In CrossFit, we favor Functional movements because these movements elicit the most power (the ability to move large loads, greater distances, more quickly). In a workout, power is absolute intensity. If you want intensity to increase, you need to add load, increase the distance, or move more quickly.
We have learned that intensity is the shortest path to increased work capacity and improved results (health and wellness). For that reason, it is important to ask the question, how do I maximize the intensity in my CrossFit workout.
How do I Maximize Intensity in My CrossFit Workout?
Peak Instantaneous Intensity is not Average Sustained Intensity – So Which do I Want?
When we think of Peak Instantaneous Intensity, I would like for us to think about a single repetition — a max-height box jump, a 1 rep-max snatch, or even a max set of kipping pull-ups for example. In each of those cases, we could generate way more power in that instant than we ever could sustain for any substantial time. Repeat any of the above for multiple repetitions and sets, we will soon slow due to any of a number of factors — local muscular endurance or fatigue, anaerobic and aerobic capacity [for example, limited by any of the following: oxygen uptake, delivery of oxygen to the working muscles, or metabolic cellular respiration]. At some point, we will hit a wall.
Average Sustained Intensity is the total work completed divided by the total time — examples include your Fran, DT, Helen, or Christine times, or the number of rounds of Cindy you completed. Your average sustained intensity is your performance in that workout. Improve your performance and your sustained intensity has improved.
What we want is to maximize our performance in our workout. We want to workout at our MAXIMAL SUSTAINED INTENSITY.
Things to Consider:
1. Current Capacity and Skill Level (use appropriate scaling options)
2. Intent and Goals of the Training (skill based training vs. targeted training vs. threshold training)
3. Movement mechanics and consistency of movement
Would love to hear your thoughts on intensity. This is a great discussion to have with your CrossFit coach at your next workout.
Intensity (and its Role in Fitness) by Pat Sherwood
Technique vs. Intensity with Chuck Carswell
Modifying Intensity with Chuck Carswell
The Trouble With Triplets by Mike Warkentin