02 Oct When Does “Technical” Go Too Far?

Barbell GripIn the most recent podcast (episode #86) on bodyweight training I spoke about how we need to be “technicians” in our training.

I spoke about my background and why I believe we need to be more technical in our exercise approach.

But, let me clarify things because I don’t want this point to be misunderstood.

In our training, whether with kettlebells, barbells, bodyweight, jump training, speed training, or any other performance based training, there are certainly “technical” components.

And, personally I love the technical aspects of performance training because I feel like I can always get better and improve.

However, there is a fine line between being technical in our approach and greatly overanalyzing every movement and exercise we do.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

I’ve said many times that I’m always working on my kettlebell swing technique.

I am.

Now, this doesn’t mean I beat myself up after every set, say “I suck,” and sit in deep thought thinking about what I did wrong.

It also doesn’t mean I have a perfectly flawless swing and there’s nothing that can be improved.

I have a fundamentally good swing.  It’s VERY safe and effective.

But, there are little adjustments I notice, either by feel or by visual observation, that can be slightly improved or tweaked.

These are things I notice from time to time.

Perfectionism is the kiss of death because there is no such thing.

Seeking perfection is a different story.

Understand the difference.

We should seek perfection, but know that most of the time there will be minor adjustments or improvements to be made.

We can get really hung up a perfect movement or lift.

This is when we can analyze and overanalyze to death.

That it NOT what I meant in saying we should be “technicians.”

There is a point when good enough is good enough.

Unless you personally feel you have to be great and I can’t fault that at all because I want that too, I’m just saying be careful in your approach.

We should celebrate what we do well and recognize we could be improved.

The little things and the small adjustments can lead to great progress.

But, we do have to be really careful in overanalyzing things.

When I’m training someone and notice something that could be improved, I’ll just focus on one thing at a time to work on.

When we start saying “do this, this, and this” it’s way to complicated and overwhelming.

I do the exact same approach when I train myself, I just focus on one thing at a time.

The Olympic lifts are great example of this right now in my training.

These lifts are at the top, in terms of strength, mobility, skill, and performance.

There are many things I could overanalyze with the highly skilled Oly’s, but I notice an obvious fault and work on just that one thing.

As I get that one thing corrected, then I can work on the next correction and make continuous progress.

I recognize what has improved and also what needs more work.

I have a long way to go, but I’ve also come a long way.

Recognize what you’re doing well and the main thing is to become safe and proficient in your training, no matter what tools or methods you’re doing.

That’s basically what I was getting at when saying we need to be “technicians.”

We need to be SAFE and EFFECTIVE.

It does NOT mean being completely obsessive about training techniques.

Not at all.

Listen, we can always get better, right?

Strive for perfection – yes.

But, don’t be that “obsessive fanatical perfectionist” it will drive you crazy.

And, if you’re a coach, it will drive your athletes or clients crazy.

We don’t need to beat ourselves up over the nuances of the kettlebell swing.

Hinge, have explosive hip drive, and breath properly and you’ve got a great foundation with the swing.

A little continuous tweaking makes for great progress for all of us, but be cautious in taking technical, too far.

In summary it comes down to this.

  • Be technical, not too technical.
  • Analyze, don’t overanalyze.
  • Coach, don’t over-coach.

I hope my points are understood.

Scott Iardella writes about strength training methods to optimize health and performance. If you enjoyed this article, join a strong and growing community of passionate fitness enthusiasts and subscribe below to get a ton of cool, free stuff!  
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