The 1 Thing You Can Do Today to Enhance Your Workouts

The 1 Thing You Can Do Today To Enhance Your Workout 

Have you ever found yourself just kind of “going through the motions” during your workout? You’re physically there, but mentally you’re just not focused. 

We’ve all been there, some of us more than we care to admit. 

There is a very important aspect of exercise that is not understood by most. What is your Intent? What is the purpose of each exercise, what muscle groups/ body parts are involved, and what is the desired outcome of every movement?  

Without having a clear intent in mind, we’re just going through the motions. Sure we may break a sweat or be short of breath, but we’re leaving a ton on the table. 

You may have performed thousands of kettlebell swings in your life, but when is the last time you truly paid attention to how fast you swung the bell? When’s the last time you took notice to the position of your shoulders or neck? When is the last time you thought about engaging your glutes while you’re approaching the top position of your swing? 

Exercise is as much mental as it is physical. We have to be truly engaged in the moment to get the most out of everything we do. You don’t have to be robotic about it, but you should be intentional with your actions. 

We’re all going to have the days when merely going through the motions is all we’re capable of doing. Our goal is to ensure we have more focused days than “through the motions” days. 

 

Tips for training with intent :

  • Ask yourself or your coach, “What is the purpose of this exercise?”: You should know the why behind everything you do in the gym. What are you looking to get out of this exercise, what muscle groups are you working, etc. If you’re performing bicep curls, the goal of the exercise is to isolate the biceps. Each rep should be performed slowly and under control with a slight contraction of the bicep at the top of the movement. However, go to most gyms and you’ll see arms flailing around, hip thrusting, and backs arching while dumbbells fly uncontrollably towards people’s heads. Both people are doing bicep curls, but only one person is acting with intent. 

  • “Feel the movement”: If you’re doing a squat and you want to work your quads and glutes focus your mind on your quads and glutes while performing each rep. Studies have shown that, when people “visualize” the muscles they’re intending to train, they recruit more muscle fibers. Yes, you can actually think your way to being jacked. 

  • Perfect your form: Slowing movements down and paying attention to your form is the easiest way you check in on your intent. At the same time, you’ll be decreasing your likelihood of getting injured. Now of course, if the movement’s purpose is to be performed explosively, slowing down might not be the best course of action. 

Top 10 Exercises performed with incorrect intent: 

  1. KB Swings: Be in control of the bell throughout the entire movement. Swing the bell back towards you with just as much force as you swung it away.   

  2. MB Slams: Speed and power are our main priority. Think about trying to break a hole in the floor with each and every slam. 

  3. Battling Ropes: Just like MB Slams, we are trying to move the ropes with as much power as we can. 

  4. Recline Rows: We are trying to isolate our lats in this movement. Prior to each rep check in on your posture and tempo. Are your shoulder blades pulled back and down? Are you squeezing your lats at the top?

  5. Farmers Carry: Farmer carries can be a fantastic ab exercise when done correctly. Our intent should be to stand tall with our abs braced throughout the duration of the movement.  

  6. Biceps Curls: See example above 

  7. Deadlifts: “I pick things up and I put them down.” Deadlifts are considered by many to be the single best exercise you can perform. Deadlifts engage your hamstrings, glutes, quads, lats, traps, abs, and forearms. This exercise is far more than simply picking something up off the floor. Form and intent are of the utmost importance on any deadlift variation. 

  8. Push Ups: Like a snowflake, no two push ups seem to be the same. Hips high, hips low, elbows tight, elbows flared, chin tucked, neck extended. For a lot of people, form on push ups goes out the window. Whatever takes them from point a to point b is good enough. My advice to you: slow down! Even if that limits the amount of push ups you can perform. You’re far better off performing 1 great push up than you are performing 15 haphazard push ups. 

  9. Pull Ups: Perfecting a pull up is easier said than done. The slower and more intentional the rep, the better off you are. “Feel” your lats engage and pull you up over the bar. Squirming your way over the bar may be a good place to start, but eventually you’ll have to sacrifice reps for technique. 

  10. Sled Sprints: Not sled jog, sled walk, or sled slog. Sled sprint. Your intent on every sled push should be move that puppy as fast as you can! 

If you have any questions regarding the intent of any given exercise don’t hesitate to ask your coach, that’s why we’re here! 

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