I’m reading this book called the brain that changes itself… It’s basically a book about brain plasticity and how the theories of brain plasticity evolved and helped people. Either way in one chapter they sited a study that I thought was very interesting.
A study was done on the power of imagination and practicing physical activities in your mind to improve the brains motor neurons.
2 groups of people were used, one was required to do strength training exercises for 4 weeks, and another group was required ONLY to imagine they were exercising and imagine someone was yelling “harder! harder!” as they imaginary worked out.
The group that actually did the physical activity had a strength increase of 30%, the group that only imagined the physical activity had a strength increase of 22%.
Here is a quote from the book:
"During these imaginary contractions, the neurons responsible for stringing together sequences of instructions for movements are activated and strengthened, resulting in increased strength when muscles are contracted.
This got me thinking, if while resting we began to imagine lifting weights and exercised the motor neurons responsible for recruiting muscle activation we could become stronger, therefor increasing our capacity to lift heavier and make gains faster and inducing more hypertrophy.
Here is a link that discusses the study! Curious to hear your thoughts on the matter. I for one have started imagining I’m lifting while driving and watching tv, it requires a lot of focus but definitely interested in seeing what results I get.
Edit: I’m also curious what would happen if trained athletes were asked to do these mental exercises, if they would have the same improvements, greater, or less because they already have strong neurons which are already extremely efficient?