Saturday, May 26, 2012

Are you imagining proper form?

Just imagine proper form and you can increase strength in your pinky finger 35%.

Imagine Increased Muscle Strength!-Experiment

In a fascinating experiment, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation discovered that a muscle can be strengthened just by thinking about exercising it.
For 12 weeks (five minutes a day, five days per week) a team of 30 healthy young adults imagined either using the muscle of their little finger or of their elbow flexor. Dr. Vinoth Ranganathan and his team asked the participants to think as strongly as they could about moving the muscle being tested, to make the imaginary movement as real as they could.

Compared to a control group – that did no imaginary exercises and showed no strength gains – the little-finger group increased their pinky muscle strength by 35%. The other group increased elbow strength by 13.4%.

What's more, brain scans taken after the study showed greater and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex than before. The researchers said strength gains were due to improvements in the brain's ability to signal muscle. ( Society for Neuroscience, Annual Meeting, November 11, 2001 )


This might explain why form over function is so important in weight lifting.  Form is about getting the correct muscles to fire at the best time in the function of moving the weight from A to B via a path that is most likely not a straight line. Making sure your are firing the right muscles is the job of the brain - the mind controls the brain and it is the mind that imagines, predicts, and sees the future desired state.

Does this relate to other types of activities?  Could we receive a 35% increase in effectiveness just by disciplined practice of proper form in a thought experiment, rather than an actual experience.   I think we could see benefit in this way.  
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