If you have committed to the fitness programming, chances are you either want to improve your fundamentals so that you can progress to the performance programming, or you just want to get fit with no specific athletic or competitive end goal in mind. No matter which category you fall into, your focus every day should be improving the quality of your movement and not intensity. Here is why:
“In CrossFit founder Greg Glassman’s open letter to CrossFit trainers, he describes virtuosity as “doing the common uncommonly well”. For the sake of this conversation, let us agree that the squat is a common movement because sitting down and standing up is something that we do many times in a day. Despite the squat being so common, it is less common to see somebody who is able to do an air squat with a perfect upright torso, bottom position below parallel, feet flat, and shins perpendicular to the ground. It is actually more common to see dysfunction in the form of knees collapsing inwards, weight on the toes, chest collapsing towards the ground and spine rounding. The former example represents virtuosity, while the latter represents dysfunction.
The progression you should follow in your pursuit of fitness is mechanics/virtuosity first, consistency second, and intensity last. The curse of the novice in a competitive environment is the desire to quickly progress to more advanced movements, or within the context of the gym – add intensity to “get a good workout”.
If you fall into the category of athletes who want to eventually progress to the performance/advanced programming, you will stifle your progress if you pursue virtuosity through intensity. You, at all costs, want to avoid adding strength or intensity to dysfunction because as soon as you reach the performance or advanced classes, your deficiencies will be exposed, and guess what you’ll have to do? Correct your fundamentals. You are better served in the long run if you focus on quality movement now while you are learning or have the opportunity to. As a novice, you might not know what quality movement looks and feels like, but that is what your coaches are for! Ask for a form check before the clock starts. Scale as needed to ensure proper mechanics.
If you fall into the category of athletes who just want to get fit without any particular athletic aspiration you might have short term goals, such as improved body composition, that can be achieved by adding intensity to your workout. I implore you to consider that your future self will thank you if you keep them safe and injury free by focusing on quality movement now. Take a long-term orientation now and realize that every move you make will either help or hurt your future self. If you continue to do 100 air squats with the same dysfunction(s), you have taken 100 reps towards injury. If you do 100 air squats with a focus on improving movement quality, you are 100 reps closer to virtuosity.
Patience is a virtue, especially in the pursuit of virtuosity. Be patient while you are learning new movements, be patient while you are correcting old movements, and ask questions of your coaches every day. If you do these 3 things, I promise you will be on the fast track to success – however you define it.”
Fitness: Front Squat, Hip Bridge, DU
Fitness: K2E, Pushup, DU
Performance: T2B, Pushup, DU