Today’s workout was ideal training for everyday challenges like  “run to catch the bus” or “save the baby from the saber-toothed tiger” or – my favorite – “flee from the barking Dobermans, but make sure you don’t drop the world’s largest diamond now that you’ve successfully burgled it out from under its supposedly un-breachable security system that included a shark take and deadly lasers.”

But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, this morning, we enjoyed three mini WODs designed to tax our alactic anaerobic endurance.

Yeah, I didn’t know what alactic anaeobic endurance was either. A little research yielded this:

You probably already know this part, but just in case: Anaerobic exercise – which means “without oxygen” – involves maximum effort. Your body is working so freakin’ hard, its demand for oxygen and fuel exceed the supply. Starved of precious O2, your body is in oxygen debt and lactic acid starts to build up in your muscles. This, friends, is your lactic threshold… and basically, once there, you’re not doing anything else until at least part of the oxygen debt is repaid, usually by taking a short rest.

The alactic anaerobic pathway comes into play when you’re doing anaerobic work for a very short time, which circumvents the production of lactic acid.

Anaeorobic endurance breaks down like this:
short anaerobic
= less than 25 seconds = mainly alactic
medium anaerobic = 25 seconds to 60 seconds = mainly lactic
long anaerobic = 60 seconds to 120 seconds = lactic + aerobic

Here’s how Coach Wes tapped into our alactic anaerobic pathway this morning:

WOD #1
5 rounds:
:10 pushups – :50 rest
:10 heavy Russian swings, 20kg – :50 rest
:10 Russian step-ups – :50 rest

WOD #2
10 hill sprints = sprint up, walk down, repeat w/ no rest

WOD #2
5 rounds to find average time for 9 burpees:
9 bar-touching burpees
rest 2:00
my average: 28 seconds

This workout was a wonderful mix of I think I’m gonna die! and I am invincible!

On the hill sprints, it was just me and a pack of boys, mostly in their 20s. I think the fear of being left way behind them really inspired me to hustle. I trailed them by just a few seconds – certainly not an embarrassing amount – and walked back to the start with them each time. I must admit, before we started, I had visions of the boys running sprint #10 while I was still slogging through #8, but as usual, the monster advising me was wrong. I kept up with the pack just fine, thank you very much.

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  • Lauren says:

    These WODs sound fun and very similar to the types we’ve been doing at CF Nasti (Cincinnati Strength & Conditioning) lately. I learned something new today, thanks to you – always giving us readers such interesting tidbits of knowledge!

    Have a great day!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you, Lauren! I’m glad you like the educational moment 🙂 I didn’t know what alactic meant and thought it might be new to you guys, too. Now that I know what it is, I can explain it to my legs, which are quite creaky and angry after all those sprints.

  • Mark says:

    Oh…that’s just plain evil/tasty. I’m stuck away from my box (Alamo CrossFit thankyouverymuch), but I’ve got a nature’s gym to work at and I think I could incorporate this into my routine. Was there a set recovery time between WOD’s?

    Russian step-up? Que dijo?

    • Mel says:

      This is a pretty good one to do without gear. Have fun!

      – no set recovery time between WODs, but we moved from one to the next pretty quickly. I’d say a minute or two in between, max.

      – russian step-up: choose a box or bench or rock 🙂 that puts your knee at a right angle when you put your foot on top. Put your foot on the obstacle and step up, driving your opposite knee up (think old school step aerobics). When you lower down, keep your stepping foot up on the box. We stayed on one leg for each round, and started on our weaker leg… so the weak leg got three sets and the stronger leg got two.

      Here’s a short video of Russian step-ups with a barbell. Because we were doing alactic training, no barbell, just speed. With good form.

  • Jude says:

    Bar touching burpees? Do they suck more than normal burpees?

    • Mel says:

      I think they might suck more than regular burpees if you use a high bar. I used a bar that was pretty easy to hit each time — just a few inches above my fingertips when I stood under it. But the big kids’ bar would probably have been a lot harder because it would require a higher jump up.

  • Meghan E. says:

    You knocked this blog post out of the park, Mel. Very nice! I’ll have to remember these mini-WODs when I get lazy one day and don’t want to head to my box. 😉

  • Walker says:

    Thanks for the breakdown Mel. Under the tutalage of Wes I am beginning to understand more and more. What I found most interesting is how he used these concepts to come up with our strategy for completing a WOD in competition.

    It was a partner WOD and it was an AMRAP. We designed the rep/work time scheme around the threashold. That is, avoiding the shift out of alactic to lactic (= pain cave + failure) so we’d do *just enough work before passing the bar (so to speak.) Cool!

    I assume this is also the reasoning behind the “don’t got to failure” phrase we hear in certain WODs.

    • Mel says:

      Walker, that’s so cool! Awesome to see how the workout guidelines can translate into real-world strategy. Neato! Seems like you could apply that kind of thinking to physical, non-workout tasks… like carrying moving boxes and furniture. Use short bursts instead of longer work sessions. Love it!