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Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

One of the many life lessons I learned in the Marine Corps had to do with moving deliberately, with purpose, and to always remain in control.

The saying is, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” While this phrase may seem counter-intuitive, it can (and will) save your life on the battlefield.

One method of teaching this principle is carried out by giving Marines 60 seconds to field strip and reassemble an M-16 rifle. No matter how many times one practices and hones this skill, when the clock starts, panic and frantic movements often set in. The key to accomplishing the task at hand is to avoid being in a rush. Failure happens when you attempt to move faster than you’re able. It is absolutely crucial to stay in control and move with deliberate actions.

This principle can also be applied to your daily WOD’s or Metcons.

How many times have you reached the halfway point of a taxing WOD and been completely spent, physically and mentally? It has certainly happened to me. Many times you will hear a coach say, “Think about your pace before you begin.” Sound advice, but I would argue there is even more to it.

Focus on executing controlled and deliberate movements.
This applies especially to compound lifts, like the clean and jerk, thrusters, and others. When we, as athletes, move too quickly during a complex movement, we often use poor technique and end up sacrificing balance. This causes us to expend too much energy — costing seconds (or even minutes) on our WOD time. Before your next workout, try prioritizing your movements in this order: technique, consistency and then — only once you’ve perfected the first two — intensity.

Regulate your breathing.
As you likely already know, providing enough oxygen to the bloodstream is key to performance. Erratic breathing or shortness of breath robs your muscles of the energy they need. Believe it or not, many athletes hold their breath during lifts, only breathing in between reps. Don’t do this. Instead, work to stay relaxed and breathe with each movement.

For example: During thrusters, inhale down into the squat, exhale out of the hole into your lock out, overhead. Rinse and repeat! Your pace is dictated by your breathing, and vice versa.

I’m not encouraging athletes to move slow, but, rather, to move deliberately — with purpose and control.

Before you begin your next WOD, remember, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Now go get some! Dismissed!

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