Quality vs Quantity?
Recently, I read a great article describing the importance of different intensities of training and why it is possible to still achieve progress without having to push yourself to the limits every time you exercise. Over the last few years, I have noticed a big trend in high-intensity exercise classes or groups that promise reducing body fat, losing and gaining weight over what seems to be very short time periods. I began to wonder how do people who have not exercised formally partake in these high-intensity exercise classes without risk of injury? What is the process trainers take to screen and minimize injury risk in a large group of people?
After reading this article it used the word ‘practice’ as opposed to ‘training’ or ‘workout’. A good exercise program will have a balance of ‘practice’ and technique-based exercises as well as higher intensity cardiovascular or resistance exercises to have the maximal benefit by improving posture, flexibility and restoring muscular imbalances. I have seen that people (often from younger generations) tend to believe that a good workout involves sweating profusely and generally working themselves into the ground in each session to deem it a success. I believe differently, and think it comes down to education and understanding the benefits of achieving correct movement patterns, alignment and reducing injury risk. Before you can complete a large volume and intensity of exercise, you need to achieve better quality movement to ensure you have stability, strength, and power for higher intensity sessions.
For many people, a weekly exercise program focused on improved posture, better alignment, and joint stability will allow them to perform better in their daily tasks at work and home. For example, improved posture will reduce lower back pain due to being sedentary all day which results in better productivity at work. This can all happen without the need to do vigorous, high-intensity sessions each day. Another factor they mentioned was that exercise is viewed sometimes as a ‘punishment’ for overindulgence – which I believe causes a negative association with nutrition and exercise. Exercise sessions should be seen as a chance to progress and better develop skills, rather than ‘no pain no gain’.
At Optimum, all our exercise physiologists screen for postural and muscular imbalances and address these appropriately in their exercise programs, with the focus on quality movements before quantity or intensity.