Why do we workout? Some of us do it to be healthy. Some, to lose weight and look better. Others have specific athletic goals or feats they want to achieve. A soon-to-be bride wants to get her sweat on so she can look good in her dress.
In most cases, we want to workout so we can get in shape and reap the benefits of being fit.
Most people would not say they work out in order to get better coordination. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I can’t wait to work on my balance and accuracy in today’s workout”? I bet you have never heard someone say that.
What is fitness? We define fitness as “Improved work capacity across broad time and modal domains.”
Ok, what does that mean? That mean as you increase your fitness you will perform better in the following areas.
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another
9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
Why is this important?
When we workout, the work we are doing is designed to make us better in ALL of these areas. Here is the catch. The last 4 things on the list (Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy), all boil down to 1 word….do you want to take a guess..???
Areas 1 – 6 can be developed through training. Just being active and putting yourself through the stress of a workout will give you progress in these areas. They are attributes, not skills. If you are gauging your fitness level by only looking at the physical attributes that are affected by the mere act of working out consistently, then you are missing the overall goal of a good fitness program.
The last 4 areas that we target, are in many ways the most important. Without developing these skills through practice and applied consistency, our physical attributes will stagnate once we reach the limit of our skill….. Let me say that again…
Without developing the technique needed to perform better, your physical progress will stagnate and plateau.
Why do your coaches harp on doing things with proper technique? Because it is the fastest way to get better at everything else. Do you want to squat more? Work on your technique. Having trouble getting a new clean PR. Work on your technique.
I want you all to reprogram your minds and understand that technique is just as much a part of your fitness training as anything else. Is getting through a workout important? Sure. But are you training yourself as efficiently as possible by using a weight that you can’t execute the movement properly with? Think about it….
Technique → Consistency → Intensity
This is the progression of skill development and application in a workout. As you get better at a skill you can work on being consistently effective in that skill. This allows you to expand the range of speed, strength, and power while using that skill.
It is not safe or effective to jump right into the Intensity phase of an exercise if you can’t do it effectively in a low-stress scenario.
I hope this has made you appreciate the need for focusing on technique. It could be the single most rewarding thing you do in your quest for fitness.
The more you do the exercises correctly, the more you will benefit from them. You can work up a sweat and feel like you got a good workout doing 100 snaking, loose, and incorrect push-ups. Someone else who does 50 tight, solid, and correct push-ups will be more fit than you.
Remember you won’t really be in your best shape without good technique.