Since I started considering the mental aspect to Training, I've found I can achieve more reps, better reps, faster reps and lift heavier weights. It still amazes me how much of the hard work is down to my mind and not my body.
I thought I was doing everything well in my Training Sessions; I had the right mental attitude, the right pre and post workout Paleo nutrition and was focusing on good form in everything I did. Well, almost everything…
I've been talking about the mental aspects of training at great length with a friend, who recently came along to an interval training session with me. After the session he commented that he'd noticed in the rest between activities, my posture completely changed. I would put my hands on my knees and look towards the ground. I hadn't realised I adopted this position until it was pointed out, but after noticed that it was my default rest position after a high intensity set. I also noticed when forced to pause a run by traffic lights, I’d also drop my shoulders and look to the ground.
I've been noticing a lot of other people in the gym adopt their own version of negative posture during their sessions too – sometimes even sitting down or lying in a heap on the floor! It seems I wasn't alone.
“Slumped” positions like this enable the muscles to relax, which feels like a good idea, especially during a hard tabata session. However, it’s logical that putting the body in this position signals that you are tired and resting. When the rest ends a few seconds later, this is not an easy position to come back strong from. In this position, lung capacity is significantly smaller, making it harder to intake as much oxygen as the body requires – making the rest period even less effective – and the following activities that much harder.
Since this revelation, it has been so easy to change my posture in the rest between high intensity activities. As soon as I have finished my reps I stand up straight and tall looking straight ahead, never down. I've found this posture makes me feels strong, focused and ready to get onto the next exercise. It’s actually hard to think negative thoughts about being worn out and not able to lift any more when I adopt this posture.
How is your posture between sets? Have you found changing how you stand – or think – has improved your performance?