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Knowing the Why Behind the Workout

In any class, on any given day, understanding the why behind a particular workout is important for the programmer, the coach, and the client.

Without understanding the intended stimulus of the workout, we risk missing out on the potential benefits of the program, and our fitness suffers as a result. Let’s look at the following example:

Workout of the Day

3 Rounds for time:

15 Thrusters (95/65#)

10 Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups

*6 min cap

Now, there are many ways to approach this workout and individual differences like injuries, age, goals, mobility restrictions, and sleep can change the way we decide to tackle it.

But when approaching it, keep in mind the programmer designed this to increase our “lactic tolerance.” A workout that increases lactic tolerance will probably hurt (not in an injurious kind of way, but in a deep muscle and lung burning kind of way, often associated with a high heart rate). So, at the end of the day this workout is less about the specific movements and reps themselves, but far more about the “feeling” of burning lungs/muscles, and an elevated heart rate.

With that in mind, we scale the movements, load, and reps in an effort to achieve the stimulus.

For a newer athlete with squat mobility issues, we may scratch the thruster altogether and choose something entirely different because the newer athlete might not be able to push hard enough with proper technique to achieve the desired stimulus. This individual’s workout might look like:

3 Rounds for time:

10 No Push-up Burpees

10 Jumping Pull-ups

For an experienced athlete who is capable of performing these movements “as prescribed” but still suffers from a strength deficit that would allow them to go fast enough on the thrusters to elicit the desired physiological response, we may choose the following option:

3 Round for time:

15 db Thrusters (25/15#)

10 Pull-ups

For an untrained athlete in their first week of training, we may choose something that looks nothing like the original workout on paper. However, in terms of stimulus it aligns very closely. For example this athlete might do the following:

800 meter row for time

Next time you are in class, I encourage you to ask the coach to find out the why behind what you are doing. Everything we do should have a why, from the warm-up to strength work to the workout. With this in mind, you begin to see your fitness in a new light and with a faster growth curve.

Group Class Programming for Monday, April 9th, 2018:


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