If you have, have toy posted videos of your lifts on the SS forum for critique? If you have, have you checked to see if there's a Starting Strength coach in your area that you can meet with?

                  That aside, you'd be better off not knowing how to do kipping pull-ups. They're only useful for CrossFit, not for strength or the health of your shoulders.
                  I have not tried posting videos on the SS forum for critique because that sort of time-lag feedback won't help me. I know this may be hard for people who aren't retarded in this area to understand, but in order for me to learn physical movements properly, I need real-time feedback. Sometimes that's not even enough, and I need someone to physically move me into the right position.

                  And, okay, fine. Kipping pullups suck. I get it. I'm having enough trouble getting the kipping motion down, but it was exciting when I got it right for three seconds yesterday.

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                  • #54
                    i also have a cross fit question..i've been cross fitting for about a year now and lately i haven't been able to increase my weight lifting strength numbers significantly and considering taking a break. i'm also mostly paleo except for dairy (just whole milk yogurt).

                    my overall goal is fitness and getting stronger and i'd like to just do bodyweight exercises combined with running and swimming in the summer months. i'd need a routine/structure to maintain my muscle mass though right?

                    any thoughts would be helpful.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by serenity View Post
                      I can't explain the necessity of a kipping pullup. I only used it as an example of one of the many things that I couldn't learn on my own.



                      I didn't say that all trainers suck. I said that (a) the trainers at my gym appear to suck (it could be that I was unlucky and ended up with a sucky one, but the person at the gym whom I spoke to about training assured me that all of their trainers are comparably skilled so one can only assume that they all suck comparably) and (b) I can't afford regular personal training even if it was worthwhile.



                      The point I was trying to make is that I am someone who is in need of proper weight-lifting instruction, and I can't get that instruction by looking at pictures in books and watching Youtube videos because my brain does not do a good job translating pictures and words into physical movements. I need someone to watch me do things and critique me. I need to do get verbal feedback when I'm doing the lift right versus when I'm doing it wrong. Then I can get a "feel" for what it feels like when I'm doing it right, and then I'll know how to do it right from there. It's hard to explain. But getting physical movements right isn't my strong point, and I know this because I used to do martial arts and had the same problem there.

                      My point is that for someone who needs instruction and who doesn't have a lot of money to spend on a high quality personal trainer, CrossFit is a good option. Though not one-on-one (and hence not as expensive), you get sufficient individualized attention and instruction for someone like me to learn how to lift properly. I can think of no other place or class that can give me the same level of instruction at the same price. This was my main reason for starting CrossFit.

                      I also enjoy the group environment, as mentioned before, the psychological aspects of working out with a group and how that makes me push myself harder and blah blah blah.

                      My fitness goals are pretty simple--to improve strenth and endurance, especially upper body strength. I'd like to complete a Tough Mudder race someday. I'm currently signed up for one in October--a friend of mine wanted to put together a team so I signed up, with the understanding that I may not do it if I don't feel prepared when the time comes. Will CrossFit prepare me for it? I hope so. Why is that my goal? Just because. Is CrossFit the most efficient, the best, etc.? I don't know. I never said that it is. But for me, right now, it's the best option that I can think of and afford.



                      I have not tried posting videos on the SS forum for critique because that sort of time-lag feedback won't help me. I know this may be hard for people who aren't retarded in this area to understand, but in order for me to learn physical movements properly, I need real-time feedback. Sometimes that's not even enough, and I need someone to physically move me into the right position.

                      And, okay, fine. Kipping pullups suck. I get it. I'm having enough trouble getting the kipping motion down, but it was exciting when I got it right for three seconds yesterday.
                      My point is that your point isn't an argument for CrossFit. You're saying in your circumstances, your only choice of a competent trainer was a CrossFit trainer. So learn how to lift appropriately however you need to, then select a regimen that is most appropriate to your personal goals once you know how to squat, deadlift, bench press, press, dip, chin-up, or whatever it is that you determine is necessary to meet your goals.

                      I don't know what goal kipping pull-ups are necessary to accomplish. Sounds like you don't either...
                      The Champagne of Beards

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by indierock4ever View Post
                        i also have a cross fit question..i've been cross fitting for about a year now and lately i haven't been able to increase my weight lifting strength numbers significantly and considering taking a break. i'm also mostly paleo except for dairy (just whole milk yogurt).

                        my overall goal is fitness and getting stronger and i'd like to just do bodyweight exercises combined with running and swimming in the summer months. i'd need a routine/structure to maintain my muscle mass though right?

                        any thoughts would be helpful.
                        What exactly are you trying to accomplish?

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by serenity View Post
                          My fitness goals are pretty simple--to improve strenth and endurance, especially upper body strength. I'd like to complete a Tough Mudder race someday. I'm currently signed up for one in October--a friend of mine wanted to put together a team so I signed up, with the understanding that I may not do it if I don't feel prepared when the time comes. Will CrossFit prepare me for it? I hope so. Why is that my goal? Just because. Is CrossFit the most efficient, the best, etc.? I don't know. I never said that it is. But for me, right now, it's the best option that I can think of and afford.
                          Here are the steps for you:

                          1. Get strong by following a strength program (CrossFit is not a strength program).
                          2. Acquire enough endurance/conditioning for your race.

                          I'm of the opinion that strength is the best preparation for pretty much anything except long distance cardio. I don't know much about Tough Mudder, but considering it's an obstacle course, strength is key. If you're going to be running a half marathon while jumping over things, pulling yourself over things, climbing, monkey-barring, crawling, the best way to make all that easier is to get strong. Not only that, but I think going through a ton of obstacles without a decent strength base is a good recipe for injury.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by quikky View Post
                            Here are the steps for you:

                            1. Get strong by following a strength program (CrossFit is not a strength program).
                            2. Acquire enough endurance/conditioning for your race.

                            I'm of the opinion that strength is the best preparation for pretty much anything except long distance cardio. I don't know much about Tough Mudder, but considering it's an obstacle course, strength is key. If you're going to be running a half marathon while jumping over things, pulling yourself over things, climbing, monkey-barring, crawling, the best way to make all that easier is to get strong. Not only that, but I think going through a ton of obstacles without a decent strength base is a good recipe for injury.
                            Crossfit helped me acquire both the strength and the endurance for the Tough Mudder. I ran with members of my team who were endurance trainers, and strength, and both. I was among the most in shape on my team, even though I never ran a mile prior to the race to train. I got through 10 miles without injury and through almost all the obstacles. Your way will probably work and help. So does Crossfit. Period.

                            Experience: Someone who ran, among the strongest on her team, in two different Tough Mudders, both 12 miles long.
                            ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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                            • #59
                              Hey Chaser--Was CrossFit your only training for Tough Mudder? How long did you Crossfit before attempting the race? I'm wondering if 6 months of CrossFit is going to be enough training for me. I'm not concerned about the mileage at all. I'm concerned about obstacles that require a lot of upper body strength, grip strength, or balance. (That's probably everything other than the running part.)

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                              • #60
                                Serenity,

                                I did Crossfit and walked my dog three times a week usually about three miles or so. I started Crossfit in February last year, did it really inconsistently, and ran my first TM in June and ran it fairly well. No endurance issues. Strength wise, I didn't make it up Everest (the 17ft quarterpipe) or over the Monkey bars. I did every other obstacle. I then got more serious about Crossfit around July last year, and ran my next TM in October. I DID make it up Everest that time, and made it further across the monkey bars. There was a new obstacle called Just the Tip that I failed at majorly, mostly due to grip strength and being hella cold and not wanting to get wet lol. I felt that Crossfit was the best all around option for Tough Mudder for me. It helped me on grip strength, upper body, and leg strength. Plus jumping in a tub of ice feels bad, but not quite as bad as Fran, and you're in the water less time. The only thing I would recommend doing otherwise, is maybe finding a playground, and going across the monkey bars again and again, preferrably when they are wet. I didn't do a lot of monkey bar stuff as a kid and wasn't super coordinated on them.
                                ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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