If you have recently started your adventure with sport, especially with powerlifting, fitness, cycling or jogging, you might be wondering, whether it is fine that your mind is constantly processing tones of information while you are exercising.
Certainly, physical exercises are not requiring any intellectual work from your brain which leaves space for thousands of thoughts completely unrelated to your physical activity. Should you really think about the things which have nothing to do with a workout? Let’s find out the subjects to focus on while exercising together!
What are the subjects you are allowed to think about?
Many professional sportsmen will tell you that a proper focus during a workout can accelerate your progress which is certainly something you want to do. They recommend two types of thinking which are known as an external one and an internal one.
An internal focus
As you can imagine, an internal focus is about focusing on yourself. Yet, it is not about analysing various events of your life or laughing at a joke you have just heard from the friend who is also exercising with you. An internal focus is an analysis of the physical sensations coming with exercises.
You can focus on the feeling of having your muscles working. It can be a focus on the positions of the parts of your body. You can also focus on your breathing. As you might know, this is a part of some workouts such as yoga and pilates. Yet, you can adopt the practice of focusing on your own body to other types of workouts as well.
External concentration is also allowed. With this form of concentration you are focusing on the world around you, however, it is also should be done in a proper way. You can look at the objects surrounding you such as the walls, the ceiling or sports equipment.
External concentration does not mean you are focusing on dumbbells thinking about their price or manufacturer. You should observe these objects as a part of your moving towards the realisation of your task.
A proper way of concentration can be triggered by such thoughts as “I am pushing the floor with my feet” or “I am squeezing apples in my armpits”.
When should you think externally and when should your focus be internal?
Even though the two options of thinking during a workout seem to be like a kind of a choice, in the reality they should be used in particular situations rather than whenever you feel like thinking in one of these ways. Depending on particular exercises, a particular type of a focus can either be helpful, useless or even distracting.
The general recommendation for picking a particular form of concentration is that you should think about the exact thing you want to achieve.
For example, it is known that sport helps people to gain control over their bodies. One of the ideas of sport is that you are learning to perform a minimum amount of movements and the same time increasing their effectiveness. If this is what you want to achieve right now, a good idea will be to focus on the external objects.
Those people who would like to increase their muscle mass, should use a combination of the two types of concentration. It is recommended to concentrate on the internal feelings in such a situation, however, if you are planning to increase the weight or exercises till exhaustion, you should learn to switch your focus to the external world in such a situation.
For the exercises on stretching an internal focus can be particularly good.
Why should you control your focus during a workout?
The concentration of your mind during a workout is a very tricky thing. The body is performing various movements absolutely automatically an once we start controlling these movements, we can face muscles strain and blockage. In many situations, thinking about your muscles can make your body use more muscles for performing a particular task than it actually needs. Needless to say, this will make you lose more energy and get rather tired more easily.
Transferring your focus to the external world will help you to release such blockages and let your body perform in the way it knows better without your help.
External type of a focus is also helpful if you want to learn the movements more easily and improve your balance.
At the same time, it is widely recommended to switch your mind to your body if you want to use the mind-muscle connection for more effective growing of your muscles. As it has already been mentioned, transferring your mind inside your body can turn on the muscles which are normally not active. This can be particularly useful for people who want to grow their muscles more effectively, hence, the practice of internal concentration is widely used in bodybuilding.
With the help of your mind, you will give your muscles a stimulus to grow without increasing the weight.