Work Capacity 101

By Ross Enamait - Published in 2005

Work Capacity 101 is one of many routines contained within the Infinite Intensity training manual. This workout consists of four exercises, performed as a circuit, with the intention of enhancing the athlete's work capacity.

Mel Siff offers the following definition of work capacity in his informative text Supertraining:

"Work capacity refers to the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensity and duration using the appropriate energy systems of the body" (Siff, 2003).

All athletes can benefit from improved work capacity. This is particularly true for combat athletes. You must be prepared to fight hard, round after round. By improving general work capacity, you will be prepared to endure more intense work, while quickly recovering between workouts (or rounds).

Recovery is extremely important. Many competitive fighters train 2 or 3 times per day, often pushing their body to the limit. A poorly conditioned athlete will be unable to keep pace with such a vigorous training schedule. The fighter must be in shape to train hard, while possessing the ability to recover quickly. You cannot train hard one day, and then be out of action due to 3 days of extreme muscle soreness.

Improving work capacity is one important step to enabling the body to train harder and more often.

The following routine is just one of many options. Variety is extremely important when training for improved condition. We are not looking to adapt to a particular routine or training style. It is important to incorporate variety into the conditioning regimen to prevent staleness and adaptation to a particular drill/style. For example, swinging a sledgehammer is an excellent conditioning drill, but you are not training for the Sledgehammer Olympics. You are training for improved performance in a given athletic event. Incorporate variety to continue a positive training response.

The Routine


The following routine consists of four movements. Each movement will be performed non-stop, with no rest between exercises. You will continue this workout for 20-minutes. Your goal is to perform the circuit 10 times in 20-minutes. You will begin a new circuit on every 2nd minute (ex. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 minutes). The circuit will average approximately 75 seconds (+/- 10 to 15 seconds). This will allow approximately 45 seconds of rest before starting the next cycle.

For example: This will continue for 20-minutes, or until you have completed 10 circuits. The circuit may not feel too difficult after the first few cycles, but becomes more and more challenging as you approach the 20-minute mark.

The Exercises

  1. Pull-ups x 5
  2. Medicine Ball Slams x 10
  3. Burpees x 15
  4. Jumping Jacks x 20
Perform each movement as fast as possible. Move from one exercise to the next without stopping.

Below I have provided a video demonstration of one pass through the routine.


Workout Summary


This workout can be performed 1 to 3 days per week depending on your condition and weekly workload. This workout is just one of many that is featured in the Infinite Intensity text. A complete 50 day program is also included, with details on how to construct a routine specific to your goals.





About the Author - Ross Enamait is an innovative athlete and trainer, whose training style is among the most intense that you will find. Ross is committed to excellence and advancements in high performance conditioning and strength development. He has a sincere interest in helping today's athlete in their quest for greatness.

Ross has authored several training manuals, and operates a training business in the New England area. Feel free to contact him at [email protected], and follow his regular updates at www.rosstraining.com/blog
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