During my training I have come up with some little strategies that help me to train even harder and push to the next level. I thought it would be useful to share these with you all as they may help some of you find that extra gear. Remember that when it comes to training Quality is as important if not MORE important than Quantity so these strategies could help you get even greater results.
1. Mind Muscle Connection
This isn’t really a personal thing so much as how you should treat every lift.
During any lifting or lowering exercise you need to realise that it’s not about just moving the bar/weight from A-B but more about flexing the muscle against the weight. To do this you need to know exactly what muscles you are focusing on during the lift and concentrate on flexing these muscles to move the weight.
You can look up which muscles are used with a very simple Google search. The other thing that I personally do is find a photo of someone performing the particular lift and look at the muscles being flexed. I use this image to help bring that focus to the desired muscle groups.
A great example of this is the Lat Pull Down. This focuses primarily on the Lats as well as the traps and biceps, it does not involve flexing at the waist and swinging the bar down. I have an image of someone performing said exercise showing a very ripped muscular back and I imagine my back looking like that (it doesn’t just yet) as I’m performing the exercise. I then concentrate on flexing the required muscles to move the bar down whilst keeping my core engaged to prevent unnecessary swinging of my body. The pump I get from lifting this way is immense compared to my previous efforts of just yanking the bar down to get it where it needs to be.
Another classic example is the squat. Try doing 10-20 bodyweight squats but pause at the bottom and focus on flexing those big movers to get you up rather than popping up using every muscle you feel like.
What would X do?
For this one its all about mind games and you ‘v’ your idols.
Simply find someone with a physique or skills set you admire. When your feeling a bit tired or that you can’t lift another rep think what would that person do. For me it’s Rich Froning (3x Crossfit Games Champion) so when I’m thinking I’ve had enough or don’t want to do those last few reps because it “hurts” I think “would Rich Froning stop now, no he’d do 2 more” this fires me up.
It’s the old “you want to look like a champion, you need to train like one” so go find your champion and get training harder.
Uncomfortable V Exhaustion
I like watching motivational videos on YouTube on my way to the gym or before a workout and this is the one I use to paraphrase to myself when I’m tired and feel like I’ve had enough of a particular set or workout.
The basics are “are you exhausted or merely uncomfortable”
Tip – your just uncomfortable so HTFU and suck it up buttercup.
The Rock – FOCUS
Another YouTube video that is doing the rounds on Facebook and makes me laugh but also makes me focus just prior to performing a lift and is my little mantra I say to myself if I feel my concentration drifting and not performing as I should be.
If I’m performing an exercise or set for time and am starting to fatigue then I give myself a number of breaths to rest or pause. Usually 3 or 4 max.
So as I start to fatigue and form is being negatively effected then I stop just long enough to take 3 breaths before getting straight back at it. This stops me from resting too long and losing my intensity whilst allowing me a few seconds to regain a little composure and reset before hitting it hard again
That’s it really, nothing ground breaking or extra special but a few things I use to make sure I’m getting the most out of my workout and pushing to my absolute limit everytime I’m in the gym. Hopefully these will help other or at least give you ideas for your own mantras.