A great tool we can use to improve our work capacity, build quality volume and dial in our pacing is through the use of intervals. This is often an over looked tool within the world of Crossfit.
Work capacity refers to something very understood in the gym: Pace. We put a lot of emphasis on “pace”. If workouts are shorter, we want to go hard and fast. If workouts are longer, we want to be able to maintain a steady moderate speed throughout. What ends up happening most of the time is, athletes will start to slow down. That is a natural response to fatigue. But in CrossFit, we are always striving to delay that response, so we can get more work in before we start to slow down. That is work capacity. Keeping the pace, faster or slower, as long as we can.
One of the best ways to improve work capacity in specific paces is to do interval training. It allows athletes to work at a pace faster then normal, with breaks in between. This allows athletes to work on the desired pace for longer since they can rest periodically. The idea is to shorten the breaks overtime until the athlete is keeping that pace on its own with no rest. Not only that it allows the athlete to stay in control, move well, dial in their paces and leave the gym feeling GOOD. Even though interval training is known to involve intense bursts of energy, we can modify it to include a slower pace, if that is what you want to improve on.
If you take this workout below for example:
5 rounds for time:
12 toes to bar
12 thruster@50/35 kg
Let say the athlete starts out and holds 4 minutes per round (this is a decent pace) and by the third round they blow out to 4:30-4:50 rounds. This then adds on a lot of precious time to the workout. Now this is Definity beneficial I’m not here to say it isn’t BUT it all has a time and place within training. Im just simply pointing out a more effective way to do things?
Now lets make that into an interval training piece :
12 toes to bar
-rest 2:00 b/t-
*earn sets 4 and 5 through great consistency of the first 3
*Goal Is same time per set
*Terminate workout if you get 10-15 seconds slower
And now (if they do this correctly) they hold 3:45-3:48min rounds with the added rest for each round, you see their pace is UP, they are in control and they are actually working harder and output is HIGER. This is why this is so valuable, this is what you need to do to get better. You are moving faster, working harder but feeling BETTER. This is how we learn to pace and become sustainable and most of all GET FITTER.
This is a very effective training tool and again it all has a time and place. This is what we use to build peoples BASE. If you think of it like a pyramid, the bigger the base the HIGHER the peak.
One thing myself and coaching team hear a lot is “it wasn’t that hard” Or “this is boring”, If your goal is to get better and have LONG TERM results then just listen to the professionals and do this. You are still getting through the same amount of work, its just at a higher pace and your more in control? I don’t see the issue or why you wouldn’t want to do this personally. If it didn’t “feel hard” you simply need to work harder and and move faster in your intervals (provided you keep sustaining consistent times that is!)
Once we have built enough volume here we then move towards more “crossfit” or circuit type workouts with no breaks and hope to see people are able to carry over the same pacing and implement it into a different setting.
When you are building your base, building volume and wanting to improve these are GREAT to add into your training. At CF LIGHT we are doing a 6 week build utilizing this tool.
Keep training hard and improving team!