Exercise Visualization... Can Positive Visualization Build Your Muscles?
an exercise visualization
help you build bigger muscles?
Will positive thinking really make you lift more iron?
Positive Visualization... it's time to get creative
Visualization is nothing new. Ever since man first daubed paint onto cave walls, it has been employed by professional athletes and high-powered executives seeking to gain a competitive edge. Indeed, such is its current appeal, it is difficult to pass any self-improvement shelf at your local bookstore, and not find yourself buried in an avalanche of 'gurus' expounding how positive thinking will change your life!
So what is visualization, and how does it work?
In simple terms, creative visualization works by engaging with the imagination while in a deeply relaxed state.
There are many ways to achieve this state of deep relaxation, but for our purposes we will be using a proven combination of
- deep breathing,
- progressive relaxation, and
- mental rehearsal.
But can positive thinking, and in particular, exercise visualization really help you in your quest to build bigger muscles?
The following exercise visualization steps will show you how!
However, a word of caution...
Visualization, or mental rehearsal, WON'T allow you to lift BEYOND your means. For example, you must have EARNED the weight increases on your bar by following sound, muscle building principles; visualization, properly applied, allows you to actualize your full potential - HERE is where its true merit lies. No amount of creative visualization will 'trick' results which haven't been earned... and anyway, lifting beyond your capabilities will likely result in injury. However, with the CORRECT motivation, systematically applied, it is quite possible to exceed your weight lifting targets, leading to spectacular gains.
Let's see how it's done...
Photo courtesy of SantaRosa
Exercise Visualization - Your 3 Steps to Visualization Success
1. DEEP BREATHING. Pick a quiet spot where you can lie down. With your legs uncrossed and arms by your side, close your eyes. Now take a few slow, deep breaths, ensuring they make your stomach rise then fall. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you inhale, picture a soothing but strong wave covering your body like a blanket; and as you exhale, picture the stress and tension drifting off into space.
2. PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION. Take three more breaths like this, then roll your head slowly around; shrug your shoulders gently; and make a couple of faces, crunching up your facial muscles and then relaxing them. Next, move to your toes and feet - tense the muscles, holding for a second, then let it go. Pause for a moment, then repeat with your calves, now move to your thighs, repeating the same process; and now your hips, stomach, chest, shoulders and back - slowly working up your body to your neck and finally your face. Now take three deep breaths, just as you did at the start of the exercise.
You should now feel more relaxed. Beginning with your right leg, say to yourself: 'My right leg is warm and heavy. I am relaxed.' Repeat this message five times, then do the same with your left leg. Now do the same with your right arm, and left arm. Finally repeat the message: 'My whole body is warm and heavy. I am relaxed.' You are now ready for your mental rehearsal, and the final step to exercise visualization.
3. MENTAL REHEARSAL. Let's walk through a positive mental rehearsal of successful squatting. First imagine your gym: what do you see, hear, feel - try to make the image as vivid you can. Now imagine your bar loaded to the exact weight you want to squat. Getting into position, don't be afraid to admit to yourself that the bar is heavy - it is - but you are lifting it, and aim to master it. Now, one by one, begin your repetitions. As you make each lift, feel the growing confidence and power! When you've finished your set, return the bar and take a moment to congratulate yourself: Great job!
Important: go through these visualization steps at least twice before your actual routine - once before you drift off to sleep at night, then again before your set. You will be surprised by how energized you feel, along with your newfound confidence!
Will exercise visualization help you build muscle? Can positive thinking really make you lift more iron?
The power of positive visualization is a little-used miracle worker engaging with the wellspring of your imagination. Used in all areas of your life, it will lead to health, wealth, and happiness - along with bigger muscles!
Go to Benefits of Visualization
Exercise Visualization to Muscle Building