The mind is the most powerful tool we have been given. When I was younger I didn't use my mind enough, now I often use it too much.
We can use our mind to make bad situations good, or stress fade away, with a simple change of thought or action. However, we can also let our minds crush us, by making things we should let go, weigh us down.
After having spent the last two and a half years overcoming various injuries and one surgery, I have learned to use my mind positively.
When I couldn’t lift heavy weight, I would slow down and focus on my form. It is amazing how you can make 10lb feel like 100lb. At first it was boring and methodical, but really it was just frustrating, because I wanted to do more, but my body wasn’t ready. Instead of using my muscles and ego, I continued to use my mind, focusing on every single lift, and every small detail.
After lifting 135lb for most of the last 3 months, today I was able to work up to 365lb with no weight lifting belt. I was focusing this time specifically on making a stronger mind connection to my spinal alignment, belly button, hamstrings and glutes, so notice my focus right as I bend down to grab the bar, my posture hardly ever changes and I kept my head level with my back. Today I was also keeping the quadriceps out of the lift as much as possible, so my hips didn’t drop lower. As I continue to increase my strength to 405lb, I will drop my hips more and raise my chest. Although this is not my personal best, it feel good to win a small mental victory and have complete control of my core at a fairly heavy weight.
Life is going to be full of ups and downs. The more you use your mind in a positive way, the stronger you will become. With exercise, the mind and body should be connected as one. You can’t exercise and get great results, when there are still negative or other thoughts from your day or life running through your head. Using your mind to connect to your muscles, shoulder blades, chest, quads, glutes, and even belly button, can help you get in better shape.
Practicing mindful strength training is also more than just getting strong and lean physically, but strong mentally. An active, focused mind while strength training has been proven to help reduce ageing ailments such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In closing, although we always think about winning the big battles, focus more on winning the small battles. They all add up.
Joe ‘JEZ’ Zamojski