Virtuosity has been described as doing the common, uncommonly well. It can be seen in any discipline where skill and speed is combined. Typing 150 words a minute, driving a racecar 175mph or being a world class violinist all require virtuosity.In human movement we know that virtuosity is required to reach world-class fitness.As speed or weight start to go up, so does the propensity to see a degradation in technique. Little errors and inefficiencies start to get magnified and amplified under intensity. So how do we maximize our technique while keeping our foot on the gas pedal? This tug of war between technique and intensity is not a question of either or, rather it is a relationship in which both are married together. More efficient technique allows one to be able to go faster or heavier.
Here is a typical scenario in the gym: An athlete has a PR snatch of 225lbs. But on some days when they lift, they cannot hit that PR. So why does the weight feel heavier or harder or easier on certain days? Well a true PR is achieved with that athlete’s optimal technique, with little wasted movement, effort and maximal leverage.It is like that perfect golf shot where everything feels right. But sometimes the athlete starts to lift, and makes some errors as they start loading up. They could round their back as they pull or bend their arms early. This would prevent them from being able to reach the PR that day. In essence they have lowered their performance ceiling.The only way to reach their potential is to lower the weight, correct the error, and then continue to progress up while repeating the same process. Muscling through inefficiencies will stunt the progression or growth and limit long-term progress. Don’t be afraid of errors, they are an inevitable part of getting better. But remember to slow it down and correct them, only to go back and push those limits farther. That is the path to virtuosity.