Matching Intensity with Skill Set
By: Mike Collette B.S CES C-PT
I pose this question to you: Would you work harder in 30 minutes to gain fitness or would you work harder in 30 minutes not to lose your fitness?
The “Go Hard”.  Do you know someone that fits this definition? Someone who wants to give everything a try while potentially putting themselves at risk for injury? This could be a competitive nature of their’s, possibly a thrill seeker or just stuck in the youth mindset that nothing can hurt them? I bet you do and I will bet that you might even be this person! Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of pushing to your limits and working hard but is it worth the sacrifice or hurting yourself or furthering an on going injury? The smart and obvious answer is NO!
Fact. If your skill set for a particular high risk exercise is below the level of intensity you are performing at, you will increase your risk of injury. Very simple. Mobility, stability, coordination and technical efficiency of movement needs to be inherent before the intensity of an exercise raises. For example, if you are performing an Olympic lift such as a Snatch and your technical skill or movement capacity is not almost perfect, do you think it’s a good idea to do 30 of these for time at the prescribed weight? The smart and obvious answer is NO! If you have to second guess yourself if the weight or exercise you are doing is appropriate for you, chances are it isn’t. This is why you have coaches and trainers to monitor your technique and teach you the proper skills if the exercise is even appropriate for you.
Check your ego at the door. Guys are usually the culprits in this regard but we see it more than not with the ladies as well. Usually the former athletes who are used to pushing the pace or the high intensity junkies looking for the next thing to “upgrade their fitness level”. Be smart. Take it slow! Fitness is a journey, not a sprint. You have plenty of time to perfect technique and get better at an exercise. Trust me, perfecting your clean in a week puts you at higher risk for injury versus letting your body get acclimated to the movement and building tensile tendon strength.
Do your Elements or On-Ramp classes. Take these seriously and pay attention! This is where you will build your foundation. No matter where you are starting from, this needs to happen in order for success to be possible. Regardless if you are a 10 time Boston Marathon runner or someone who has been sitting on their couch for 10 years, everyone can get better at everything, no one is perfect. We want to strive to be perfect, so let it takes it’s course. There may be some exercises that take months to learn or you may pick them up in a few short minutes, regardless, perfect the skill before cranking up the intensity.
If your coach makes a recommendation to scale it down, don’t take it offensively take it as they care about your safety. Would you rather they not care and let you get hurt? No of course not. If you get hurt, you potentially can’t exercise. You will potentially lose your fitness. Do you want to lose all the gains you have made? OF COURSE NOT!
So let me pose that question again:
Would you work harder in 30 minutes to gain fitness or would you work harder in 30 minutes not to lose your fitness?
There is no right answer, but what do you think?…