Since tomorrow’s workout is a partner workout, I just thought I would say a little bit about the programming philosophy around partner workouts. The fact that many think they are more fun is missing the big picture.
There is a direct relationship between the duration of a workout and the intensity or a workout. The longer the workout, the lower the intensity. However, there is one easy way to extend the length of the workout and maintain higher levels of intensity, which is to split the workout up into intervals.
Consider this if you had a workout like Cindy, the median men’s performance, according to Beyond The Whiteboard, is 17 rounds. Everyone who has done this workout knows that the last round is probably nowhere near as fast as the first few. Most Rx or near Rx athletes will do the first 8-12 rounds of pullups unbroken but end up having to break up the last few sets. Many more will break up the pushups well before the 8th set. So consider this what if you did Cindy as a team workout where you do a set, then your partner does a set fashion. Now instead of going at a 17 round pace, your pace will increase to well over 22 or even 25 rounds as a team, and more of your sets will be unbroken. Ultimately team workouts are more than just fun they are really interval workouts that increase overall intensity.
Last week I asked a group of people, “Why didn’t you finish 20.1 within the 20-minute time cap”. my favorite answer was, “I didn’t do it.” but one person (good job Jeff) gave the correct answer, which was, “I didn’t move fast enough.” All of the other responses such as endurance, strength, cardiovascular efficiency, lack of sleep, bad diet, hungover are just reasons why you weren’t moving fast enough.
Last weekend’s workout of lift 10000/7000 pounds hang to overhead with four burpees every time you had to drop the bar, then switch lifters is, in reality, a high-intensity interval workout in disguise without a clock telling you when to start and stop. For example, if partner A takes about a minute, he gets about a minute rest while partner B is working, so we have a pretty cool minute on, minute off interval that increases the intensity of the workout with both partners moved much faster.
Moving faster is the best way to increase VO2 max and lactate threshold, which is what one must do to finish something like 20.1 within the time limit. In other words, long and slow can help increase aerobic capacity; it won’t help develop speed and the energy systems required to perform better on a workout like Cindy or 20.1.
What am I saying? Doing long partner workouts alone lowers intensity isn’t as efficient at building anaerobic endurance and speed required in most all CrossFit workouts.
In conclusion, every workout has an intended metabolic stimulus, and changing the variables of the WOD will change that stimulus.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.