This post is by OYS writer Melissa. You can view all of her posts here.
True or False: Exercise is mostly a physical activity. I say false. Yes, of course your body is working hard during exercise, but your mind should also be a part of the action. The difference is that you really have to think about making your mind a part of that work, and that can make a huge difference in your workout results. Don’t think so? Not buying it? At least give it a try!
Anyone can go through the motions of working out and say they did it. But if you’re not focusing on what you are doing, then you are not maximizing your workouts to be the best they can be. This holds especially true with strength training, or toning moves. I see women at the gym all the time quickly pulling on the weight machines, or lifting and lowering dumbbells so fast just to get it done. Not only are you missing out on a better workout, but you are increasing your chances of injuring yourself as well. It is so important and worth it to take your time.
So what do you have to do? First of all, make sure you know which muscles or area of your body you are getting ready to work. Getting ready to do kickbacks? Think about your triceps. Gearing up for a set of squats? Focus on your butt and legs. Next, perform the move in a slow and controlled manner. As you contract your muscles, look at them. Working out in front of a mirror is a good idea, or at least look down at that part of your body. Think about squeezing the area tight and actually see this happening. Then slowly release. When you do this, you are forcing yourself to slow down and hold that contraction longer. You will really feel it working more the more you think about it and focus on that muscle or part of the body.
You also want to think about your breathing here. When you contract the muscle, exhale. When you release, inhale. This breathing technique helps you keep that slow, controlled movement you want.
Taking your time and focusing on what you are doing will lead to faster and better results. You will see more toned definition when you use your mind rather than just your body. The two together can be very powerful, and more effective than just letting your body mindlessly go through the motions.
Below I give you some toning moves to do and indicate which part of your body to focus your mind on. Give it a try and see how you feel. Hopefully you notice the difference.
Biceps curls – Focus on inside of upper arm
Triceps kickbacks – Focus on outside of upper arm
Shoulder presses – Focus on shoulders
Bent over rows – Focus on back
Squats – Focus on butt and front of thighs
Lunges – Focus on front and back of thighs
Deadlifts – Focus on back of thighs
Side lunges – Focus on outer and inner thighs
Do spend time focusing when you do toning exercises?
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