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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Want To Increase Your Weight Or Reps Today? Try Visualization

You may have heard the old saying "what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve." Self help books have been using it for years, starting with Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich. It has been overused so much that it actually seems a little trite. However, there are ways to apply this old, worn out saying to improve your weight training at your next workout. By applying some simple visualization techniques, you can get those last reps, lift more weight, and improve your form.

Why is it so important to squeeze everything out of yourself for those peak sets? In a word, intensity. Muscle building is an adaptive response to the demands you put on your body. In order to be effective in your muscle building, you must be vigilant in your quest to always increase the load put on your muscles. In other words, it matters if you are really squeezing everything out of your sets instead of just working "hard".

Personally, I like visualizing in the first person. Using th! is technique, I am most effective at adding the secret ingredient; visualizing with feeling. I used this yesterday during a squat workout, and when I was out of breath and under duress, I still hit two more reps. That's the difference between going home feeling great about my leg workout, or having to endure a week of under achievement until my next leg session.

Here is how it works:

* Before your set, picture yourself getting ready to approach the bar. In your mind's eye, you should be focused and physically ready. Make sure your physiology in your mental picture is accurate. What does your face look like when you are focused? Where are your eyes? What does your body look like when you are physically ready? How are you standing? How are you breathing? Are your shoulders back and head up? Are you breathing deep? Make sure the picture in your mind's eye is accurate, and feel how you would feel in this state.

* Now it's time for the setup. If you are doing t! he squat, how do you stand before you unrack the weight? How d! oes the weight feel coming off the rack? Do you steady the weight before you walk out? How does the walk out feel? Once you are done with the walkout, how are you standing with the weight? How does the weight feel? How are you breathing? What is your posture? You should envision yourself with perfect form through every step and feel the confidence under the weight.

* Now we start seeing and feeling each of the reps with perfect form. Do you break at the hips? Is your chest out and head up? Are you staying upright? What does it look like when you power out of the hole?

* As you see each rep in your set, you should feel each rep just like it would feel if you were actually doing the set. How does the first rep feel? How does the sixth rep feel? Are you pushing yourself through the pain?

It's amazing how much this exercise can make a difference in your sets. Imagine if you did this at every workout. How much extra progress do you think you can make over the next 3 or ! 6 months if you did this consistently?

Try it out a few times and see if this is something for your workout arsenal. Don't worry if you aren't good at it the first few times you try visualization - it takes practice. Personally, it took some of my training to the next level. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

Phil Harris is the author of the free muscle building resource: Muscle Building Revealed, which can be found at

He specializes in empowering people to build muscle fast. with the right training, nutrition, supplements, and motivation.

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