It’s more than a pep talk. It’s what I tell my clients; to literally feel every repetition. The body has an amazing way of moving the way you want it to, but as we age and our movement changes, it can create its own pathways to get the job done easier. Unfortunately, easier doesn’t always mean better. Think of it like creating a painting. Your end goal is to create this beautiful painting you visualize in your head. You have all the necessary tools; your brush, easel, paint, the perfect lighting. Every brush stroke plays a part in creating the exact image you’ve created in your head. Every single brush stroke has a purpose in creating the whole picture. If you mindlessly throw colors onto the board just to finish the painting, well, it may not come out as you envisioned it.
The same holds true for your movement in the gym. Leave your ego at home. Master the squat as a movement. Master the deadlift as a movement. Close your eyes and really think about what you should feel. What adjustments do you need to make to really feel your hamstrings or your core? Once you know what you need to feel, then and only then should you bring on the volume. That, my friends, is when can you get the most out of your program. Unfortunately, the majority of the weight room is swollen with ego. Quit the quarter rep bench press. No one else is counting how many push-ups you are doing. So how about your try to complete 10 military push-ups? You should feel your glutes and core tighten. You push up by engaging your chest and your back. Every. Single. Rep.
Your body has a few lazy muscles. Your butt and your abs being repeated offenders. So talk to them. For real. [Whether or not that’s out loud is completely up to you. I personally don’t judge.] When you complete your beautifully even tempo back extensions, get a nice little posterior tilt in there and tell your butt to get to work. When you’re front loading your squat, wake your entire core up and get it working. Sometimes that’s a bit difficult for people. Saying you don’t have a butt or you don’t have abs won’t cut it, though. You have them. #anatomy …But, you could be neglecting them and it’s time to wo(man) up. If getting them contracted during these exercises is difficult for you, isolate them a bit with lighter movements prior to your lifts. For instance, if you have a difficult time engaging your glutes during a barbell hip thrust even after trying to regress the volume and playing around with your footing, get on the floor and work on bodyweight bridging. Push through your heels while you start pumping the glutes. Then get under the barbell and kill it. Same idea with pull ups or any variation of pull ups you’re working on. Try some light lat pull downs to wake up your lats first. You’re now ready for complete gravity domination.
Walking into the gym, lifting things and pushing steel around isn’t good enough. That is unless you’re into wasting time. Then by all means, grab that BOSU and get to twerking. But if your time is valuable and you really do want results, make your movements count. Every one of them.