Monostructrual work is defined as performing a single modality for an extended period. In the simplest of terms this is your ‘cardio’ work: running, rowing, swimming, etc. ‘Cardio’ can be a confusing definition as any movement can become cardio respiratory training when done at the right intensity thus subjecting the athlete to primarily utilize the oxidative pathway for energy production. Hence the use of the word ‘monostructural’ to define cyclical movements that tend to be performed in an aerobic or oxidative pathway function.
Don’t Cherry Pick
As coaches we are consistently striving to provide overall health and functional fitness. In order for that to happen it we program workouts with intention. We want to keep things constantly varied while systematically stressing the different energy systems in an attempt to create lasting adaptations. In this sense it is NECESSARY to perform monostructural work.
We all know running isn’t the ‘sexy’ thing to do. It doesn’t generate as many Instagram likes as a shirtless 315 pound power clean with energy and yelling, but it is just as important of a test. Just like that power clean PR shows an improvement in power output, an improvement in your 3 mile time shows an increase in cardiorespiratory endurance (the ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen) and potentially stamina (the ability of body systems to process, deliver, store and utilize energy). We are constantly attempting to test and re-test our fitness across the 10 general physical skills in order to prove efficacy. Furthermore, these longer monostructural workouts tend to improve as well as show improvement in the athletes mental fortitude. While this is not a general physical skill it is an important component of overall health and one of the unique adaptations individuals regularly obtain from training based on CrossFit methodology.
Finally, it is required that we occasionally perform a single movement. In order to sufficiently test and adapt our bodies and our fitness level we MUST expose ourselves to different stimuli. We regularly do this in our METCONS and athletes tend to show up and understand the different requirements. We are easily able to see the advantage of obtaining a cardiorespiratory stimulus from a METCON. This is seen in an article written by Greg Glassman for “The CrossFit Journal”:
If a workout of pull-ups, push-ups, and squats carries a cardiorespiratory stimulus similar to rowing, are there, perhaps, other advantages to stamina, strength, speed, power, flexibility, agility, balance, accuracy, and coordination to the calisthenic routine that the rowing may not offer? We suggest the answer is a resounding, “yes!”
With that I pose the question: Is there not a NEED to test your cardiorespiratory capacity then? If your answer is ‘No’ then continue to skip the boring monostructrual days. If your answer is ‘Yes’ I want to see where I am and what I have gained, then stop skipping the ‘boring’ days at your gym. They are just as important as ‘Fran’.