"The Power of Thought"
The mind is a powerful entity. It has the power to translate imaginations into real-life scenarios. For example, when playing the piano or exercising. One research has shown that people who simply imagined doing strength-training exercises increased their muscle strength by 22 percent, compared to 30 percent for those who physically did the exercises.
Of course, this doesn't mean you stop going to the gym and start making your workouts "imaginary" - although it is tempting - the power of your thoughts to trigger changes in your body is something worth taking advantage of.
This mind-body connection doesn't come naturally to many people. Most of us have to put a whole lot of energy into training our minds to convince our bodies. But that doesn't mean it can't be done.
Here are some strategies to improve your mind-body connection every time you train.
One Limb at a Time
Using one limb at a time forces your mind to focus on balancing. Exercises like split-leg squats, lunges or step-ups and one-arm overhead presses with a dumbbell or one-arm chest presses all use one limb at a time. This forces you to focus all your energy and strength on only one specific body part, helping you recruit more muscle fibers to move more weight as compared to when your focus is split between both arms or both legs.
Concentrate on Grip
Training your mind to concentrate on your grip while you lift can engage the muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm. This can also help you enhance your mental focus on what you're doing as you move the weight. This is especially important when using barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells.
Using Heavy Weights
Using a heavier weight challenges your mind to focus on what you're doing, improving your mind-body connection. A heavier weight helps you engage larger muscles as compared to lighter weights for higher rep ranges. The first time you lift heavier, you shake because the muscles that were previously not used before are being turned on and called into action. This forces your mind to work with your body, telling your body that it can do it.
Learning how to implement these strategies can help you improve your mind-body connection so when you’re working out, you can really focus on what you’re doing and make the most out of the limited time in the gym.