How much high intensity training?

As you head to the gym you plan your goals for your session. It could be  your aim is to smash your personal best in the dead lift,  grow your chest as big as you can, or lose your gut by burning as many calories on the rowing machine as possible. No matter what happens you’re going to the gym for the mother of all workouts, hear me roar, I am a machine and I am going to destroy myself at the gym today!!!!

Awesome, you want to work hard and push yourself to your limits. You want to get the most from your training session. So what advice is commonly given? The fitness industry at large often follows the one size fits all approach. High intensity exercise is often considered the most radical self imposed physical punishment for performance gains. Increasing intensity means more reps, more load, at higher speed and with less rest! Sure it doesnt matter if the squat technique isnt perfect, no pain no gain right? Plus we can always alter the movement slightly so as to get out more reps, reach exhaustion and muscular overload.

Unfortunately the misconception is that every single time we train we should be smashing ourselves to oblivion. This is all well and good but quality of movement and technique is often compromised with this approach. In Athletic individuals and dedicated sports men and women, fitness levels and competitive nature often push them to train to their physical capacity every session, whilst overlooking basic human alarm bells like restricted movement efficiency and often even pain!

My point is this, not every session needs to take you to deaths door. Quality of movement patterns and technique in exercise is equally important. If we dedicate time and energy into range of motion, technique throughout exercise and functional movement patterns, we can perform them more effectively increasing the benefit and without excessively putting our body at the risk of injury.  Whilst reading the excellent Movement book by Gray cook i came across this great analogy that splits the two types of session in to test drives and tune ups, Gray explains:-

a test drive is the exercise equivalent of pushing to the extremes and noting the limits of physical capacity. It is a necessary step to mark time and set goals as one strives for improved performance. In contrast, a tune up is the exercise equivalent of deliberate attention to any part of the physical system not functioning optimally or normally” He goes on to explain further “High intensity work reinforces movement patterns. If the patterns are optimal, hard work supports them, but if the patterns are limited, those limitations will be fortified”

The simple message behind it all, is spend time to refine your movement and exercise technique. Because smashing it every session, while compromising technique exagerate weak links within your body. Ultimately this will only lead to a breakdown on race day. Take enough time to spend time working on your movement patterns and exercise technique, then when you come to your high intensity sessions you will take even more benefit from them.

To find out more about your functional movement patterns and how to highlight your weak links, contact us at Strength in Motion, For a full assessment and tune up advice.







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