Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Mind/Psyche


I have been weight training for many, many years. Thirty something years. So what? So I have seen a bunch of stuff in weight room during that time.

One thing that I have noticed, without fail, is that people who talk a whole bunch when they train with weights don't make as much progress as those who don't. No I am not talking about the people who are lifting weights discussing the next set or next exercise. I am talking about the guy doing pushdowns who is gabbing about his night on the town, or the new car he bought or something totally unrelated to training. And damn, he is talking during a set. Sacrilege. Arnold had it right about the mind muscle connection. And elite powerlifters surely can not get ready for a huge set whilst discussing the Cowboys vs. Redskins game.

Fired Up Or Not?

Have you ever wondered just how fired up or psyched up one needs to be for a particular sport or skill? I first learned of Joseph Oxendine from Fred Hatfield's excellent book, Power.

Basically Oxendine states that highly aroused athletes did better at "easy" tasks, and not getting too aroused was better for optimal success at complex tasks. So when squatting, get in a blind range, but when putting in golf stay relatively calm.

Oxendine (1970) suggests different levels of optimal arousal for different sports: 

1. [Slight arousal] Archery, bowling, basketball free throw, golf (putting) 

2. Baseball (pitching & batting), fencing, tennis, golf (driving) 

3. Basketball, boxing, high jump, gymnastics, soccer 

4. Running long jump, middle/long-distance running, swimming, judo 

5. [Extreme excitation] Rugby tackle & scrum, sprint, weight-lifting

Cool stuff, huh? Hatfield also talks about getting fired up too early. This can exhaust the athlete. Better to sit calmly and visualize yourself doing great things than getting tense and too excited too far out from the activity.

Not the fired up I was talking about

                                                               That's what I am talking about

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.