Occasionally I'll have chats with people about our programming and a common question I get is why we don't do a lot of "longer" workouts. It's a reasonable question and you will see many other gyms doing long wods all the time.
The reason why we don't is pretty simple at first glance, but there is more depth to it. The short answer is because longer workouts (performed frequently) damage you. The vast majority of injuries in any sport that uses repetitive movement comes from those repetitions themselves. Rarely do we see injuries from heavy lifting performed correctly, however many reps under fatigue is a different story.
The damage from longer wods is primarily physical in terms of the breakdown of your body, but can also be technical (skill development), and psychological (mental stress).
High volumes of mechanical loading stress your tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments), causing inflammation. The inflammatory response is actually very important in terms of stimulating the body to adapt, but can become a chronic condition if training is too high volume with too high of a frequency. Most people also don't have "ideal" alignment or movement patterns and these issues tend to get worse with fatigue. The more tired someone gets, the poorer their movement can become, leading to a more damaging effect on their body.
In terms of skill development and learning proper mechanics, your body will tend to go towards that which you practice most. If most of your time is spent performing relatively poor reps of hang power cleans, your body will learn that is the way to complete those reps. Working in intervals, shorter workouts, and having regular skill sessions helps to ensure that movement quality stays high and that you learn to perform quality reps.
Long workouts can be both mentally and emotionally stressful as well as cathartic. There is a special feeling having completed a long tough workout, a sense of accomplishment that helps you tackle other things in your life with renewed energy. This can get taken away though if we try to replicate it too often. Imagine a week where we had two 30 minute amraps and a 40 minute wod. The first would be fun, the second gruelling, the third would likely be a no show.
There are other effects on circulating hormones that aren't ideal (significantly elevated cortisol, depressed testosterone), as well as immune suppression that can occur with longer wods. Again, performed relatively infrequently, they are a great boost to fitness and confidence, however if we go there too often, it can be counter productive.
So that's why we stay with a lot of mid length workouts. We have seen that the fitness transfer to longer workouts is very robust and that the technique maintenance in shorter workouts is much better. We tend to do well in the Open each year also, which is a great indicator we are on the right track, and our rate of significant injury is pretty low.
Of course now that I've said that, we're going to do a long workout! Should be a fun one though, think about working on consistent pacing and staying technically on point throughout the 28 minutes.
Training Wednesday - Thursday
Warm - up: 3 rounds - 10 glute bridge, 10 double crunch, 6 samson lunge
WOD: Three minute drill
This is a LONG workout, so you will need to adjust your pacing to do well throughout. Your goal should be to maintain a steady pace, so think about moving smoothly and efficiently. Perform the row at 80-85% effort so that you can be crisp on the other movements.
You will be in a partnership, and one person will row for 3 minutes. The other partner will rotate through three stations, working for a minute at each. After a one minute rest, you switch over and complete one round. This workout is 4 rounds (28 minutes). Total reps between your partners is your score.
Rx: Partner 1 - 3 minute row (calories). Partner 2 - 1 minute push press (75/115), 1 minute SD box jumps (20/24), 1 minute KBS (35/53). Rest 1 minute, switch over. 4 rounds at each
TG: 2-3 rounds, scale weights as needed
FG: bar weight 55-65/75-95, scale box jumps and KB
Comp: 95/135, 44/70