How many fucking arguments have we had over this one? Cressey settles it in today’s article. Wanna fight good, FIGHT MORE!
- People Really Don’t Understand Work Capacity
I often see people implementing measures in their programs geared toward enhancing work capacity.
Most of the time, this training simply consists of a bunch of cardio or lower-intensity resistance training exercises done with little to no rest. My question is, what happens if you’re a powerlifter, sprinter, or jumper?
In other words, does teaching yourself to not get out of breath really mean that you’ll be able to perform more quality work at a high percentage of your 1-rep max? Or does it mean that you’ll be able to increase the number of faster sprints or higher jumps in the same amount of training time and with less imposed fatigue?
I’d argue that for the more strength/speed oriented athletes, teaching yourself to not get out of breath may enhance the density of your program, but you aren’t necessarily enhancing the quality of work.
If I deadlift 660 pounds, doing a bunch of lighter-weight circuits might mean that I won’t get out of breath as much with regular training, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be able to get in more reps over 595 (about 90% of 660) during a deadlifting session. In fact, I’d argue that it would actually lead me to get in fewer reps due to the deleterious effects on maximal strength.
Lots of folks in professional baseball try to convince pitchers that just going out and “running poles” will help to build up pitching endurance. They improve aerobic capacity, no doubt, and then go out there and throw with less velocity than they’d had before.
However, when they just go out and throw â?? gradually building up their pitch count along the way â?? they maintain their velocity (or even improve it, based on the additional opportunities to become more neutrally “comfortable” with their mechanics without the presence of fatigue).
What’s the point? Even when it comes to work capacity, specificity wins. You didn’t learn how to read faster by playing checkers. You simply kept reading.
Want to stop getting so gassed while playing soccer? Play soccer.
Want to be able to squat a lot of heavy weights in a training session? Start squatting a lot of heavy weights in a training session.
The more non-specific you get, the more likely you are to be enhancing work capacity for a different task than you’d intended.