There are few things that can motivate you more than racing the clock.
Trying to do the same workout in less time or more work in the same amount of time is a sure fire way to progress.
That being said, there is a risk to such workouts.
When racing against the clock, there can be a good chance that your technique will erode. It’s only natural since using a shorter range of motion would mean more reps within the time limit. You can also lose some ground on your technique as your muscles fatigue and other muscles try to engage to pick up the slack.
These changes in technique are almost automatic. They can happen to even the most disciplined and detail oriented exercise enthusiast.
With this loss of technique comes an increase in risk of injury and a loss of desired effect from the exercise. If the erosion of technique continues unchecked, serious injury can occur and a false sense of progression can ensue.
But that doesn’t mean that timed workouts should be shoved aside. Heavens no.
I recommend the following to combat timed workout technique erosion.
-Stick to less than technical movements like body weight movements. Highly technical moves have more “links” in the technique chain that could possibly be weak and break.
-Include technique focused workouts in your program once a week or so, leave the stopwatch at home and go through each move with the most perfect technique you can muster. Get every detail as perfect as you can and stop long before it starts to erode. This will help keep your nervous system trained into the correct motor patterns and keep bad habits from developing.
-Use technique queues to signal the full range of motion for each rep. For example the bottom of my push ups is when my thumbs touch the sides of my chest. If my hands don’t touch my chest then I didn’t go low enough and the rep doesn’t count.
Above all, don’t ever sacrifice technique for performance. I know it makes sense now, but in the heat of competition against father time, all bets are off.