It’s too easy to exercise mindlessly. You get on the treadmill and you read a magazine- which means that you have to walk slow enough to focus on the small print on the pages. Hard to get your heart rate up when you are desperately trying to read the latest gossip about your fave reality star. Hey, I’m in the same bucket as you- I do it too.
There is such thing as spot training… if you live in the muscle. That is, you hone in, wholly focus on that muscle, and force it to take the brunt of the work. Plie? You can turn this typical quad exercise into a butt-shaper or a core-cutter.
Want to hone in on your abs?
Run- When you run you focus on engage your core.
Sit- When you sit or stand, use your core to power the movement up and down.
Kick- Start the movement by engaging your abs, then your leg will easily lift with less required from your legs.
You can do the same thing with your butt, your thighs, your calves. It’s amazing what simply focusing your mind to a specific spot can do and how profoundly it can change your exercise experience.
Engage your abs while doing jumping jacks. Your experience of those jumping jacks will change and, you know what, your abs will be sore the next am.
If you want to live in your muscles, next time you exercise do 3 sets of one specific movement. During each set, focus your mind on a different body part so that that spot does the brunt of the work. Here’s how:
a. Focus on one Body Part
Living in the muscle refers to the mental and physical isolation and the specific controlled connection of a particular body part. Focus your attention on the muscle you want to work, and you will be able to drive more energy from that muscle, taking energy away from the others that might normally be the focus.
b. Connect Through Breath
Isolate the muscle, feel it, and then literally breathe your intention to strengthen it or lengthen it, right into your curl, squat or leap. Breath is essential here. Use your breath to connect the mental intention into the physical. If you’re not breathing, you’re not moving completely. Full range of motion on every exercise should be dictated by your breath. Take the biceps, for instance. Put all your attention on that specific muscle, then let your breath dictate the movement of that muscle.
c. Let Tension Go
A good way to monitor the degree to which you are living in a muscle is to check in with the rest of your body. Are you relaxed or tense? If so, you’re shoulders are hunched and tense, or even if you are clenching your jaw, you aren’t completely living in that one particular muscle. The rest of your body should be relaxed. All physical energy should be in the biceps alone.
Yes, put your mind in a certain spot and your blood, oxygen, and strength will follow.