Some, or many of you may be too young to remember this video:
This was one of the most humorous, and illuminating video highlights of Allen Iverson's career. For those that don't remember, Allen Iverson was one of the most gifted athletes ever to walk onto an NBA basketball court. Truly a once in a generation talent. His unwillingness to practice, however, made him a liability later in his career and is likely what cut it short.
So what does this have to do with us?
Group Classes (specifically MetCons) are often equated to "game day". During these strength sessions and metcons we are asked to "perform" a set of skills, and movements at high intensity, or under significant load. Now, some folks are truly gifted, they can walk into the gym and perform these movements with little to no difficulty after learning the standards, they have few mobility issues, are naturally pretty stable, and move well.
If you're reading this far...you're probably not one of these few individuals. If you are, congrats, you've won the genetic lottery, or you're a 20-something year old athlete.
For most of us, these movements can test the limits of our range of motion, strength, stability, and overall work capacity. So...how do we get better? Sorry to say it...but we MUST practice.
This is why we start new strength cycles at 50-70% of your one rep max. It is why we take extra care in the fundamentals process to make sure you can execute these movements correctly, and identify areas of weakness and trouble spots. It gives us something to practice, and also keeps your risk for injury down.
Now, I understand that practice can be tedious at times...repetitions can become monotonous if we are not pushing ourselves in the right way. This takes a bit of a change in perspective.
During practice days, instead of worrying about how high your heart rate is, focus on your range of motion, or your trouble areas. Are your knees out far enough in that squat? Are your ankles caving in? Is your spine staying neutral throughout the lift? Do you have good shoulder position? Focusing on these details WILL MAKE YOU BETTER. This is the path to mastery, which is the path to increased speed, and increased power output.
Like with most things in life, there are no shortcuts! There is a reason that the best athletes in the world make really difficult things look almost effortless....they have put in the practice time.
Enjoy the process and celebrate the small milestones as you reach them!
Here is a great article on how to approach your practice days.