Sometimes, to improve or fix something, you need to isolate the issue and work hard at it – rest isn’t always the answer.

I’ve had a bit of an elbow injury recently from badminton. I went to the physio to get some advice on how to help it recover. I was expecting the usual; “rest it for 2 weeks, only doing these light exercises, then slowly build up the exercise”. Instead, I got almost the opposite. He observed that I needed to put a lot of stress on my elbow for any pain to occur, therefore, light exercises would be no help. Instead, he said “we need to increase the capacity the tendons can take, and to do that we must isolate the muscles around it and work them hard!”

This got me thinking, are small steps always that beneficial? Take presenting for example, should you build up slowly, by adding more and more people, or should you isolate the various parts of it and push them hard?! For example, you could isolate body language and more and more often think about how to move and present yourself when talking to others. Isolate the speaking part and learn more and more scripts, learn more jokes and practice explaining things clearly. Add the parts together and you’re a better presenter.

I guess it is similar to practising aspects for a sport – taking 100 free kicks in a row for example. If you are bad at penalties, the solution isn’t to ‘rest’ and not take any for a while. Break down what’s going wrong, can you see which way the keeper is going, are you striking the ball cleanly etc. Go hard on the components and the bigger picture will come together.

So when you’re next facing a challenge, don’t back down. Break it down and go hard on each part to increase your capacity.

P.S. please don’t take my advice for any physical injuries and consult your own physio 🙂