By Pat Sherwood
“But what if I can’t do it unbroken?”
From time to time, I hear this posed as a legitimate question from athletes as they read over a workout description. They look at the movements, the loading and the rep scheme. They assess their current capabilities. Quick math is done in their heads. Their facial expressions change and the question shoots out of their mouths: “What if I can’t do this unbroken?”
My answer is always, “Well, then break it up.”
I’m not sure when going unbroken became “a thing” or how many athletes the mentality affects, but I’ve heard the question asked often enough that it should be addressed.
Doing something unbroken does not necessarily mean you will do it faster. If the goal is to accomplish the overall task as efficiently as possible, then that is the goal—not doing it unbroken.
Truly being fit means being well rounded, versatile, highly capable and ready for anything. Sometimes life throws challenges at you that are much harder than you anticipated right from the first second. Not all of life’s tasks are like that, and so not all of our workouts are like that. We strive to expose ourselves to as many loadings, time domains, rep ranges, pieces of equipment and other factors as we can. This workout was just a sin – gular piece in a very large puzzle laid out over weeks, months and years.
Going unbroken on a single movement or entire workout is almost never required unless the workout specifically demands it. Workouts like that are rare. Going unbroken might or might not be the fastest or most efficient way to accomplish the work. If you cannot do something unbroken, please do not feel pressure to do so. Managing your personal tolerance of work-to-rest ratio will yield the greatest results for you.
If you can’t do something unbroken, don’t.