Technique. You hear about it everywhere. Athletes hear about it the most and are constantly reminded to make sure their technique in whatever they do is as flawless as possible. But why? Why is technique so important?
Technique is defined as "The procedure used to accomplish a specific activity or task."
My experience with changing the procedure to accomplish a specific task was an interesting one today.
A fellow co-worker had given me some tips and advice on my workouts with the Concept2 Rower - an ergonomic rowing machine. In a former life, she was apart of a rowing team down in Texas and is looking to get back into it. After my first time rowing 2,000 meters, she told me what I needed to tweak out with my technique to be faster/stronger/better. So, today I did exactly as she told me. Push off with the legs first before pulling on the chain. Make your movement one fluidic motion. Make sure the chain stays roughly straight and don't go over your knees. I focused on these things as I started to row, row, row...and it worked!
My time the previous rowing session was going about 2:15-2:30/500m with the way I worked before. Today's time with those simple tweaks: 1:92-2:02/500m and I was not getting the same arm strain that I was the last time. I was able to complete a 2,000 meter row in under 8 minutes, shaving off 90 seconds from my previous time.
Although I was a bit jelly-legged (I was warned this would happen too and it's a sign that you did it right), I felt great! Added bonus, that quad strain that I felt was eased greatly after doing this workout!
In all sports, we're coached to move a certain way. Sloppy effort equals sloppy results. During my 10+ miler on Sunday, I felt better on that run than previous runs. Reason: Eric was coaching me on - SUPRISE! - running technique. Little changes to the way I move my legs, how I plant my feet, my body alignment, etc. All of those little changes gave me bigger gains. I felt more comfortable. I felt less sore. I felt like I could go on longer, even with my lack of a bigger aerobic base due to being sidelined these past few months.
When I was doing triathlons, the same thing applied. With better technique, I cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. I was able to ride uphill and not have to get off the bike and push it like a car with a dead engine.
So what's the point? You have a good technique and you can equalize the field of competition. I've seen guys on old steel road bikes beating dudes on $5000 triathlon bikes made of carbon fiber. Guys were the same size and had the same VO2. But the road bike dudes had better riding technique. I've seen ladies in their early 50's deadlift 200 lbs barbells that guys in their 20's couldn't do half the weight and the guys looked more "muscular".
Whatever you have a passion to do, learn it well and learn how to do it right everytime.