The Importance of Improving Your Form While You Workout
Good form in your athletic endeavors translates into efficiency which translates into more endurance and quicker pace. While it is true that you can go a long time at something without efficiency because you are really fit and/or strong, you can go even farther and faster if you are doing the exercise efficiently. Most really efficient athletes started participating in their sport when they were kids. There is no chance to this. Kids are less set in their ways, and their bodies are more pliable and adaptable. They develop good form in their sport or sports. Of the three sports of triathlon nothing is more demonstrative of this fact than the swimming discipline. A triathlete who did not swim competitively as a kid is much more likely to be a poor swimmer in triathlon, and their lack of speed in the water (not to mention the wasted energy they expend there) definitely costs them in the overall placings in their races.
Having said this, any athlete should recognize the importance of learning the most efficient form or methodology to their sport. While training one should make it a priority to become very efficient at their sport BEFORE trying to build endurance and later speed. Said another way, a wanta-be athlete should go through a progression in his or her training in order to be a standout performer. The first stage in the progression should be on becoming efficient in the motion the sport demands. Don’t worry about endurance or speed. The second stage is to increase the duration at which you can perform that motion, i.e., work on your endurance. This is the stage at which you create quality muscle-memory regarding your sporting activity. Without muscle-memory, you are going to have a hard time working on your speed properly. And the third stage in the progression is to put endurance aside for the most part and focus on creating speed which requires getting really efficient at what you do.
Most athletes don’t go back to Stage 1 after they leave it. They will from time to time flip back and forth between stages Two and Three in order to grow as an athlete, but few will revisit the slow and arduous Stage One. If they got it correct the first time, then there is no need to go back to that stage. However, so many adult athletes who didn’t compete as a kid in a discipline don’t get it correct before moving onto Stage Two.
With regard to triathlon, the cycling discipline typically poses the least amount of problem for the adult athlete. As long as the competitor is pretty much correctly fitted to his or her bicycle, then it’s just a matter of turning the pedals over and over. But swimming is very skill sensitive, and to a certain degree running is, too. I have to say that swimming is the hardest to learn since form is critical to gaining speed. Do it wrong and you will move like you are in quicksand regardless of the amount of energy you expend. Running is a funny one, you can do it incredibly wrong, but if you expend a whole lot of energy you can move pretty fast. And the younger you are, then the more wrong you can do it and still move quickly. When you get old, do it wrong, then you will injure yourself. Bummer.
So the importance of improving your form while you workout is important because it will make your endurance and speed workouts more helpful. And it will help keep you from getting injured. Don’t be shortsighted and think your form is close enough to being ideal that you can work on endurance and speed. Get it right the first time and the other things you do will be so much better.