Crossfit is a tricky sport, especially when it comes to training planning. There are so many aspects of preparation to consider.
But one thing that should be prioritized is the rate at which WODs are executed. If you don’t feel your endurance threshold, your productivity will be limited.
If movement practice or strength development can be performed at a lower intensity, then metcones can be a cause for concern. Many athletes tend to neglect lower intensity, steady work. Several well-known CrossFit athletes did poorly in the tournament in terms of endurance. In 2011, 2012 and 2014, some complexes forced top athletes to literally kneel. And the reason for this was low endurance.
Crossfit and conditioning
Many have wondered why some of the strongest athletes on the planet collapse from exhaustion in complexes that shouldn’t have caused problems. Some blamed them for lack of experience, others looked for the reason in the incredible heat and high competition. Although there is a physiologically obvious explanation for this.
These athletes were found to be more dependent on glycolytic metabolism. When you train at high intensity, you adapt to that environment. Glycolysis is the dominant energy system and will improve with continued exercise.
Oxidative metabolism can be improved with high intensity training, but only through several mechanisms. Many processes associated with oxidation can only be improved by increasing the duration of the exercise. This is often neglected and short, high intensity workouts are chosen. But still, this is just the serious missing link that is needed to develop endurance.
Glycogen storage and aerobic base
Our glycogen stores are relatively small, and the greater our physical capacity, the faster we deplete glycogen. We cannot sustain such exhausting activity for long. We need an aerobic base to support our work productivity. The higher the oxidation threshold, the higher the sustainable workload.
One way of looking at this question looks like this:
- Our aerobic base is our “cruising speed”.
- Our anaerobic systems and ATP are our “boost”.
The diagram below shows three athletes. Athlete “A” has a strong aerobic base (oxidative system), anaerobic potential above average (glycolytic system) and above average ATP levels.
Athlete “B” has an average level of aerobic system, but significantly surpasses athlete “A” in anaerobic endurance. Its “storage” of ATP is again above average.
And here athlete “C” is a beginner athlete, and we need it to make the comparison brighter.
Although Athlete A and Athlete B are quite similar in their overall performance, Athlete A has a strong oxidative system. He has a high and long-term efficiency. Athlete B is almost the same as Athlete A in general, but will never be competitive if the activity is prolonged. He may complete short, intense workouts with similar or better results than Athlete A, but will only be able to maintain high intensity for a short period.
How to develop an aerobic base?
To prepare an athlete, it is important that some kind of “marathon” style work is included in his training regime. This guarantees him strong aerobic endurance. Longer training in this style promotes structural changes that are beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Long-term, continuous, low-intensity exercise can dramatically improve your endurance. This kind of workout also works well with technical skills, so the off-season is the perfect time to do just that. Workouts should be 60-90 minutes long, including continuous low-intensity exercise (approximately 70-80% of HRmax).
The following endurance exercises are ideal:
- machine rowing;
While it may sound boring, lung capacity plays an important role in promoting structural cardiovascular adaptations. As an athlete approaches the start of his competitive season, he may return to more intense work. But it is important to understand that to achieve outstanding success, a large enough part of the annual training plan must be devoted to just such training.
Athletes & Endurance
Jason Kalipa and Chris Hinshaw are highly regarded in the CrossFit community. Both of them quite loudly expressed their opinion about the possibility of relying precisely on the endurance of the athlete, his engine. Much of this engine depends on the development of aerobic capacity. The anaerobic capacity only acts almost like a tuning for this engine. When the duration of anaerobic load is exceeded, the aerobic system decides everything. Previous Crossfit Games have shown that many athletes have problems when it comes to endurance.
Hinshou Tips for Improving the “Inner Engine”
Members of any sport should never neglect their aerobic performance. Some of them are genetically predisposed to a well-developed aerobic system, while others are not. It may seem boring and time consuming, but it is necessary.
Lately, the media have created a bad reputation for “marathon” workouts, and they have faded into the background. While high-intensity training can be very effective, it does not cover all aspects of an athlete’s preparation. Neglecting other areas will undoubtedly create weaknesses in the athlete’s physiology. In a sport like CrossFit, these small gaps in an athlete’s ability can cost them a win.