Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of ‘focus’ during a workout. I see, all too often, people performing movement patterns without commitment and purpose. In order for our body to learn a movement pattern, or to achieve the next step in strength gains, or speed and power, we need to focus on the particular task in hand.
Firstly, when we exercise, we need to have a purpose for our workout. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve from this swim, or run, or resistance session? If you are unsure, then you need to seek help from a professional trainer. Just turning up to the gym or pool and doing a bit of this and a bit of that, without purpose, may not necessarily be giving you the optimal gains that you could be achieving.
Secondly, we need to ‘own it’. Our brain is responsible for every movement we make. If we don’t own the movement mentally, then we won’t achieve it physically. You can apply this to any workout. To work on your swim technique you would need to break it down mentally and actually think every stroke and kick through. To increase speed in your sprint you would need to put immense mental power into every stride and arm swing. To achieve the next weight up in a kettle bell swing or dead lift then you would need to focus intensely on your posture and where the power of the lift is originating. To improve a muscular correction or rehabilitate an injury you would need to understand what your body is doing wrong in order to correct and train your body to perform it right.
Think about learning a new language. In order to learn the language, we need to study it, break it down and learn the foundation before putting together the vocabulary. In order to do this we need to focus mentally and use our brain.
Lastly, we need to be positive. There is nothing worse than trying to learn something when you are in a negative state of mind about it. Not believing in what you are trying to understand causes conflict in your mind and your body then reacts with confusion. For example; to run a further distance, you need to believe and inform your body that it is capable of doing so. Thinking we can’t do something will make it more difficult to achieve.
Don’t get me wrong, when we are angry or upset about something else, sometimes having a workout and focusing on our body is a good thing, but feeling negative about your body or workout will almost always end in negative movement patterns. Use your workout as a positive;, believing and focusing on the exercises you are doing.
When you go for your next workout, or training session, try to apply these techniques and see what happens!
Good luck and keep in touch…