Saturday, February 21, 2009

Job Task Simulation

This series of posts comes after some interesting discussion about Job Task Simulation. First, here are some casual (and oversimplified) definitions:

General Physical Preparedness: The idea that one can be a "jack-of-all-trades." If a list of physical tasks were to be dropped into a lottery hopper, a person with good GPP would be "generally well prepared" to handle any of them. Obviously a professional marathon runners do NOT have GPP. They are excellent at one task, but surely terrible at others. A person with GPP is a well-balanced athlete. GPP is a foundation upon which more skills can be built. More and more sports are turning towards GPP as a baseline for conditioning. CrossFit prides itself on integrating 10 listed aspects of: strength, stamina, balance, accuracy, coordination, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, power, speed, and agility.

Specific Physical Preparedness: Also called Sport-Specific Training. The method by which one practices or trains within a specific aspect of fitness. For example: a front row (by the net) volleyball player needs a strong jumping ability. Overall strength is not all that important to a volleyball player. Since the events of a sport are highly predictable, those events should be practiced and prepared for. Another example is the above-mentioned endurance runner. If the endurance runner does not specifically train for running long distances, s/he will not be competitive.

Job Task Simulation: Certain jobs or tasks can be practiced or tested. For example, dragging a rescue dummy or carrying a hosepack are popular job task simulations for firefighters. Climbing walls, ascending stairs, and moving heavy items might all fall into the JTS field. If you examine a military or police obstacle course, many of the elements simulate job tasks. JTS begin to fall into SPP, since some of the tasks become more predictable.

Functional Movement: Human movement patterns in a gymnasium environment can replicate actual movements needed in real life. Functional movements are generally performed with many joints and muscles working TOGETHER. Examples can be weightlifting exercises like Deadlifts, lunges, farmer's walk, or overhead presses. Medicine ball throws and box jumps are plyometric functional movements. Most kettlebell exercises are considered "functional movement."Other less "controlled" practical exercises might be sandbag carries or truck tire flips.

Isolated Movement: Isolated movements are those that separate certain joints and muscles. These are great movements for weightlifting beginners, and especially the injured. Rehabilitation exercises are often isolated to a certain joint, muscle, or connective tissue to repair or re-train that component of the body. Bodybuilders use isolated movements so they can target specific muscles to grow. However, when looking for increases in overall human performance, isolated movements are not very effective. They do not allow the coordination of joints to produce maximum power output. Examples of isolated movements are arm curls, tricep pushdowns, leg extensions, and leg curls. Each of these targets only one body part at a time.

Summary: None of these definitions can be mutually exclusive of the rest. GPP and SPP are two main philosophical approaches to fitness, but again, not completely exclusive to the other. Job task simulations, functional movement, and isolated movement do not have rigid lines of distinction between them. These "gray areas" tend to allow for a great deal of debate and confusion. I myself get quite turned upside-down every now and then.

Fitting your program and exercises into clearly delineated pigeon holes is not as important as making sure you are programming to reach your just figure out what your goals are!!!

1 comment:

Neil said...


Just read your article in the CrossFit Journal. Very good article. I may print it out for some of my guys to read.