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Proven Methods, Tips and Workouts to Improve Crossfit Endurance

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

Feeling like your CrossFit endurance falls short when it matters most? Struggling to maintain strength, skill, AND stamina?

Discover how to refine your offseason training to elevate your overall performance. Dive into the world of strategic energy management, expert pacing techniques, and the vital connection between strength and endurance. Learn how to integrate practical endurance workouts and mobility exercises to maximize your potential.

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Kyle Ruth, from Training Think Tank, sheds light on refining endurance during the offseason to enhance overall athletic performance in CrossFit.

Understanding Endurance in CrossFit

A common misunderstanding among athletes is that endurance is solely about lasting longer in workouts. 

However, endurance in CrossFit also involves managing energy efficiently and mastering pacing. Misidentifying endurance issues as mere lack of capacity can lead athletes to train inefficiently. 

For instance, failing in a workout could be due to pacing errors rather than an inherent lack of endurance.

The Role of Pacing in Endurance

Proper pacing is crucial in endurance sports, especially in CrossFit, where workouts often involve complex intervals and high-intensity efforts. 

Incorrect pacing can deplete an athlete’s energy reserves prematurely. Learning to pace correctly involves understanding one’s own capacity and adjusting effort throughout the workout to maintain a consistent performance level. 

This strategic energy management ensures athletes do not burn out early in competitions.

Integrating Endurance with Strength Training

Endurance training should not exist in isolation from strength training. Strong athletes might excel in power output but falter in endurance due to inadequate pacing and technique. 

Effective training programs integrate endurance workouts that enhance an athlete’s ability to maintain high performance over longer periods. 

This integration helps athletes develop a robust foundation, allowing them to exploit their strength throughout an entire event.

Practical Endurance Training Strategies

Endurance Workouts

  1. Interval Training:
    • Example Workout: 5 rounds of 1000m row followed by 50 double-unders, resting 2 minutes between rounds.
    • Purpose: This workout combines cardiovascular stress with skill work under fatigue, improving the athlete’s ability to recover quickly.
  2. Long Aerobic Sessions:
    • Example Workout: 45-minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) of 400m run, 500m row, and 40 air squats.
    • Purpose: Long, slow workouts improve mitochondrial density, capillary networks, and aerobic efficiency, which are crucial for prolonged efforts.
  3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
    • Example Workout: 10 rounds of 30 seconds of max effort bike sprints followed by 90 seconds of slow recovery pedaling.
    • Purpose: HIIT boosts VO2 max and enhances the body’s ability to handle lactate buildup, important for short bursts during longer workouts.

Mobility Exercises

To improve movement efficiency and reduce the energy cost of each movement, incorporating specific mobility exercises can be transformative:

  1. Couch Stretch:
    • Purpose: Improves hip flexibility and the ability to maintain a deep squat without compensatory lumbar extension.
    • Execution: Perform this stretch by placing one knee on a soft surface against a wall with the opposite foot in front, creating a deep lunge. Hold for 2-3 minutes per side.
  2. Thoracic Bridge:
    • Purpose: Enhances spine mobility and opens up the shoulders and chest for better overhead positions.
    • Execution: Start by sitting on the ground, place your hands behind you, and push your hips up while extending one arm over to the opposite side. Alternate sides for sets of 10.
  3. Pigeon Pose:
    • Purpose: Targets the glutes and the iliotibial band, which are crucial for maintaining stability and posture during running and squatting.
    • Execution: From a forward lunge, drop the back knee to the floor and extend the front leg across the body. Lean forward to increase the stretch, holding for 2-3 minutes per side.

Skill Resilience under Fatigue

Training to maintain skill under fatigue involves creating workouts that mimic the competition environment:

  1. Muscle-Up Endurance:
    • Example Workout: Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes, perform 3 muscle-ups, increasing the reps as feasible without failure.
    • Purpose: Develops the ability to execute complex gymnastics movements under cardiovascular load.
  2. Complex Skill Cycles:
    • Example Workout: 3 rounds of 400m run, 12 toes-to-bars, 6 clean and jerks at 70% of 1RM.
    • Purpose: Trains the athlete to manage technical lifts and gymnastic skills when already breathing heavily.

Technique Adjustments

  1. Efficiency in Olympic Lifts:
    • Tip: Focus on the “triple extension” of ankles, knees, and hips to maximize power output with minimal energy.
    • Practice: Use video feedback to analyze and refine technique, even during lighter lifts.
  2. Breathing Techniques:
    • Tip: Learn to coordinate breathing with movement to avoid unnecessary fatigue.
    • Practice: During rowing or thrusters, inhale during the recovery or lowering phases and exhale during the effort phase to stabilize the core and maximize efficiency.

By integrating these detailed strategies into their training regimen, CrossFit athletes can significantly improve their endurance both in broad capacities and in specific applications to CrossFit movements and scenarios. 

This comprehensive approach ensures not only better performance in competition but also greater longevity in the sport.

The Impact of Technique on Endurance

Movement efficiency plays a significant role in how an athlete’s endurance manifests during workouts. 

Efficient movement reduces the energy cost of each exercise, allowing the athlete to perform at a higher level for longer. Athletes should focus on perfecting their technique in fundamental movements and employ mobility exercises to enhance their movement capacity. 

This focus on technique not only improves endurance but also prevents injuries and enhances overall performance.

Building Endurance through Skill Resiliency

Endurance is not just about physical capacity but also about maintaining skill under fatigue. 

High-skill movements like muscle-ups and handstand push-ups require precision, which can degrade under physical stress. 

Training these skills in a fatigued state helps athletes learn to maintain form and execution when tired, a crucial ability during competitions where fatigue is a constant factor.

Watch Full Video:


Kyle Ruth’s insights into endurance training emphasize a holistic approach that balances strength, skill, and stamina. 

By understanding the intricacies of endurance, including pacing, technique, and skill maintenance under duress, athletes can significantly enhance their performance. 

As the CrossFit landscape evolves, so too must the training regimens that prepare athletes for the rigors of competition, ensuring they can perform at their best when it counts the most.

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