beat the clock exercise“Beat the clock exercise” is growing in popularity, but this form of exercise is horrible for multiple reasons. Here is why…

1. Compromised Form

Racing against the clock encourages bad form, which is to be expected as you race through exercises as fast as possible. With speed being the goal, people are more likely to exhibit sloppy, dangerous form. Exercises should never be rushed or placed under strict time constraints. The execution of each rep should be precise and deliberate. Using good form is the best way to get outstanding results and avoid injury, so compromising these two facets of working out is not the smartest decision you can make.

2. Increased Injury Rate

If you have ever seen someone perform a “beat the clock” set, you will noticed a deviation in form right from the beginning. Form issues only become increasingly apparent as the clock ticks down. Some of the form you see toward the end of a beat the clock set might even make you vomit in your mouth a little bit. It is a horrendous sight to see. As form suffers, the injury rate increases significantly. This higher rate of injury can have you sidelined for weeks to months. This is a lot of risk for little reward, only to achieve a “beat the clock” goal that is essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

3. Not an Accurate Representation of Any Modality

Since “beat the clock” exercise taps into almost all of the components of fitness, it really doesn’t give you an accurate representation of anything. For instance, if your cardiovascular fitness is great but you are weak, you will fail easily in a 1 minute push up session, even if you are very strong. The best way to accurately assess your fitness level in a particular component of fitness is to complete exercises that specifically target one fitness component. The word used in sport science to describe this is specificity. Keep this in mind when gauging your progress and creating workout plans.

Always keep form in the forefront. Also, perform a risk vs reward analysis on every exercise you perform. The actual benefit of any “beat the clock exercise” will never yield the amount of reward necessary to deem it a viable option. Eliminating “beat the clock” exercise will decrease your chance of injury, get you better results and allow you to gauge your progress more accurately. Sounds like an easy decision to me.

Image courtesy of digitalart at