Understanding Training vs Practice
The world of fitness is vast and multi-faceted, often leaving us torn between the dual realms of ‘training’ and ‘practice.’ Understanding the nuanced difference between the two is the first step toward reaching your goals effectively. In its simplest form, training refers to the musculoskeletal process of incrementally increasing stress, load, or speed on your system. Think of training as the hardware upgrade for your body, making your muscles stronger and your cardiovascular system more efficient.
On the other hand, practice is the neuromuscular process that focuses on better brain-to-body communication and refining movement patterns. If training is the hardware, then consider practice as the software update that makes everything run more smoothly. The goal of practice is to perfect your technique and improve the efficiency of your movements, leading to better performance and decreased risk of injury.
The Importance of Low-Threshold Situations for Practice
When you’re practicing a skill or movement, the environment is crucial. Unlike training, where the aim is to push your limits, practice demands a more controlled, low-threshold situation. Your body needs to feel rested, safe, and in a state where it can execute movements with maximum precision and intent. This is the zone where your brain can form new neural pathways most effectively, allowing your body to understand what an “ideal” movement feels like.
From Practice to High-Threshold Scenarios
Once you’ve sufficiently developed a new skill through practice, the next challenge is to integrate it into higher-threshold, more demanding scenarios like intense workouts or competitive games. It’s essential, however, to make this transition carefully. Throwing a newly-learned skill into a high-pressure situation can be detrimental if you’re not prepared, as the demands could overwhelm your current level of ability. Always remember, mastery of a skill is not just about learning it, but also about applying it effectively under various conditions.
Choosing the Right Workout Structures in CrossFit
At Lumos, we particularly emphasize the importance of picking workout structures that align with your current goals—whether it’s skill development or performance enhancement. In the realm of CrossFit, we believe “Time-Specific” workouts, like AMRAPs (As Many Rounds As Possible) and EMOMs (Every Minute On the Minute), are better suited for integrating new skills. The reason? The time component is fixed, so you aren’t penalized if you slow down to focus on your form or technique.
On the flip side, “Task-Specific” workouts, like Rounds for Time, may not be the best choice when you are trying to practice a new skill. The reason is simple: these workouts encourage you to finish a set amount of work as quickly as possible, which can be counterproductive when you need to slow down to ensure proper technique. In such structures, the intent to complete tasks rapidly can overshadow the aim of skillful execution, leaving you in a tug-of-war between speed and form.
At Lumos we are committed to helping you navigate the complex interplay between training and practice, making sure that you not only grow stronger but also move better. Remember, achieving your fitness goals is not just about lifting heavier weights or running faster; it’s also about mastering the art of skillful movement. So the next time you step into the gym, be conscious of your ‘practice points,’ because when you pick them wisely, the sky is the limit for your performance.
Understanding Training vs Practice