In some circles CrossFit has a bad reputation because of a perceived high rate of injuries. Actual studies show that the injury rate is on par with any other popular physical activities like running. Many of the injures that do happen in both CrossFit and other physical activities are due to poor motor patterns and technique.
Last week I wrote about the importance of intensity while working out. When people first understand the level of intensity we’re looking for they go after it with total abandon but forget that movement quality and technique are also very important. In my opinion they are actually more important for 2 reasons.
If you are moving more quickly than your technique can support you’re probably doing the movements in an unsafe manner. We spend time teaching the proper way to perform lifts and to move your body so that you can perform a particular movement hundreds of times and stay injury free. Just because you have developed the capacity to deadlift properly at a slow speed does mean your motor patterns are ingrained enough to move exactly the same way at break neck speed.
Think of it like a cartoon car with a wobbly wheel. As the car moves faster and faster the wheel wobbles more, eventually falling off and causing a horrible accident. We want you to push the speed of your movement to just before your wheels start to wobble. Over time as you get more proficient with a movement you’ll be able to speed up and go faster before your wheels start to wobble. You’ll be increasing your intensity and your work capacity over time as your technique improves. All without injury.
The more mastery you have over a movement the more efficient you can perform it. If you can perform a movement perfectly then it’s a whole lot easier to do so quickly. Problems arise when we have imperfections in our technique, even small ones, because at high speed they become glaringly obvious and are the cause of our wobbly wheels.
It’s not so much an intensity vs technique question as it is great technique = increased intensity. Not either/or but both/and.
Remember intensity is relative. What is intense for me may not be intense for you and visa versa. Know your limits and push right up to the edge of them. Above all always be striving to improve your technique. You can always improve your movement a little more. We want to perform the common uncommonly well.
Now go live better.