Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What Quality Versus Quantity Means and Learning Oppurtunities

Quality versus quantity is something we hear all the time.  

We think it makes sense but do we really understand or practice quality over quantity?  Most things in life are numbers based and that automatically sets a quantity to whatever it is you are doing; whether it is lifting, running, hiking, swimming, etc.  We are overwhelmed with 25, 30, or 15-minute workouts or calorie counting.  Both are quantity but not necessarily quality.  With the emphasis on quantity, we get tunnel vision and "do it at any cost".  Why not, it is only 10 reps or 25 minutes.  What is the harm?  The harm is that we introduce unnatural movement and ignore the quality work it takes to be able to achieve our best.  I am not saying that we need to make it easier but we do need to make it right.

The first concept of quality is good movement and control to do the activity. 

Movement is just simply having the adequate range of motion and control is being able to stabilize through that range.  There is usually some stiffness or lack of control.  What do we usually do with that?  Maybe some quick stretch or see a Masseuse?  Maybe we foam roll or use some bands?  Do we even know what to do?  Stretching, massage, foam rolling, and band works can be great tools but they also are just symptom relievers.  They do not always get at the cause and the cause could be having poor movement and/or control.  We then push through that lack of movement and control to accomplish great feats.  This will only last so long.  In Olympic lifting, shoulder mobility and control as well as hip mobility and control are the keys to success.  Slight deviations may not be an issue.  However, as we up the volume and weight the lack of these elements can rear its ugly head.

The next concept is effective minimal dose.  

Effective minimal dose is the amount of exercise  or work that will bring about positive gains or changes without causing injury or over training.  This is tough because we are all different and the effective minimal dose is different.  That is why "cookie cutter" programs work for some but not all.  These programs show you before and after results and show people working hard. They emphasize "pushing it."  They talk about how to modify, but this is not emphasized or there is no explanation of when you should modify.   Worse, you do not want to modify the workout despite recommendations.  Modification ensures you get the benefit without "red lining."  It's like driving your vehicle aggressively all the time and then wondering why it breaks down.  There is a range of driving that will keep your car running well and you can deviate from time to time.  Your body is the same way.  Therefore, there is the effective dose of activity that will help you improve and minimize injury too.

So now you know the concepts, so what do you do now? 

The most important thing is to listen to your body.  Unusual stiffness or pain is a warning sign that something needs to change.   Incorporating preventative maintenance and recovery into to what you do is the next important thing. The workout is not the only thing that matters.  The workup to the workout and the recovery from the workout are just as important.  Knowing when to back off is the next important thing.  Most of us do not have a de-load week or active recovery week.  This is a week to work on mobility and control with light to no load and in a different form than your typical workout/activity.   This really makes senses if you think about it.  Have you been making good progress and working hard for weeks and then all of a sudden performance falls, sleep is difficult, and/or you feel fatigued?  It seems confusing because everything is going well but the change is your body (mostly your brain) telling you that it is time to back to down and work on recovery.  Most elite athletes have an off-season and a cycling of intensity throughout the season.  The rest of us have to program this into what we do.

To help you with this, we are going to have classes on recovery and preventative maintenance.  

The classes will be an hour long and will cover topics like foam rolling and mobility band use, the power of plyometrics, weight training form for all, and many more.  Please check out our website for classes that my interest you.

If you would like a question answered, remember that we answer a question a week on face book.  Submit your question and the answer may be published online. 

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