Coach’s Corner

Training vs. Competing

Hey Gang!

Stopping by with the first non-programming related blog post to talk about the difference between training and competing during your 1-hour block at the gym in a new segment we’ll be calling “Coach’s Corner”!

Here’s the scenario: You walk in for your regular class a few minutes early and swing by the whiteboard to do your daily check on the peeps from earlier in the day. You notice the gym “body weight ninja” got 26 rounds on “Cindy”! Impressed by the performance you get yourself psyched up and proceed to throw-DOWN! Moving as fast as you can through the reps, you accept that cutting corners with your technique here and there during the 20-minute workout is what the other guy did in order to get such a great score…in order to leave it all out there on the floor, right? By the end, you feel absolutely exhausted and you’re super happy with your score…so it must be good thing, right? Maybe…but maybe not.

The scenario above is one of the most common examples of “competing instead of training” that the coaches see on a day to day basis. Ignoring the fundamentals of the movements (e.g. midline tight in the push up, knees out in the squat, back neutral on the deadlift) in order to improve your “number on the whiteboard” does more harm than good, even though you felt like you got a great workout. Maybe it’s because we sometimes refer to it as a “score” when we should say “result”. The word “score” implies comparison…it naturally makes things more competitive, which brings in ego (which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how it’s used in this scenario).

Competing can be awesome – it can push us to our limits and provide us with the intensity we seek in hopes of improving our fitness! Unfortunately, cutting corners with our technique and mechanics in the name of higher intensity has adverse effects on our bodies ability to change in a positive manner. You can even train yourself OUT of shape! In the Crossfit Level 1 Seminar we’re taught, “Mechanics, Consistency, THEN Intensity.” If you have intensity without the first 2 prerequisites you’re more likely to compete yourself right into injury or poor movement patterns, as very little positive adaptation comes from training this way.

In summary, focus on TRAINING while you’re in the gym: perform every movement from the time the warm up starts to the final rep of the metcon with purpose and the intent of perfect mechanics and you’ll avoid having your intensity stunted by your technique. You’ll be less prone to injury, develop a more balanced body, and make more long-term progress!

Post any questions, comments, or concerns in the comments and have a great night!

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