Health Brains and brute strength

Brains and brute strength

Want to impress your mates at the gym? Think about it. Literally.

Research from Griffith University shows focusing your thoughts on moving the actual weight, rather than your muscles, increases muscle output.

Athletes and coaches have known for years that visualising muscles during training can enhance growth, the so-called mind-muscle connection.

But analysis conducted at Griffith University shows that, when it comes to one-off performance it is better to focus on the task itself, rather than the muscles responsible.

Researcher David Neumann says the evidence shows if an athlete thinks about the movement they are trying to achieve – the upward swing of a barbell, for example – their body works more ergonomically and efficiently.

“It appears that this external focus allows automatic control processes to operate, removing the attentional demands and mechanical inefficiency of conscious muscular control,” Professor Neumann says.

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