WOD 9/24/09

Brian WODs

I had a short conversation with Jennifer yesterday that inspired this post. We were discussing how the length of a workout and intensity are related to each other.

I’m going to use an example here. Let’s talk about Grace (30 clean and jerks at 135 for guys). Say I do Grace and I finish it in 5 minutes and by the end my heart is pounding and I can’t seem to breathe. So I do what any logical person would do, I lie down on the ground and try not to die catch my breath. Was my workout “intense”? My burning muscles and pumping heart rate say “yes”. Let’s also say that 5 minutes is the fastest I could have possibly completed a Grace in. What I’m trying to get across here is that I maxed out my work capacity and pushed as hard as I was able. I was intense.

Now let’s say we’ve got a previously sedentary 60 year old client who has been CrossFitting for about 6 months. There’s just no way that this client is going to get 135 pounds overhead even once (one day we’ll get him there). Instead, he uses an unloaded barbell to complete his 30 reps. 3-2-1-go. He starts repping out the clean and jerks and by rep 10, things start getting a little sloppy. The breaths start coming shallower and the muscles are getting overworked. Jake reminds him to keep that chest up during his clean and to get quick with the jerk (technique!!!). Our client makes it through the workout in 8 minutes and collapses onto the ground right next to me. I hope Jake didn’t kill him with that workout (he didn’t, plus we’ve got DP on stand-by with a defibrillator).

Now, who’s workout was intense? Was mine? I would say so. Was the 60 year old client’s? Hell yeah. He worked as hard as he could until those reps got done. Was his 8 minute workout any less intense than my 5 minute workout? No. Just because your workout takes longer than the person next to you doesn’t mean that your workout isn’t intense. Quite the opposite, actually. The intensity is the same, the only difference is the time it takes to get work done. And therein lies the beauty of CrossFit, regardless of skill level and ability, you can get a high intensity workout that is safe.