The cold nights and early mornings are upon us, and for the bulk of recreational athletes out there that means trying to battle the urges to stay in bed longer or retire to the couch after work instead of the regular run, cycle or swim. It takes a mere 48 hours for the body to begin de-conditioning. The rate at which is dependent on the levels of inactivity. Imagine what three months indoors will do?
I am going to provide you with an insight into the type of training we do in CrossFit with a view to getting you to “CrossFit.” Why? Performance and results based fitness, and because the inclusion of variety, functionality and intensity into training regimes has been well documented to improve anaerobic and aerobic capacity as well as strength, strength endurance and stamina substantially more than any single mode of training.
In CrossFit we work with three different modes of movement. Gymnastics movements refer to all activities where the aim is body control without external loads, such as pull-ups and push-ups. Weightlifting movements include activities that require external loads to be moved, such as dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls. Mono-structural activities are those that you are most familiar with and therefore spend most of your time doing. These include running, swimming, cycling and skipping which are more commonly known as “cardio” activities. A well rounded fitness program will include a balance of these movements, as well as a balance of the different movements within each category. If you aren’t achieving that you are robbing yourself of a far superior fitness.
Research has shown that the inclusion of simple strength training to an endurance training program has a positive impact on aerobic capacity, despite there being a belief that concurrent strength and endurance training interfere with each other. When strength training has been added to endurance training programmes, and applied during the endurance training session, strength, speed, power and strength endurance increase significantly. These neuromuscular changes are linked to improvements in economy which will see you getting further in less time. Despite the volume of aerobic training being reduced by up to 20% to accommodate the inclusion of strength training, evidence shows that aerobic performance increases. So train harder, not longer. Use this winter “off-season” to introduce some variety into your training program, and with consistency you will no doubt see some valuable gains when you hit the road again in spring.
Next week we’ll put together some exercises that every new CrossFit athlete is taught when beginning… be sure to come back and see our exercises because they form fundamental movements of any fitness program given their functionality for sports and everyday life.