Know your workout intent

By
CrossFit Chiltern
Know your workout intent

Know your MetCon intent.

To get the most out of your Metcon (this is the part where you are getting out of breath and sweaty if you’re still getting to grips with the jargon) it’s good to know what the intent is, this is why we write it on the whiteboard and the coach will explain prior to setting up what it is for that particular day. I thought I’d add a little guide to help you understand a little more how they should feel.

Easy to Moderate Effort 50-60%

This is a conversational pace, as if going for a light jog with a friend. This is a pace that can be sustained for 30+ minutes. Primary energy system is the oxidative system. This training tends to be close to 100% Aerobic, where you come across the finish line with the same pace you initially went out at. This training is important to facilitate the sustaining of higher levels of work without going anaerobic. Usually these workouts will be performed with running, biking or the concept 2 machines.

Moderate Effort 60-70%

Still conversational, but the pace and heart-rate will be slightly higher so the conversation will be harder to maintain. This is a pace you can sustain for 30+ minutes. Primary energy system is still the aerobic system. An example of this would be a cardiac output session where their heart-rate must be under 150 BPM in order to increase the size of the left ventricle of the heart thus improving their ability to pump blood. Usually these workouts will be performed with running, biking, the concept 2 machines, light sled pull and some steady skipping. This can also be combined with other elements if intensity is kept in correct range. These workouts you should be moving through at a steady pace throughout, usually barbell work in these sessions means doing fast singles for a lot of the reps. (I.e. putting the barbell down between reps.) Or just moving at a steadier pace with your movements.

Moderate to High intensity

Non-conversational and uncomfortable. Efforts are likely sustainable with short intervals of rest. These efforts may be sustainable if you’re are smart with pacing. This type of pacing is a goal with classic CrossFit Open workouts that are usually 7 to 20 minutes in duration. These workouts still utilize the aerobic system, but there is an overlap of anaerobic systems as well, but when done correctly will allow for higher efforts to be sustained. During these workouts you will need to be taking short breaks to recover or using some movements in the workout as your recovery phase.

Very High Intensity

Short, intense workouts that are 5 minutes or less. These workouts are extremely uncomfortable. For these short duration workouts you should be going unbroken (Without stopping) for the majority of the workout and really pushing through some very uncomfortable moments. Great examples of this type of workout are :“Fran” “Grace” or “Isabel” (Google these to see what they involve). These workouts primarily use the Anaerobic Lactic system.

Near Max Intensity

All-out max effort set. These intervals need to come with full recovery in order to be duplicated. A good example is Cardiac Power work - 60-90s max effort work usually a sprint type movement. Often we do this using sleds or assault bike.

Max Intensity

True max intensity is only achievable for a few seconds. We can’t train this in a Metcon but it is trained whenever we are performing max effort lifts. This requires large rests in between very short duration efforts.

Many thanks to Jason Brown from Box Programming for some of the content in this article.

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