Why So Short?

The time it takes to do a workout here is usually between three and twenty minutes. Even typing that felt weird, but it’s true. Assuming we’re both wanting to do a good job and have a full hour with our athletes, why are the daily workouts so short?

One may assume that warming up is just that important. Surely it’s important but it isn’t fifty-minutes-of-an-hour important. Or, maybe it’s the coaching that is so important. It is important, but what we have to say isn’t more important to building fitness than the actual work itself. Plus, we could find ways to talk less and have athletes do more, if that were the case.

Here’s the deal. Our workouts are short because they are characteristically better that way. If more change in the body’s system is better and intensity causes more change, short workouts might be better serving of our goal. No, not all long training sessions are inferior, but there is a sliding scale of time and its relationship to power and intensity. The shorter the time, the more opportunity for power. The longer the time, the less opportunity there is for power. Going zero to sixty in three seconds takes a powerful car. Driving 60mph, however, isn’t relatively powerful at all until you put a timeframe on it. That’s just the math of it.

Expressing power means expressing greater work capacity. In laymen’s terms, doing so makes us more tired, uses more muscles, requires more energy, and demands more adaptation than, say, doing the same amount of work slower. Intensity does wonders for our body because it forces change. The absence of intensity, well, keeps us the same, which explains why walking to your car doesn’t make you  faster.

Surely, intensity is relative but so is our ability to express it. I can only run at top speed for roughly three to ten seconds. Usain Bolt is stricken with the same governor, of course, his best effort moves a bit faster than mine. We all can run for longer than ten seconds but not at 100% intensity. In fact, the human body’s top gear is only accruable from 0-15 seconds. We have another “gear” that we can sustain for 15 seconds to several minutes that is up to about 85% intensity. Anything longer than that requires 65% or less of our best effort. Working our for a hour straight might seem like a badge of honor, but I don’t need to be there with you to tell you that you just trained at about half intensity.

Unless your goal is to workout and stay the same intensity is your friend, which explains why we claim to be remarkable at developing general fitness but our written gym efforts are so short. Spend a little less time in the gym and a little more time revving your engine and you might see some new changes.


Logan Gelbrich



4/8/16 WOD

Complete 10 rounds for time of:

6 Alternating Pistols

2 Muscle Ups