Your Threshold and Why it Matters

I’m still in a sugar coma from Christmas. I type can’t even. See? That doesn’t make sense. Good thing, I’ve gotten my friend and the “Clark Kent” of fitness to help bail me out…

craig master event

Dennis and I are on the right in this random photo of the day at the Master CTT Event earlier this year

Your Threshold And Why It Matters
Dennis Heenan, CTT

It was several months ago, while visiting my family in California, when my older brother challenged me to do the “1-Minute Versa-Climber Test.”

As he asked me this, he said it with kind of a chuckle and smirk on his face… I should have known something was up…

Regardless, I was thinking to myself… “One-minute? How hard can it be…”

If you are unfamiliar with the versa-climber, that’s me to the right in the midst of the challenge. The goal is to get 300 meters in one-minute. This may not seem like a lot, but picture this for a second…

Picture yourself sprinting as fast as you possibly can while doing hundreds of squat jumps at the same time… Obviously this is not possible, but that’s the feeling you get doing that machine.

Your lungs and legs are burning to no avail for the entire time…

Truth be told, I didn’t think I was going to make it. However, with the motivation of some family and friends behind me, I ended up completing 311 meters in the one minute time frame… proceeded by me stepping off and immediately collapsing to the floor.

Now there is a reason I tell you this story…

Up until the point of taking that challenge, I had kind of forgot what it meant to really push my anaerobic threshold.

Sure I was working out at a high intensity, but nothing close to that. So this begs the question, when is that last time you pushed your strength and threshold to the limit?

Since that time, not a week goes by that I don’t do some kind of threshold challenge in a workout. The reason is simple: it brings rapid results.

When you push your body to this kind of limit for a short period of time, you allow your muscles to produce a ton of lactic acid.

Now the more lactic acid that is present in your muscles, the better, because this is what will produce Growth Hormone (GH).

This is a great thing for both men and women because when GH is present in the body, you are allowing for lean muscle growth and it turns your fat into fuel (meaning you are burning straight fat from your workouts!)

So not only will you be burning strictly fat, you will also be reshaping your body into that ripped superhero look by building up lean muscle.

The best part about all of this is that it’s not that difficult to bring your body to this fat burning threshold point.

Just take a look at the workout below as an example of what you can do, all in just 4-minutes (perfect to place at the end of a workout)

As you saw in the video, we focused on 3 high intensity strength exercises and one short all-out sprint… The perfect combination of strength and threshold training. 

Now the cool part about this is that you can take this principle and apply it to all your workouts.

For example, lets say you wanted to perform a leg day workout. You could do something like this:

-Goblet Squat: 30 seconds

-Alternating Dumbbell Lunges: 30 seconds

-Sprints in Place: sprint as fast as you can and stop when you feel yourself slowing down.

Rest 60-90 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Talk about a tough circuit. You are challenging your muscles to get stronger and then hitting your threshold hard with the sprints at the end.

The key to remember here is that you must push yourself as hard as you can in that sprinting exercise. That’s what will get you better and more fit.

The harder you can push, the better results you will see.

That’s what it’s all about, pushing your body harder each time you workout. So if you sprinted for 12-seconds each round in the workout above, the next time you do that same workout… You better be sprinting for at least 13 seconds.

Push the limits. Your body can take it. Often times it’s the mental aspect that is holding you back. Push through and massive results will follow.


Click here to get your 8-week threshold plan 


Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. FatJimmy
    10 years ago

    In the video Dennis did burpees followed by squat jumps and then push-ups (and then sprints). But since the burpee includes a squat jump motion and a push-up, why do you include and focus on those two exercises separately, why not just 2 excercises: burpees and sprints?
    And a request, for those of us who are not in the fitness industry, it would be helpful if your posts defined terms you mention like “anaerobic threshold” so we know what you are talking about. I googled it, but I don’t understand why these exercises push the threshold any more than other exercises.

  2. Dennis Heenan
    10 years ago

    Hey Jimmy,

    Great question. Because this is just 4-minutes, we are maximizing the amount of work being done by adding in the push-ups and squat jumps. I’ve found that you can get more work done in the 4-minutes when adding squat jumps and push-ups in the middle of burpees and sprints.

    As for the anaerobic threshold. Here’s how I like to explain it: think of yourself sprinting as fast as you can for 50-100 yards. You got that image and feeling? That is pushing your anaerobic threshold. Something that will get you very winded quickly (anywhere from 10-45 seconds), then rest and repeat.

    Sprints, hill sprints, sprints in place, burpees do this best as they are very high intensity.

    The key is pushing as hard as you can until you feel yourself slowing down. Then rest and repeat.

    Hope that answers it 🙂