Get Your Head in the Game

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

Whether your training goal is to prevent injury, enhance strength, power, speed or agility (overall athletic performance), or to simply get and stay healthy and look better, there is one component that you MUST implement to achieve optimal results…FOCUS!!

Without focus, your training and subsequent results will suffer. You will simply be going through motions that do not correct your weaknesses but actually feed into them. Your body is an amazing assembly of highly complex systems that are all built to work together for two main purposes…to survive and to breed (YUP, make some babies!). And because our body is constantly trying to survive in order to stay around long enough to produce “mini-you” (or 8 as Octo-Mom has shown) it is always looking to accomplish tasks (daily/recreational activities, sports, training, etc.) with as little energy or calories as possible…not good if you let it!

 

When it comes to training, if you are to work in the most “calorically efficient / least calorically demanding” way, you will constantly fall victim to poor movement. It is easier and requires less calories to squat with your knees caved in and back rounded or to do a push up with your head and hips hanging to the floor. And although this may be less calorically demanding on the body, it is more demanding on the joints and passive stabilizers (ligaments, bones, etc.)…never a good thing if you are looking to stay healthy and pain free.

“Pop goes the”……knees, hips, back, neck…..

Not only will the poor movement take a toll on your body and eventually lead to overuse injuries, but the inefficient movement will prevent you from maximizing force (strength), power, speed, agility, etc. All important components to becoming a more successful athlete, as well as more functional so you can better enjoy daily/recreational activities and overall life…believe me when I say hobbling around on crutches for 6weeks is not the definition of a fun time.

But even if the body is always “working against you” and your goals with regards to training and movement, there is one thing you can do to make sure that you are not allowing the body to simply “do its thing.”

 

With Focus You Will Succeed

 

80% of training (and life for that matter) is mental…get your head in the game!

The first consideration to being able to focus on the training task at hand, is actually knowing what you should be focusing on. This is where a quality program and performance coach come into play. Once you know how the movement or exercise should look (how the body should be aligned) and feel (where you should feel the work / movement taking place) you can then MAKE SURE that with every repetition you are focusing on those aspects. Do this and you will experience drastic athletic improvement, a healthier and pain free body, and a body composition shift (more muscle and less flab) that would leave the 300 Spartans tucking tail and running the other way. And here is why…

One BA dude…focus and you’ll be BA too.

1)      Proper Movement: At one point or another around Momentum, our athletes and patients will undoubtedly hear us explain “You get what you train.” This is a simple yet incredibly important statement that comes from Shirley Sharman (the Goddess of human movement who the team and I travel to St. Louis every year to learn from). Quite simply this means if you train crappy movement you are going to move like crap and get crappy results. That’s a lot of crap and no one likes crappy results, especially those that end in acute or chronic injuries. So focus on the movement, train right and “get what you train.”

2)      Enhanced Athleticism (strength, power, speed, agility, etc.): When you are moving right and focusing on the areas of the body that should be producing most of the movement (for example during the squat, the hips, glutes, core and upper back should be doing most of the work instead of the low back and quads) you are working on skills and neuromuscular connections (mind muscle connections) that actually activate more motor units, or the engines that contain the pistons (muscle fibers) of the muscles. With more motor unit recruitment, you have the ability to produce more force and power (become stronger and more explosive), stabilize joints more efficiently (prevent injury), react quicker (enhanced agility) and basically switch on BEAST MODE…which athlete would forgo BEAST MODE?!

If you weren’t aware, Marshawn Lynch has been known to perform in BEAST MODE!

3)      Better Body Composition (less mushy stuff and more muscle): We have all heard that muscle burns fat, and it is true. Muscle is an anabolic tissue that requires energy to work and fat supplies a lot energy. The more muscle you have AND WORK, the more fat you will burn. You may have lots of muscle, but from above, you notice that when you focus on using more of that muscle, you can actually “turn more on,” which requires more energy (fat). So even if you goal is to simply shed some flab and get a bit sexier in your birthday suit, if you “just get through” the movements without focusing on the form, technique and muscles that should be working, you are cutting yourself short of tons of fat burning potential.


Conclusion

So as you can see, without focus on proper movement, technique and form, your training will suffer and the results you so tirelessly work towards will be harder to come by. A body that is pain free and functionally efficient, at the top of the athletic game, or simply more pleasing to the eyes (I know this is a big focus with beach season upon us…don’t lie) is much easier to achieve with greater focus. Don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t matter how you are moving as long as you are moving, because moving without focus will produce less than optimal results…and all too often, detrimental injuries. Know how the training / movement should look, which areas of the body it should be working, focus every repetition of every set on those components, and get after it! Proper movement, technique, form and FOCUS is king and will provide you with the greatest chance of achieving all of your training goals.

Now that you know, don’t be selfish…share this information with your friends on Facebook, email it to your family and get your tweet on! Leave any questions or comments below.

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