Mind Over Matter

thinking about your muscles can increase strength
A new study carried out by a research team
at the University of Hull,
has been hailed as a breakthrough in sports research.
The findings have revealed that thinking about
your muscles during exercise can boost muscle activity,
benefiting exercisers and potentially aiding recovery after injury.

The research, led by Dr David Marchant
of the Department of Psychology in collaboration
with the Department of Sport,
Health and Exercise Science,
consisted of a study which monitored 29
people performing bicep curls using a
weights machine that measured how
much their biceps were working.
Participants had to produce as much
force as possible under three conditions -
(1) thinking about their muscles and how they were moving,
(2) thinking about the dumbbell they were lifting and
(3) thinking about whatever they wanted.
The study showed that there was a
significantly increased muscle activity
when people thought about their arm
muscles and how they moved compared
to when they just though about the
dumbbell they were lifting.

"Sports coaches and trainers would
benefit from tailoring their instructions
depending on what they want performers to achieve."
"When they want people to improve their performance,
thinking about outcomes such as targets
or goals is best.
However, when they want athletes to
exercise their muscles or recover from injury,
thinking about the movement of their
muscles during weights exercises is helpful."

Until now, there has been much confusion
about what to think about whilst exercising
to ensure positive results.
Studies have shown that thinking about your
movements and muscles can make performing
certain skills, such as throwing a ball,
more difficult and less successful.

This research shows that thinking about
your muscles during weights exercises
helps to activate the muscles,
which may help develop strength over time.

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