The time old tale of working smarter rather than harder. I speak to a lot of people in the gym, so I get to see a lot of perspectives of training.
There’s a common misconception that in order to get a “better” workout, it needs to be harder. It needs to be balls to the wall, dripping with sweat, can’t walk kind of workout. You look a mess and feel even worse, so you must have “smashed it” right? Wrong.
Technical failure is so common during an intense or fast paced workout. 6 reps in and form is out the window. It’s more about quantity of the reps as opposed to focusing on the quality of the movement itself. For a novice, this is most likely going to end in injury, prolonged periods of poor form or burnout. Heavy intensity all the time is unsustainable.
Alternatively, you’ve got really good at circuits, or a heavy one rep. You’ve worked at that level of intensity and got really good at it. Now I’m going to ask you to perform a perfect, even tempo Bodyweight squat. And repeat, 12 times. Perfect form. At LEAST parallel depth. Knees not caving in. Core braced. Controlled, even reps. What’s that? You’ve never focused on your technique and mastering the movement of a hip hinge?! Uh oh.
I am in NO way saying you shouldn’t have intense workouts. I'm saying manage your intensity and master the movements before applying the intensity.
By taking the time to understand the techniques required for compound movements, you’re going to get so much more out of the workouts. Because you’re performing the movements correctly and efficiently. Improving your control over tempo will allow you to loads barbell and feel confident and capable performing a heavy, high volume set. If you haven’t mastered that, you load the bar and smash through a set. You’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re capable of more.
And yes, technique work may not give you the same buzz and a sick workout bro. But you know what will? That new deadlift PB without breaking your back. Or dropping those few extra pounds. Or FINALLY getting a better mind muscle connection at the bottom of your squat.
Mastering your form will allow you to apply the principles of progressive overload, as well as moving on to further, more complex movements. For example, mastering a squat. Once you can perform a squat, you could move to a goblet squat, back squat, front squat, pin squat, Zercher squat. The list goes on. Imagine the potential you have yet to unlock!
Look at it this way, you can apply intensity at a variable rate. You can make this easier or harder depending on your programming and goals. But you should NEVER be performing an exercise wrong or poorly. There’s no such thing as doing an “easy” version of a technique, either you’re doing it, or your not.
Learn, apply, do, learn again.