Here's some psychological techniques that have proven sucessful for me and my charges. This information will be on my site also:
Mind set is the glue that keeps your training, nutrition, and rest at optimal levels. Without proper mindset and discipline all the genetics in the world will go to waste, In fact a genetically blessed individual can be bested by a genetically average individual (only speaking from an athletic point of view) if the individual of average genetics is determined and smart about their training, of course this happens often enough in sports. If a genetically superior individual were to have a superior mindset he or she would be unstoppable, clearly then the control of your own mind can reap you enormous rewards.
Throughout the years I have been greatly interested in the minds ability to exact rapid and massive changes in physical development. As a result I have studied and applied numerous techniques on enhancing the minds abilities, the results varied from relatively poor to mind-boggling. I reasoned that since it's been said that human beings only tap into 5-7 percent of their mental capacity then imagine what could be accomplished if an individual could tap into the 95-93 additional percent, the results would be amazing.
I will state that beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would not have been able to attain my peak level of development and power without strengthening my mind first. In this section I have included the techniques that I have found enormously effective in pushing my development through the roof. I have named these mind strengtheners with names that seem fitting.
The name may sound scary but the results that method produce once mastered will give you the intensity of Samson. We all know that when you lift heavy weight you are literally battling against the weight, the weight seeks to crush you and in turn you should seek to crush and control the weight. With this in mind lifting weights is not unlike a battle at war.
Before lifting a weight I imagine myself as a warrior on a horse with full-blown muscles with extreme vascularity, I have heavy armor on that protects my head, torso and upper legs. I am wielding a two-sided giant axe and I am sitting upon a mighty steed. I charge into battle and begin cutting down my enemies with my axe, blood spatters everywhere as the vast enemy army swarm towards me. Every head and torso that I swing at is another repetition completed. As the pain of the set increases I imagine that my horse has been slayed and I am forced to fight on foot, swinging my axe in rage and getting more repetitions.
When I make use of this technique, no weight encountered feels heavy, in fact the heavier the weight the more aggressive I become when lifting it. Expect great results form this technique, the greater you visualize the event the greater your lifting ability will be. Use caution when using this technique because you will literally frighten some observers around you, if this is a problem for you train in a more rugged gym, they will understand.
It must be stressed that when using this technique you must always control the weight, if your form breaks down you might get injured.
With this mental technique you visualize successfully performing your workout prior to training. You visualize as much detail as you possibly can including colors in the gym, the poundage you select, the effort you put into the lift, your form, the gym atmosphere, the stretching and contraction of the muscle being worked, etc. The more detailed your visualization the better; always visualize 2-3 repetitions above your target repetition goal in a particular exercise. The mind doesn't really differentiate between an imagined event and a real one and as a result responds to them in similar ways. That is why when you have a nightmare your heartbeats rapidly, you sweat, and you find your self frightened, at least until you become aware that you are safe. Your mind simply doesn't know the difference. Instead of using this phenomenon to frighten yourself you can control it and use it to build confidence, crush phobias, and demolish poundage.
Here's what you do. Sitting down with a towel over your head, look downwards, and close your eyes. At this point begin breathing very deeply through your mouth, continue this for 2-3 minutes while focusing on your breathing. Begin visualizing how your walk into the gym with great confidence. Visualize your surroundings, the time of day, the noise in the gym, the smell, everything. Begin narrowing your focus and begin to visualize yourself setting up the weight you are going to lift for your first exercise, visualize yourself completing every single repetition moving the weight with fluidity and power, hear the clang of the weights as your hands grip the bar, even visualize the bar bending form the massive weight. As the set progresses visualize the weight becoming heavier but your resolve becoming greater. Keep visualizing until you have completed the last muscle sculpting repetition. Repeat this for all the sets of that particular exercise. At this point move onto your next exercise and repeat the visualization process. Keep doing this until you have mentally completed all the work sets in your exercise session. Once completed open your eyes.
It is not necessary to visualize your warm ups because these are not done with maximum intensity, once you have lifted your maximum weight all other sets are easy by comparison. Once the workout is completed in your mind congratulate yourself on a job well done. This process will take about 5-10 minutes to properly complete but will produce great dividends in physique if practiced frequently.
Once you go to the gym you mind will be convinced that you are capable of lifting the weight you visualize and will activate the necessary muscle fibers, energy pathways, and nerves to complete the workout. Once you conquer anything mentally, physically it is a walk in the park.
Note: It is important to understand that when visualizing you should visualize slightly more than you have done in a previous workout to insure success, do not visualize squatting 500lbs for 10 repetitions if you currently do 225lbs for 10, a better number would be 235lbs for 10 repetitions. The systematic approach of small increments will lead to your eventual capacity to squat 500lbs for 10 repetitions.
The next mental technique is called verbal denial. Now a lot of us know that denying something can be detrimental, it can cause more damage than if we looked the issue in the face and handled it. Denial can be used to increase our strength, muscle mass, and reduce body fat levels. How much stronger and bigger can it make you? A lot stronger and a lot bigger. Here's how I suggest you use it, here's how I use it. When I am performing a brutally hard movement such an s the barbell squat, deadlift, or leg press I often get anxious and nervous before performing the lift, I know the weight will be heavy and stressful and this often makes me anxious. In order to make the weight seem less than what it really is I use verbal denial, basically I talk to myself, yes that's right I talk to myself convincing myself that the weight is no big deal.
I say things such as "Light weight", "It's a walk in the park", "Easy weight", and "Strong". Saying these things out loud causes my body to accept what my mind has told it, in fact as my set progresses I say out load "See I told you that it was easy", "Common this is easy", "A little girl could move this weight" (no offense ladies, I know some of you are very strong), doing this throughout the set enables me to achieve many more repetitions than if I didn't use this technique because it squashes my anxiety.
I highly recommend you use verbal denial when approaching a weight or set that causes you a little anxiety.
This is a mental trick than you can use to trigger a certain state of mental arousal on demand. Mental arousal is a term used to describe and mood between rage and lethargy. In different sports and their playing positions it is required for players to have a different level of arousal. A technical and precision sport such as Archery requires a calm but aware state of arousal, a mid level of arousal so to speak. A sport like Powerlifting requires a high arousal, a controlled rage for one all-out fairly linear repetition. A sport like Depth diving without equipment requires an extremely low arousal level almost to the point in which the athlete is asleep. This is because it is necessary to slow down heart rate to reduce oxygen consumption. My point is it is advantageous for you to achieve peak arousal levels for your chosen event or workout goals. What is also important is that you are able to turn on peak arousal level at will. How do you do this? well a good way is to create an anchor.
An anchor is a behavior, physical object, or sight that you group with a mental state of arousal. This can be a saying, a body movement, or simply wearing a piece of clothing that you always say, do, or wear when you perform a specific task that calls for a specific arousal level. Grouping like this if carried on regularly will cause your brain to associate, one factor with the other. That is why you can play an old tune from your child years and back comes emotions and memories that you went through during the time when you originally heard the song.
Advertisers and Ad agencies seek to develop this condition in consumers when they always display their product with a musical jingle, or associate their product with feelings of superiority, or show that their product as a reduction to some type of anxiety. We can use the power of anchoring for nobler causes, to build our overall physical development, strength, fitness and health.
Here's how you do it, prior to doing an intense set of an exercise raise your arousal level by thinking about how light the weight is, and how you will throw it through the ceiling, or rip it out of the wall once you have achieved optimal arousal (for bodybuilding, strength training, and optimal fitness this is a controlled aggressiveness and focused precision) anchor it by performing a definite, clear, and specific physical act that you don't usually do throughout your day. An anchoring behavior that I have used with great success is I twitch my fingers back and forth on my left hand while repeating the phrase "Light weight". This will work well for anyone, in fact any combination of behavior and arousal level will work. For this technique to work at it's fullest strength you should use this technique every time you do an intense set, it will take about a month to kick in.
This is when you trick your body by telling your mind a half-truth. Here is how it works; if you were performing a heavy set of deadlifts you would only acknowledge half of the weight on the bar. If you had 400lbs on the bar you would say out loud, "Only 200lbs a leg, this is nothing", you would repeat this as often as you have to bring your arousal level up. 200lbs is nothing when compared to 400lbs and your mind knows this, so your anxiety level declines and you are able to perform the lift because mentally and physically you have done 390lbs in the past. This technique must be repeated verbally 3 to 4 times to signal and convince the brain that what you say is true; it is in fact true you will lift 200lbs with each leg. This is a great technique to use for dual limb movements obviously it won't work for single arm exercises.
Often when performing a heavy set of an exercise for high repetitions (15 or more) the task at hand can seem daunting, especially once you get half way through your muscles are stinging from lactic acid build up, your heart is beating through your chest, and the bar feels like it's moving through molasses. His can be especially daunting on a movement such as the twenty repetition breathing squat in which it is suggested that you select a weight that you can typically get 10 repetitions with, and through sheer will and proper breathing survive through 10 more for a total of 20. So how to best get through this type of work, how do you convince yourself not to give in so you can enter the land where the big gains lay.
An effective trick to use is to break down the work set into 3 components, here's how you would do this in the case of twenty repetition breathing squats. The first component of your set is the first 10 repetition squats you don't think of any of the other repetitions except for these ten that you will complete in controlled form. Once you get to 10 you tell yourself that you only have to do five more, these will be difficult but you know you will make it because you want to tap into the fullest growth potential of your body. Once you do these five you will want to rack the weight, your body will screaming from the fatigue and your lungs will probably feel as if they are going to burst, toughen up and convince yourself that you will finish the last component of 5 repetitions, these you count backwards as you gut out your repetitions, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then rack the weight. Give yourself a hand because you have tapped into your body's fullest natural growth potential with that heavy set of 20-repetition breathing squats.
Component counting tricks the mind into handling smaller chunks of a set and thus makes it more manageable no matter the difficulty of the total set. I use this technique in my own training and when training clients in order to get peak repetitions out of them, you should use it to.
This technique enables you to bring down arousal levels once a set has been completed. It involves performing a certain behavior or saying something specific after you have completed an intense set of exercise. I make use of this technique in my own training after an extremely intense set of squats I tap the mirror in front of the power cage lightly in order to diffuse my arousal level. It doesn't really matter what behavior or verbal statement you use to defuse your peak arousal level just as it's not t5he same one that got you to peak arousal in the first place. Once I do this, my aggression dissipates and I can fully relax.
Why should you want to reduce your arousal level between intense sets, when you are at peak arousal levels your energy expenditure is up and your focus will be laser sharp, if kept at high levels throughout the workout you would find your energy levels tanking down early on in the workout. It's okay to keep peak arousal levels if your workout takes 15 minutes or less and is extremely intense (all movements performed back to back) but it would be hard to hold that sike level for 30-45 minutes the length that a typical session will take. In a case like this diffusing conserves mental energy for when it counts.
After you complete a well-done set it is good to reward your success. Studies have shown that rewarded behavior is more likely to be repeated than unrewarded behavior. So after you accomplish a good set or step into new poundage territory, acknowledge your good work by saying something along the lines of "Great job", "Awesome set", or rewarding yourself with a healthy but delicious post workout meal. This simple technique will build confidence, a history of success as well as make all up and coming sets much more manageable.
Mastering these mental techniques will enable you to develop a high level of strength, muscle mass, conditioning, and overall fitness that you might of personally thought you were not capable of.
For more information on my training, diet, and mind set philosophies e-mail visit www.hosannahdiesel.com