I unlocked some movement efficiency the other day as I was pulling my daughter in her bike trailer home from school while ascending a steep hill.
There’s a river between her school and our house and it’s always a fun zoom down toward the river followed by a challenging climb up in each direction.
When I got about mid-way up the hill, I put my focus on ensuring I wasn’t fighting myself on the pedals i.e. putting resistance on the pedal that was returning to the top of the pedal stroke.
As I lasered in on this technique, the climb got easier and easier.
It’s amazing how much we can slow ourselves down when we’re adding (unconscious) resistance to whatever it is we’re doing, whether it’s cycling or lifting weights or your performance at work.
It occurred to me that I’d have never discovered this unless I put my attention on it. If I didn’t, I’d pedal however I habitually pedal.
Here are some scenarios where we might be adding unnecessary resistance (and force) that’s slowing us down or making things harder:
- Excessive heel strike when running
- Not saying “sorry”
- Not saying “thanks”
- Breath holding
- Contracted abs
- Accelerating too fast in traffic
- Excessive task switching at work
- Trying to pack too much into a day
I’m sure you can add some to this list. It’s by no means exhaustive.
The moral of the story here is that sometimes, it’s not about doing more or stepping on the gas to go faster, but doing less and letting go of the brakes.
P.S. And don’t forget, sometimes it’s not about going faster or doing/having more at all.