As we drag ourselves to the gym each day, hopefully our main goal is to improve. One of the ways we measure improvement is Power Output. A basic form of a power equation is written below.
Simply put the way to produce power is to move a load, from here to there, in a certain amount of time. If you move a heavier load, than your power output is greater, or if you move the same load in a shorter time, your power output is greater.
So an easy way to track your power output for most workouts is to time them. If you do the workout twice, and the second time you do it faster, you know you generated more power!
So when you look at a workout with a given number of reps, the game is to be able to keep your body moving as much as possible and take as few breaks as you can.
Today I had an interesting workout with the owner of our gym. As I was warming up, he commented that he would join us in the workout which was:
50 Calories on the Assault bike
150 Double Unders
150 Feet of walking lunges.
Not too difficult I thought. “I’m going to try to beat him.” SO 3.2.1. Go! and we take off. Like a rookie I was shooting the Assault bike up to 90 for RPMs, we got off our bikes together and started our jump ropes. 30 reps in I decided to go for as long as I could, but I noticed he kept taking more breaks than me. However he finished his jump ropes a few seconds before me. Then the next round we got back on the bikes about the same time. While my power output on the bike looked more like a sine wave, going up and down, his was a strait line. He just held his RPM’s at above 60.
At the end of the workout he ended up beating me by a few minutes but I couldn’t understand how when at times I was moving faster than him. The simple answer is by knowing his body, he was able to put out a higher average power than me. Rather than doing a large set of jump ropes, then resting for 3 minutes, he just did sets of 25, planned his rests, and kept them short. Rather than jacking up his heart rate on the bike by hitting 85+RPMs, then dropping back down to 45 RPMs because he couldn’t sustain it, he knew he could hold the bike at 60 RPMs for 50 calories.
My main take away is the importance of knowing what your body can do. If you see a giant set of KB swings on the board, say 200, well obviously you wont be able to go unbroken unless your last name is Froning. I think our natural tendency is to try to do as many reps as possible, because you want to go fast, but then fatigue sets in and you’ll need longer and longer rests and produce less and less reps in a set. This equals less power output.
So that’s the game I’m trying to improve on. knowing my body well enough to be able to look at any given work on the board and decide how to break it up into chunks that will allow me to output the greatest power. My feeling is this will come with experience. After a while you’ll begin to recognize patterns and remember how you performed in the past under fatigue.
That’s my message for today. When you workout, pay attention to your body, and get to know what your capable of. This would be beneficial inside and out of the gym.