Last week we discussed the differences between CrossFit and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Although both have some similarities, they have each developed into their own philosophies of training. That is not to say they haven’t incorporated elements from one another overtime. In fact, interval training is a great tool for us, CrossFitters, to use if we really want to improve our work capacity.

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.

Many times, we see athletes have preferences on which workout they like better. That tends to go hand-in-hand with which workout they are better at. The “fast and heavy” workouts or the “longer and lighter ones” tend to be the two options people think about. We believe a great way to compare fitness is to see who can do a certain amount of work faster, or who can get more work in a certain amount of time. It doesn’t matter how big the task is or how long the time allowed is. The workout type athletes would rather not do are usually the ones they have trouble keeping a good pace in. That is, they start to fatigue faster than other athletes.

One of the best ways to improve work capacity in specific paces is to do interval training. It allows athletes to work on the pace they tend fatigue fast at, but it happens for a short period of time, 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. 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.

A few examples of how to use interval training:

 

If you’re looking to improve your anaerobic system, you might have trouble with a shorter workout like:

21-15-9
Thrusters
Pull Ups

 

If that’s you, a good interval workout you can do is:

Perform a max set of thrusters in :30. Follow that with :15 rest, then :30 max effort of strict pull ups, then another :15 rest. Repeat that cycle 4 times.

If you are looking to improve your aerobic system, you might have trouble with longer workouts like:

Run a mile
100 Burpees
Run a mile

 

If that’s you, a good interval workout you can do is:

Run 300m, then 15 burpees at a moderate/fast pace. Rest 1 min. Repeat that cycle 10 times. The goal is to finish every round within 5 seconds of the original round.

Another great thing about interval training is that usually it requires minimum equipment. It can easily be done at home or at a conventional gym. So if you are one of those athletes who could improve your work capacity, at a certain pace, make sure you add some interval training into your normal training routine.

If you have any questions on how to improve on a certain movement or pace, come to Celebration CrossFit and one of our coaches will be happy to help you come up with a way to get you there!

by Coach Matt

interval