15-03-2016 carl

The textbook definition of CrossFit is “constantly varied, functional movements, applied at a high intensity.” Intensity is probably what most people, CrossFitters or not, associate the CrossFit program with. However, intensity, as it pertains to the definition of CrossFit, is generally misconstrued as a feeling.

By that I mean that in general, the harder a person is perceived to be working the higher the intensity. The problem with defining intensity as effort is that on any given day a particular amount or type of work could be perceived as less or more intense. That’s why in training the only feelings we’re concerned about are happiness and fun – we’re performance geeks so for the most part care about improvements in your health and fitness 😉

So what then is intensity? Intensity is defined exactly as power (output), and power is the time rate of doing work.

Power = (Force x Distance) ÷ time

Force is the load being moved over a particular amount of reps, whether it’s just your body or an object. Distance refers to the distance the load is being moved over a particular amount of reps. If it’s just your bodyweight we look at the distance your centre of mass travels. And time refers to the time you complete the work in. In a time priority workout where the time is fixed, do more work for a greater power output. In a task priority workout where the task is fixed, do the work faster for a bigger power output.

Intensity is the variable associated with maximising the rate of return of favorable adaptation  to training. That means the higher the intensity (power output), the better and faster the results will be.

Now that I’ve said all of that, I do think that intensity/power is associated with some feeling. Most commonly, the feeling of discomfort. When you’ve scaled a workout correctly, you’re able to move really fast with good technique, and when that happens, it doesn’t feel so good. So you’d rather add load or do the more complex movement – you go RXd – and that enables you to move slower. Don’t kid yourself, though, it’s not making you fitter.

— Imtiaz



5 rounds of:

2 minute row for max distance
Rest 4 minutes between rounds

Work in groups of 3. Your rest is while the next athletes work. Aim to beat the previous distance travelled each interval.



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  3. […] you have. People will say their intensity is higher, but they’re probably referring to intensity as a feeling, not as power output. Funny thing is, I think that if they hit one well programmed workout with […]

  4. […] Sure, you can do three MetCons in an hour session and that’s going to smash you, but your intensity in each piece is going to diminish. Partly because you have to hold back to finish, and because of […]

  5. […] training refers to the total amount of repetitions completed in a session and throughout the day. Intensity, to put it simply, is the amount of work you do relative to the time it takes to do the […]

  6. […] reminder about intensity: It is directly defined as power output which is determined by the amount of work completed in a given […]

  7. […] When you go beyond that threshold in training, technique diminishes at the expense of power output (intensity). Technique is essential to maximising power and therefore fitness, but good technique without […]

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