*These deadlifts will be performed with a controlled return and a brief hand release on the ground to let the bar “die” before lifting again.
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*The first person to comment to this post with the correct name of the movie that quote comes from will get a free can of Kill Cliff from me.
In a fight between Technique and Intensity, who would win? By Courtney “I feel the need for speed” Shepherd
Haha, fool you. It’s a trick question. In CrossFit we don’t want it to be Technique vs. Intensity, we want it to a happy blended family of Technique AND Intensity. We want to have a nice medium between them both, where neither of them wins completely. We can’t have either of them be the Ronda Rousey, or dominating factor, in our workout.
CrossFit defines technique as the successful completion of a functional movement, it does not need to be done perfectly, however. The goal is to work to perfect our technique over time. Intensity is what gets us our results, intensity is what gets us more fit, and is our increase in work capacity. When we blend the two together, we get improved technique that overall lends way to increased intensity, which equals our progress in the sport of CrossFit. We blend these two concepts together through something called threshold training.
To really explain threshold training let’s look at 3 different athletes performing the same workout. The workout will be “Isabel”, 30 snatches for time. All 3 athletes will be using the same weight of 95#. Athlete number 1 picks up the bar and just gets crazy. This athlete does not set up properly, they heave the bar over their head, and just let it drop to the ground, bouncing all over the place. For the first few reps they have a wide snatch grip but as the reps go on the athlete is just putting their hands anywhere and everywhere, by rep 30 the movement does not really look much like a snatch. Plus the athlete has managed to make their way across the room chasing their barbell, they finish the workout in 3 minutes. Athlete number 2 approaches the bar, sets their grip, takes a deep breath, and executes a beautiful snatch. It appears seamless as they guide it to the ground. Athlete number 2 does this for reps 1-30, each one looking exactly like the rest, like something out of an instructional video on how to do the snatch. They also finish the workout in 3 minutes. Athlete number 3 approaches the bar, sets up, and begins executing seamless looking snatches, reps 1-12 look easy. The athlete begins to move faster and suddenly they don’t quite set their back right, their hips shoot straight to the sky, and as they receive the bar, they take a few steps to steady it over head. This kind of break down in form happens for a few reps until the athlete slows down, focuses on getting set again, then proceeds with more technically sound looking snatches. . . until the last few, when this athletes again begins to speed up to finish this workout, and form breaks down. This athlete also finishes the workout in 3 minutes. So the question becomes, who is doing this workout right? Who is getting their best blend of technique and intensity, and therefore getting the greatest results from the workout?
Athlete 1 is all intensity. They are like the Tasmanian Devil, throwing all caution to the wind and just going. Unfortunately training this way has limits, some of which may include injury. Athlete 2 is all technique. They aren’t pushing themselves to move faster, work harder, or get uncomfortable. This type of athlete will never really know how to push themselves, how to see the limits of their abilities because they never get to them. Athlete 3 is right on the money. They are the love child of technique and intensity. They push themselves, adding intensity, until that intensity affects their efficiency. This break down forces them to slow down, regain it, and hopefully begin to speed back up again. That is threshold training, constantly riding the fine line between efficient technique and the loss of it, over time pushing that line farther and farther out, allowing us to increase our overall intensity.
In short, don’t want to do bad movement fast. Do a movement well, then speed up with the goal being to do good movement fast. Working with too much intensity equals an overall drop in our technique. Working to be too perfect equals a loss in intensity. We need them both.
*Remember the 31 Heroes WOD is this Saturday. All are welcome but please sign up in MBO to reserve a spot, this includes non Verve members. For more information about the event, click here.