The Point Loma Strength Development Crew on Mandatory Tank Top Thursday.

Performance or Fitness? Which is More Challenging?
Written by Michele Vieux

I get this question a lot and usually the thought is that Performance is the “harder” track but I politely beg to differ about the idea that the Fitness workouts are less challenging.

If you push your limits with the weights and reps, you are actually doing much more in each session as far as number of exercises, reps and also with time under tension (where you get #gainz).

Let’s use these two workouts as an example. They appeared as the Performance and Fitness Workouts of the Day on May 9, 2017, and I personally chose to do the Fitness workout:

PERFORMANCE

A.
Four sets of:
Shoulder Press x 3-5 reps @ 21X1
Rest 2-3 minutes – working on lower body mobility during rest periods

B.
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
6 Handstand Push-Ups
9 Ring Dips
12 Toes to Bar

FITNESS

A.
Four sets of:
Dumbbell Shoulder Press x 8-10 reps @ 2010
Rest 45 seconds
Russian Step-Ups with Dumbbells x 8-10 reps each leg @ 20X0
Rest 45 seconds
Side Plank x 30-45 seconds each side
Rest 45 seconds

B.
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
10 Push-Ups
10 Toes to Bar
100 Meter Run

Like I said, I opted for the Fitness workout this day, was drenched in sweat by the end of Part A and my heart rate was elevated the entire session. I completed a total of 40 shoulder presses; 80 Russian step-ups and 3 minutes in plank versus those doing Performance who only did a total of 12-20 shoulder presses in Part A in the same amount of time.

It IS true that Performance is more technical i.e. Olympic lifting; handstand walks; double-unders, etc. which could be seen as more challenging but what if those movements are out of your repertoire or cause you to slow your pace?

For example, while answering blog comments, I noticed that many athletes were slowed down by the ring dips and/or handstand push-ups in the Part B of Performance, therefore decreasing the intensity of the workout. Whereas with the Fitness workout, it calls for push-ups instead of ring dips and a 100 meter run instead of the handstand push-ups, allowing most athletes to keep moving with less rest. The average number of rounds for those following Performance was 3-4 versus 5-6 rounds for those following Fitness. Both were 12-minute workouts. Who did more reps with less rest in the same amount of time?

Make sense?

I’d recommend that you should choose your program based on your goals. If you share a couple with me, I can help point you in the right direction!

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  • Jason Jardine

    Thank you for this post! I’ve only looked at a few weeks of workouts but put me in the camp of thinking Performance would be “harder”. Super helpful!

    • Michele Vieux

      You are awesomely coachable, Jason! Keep up the solid, smart and consistent training!