I was hit by a sudden realization today in the gym.
We have somehow been taught that we need to make exercise LOOK DIFFICULT.
We have learned that we need to ‘stress the muscle’. Go slow. Stress. Squeeeeze.
Look around the gym during your next workout – specifically, check out the bodybuilder and bodybuilder wannabes - Do they make lifting weights look easy? Or, do they make it look really, really hard? Almost like they are fighting the movement the entire way.
While I have heard about the idea of the mind-muscle connection and making sure you feel the muscle work, I don’t know if I buy into this philosophy.
To me, it’s almost like you are teaching your muscles to fight against their own potential.
In direct opposition to this habit is what we see when athletes perform an amazing skill.
How many times have you heard someone describe it as “He/She made it look easy”.
Take this lift for example:
(I know this lift wasn’t actually easy, but wow, didn’t he make it look almost effortless!)
Now, I understand that we all don’t want to be Olympic lifters, but it does beg the question – shouldn’t we be trying to make lifting look and feel easier, not harder?
Next time you are in the gym, concentrate on what you are thinking while you are lifting..are you making the lift feel harder than it needs to be? Are you limiting yourself by ‘acting the role’?
If so, try doing the opposite – breathe properly (no grunting or hissing) and try to make lifting look effortless, see what kind of difference it can make with your energy levels and the amount of work you can get done.
I tried this today and was amazed. I had a great workout, AND left the gym feeling...well, energized.