Try these easy muscle building tricks and set the stage for increased muscle growth.
I have a little experiment you might like to try. But before I tell you what it is, here is a bit of background info for you.
There is a principle in human perception called the contrast principle, and it affects the way things are presented one thing after another. For instance, if the second item is fairly different from the first, we tend to see it as MORE different than it actually is.
It's a simple sounding principle, but don't let that fool you - it is also extremely effective.
Writing in "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion", Dr Robert Cialdini provides an amusing example of this contrast principle in action.
He tells how psychophysics students engaging in an experiment take turns sitting in front of three pails of water - one cold, one at room temperature, and one hot. After placing one hand in the cold water and one in the hot water, the students are then told to place both hands in the lukewarm water simultaneously.
The look of amazement reveals the next part of our story: even though both hands are in the same bucket, the hand that was in the cold water now feels as if it is in hot water, while the hand that was in hot water feels as if it is in cold.
The point this experiment illustrates, is that the same thing - in this case, room temperature water - can be made to feel very different when contrasted with the event that precedes it.
Now here is where things get interesting...
You see, the contrast principle works equally well with your weight training. So, for example, if you were to lift a light weight first and then lift a heavy one, you will naturally estimate the second weight to be heavier than if you had lifted it without first trying the lighter one.
And this is where the principle can help you. How? Well, the reverse is equally true. That means, if you lift a heavy weight first, you will naturally assume the second lighter weight to be much lighter.
I talk about these principles in "Hurricane Workout", explaining how performing your heavy work-set first is one of the best muscle building tricks you can use to kid your muscles into lifting more.
You see, when you perform heavy low-rep sets first then follow up with higher-rep sets of the same exercise with a slighter, lighter load (say 10% less), this lighter load actually feels a LOT lighter.
The benefits to you?
You prepare your muscles to work harder, thereby setting the stage for increased muscle growth.
So my challenge to you? Try this experiment the next time you are in the gym, and prepare to enjoy the secret power of the contrast principle.