Increasing your performance. This is according to the British Psychological Society. The research carried out by Dr David Marchant and his team at Hull University has been presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference at the City Hall Cardiff in March 2006. In the study, 30 people performed bicep curls using a weights machine that measured how much their biceps were working. They tried to produce as much force as possible under three conditions: (1) thinking only about their muscles and how they were working, (2) thinking about the weight they were lifting and (3), thinking about whatever they wanted. There was much more muscle activity when people thought about their arm muscles and how they moved compared to when they just thought about the weight they were lifting.
This is a breakthrough in sports research because until now there has been confusion about what to think about when exercising. Focusing on the weight, or the task at hand , or focus on the efficient function of the body. Basically the weight you're pumping or how your muscles are working. Studies up till now have shown that thinking about your muscles makes performing skills, like throwing a ball, more difficult and less successful. This research shows when it is helpful to think about your muscles, when you're exercising to improve strength. Sports coaches and trainers would benefit from tailoring their instructions depending on what they want performers to achieve.
Now here's some food for thought. This is not a large standardized study but here's what they found. Guang H. Yue of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and his colleagues, who asked volunteers to think about contracting a finger or bending an elbow but not to perform the task. Over a 12-week regimen, in which volunteers did 50 mental contractions 5 days per week, the muscles powering the finger and elbow strengthened by 35 and 13.5 percent, respectively. The muscles didn't actually grow in size, so Yue proposes that the mental practice strengthened the brain's signals to the muscles. He plans to test such mental flexing on people otherwise unlikely to exercise, such as stroke patients or the elderly
So the next time you're working out give some more thought and focus on the muscles you're going to be working before your workout. See yourself in that workout doing great things, and see if it doesn't work for you. Good Luck...
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