Safe Ways to Increase Work Capacity
Work capacity is a component of training often neglected in both strength sports and life. You will find many strength athletes joking about getting out of breath walking up stairs. I have news for you. That’s not funny. That’s you being completely out of shape in life, and unable to recover in and out of the gym.
I am writing this article as it pertains mainly to performance, but I would like to make a quick note. So far I have said good-bye to three of my strength brothers before any of the three reached 50-years-old. When you are twenty-years-old, you think that you are invincible. You don’t really care about life expectancy. Well guess what? Someday your family will care, and you will too. End rant!
Everyday at the end of practice my athletes will perform movements that are:
- Not eccentric in nature
- Low in complexity
- Non-load bearing
Louie Simmons has been talking about this for years, but unfortunately it’s the one aspect that many have ignored. All of us increase the volume of our barbell training over time, but this can only go so far before technique is compromised and the athlete is put at risk of injury.
There are simpler ways to increase work capacity that are healthier and more beneficial. My athletes spend 30-45 minutes per day pushing sleds, pulling sleds, and carrying various weighted contraptions. I am able to beat on my athletes in a healthy way with this type of training. By doing this they are able to increase work capacity while being able to recover for the next day’s training.
Increasing work capacity allows the athletes to handle more and more volume over time. If you are able to perform more quality reps than your opponent, you will get stronger than them. If you aren’t focusing on increasing your own work capacity, you can rest assured that your opponent is.
If you are a person interested in general fitness, you are probably hearing a lot of things that are peaking your interest. Most of these things pertain to you. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, you have to increase your ability to perform work. The more that you can do will equal the more calories and body fat that you are able to burn. All of us want to get in better shape without feeling beat up at work and home. This article is talking directly to you guys as well.
Here are a few suggestions:
|Sled Drags||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Sled Drags Backwards||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Sled Drag and Row||3-6 sets of a certain distance, amount of reps, or time|
|Sled Drag and Press||3-6 sets of a certain distance, amount of reps, or time|
|Sled Drags Sideways||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Sled Drag and Triceps Press||3-6 sets of a certain distance, amount of reps, or time|
|Sled Drag and Curl||3-6 sets of a certain distance, amount of reps, or time|
|Sled Drag and Chest Fly||3-6 sets of a certain distance, amount of reps, or time|
|Sled Drag and Rear Fly||3-6 sets of a certain distance, amount of reps, or time|
|Sled Rope Pulls||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Sand Bag Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|OH Sand Bag Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|One arm KB OH Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Staggered KB Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Hand Stand Walks||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Farmers Walk||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|One Arm Farmers Walk||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Prowler Push High or Low||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Atlas Stone Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Yoke Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|OH Yoke Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|OH Axle Bar Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Earthquake Bar with Dangling KB Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
|Zercher Carry||3-6 sets of a certain distance or time|
The goal with these exercises is just like any other exercise. You always want to be increasing total volume with sets, reps, distance, or time. Increasing volume is the very way that you increase work capacity. If you have any questions on the exercises, just ask me in the comments section.
There is one more thing that I want to hit on, and that is simple cardiovascular work. I think that our friend Alex Viada has now shown the world that athletes and people seeking to just get fit can be in shape and be strong. Here are a few simple suggestions:
|Stay in Zone 2 or 75% of Max HR|
Personally I prefer the Rower and sometime the aerodyne. At 5’7” and weighing 220lb running can be a pretty big impact on my joints. If I run, it’s only one day per week. I mainly stick to the rower, but did get into running a little bit earlier in the year.
Here’s the thing. The heart is an amazing organ. Resistance training alone thickens the wall of the left ventricle in the heart. That’s not always a good thing. Cardiovascular training strengthens the entire heart, and increases the vascular network that supplies blood to the heart. That means the heart itself is strengthened to pump longer and harder. This will cause the heart to pump more blood per pump.
Basically it boils down to more blood being supplied to the muscles equaling a faster recovery time and a more efficient recovery in general. My athletes that condition the most are able to handle the most workload, and they are the ones that are able to recover the fastest. It’s that simple.
The best athletes in the world are the ones that are masters of the mundane. I use this phrase a lot, but it’s the absolute truth. Let’s take weightlifting for example. If we want to get on the same level as the rest of the world without taking the drugs that they take, then we have to do the things that they won’t. We have to do the extra work capacity after practice. We have to do the cardio, so that our hearts will beat stronger. We have to eat right, sleep right, and recover right. The question is: are you willing to do all of those things?
For all of you General Fitness folks, work capacity is the number one key to fitness in the gym at least. Of course at home, you have to eat right and sleep right, but in the gym, you have to get in shape. In this article we laid out some ways to get in shape without getting beat up and burned out. I hope that all of you can use the information.
If you live anywhere near Lewisville, NC, we would love for you to visit. Email us at LeanFitnessSystems@gmail.com for a FREE Assessment or a FREE Week. Our goal is to make our community and healthier and stronger place to life.
We are hosting a Clean & Jerk and Back Squat Seminar right here at our new facility on Saturday, September 29th from 11am until 2pm. Check it out here at:
Coach Travis Mash
USA Senior International Coach
Co-Owner LEAN Fitness Systems