JB and Rene both recently wrote great posts about mindful practices that can help you get the most out of your training. JB suggested utilizing self-ratings as a way of seeing if you are able to get the desired intensity out of your workouts. Rene wrote about using SMART goals when it comes to honing on a specific lift or skill. Both are excellent posts and I highly suggest reading both. Today I want to focus in on another mindful practice: the idea of not always prioritizing intensity over proper movement, for more sustainable training.
I recently wrote a post about functional bodybuilding and how it can benefit your training, which you can find here. One of the topics I hinted at was an idea of thinking about my training from a different perspective. Over the past year and a half I have had some roadblocks in my training. I had a case of elbow tendonitis in both elbows and issues with some ligaments in my wrist, which prevented me from performing various movements. It was very frustrating to go from the peak of my strength, to not even being able to hold a bar in the front rack or do a push up without a lot of pain for almost two months! After these setbacks I had to reflect on my training habits. Why do I workout? What am I trying to accomplish? After pondering these questions for a while I realized that I don’t need to put so much emphasis on my numbers or times, I just want to feel good after workouts. I stopped always focusing on trying to lift heavy, do the most advanced gymnastics, and only pursue maximal intensity. Only focusing on those things caused me to overlook mobility issues, movement pattern issues, and muscular imbalances. Don’t get me wrong I still try to get stronger every time I lift, and push intensity when I feel the time is right, I just have changed how often I do so.
I have found that not always focusing on intensity, or loading, can allow you to feel more satisfied with your workouts more consistently. lets use todays workout as an example, which has both push ups and pull ups. Instead of worrying about maximizing the amount of rounds you get by going at maximal intensity, you could focus on making sure you perform the most technically sound push ups as possible, or maintaining a tighter kip on the pull ups. Making a conscious effort to improve movement patterns is important because as much as we want you to move a lot, we want you to move well first. Take it from someone who had a bad habit of always focusing on intensity and loading, it will catch up to you. Taking a couple days a week to really emphasize quality movement patterns can even help you improve your times and numbers in the long run.
Another reason to really hone in on movement quality from time to time is that always focusing on intensity can be not only physically stressful, but mentally degrading. Its hard to bring your 100% to every single workout. There are a lot of factors than can effect this. Not getting enough sleep the night before, your diet being off, having to travel for work, there are a lot of factors that can negatively affect performance. When we see our performance dropping we can easily get discouraged and think we are headed in the wrong direction, when that is not necessarily the case. One bad day is not a representation of your overall fitness. On the other hand if we overemphasize intensity and loading, this can lead to having bad days more often than we should.
As said before I am in no way advocating we debase ourselves from pursuing intensity and loading in our workouts. I still love attacking a workout and feeling like I gave it my all! I am merely suggesting a shift in focus in order to have more sustainable results. I want you all to do CrossFit as long as you possibly can and I truly believe this is a great way to do that! As always if you have questions about things you might want to focus in on in your workouts always ask coach we are here to help!