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As CrossFitters, it is fun and often more convenient to train the short and intense time domains, pack it up and call it a day. And there is nothing wrong with that – you can pack a whole lot of work into a small amount of time and be on your way 😉

However, in doing so, it is easy to neglect the type of workouts which will help build and maintain a really solid aerobic base, which will have a very positive effect on all aspects of your training.

A well-developed aerobic system has significant carry over to all other energy systems. It allows people to recover from effort and work faster, and it improves the function of just about everything else that goes on in the body.

Just to be clear, we have three energy systems:

  • The ATP-PC system system;
  • The Anaerobic glycolysis, or lactic acid system; and
  • The Aerobic system.

In terms of working timeframes, we’re looking at:

  • ATP-PC = activities lasting up to 10 seconds;
  • Lactic = activities lasting up to approximately 2 minutes; and
  • Aerobic = activities lasting from several minutes to hours.


Now, we get it, not everyone wants to do a gruelling 45 min CrossFit Workout, or go for a 5km run, or spend 40 minutes in the pool, or sit on a bike for an hour. But, if you’re serious about improving your ALL ROUND performance, you have to spend significant time training your aerobic system.

I recently did 2 workouts in one day. One was sub 2 minutes in duration, where I exceeded my expectations. The other was 45 minutes plus in duration, and let’s just say I wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be upon finishing.

I’m excited! I understand that my Lactic Acid System has developed significantly over the last 12 months. I have also identified an area in my game that needs some solid attention – my Aerobic Capacity.

So what do I need to do? Simple – incorporate more workouts with longer time domains into my training! And be consistent with this approach.

Not everyone is in the same position as me. You may be experiencing the complete opposite problem and need to work on your short duration sprint/burst work. Or you might need to work on both!

However, if, like me, you need to do more work on building a solid aerobic base, here are some tips:

  1. Attend as many classes as possible at CFH. We always offer a wide variety of workouts with different time domains. So by just attending classes as many times per week, you will be hitting all energy systems (short, medium and long duration workouts);
  2. If you are unable to attend a class one day, get outside and get moving continuously for 30-60 mins, and try to make this a regular addition to your week;

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