A new research suggests that thinking that you are strong and muscles are workings would actually make you so
This was revealed by a Hull University research team which asked 30 subjects to do biceps curls and found their muscles worked more when they focused on what the muscles were doing.
The method was to wire the subjects up to weight machines which monitored levels of electrical activity in their biceps and asked them to think in two different ways while exercising. The ratio was proportional that is more electrical activity measured - the more the muscle is doing.
Dr David Marchant explains: "When athletes are at the starting line they are primarily focusing on the end of the track rather than what their legs are doing. If focused on the actual movement in their legs they probably would not perform as well. Say you have a footballer who's got some sort of muscular injury he wants to repair - ask him to think about what the muscle is actually doing while he is exercising and it is better. But if he's going to kick a penalty - don't get him to think about the muscle because it will go wrong. Instead focus on the goal."
Dr Jim Golby, expert in sports and mental toughness at the University of Teesside's Social Futures Institute, said the study was an interesting one which tested how mental imaging affected performance. Still he added that it could not be compared to life situations.