Friday, November 19, 2010

Intensity vs. Technique

Intensity vs. Technique  

Should I be striving for my PR or perfect form? 

The answer is yes. 

I would say this is one of the most common questions we receive as coaches and the answer can be complicated with opinions on either side. 
For this example let’s use the benchmark Elizabeth: 
21 – 15 – 9 reps of 135 lbs clean and ring dips.  

21 reps – You have just begun the workout and you should have perfect technique. You will be fresh, so the reps will not be difficult and intensity will also be high. 

15 reps – Fatigue is starting to set in and reps are becoming more difficult. This is where a balance of intensity and technique becomes most important. When you begin to focus too much on your technique, the reps will becoming more laborious and take longer; you’re not being efficient. Likewise if you disregard your technique and focus only on your intensity you will be wasting energy on an incorrect movement; again, you’re not being efficient. A marriage between the two produces the best results. 

9 reps – Technique is failing as you try to simply finishing the workout and your intensity level should be at its highest. This is where many will slow to return technique to perfection and this is incorrect. While we strive for form the ability to achieve your highest potential requires a reduction in the technical details. Failing at technical perfection on some reps lets you know that you are pushing your limits of intensity and technique. 

Still confused? Use this Level 1 certification metaphor based on three marksmen:  

All marksmen fire five rounds at a target and are finished in three seconds.  


#1 hits the bulls-eye all five times. 

#2 hits the bulls-eye twice, but hits the target elsewhere the remaining three. 

#3 does not hit the target and shoots the instructor.  

Marksman 1 is in need of another challenge, this is too easy. Marksman 3 needs to return to basic skills and relearn technical skills in order to match her intensity. We should strive to be the second marksman, who is failing only slightly technically because of increased intensity.

by Mike Thurk

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