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For Team U.S.A., defeating Team Europe at last month’s CrossFit Invitational wasn’t the only challenge. While in Malibu, Calif., team members were subject to metabolic analysis by Pepperdine University during a rowing Helen.

The athletes wore masks covering the nose and mouth, as well as gadgets to track various markers.

“What we look at is the volume of oxygen inspired and the volume of carbon dioxide expired, and it basically tells us how you’re utilizing fuel,” explains Dr. Cooker Perkins, a Pepperdine associate professor of sports medicine.

After being outfitted with the analyzer, Becca Voigt describes the mask as “very uncomfortable.” Once Voigt finishes the workout, Perkins quickly removes the mask.

“It’s hot,” says Voigt, breathing heavily. “I couldn’t breathe normally.”

To the best of Pepperdine researchers’ knowledge, no one has used a portable analyzer on any CrossFit workout, Perkins says.

“What we want to know is what’s happening inside the body when athletes are working at this capacity,” she says. “These athletes know what they’re doing. They’re doing it well, and we kind of want to capture what’s going on physiologically for them as they perform at such a high work capacity.”

Video by Mike Koslap.

8min 56sec

HD file size: 199 MB
SD wmv file size: 104 MB
SD mov file size: 124 MB

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Additional reading: CrossFit Training During Pregnancy and Motherhood: A New Scientific Frontier by Dr. Cooker Perkins and Hannah Dewalt, published Sept. 28, 2011.

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10 Comments on “A Metabolic Analysis of CrossFit’s Elite: Part 1”

1

wrote …

Very cool, more please!

Rx should never include kipping

2

Russell Berger wrote …

Jason, Why not?

3

wrote …

Jason,

Really? If pullups are called for and which type of pullup is not specified then it is up to the athlete to determine which method they use to get over the bar. Kind of like shoulder to overhead, is it some sort of badge of courage to only do shoulder press when push press or push jerk might be more efficient?

4

wrote …

Very cool, nice to see some analytical analysis of athletic performance in the real world. It would be nice to see all the top athletes perform "Helen" and then see what their numbers came out to be. Would give you some numerical values to what we call the "engine"

5

wrote …

Very expensive equipment right there. What i would love to see is blood lactate.

6

wrote …

Awesome!! I really enjoyed just being able to see what's going on. I know this was done like months ago but it would be really cool to see what going on with the number when its like a short sprint of a WOD and a more taxing a long work out. It's really cool to get an understanding of it. And maybe show some comparisons to other sports like sprinters, distance runners, bikers and just a widen verity.

7

wrote …

Surprised they didn't keep the mask on to test recovery and potential post oxygen debt. Looking forward to part II

8

wrote …

Potential post oxygen debt? They were breathing like freight trains, I don't think there was anything potential about it...

Mike, any idea when the data will be available?

9

wrote …

Another 10 for the crossfit journal. I would second the call for data. It would be interesting to do a comparison between the "average joe/jane crossfitter" and the top level data.

10

wrote …

As a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering, I love this geeky metabolic testing stuff, this is great. I would also love to see the data they collect, but there needs to be another trial where the data could be freely disseminated, or the data should be published first before giving it out to whole world.

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