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How can you go Faster? Try going slower… Thoughts on Super Slow Motion Training

I’ve always loved sports, especially when it comes to learning and competing at new sports that I don’t get to play often.  Whenever we learn something new it’s far to easy to try and learn a couple of basics and then go full speed.  Whether it’s golf, tennis, running, olympic lifting, rowing, or any other sport.  The thrill of competition and grace in motion that sports played at full speed creates is amazing.  Full speed competition elicits that feeling of joy and excitement that we all live for.  However, a couple of problems usually arise at one point or another in our performance at full speed, especially if we take it up to full speed to quickly.

1. We lose form and things get sloppy.  Basically the wheels come off.

2. We need more speed to out perform our competition, but it’s just not there.

Drew's new Catch Positioning

Drew’s new Catch Positioning

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve experienced this situation with many of the athletes I coach, both on the water rowing and in the gym training.  We’re always fighting for more intensity and boat speed, but too often something falls apart and our true potential is never reached.

Personally, I’ve experienced a similar situation while learning the piano.  I currently take lessons once a week and have worked up to playing 4 songs and almost all of the scales, but my progress tends to stumble when I go to fast.  It seems easy when I play a scale or a song slowly, so why not pick up the speed and just figure out how to not make mistakes playing faster?  Well because it just gets sloppy and I never really learn what I’m doing wrong or better yet, what I can be doing better.

After being turned on to two great blog posts on slow motion practice, one from the music world and one from the golf world, I decided to share this idea with the rowing and strength training world that I hope you all partake in.

Is Slow Practice Really Necessary? by 

Slow is Beautiful by Daniel Coyle

First, read through the above two blog posts and think about how slow is super slow.  To often we think we’re going slow, but we could be going slower.  Then, go out and practice super slow motion movements in your warmup.  Be mindful, find the points where your focus lapses or you make a mistake, figure out how you can be more efficient, smoother, and more consistent.  If you can take at least 20 minutes to practice this I guarantee you will find more boat speed, achieve more power, and perform at a higher level.

Above is Drew performing the Reverse Pic Drill in a single.  Think about how many hours of slow motion practice, balance, and boat feel it has taken for him to get to this point.  Look at where he slows things down to find better balance, feel, and connection to the boat and water.  For him to make this better and go faster at full speed, he will probably need to practice this even slower.  Now it’s your turn, get on an erg, setup a barbell, or get in a boat and master your movement skills with super slow motion.  It’s harder than you think.

Share your thoughts and experience to comments.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Courtney Swaney on Facebook

    Love this! I’ve been told constantly “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” and it’s so counterintuitive, but it works. The hard part is definitely all mental.

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