Today was another perfect day for running. I got in an easy cheesy 5 miles at the local high school before resuming my farm duties.
As I ran today, I was impressed to start a series called "What I wish I had known before I started lifting." Consider this the first installment.
The first thing I wish someone had told me about weight lifting is what is called the mind-muscle connection. Never heard of it? Neither had I until recently. But if there isn't a mind-muscle connection, it doesn't matter how heavy you lift or how hard you train, you're simply not going to see the results you want. You have to focus on really feeling the contractions as you lift. To do this, you have to slow down the pace of your reps and control the contractions every single inch of the way. You're simply trying to establish that you've controlled the weight from point A to point B and the weight didn't just magically get there. On the other hand, if you're just swinging the weights around without any real purpose, you're not going to reach your goals.
Starting this week I've begun working on this connection, especially while performing the eccentric phase of the set. You see, intensity and focus simply refer to the level of physical and mental exertion you give to your workout. It's the desire not just to make it through your workout but to really accomplish something with it. This means that mental concentration is essential. You have to keep your mind on your lifts and not on the TV or anything else. That's just counterproductive. As with other areas of life, there's definitely something to be said for having 100 percent of your attention on moving the weights with both intensity and focus.
I'm going to make the mind-muscle connection a regular part of my workouts. I don't want my mind wandering elsewhere when I'm lifting. I want to stop going robotically through the motions. With God's help, I want to pound out every rep and every set with determination to get the most out of my routine.