The Map of Athletic Performance The Map of Athletic Performance

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Thread: The Map of Athletic Performance

  1. #1
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    Default The Map of Athletic Performance

    by Rob Miller

    “Recently it occurred to me that physical adaptation to athletic training follows a predictable pattern that depends not only on a consistent commitment to continued improvement, but an intelligent approach to that commitment that not all training methods possess. This article is the story of my synthesis of this pattern into a concept I call The Map.”

    Article

  2. #2
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    Very interesting, this made me understand barbell training and intermediate and advanced programming a little better. I really need to read practical programming, though.

  3. #3
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    I'm a little thick, but I did not get this article. Nor the graphic. It may be a sound idea, but it needs some work. I loved everything in Practical Programming and I get that this article is explaining some of the same things, but it needs work, as does the graphic.

    This is intended as constructive criticism.

  4. #4
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    Great article. As someone interested primarily in being the best tactical athlete I can be, I wish he hadn't so completely written off Crossfit. I agree with the author that Crossfit is very quickly taking most CF clients to the line between beginning and intermediate levels of adaptability where they remain until their bodies start to break down. However, what about the top athletes? I still see the type of fitness demonstrated by the likes of Froning and Thorisdotter as ideal for the worst-case-scenario demands of combat. He didn’t apply this knowledge to becoming a better Crossfit athlete (he wasusing Crossfit to become a better climber).

    The bottom line…you can’t become the best at Crossfit thatyou can be by doing Crossfit all the time. You need to use basic barbellmovements to create a sustainable energy baseline and then cycle into yoursport-specific (Crossfit-specific) training at the right time, as you steadilyreduce (but don’t ever eliminate) your baseline strength work. By the time yougo to compete you should be doing much less barbell work butquite a bit of skills and endurance work. After competing you’re right backto a more strength-focused approach.

    I imagine this is how all the elite CF athletes train(cycling between CF-specific skills training, endurance and strength with thefoundational emphasis on strength). And nearly all of them have competed in thenorthern hemisphere of the energy map at the college or elite level beforegetting into competitive Crossfit, so they invested in strength and power in the past.

    Rob Shaul improves on Crossfit substantially with his "Military Athlete" program with its intentional cycling through strength, work capacity and stamina phases; however, MA is way too sloppy and "one size fits all" in its approach to strength. The person who figures out how to train a group of athletes who may or may not show up to the gym regularly in such a way to intelligently manages strength training within a broadly applicable "Crossfit-like" system, progressively using the basic barbell movements in such a way that challenges the near-genetic-potential athlete as well as the first time visitor, will take the Crossfit movement to a whole new level. I imagine some "boxes" are doing just that.

    I'm sure Rip has thought about this...

  5. #5
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    FatButWeak- Thanks for the criticism. It's a start to simplifying concepts that took a whole book to elucidate clearly; I am eager to do a much better job at describing what Rip already has done in PP. I will take it as a compliment that I'm moving in the right direction with the mention of Practical Programming in the same post.

    twindeltatandem- To progressively use the barbell movements in such a way as to challenge the near-genetic potential athlete as well as a first time visitor...?

    That sounds like starting strength. Knowing more about the first time visitor would tell us a lot more about how to progressively overload, but most likely it would be on a beginner's progression, regardless of the athlete's back round.

    Your take on training the sport of fitness is spot on. That's how I do it if I were competing at exercise. That is how I would train someone competing in the CF games.

    I've read MA's entire program that is available to purchase. The strength days included a lot of front squats and even turkish get ups. The amount of endurance work in Rob Schaul's program is excessive, which would certainly dampen one's efforts to build strength (even if it were a more productive strength program). This was addressed in the article but not in great detail. Rip has already done this thoroughly i.e. why we choose the movements we do to achieve the broadest general adaptation.

    The whole CF movement is an interesting thought. I think the natural evolution will be towards being deliberate with one's training. I believe that "random" works extremely well when there's a high attrition rate like CF does have. There are some really good elements to CF, but they are misused and under utilized. Maybe the Map will help with this because it's not like Rip can get any clearer than he already is.

    Although I bet he's trying...

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you almost just described a sensible periodized strength and conditioning program. Not random, not broadly modal. In other words, exactly the opposite of what crossfit preaches. If the top crossfit "athletes" aren't doing crossfit, what does that say about crossfit?

  7. #7
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    Default Funny how shit works out...

    Rob, I love the article and am laughing at the irony.

    I'm a climber, too (though far, far closer to the map center than you). I, too, was sucked into the CF box years ago but quickly jumped to Rob Shaul's MA approach (and, later, Connie at Alpine Training Center).

    As you might imagine, I couldn't climb much better but I sure could crush conditioning workouts and carry way more than my share of backcountry kit. Oh, and I felt like a rickety old man with creaky, half-useless joints. I finally just gave up.

    After a year of yoga I decided to learn proper barbell technique and rediscovered SS. I'd had it since the CF days but, well, it's hard to focus on Rippetoe amidst peeling off 47,000 thrusters. Needless to say, I love getting rest days, love not being injured/inflamed all the time and, of course, being stronger in general.

    I've found the barbell work enables me to cruise Gunks moderates, even though our one-year-old precludes getting any indoor gym time. I think the Map is an excellent conceptual anchor for helping pedestrian chumps (like me) wrap our heads around the different training trajectories. The North-South distinction really drives home the carry-over of strength into the endurance stuff. I, too, wish I'd have known about this years ago: would have saved me a shit ton of bone spurs on the busted knee!

    Thanks for the valuable tool and, also, for reinforcing to at least one climber that barbells and splitter cracks rock equally well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by prim fergison View Post

    I, too, was sucked into the CF box years ago but quickly jumped to Rob Shaul's MA approach (and, later, Connie at Alpine Training Center).

    As you might imagine, I couldn't climb much better but I sure could crush conditioning workouts and carry way more than my share of backcountry kit. Oh, and I felt like a rickety old man with creaky, half-useless joints. I finally just gave up.
    And here we are, simply pushing and pulling the barbell after the dust of our overconditioning days has settled!

    Isn't it interesting how many climbers that remain excited about CF don't really climb that much anymore? I haven't quite decided what that phenomenon is all about. For comparison... are there wrestlers, runners, skiers, tennis or football players out there that have lost sight of what got them into CF in the first place?

    How does it become so compelling to be a good worker-outer?

  9. #9
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    Nice article and it puts things into better perspective (for me at least).

    I'm a police officer and there's a huge draw to Crossfit in law enforcement. They see it as a way to balance strength and endurance, while looking good for the badge bunnies (women who are attracted to the badge, not the man). And I do see the benefit of finding that "happy medium" between strength and endurance since a lot of police officers want to be able to chase a guy on foot, fight with him for 5 minutes, arrest him, then do a celebratory dance...and have enough energy to do it again 30 minutes later. However, the reality is that we're loaded down with 40+lbs of gear and most of us, even the Crossfit trained, can't catch someone on foot wearing shorts and tennis shoes...and the ones that can, aren't strong enough to do anything with the guy when they catch him. Even with this, there's still a big push for cardiovascular endurance over strength training from departments (which is probably due to the amount of ex-military in law enforcement).

    My question is, what would you recommend for someone in law enforcement that has to have strength and endurance? I'm currently running Wendler's 5/3/1 (even though I made gains on SS, I just felt like crap on my off days...yes I was eating a ton lol :P) and incorporating various sprints (hill sprints, jump rope sprints, battle rope "sprints", etc.) to get my conditioning up. I'm still making strength gains and my conditioning is slightly improving.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for this. I've printed a copy to have on my desk at the gym, and it's required reading this week for all of my coaches.

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