How Work Capacity Impacts Athletic Performance

Dr. Chloe doing prehab single leg exercises in a primer

Have you ever gotten so tired at the end of your work out that your muscles are literally giving out on you.  You go to do that last push up or squat and your arms and legs just collapse.  When this happens, you’ve pushed yourself past the point of what your muscle endurance can take.  You can also think of this as pushing yourself past your athletic work capacity.  It’s not a bad thing!  It’s showing you your limits and gives you opportunity to improve them.  Today we are going to discuss more about what work capacity really means, and ways to improve it. 

What Is Work Capacity

Simply put, your work capacity is the maximum amount of physical effort you can produce.  There are many different factors that play into this and include what you’re trying to achieve.  These include things like the intensity of what you’re trying to do as well as the duration.  Often we need to consider a combination of both to determine what you’re capable of.  No matter what the answer is, things that impact your performance are your cardiovascular health and your general overall aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

For a quick reminder in case you’re forgetting which is which, aerobic exercise is conditioning that increases the strength of your heart and your lungs.  Examples of aerobic exercises are walking, running, swimming, dancing, and doing the stairs.  Anaerobic exercise is done with intervals of high intensity.  Some examples are HIIT workouts, weight lifting, and plyometrics.

chloe doing online videos

The Impact of Imbalances

Picture this, all of a sudden you’re trying a new type of exercise.  Let’s use squatting with a barbell on your back for example.  You’re working through your heaviest set yet when you realize that one hip feels really tight and you’re having trouble pushing up through it.  Has this ever happened to you?  You’re working through an imbalance where one hip has a larger work capacity than the other.  Having an imbalance in your body means that one side of your body is more capable than the other.  Either from a flexibility or strength standpoint, one side can just outperform the other.  We all have them and it’s totally normal!  It only becomes an issue when the gap between sides becomes too large. 

In this above example, we’ve hit a stimulus that has made us aware of our issue.  Before, we weren’t challenging that hip enough to realize that there was a distinct difference in the abilities of the individual hips.  Now we can see that we need to improve the work capacity of one side!

squatting to increase his work capacity

How To Improve Athletic Work Capacity

Depending on what you’re trying to achieve will depend on what type of exercises you need to do to increase your work capacity.  If it’s cardiovascular you should consider doing more aerobic exercise.  Looking back to the initial example that I gave at the beginning of the blog (arms and legs giving out on you), consider upping the amount of sets and reps over time.  If we continue using our squatting example, a great way to increase your work capacity and fix your imbalance is to do single sided exercises.  These one leg or one arm exercises force your body to isolate the part that needs to improve its performance.  That way the other side of your body can’t help by compensating. 

When you’re working through exercises like this, form is crucial to your success!  If you’re doing the exercises wrong you’re not going to improve much other than how to continue having bad body mechanics.  Now is the time to concentrate on how to move properly so that you can teach your body to move well so you can move more.  Don’t let your work capacity hold you back. 

Watch This Video For A Great Exercise To Even Out Asymmetries In Your Hips:

Check Out Our Athletes

               Hayley Reichart

Rene doing jiu jitsu mobility exercises

Currently ranked the top American female across all weightlifting classes and on track to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, Hayley has been working with Mobility-Doc since she was 16.  Her most recent accomplishment is placing 3rd in Clean and Jerk and 4th overall this year at Worlds.

This weekend she is headed to Argentina to defend her title as the Pan American Weightlifting Champion 2 years running!    

               Kyle Martin Jr

The #2 ranked male youth athlete in the USA, Kyle is heading to Albania to compete in IWF World Youth Championships!  He has been a member of the Mobility-Doc family since he was 11.  

Kyle competes Saturday afternoon.  Make sure to support both of our Athletes by following our social accounts for the latest updates on their performance!  

Improve Your Work Capacity with Our Mobility-Doc Method Primers!

If you missed last week’s blog check it out now!  We went deep into our scientifically based method to even out asymmetries, improve your foundation and by default increase your work capacity so you can be the best athlete you can be!  


We are going to be taking you through how to make your OWN PRIMER!  Make sure you subscribe to our socials and YouTube to get the most up to date content!  In the meantime, if you’re looking to get a jumpstart try our MDFit classes!  Don’t miss your opportunity to sign up with a free week trial today!

Follow Us

Recent Posts

Let's keep in touch!

Receive updates when our blog, featuring the latest health and wellness information, is released along with other special events – No, we won’t send you things every day, but once or twice a week!

Dr. Chloe and John