Is All Effort Created Equal?

For those of you who aren’t big on reading, I’ll save you some time: the answer is “No”.  Unfortunately, if you want to know why, you’ll have to read on!

One of the most common mistakes we see in inexperienced athletes is the “more is better” mentality.  In all honesty, who can blame them?  The pop-culture stereotype of the successful athlete is someone who goes into the gym and works him or herself to the brink of death repeatedly.  Think Rocky Balboa…or the people in Nike commercials.  Those people don’t look all that concerned about what they’re doing.  They’re just concerned with doing whatever it is until they collapse into a pool of their own sweat (wearing the latest stylish athletic footwear, of course).  There’s good news and bad news.  The good news is, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) destroy yourself during every training session.  The bad news is, it still ain’t easy.  

Like so many things in the world of athletic performance, it all comes back to having a good plan, having the discipline to stick to your plan, and having a knowledgeable coach to let you know when it’s time to step on the gas and when it’s time to pump the brakes.  To make the most of your training, you need that drive to push yourself beyond the limit of what you thought you could do, but you also need the discipline and focus to manage that drive and direct it in a way that is going be best for your performance, resilience, and longevity in your sport.  This is why elite Crossfit competitors don’t do Crossfit, at least as it exists in most affiliates.  They know that in order to improve and excel in their sport, a daily max effort sweatfest of random movements won’t cut it.  Instead, they need to direct that effort towards the specific things that will make them better at their sport – developing their weightlifting technique, building their aerobic base, improving their strength endurance, etc.  They can improve at all of those things, possibly in the same day, through multiple sub-maximal efforts.  The same is true for any athlete.  Sometimes a max effort is required to move an athlete forward.  Often, the focus should be elsewhere.

The other “inequality” we see in effort has to do with correct movement patterns.  At SISU Strong, one of our goals for pretty much every athlete, regardless of sport or level of competition, is to make them more efficient.  In other words, we want them to expend less energy to perform the same amount of work.  It doesn’t take a genius to see how that can be an advantage in competition or just allow you to perform at a higher level for longer in practice or on casual rides.  However, it’s not immediately obvious how you make that happen.  One of the biggest ways we can start developing greater efficiency is by learning and practicing correct movement patterns.  By mastering major movements, such as the squat, hip hinge, push and pull, we are teaching our body to stabilize and absorb force through the muscles best equipped to handle that force.  If you never learn the correct movement pattern, you can waste a lot of time and effort and actually make yourself less efficient and more prone to injury.  It pays off to do your research, learn how to move correctly, and make the most of your training time.

If you need help learning correct movement patterns or with a training program in general, check out our online training options or downloadable PDF training programs.

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