I just though I'd post this as a topic thread in which everyone can throw their two cents in- What about psychological training? It's not mentioned very much but what does T-Nation feel works in conjunction with physical training? Does anyone have anything interesting to add on the balance between the mind and body? Can proper mental stimulus lead to measurable differeances in speed, strength, and even mass? Consider this a round table and take it where ever it goes.
In any sport requiring skill, visualization is key. Even in triathlon, I would practice visualization EVERY night. Worked very well, as I would tend to transcend myself on race day.
There have been several articles on visualizing and mental techniques to increase the likelyhood of a succesful lift (as in imagining your child is trapped underneath a car to get a deadlift going).
Personally, when I feel I'm overtraining my muscles, I sit in a small chair, stare at the wall, and travel. My mind spans great distances, some few kilometers, whereupon I end up in my "mental squat rack". There I perform a few sets of squats and deadlifts, but using my mind only. It's a great way to prevent overtraining but still get the full benefits of training. After all, you have to think yourself to be huge and ripped to become so!
I think strength training is by it's very nature psychological. What I mean is you are psychologically training, whether you mean to or not.
If you're doing the powerlifting thing, whether or not you make that life has a LOT to do with your state of mind, confidence, etc. Believing that lifting is 'mostly' physical or 'mostly' mental is silly. It's both.
Ever missed a lift, got pissed off, then went back and made it?
There are definate and infinate advantages with balancing the training of the mind with the traiing of the body. My Kung Fu training has exploded in efficiency and effectiveness once I started to combine it with a formof chinese meditation that puts you intimately in touch with how your mind and body is working together. Get into it and give it a go you have nothing to lose.
Ok, may be a little off topic but.
Does anyone think, insanity has it's benefits?
Harkonnen good point and one which I had hoped would be touched on when I first posted. How much does visualization actually result in strength gains, growth, and performance enhancement? Arnold said, "I imagined my arms as mountains and mountains they became." I have always had a lack of upper body development. My upper back and shoulders being the worst and possibly weakest muscle groups in my body. At one point I had actually thought I genetically had weak lats that could never grow. Now, they are the largest and strongest muscle group on my body. My shoulders are just beginning to show the same response as the veil of negativity is being lifted. Can anyone out there show me proof of the connection between the mind and body that would make this the decideing factor in physical progress? Does visualization cause a firing of the neural pathways that has been proven to enhance growth/recovery? Any other ideas besides visualization? Possibly mental conditioning? Work, overwork, and pain perception management? Positive and or masculine (as in male qualities/self imagine) thinking? Bill Pearl also suggested that in order to be a successful body builder you had to think aggressively, confidently, stoically, and somewhat vain (vanity more for self worth less for social worth).
I think you either have it mentally or you dont. If you dont have it you can improve upon what you have but you will never haver "it".
You didn't realize I was joking?
Harkonnen.... I was about to say you were nuts. I'm glad you were kidding. It sounded like some tree hugging yoga crap.
Goldberg is on the right path... I don't know what to call it , its just this drive thats deep inside "it" isn't always there, but when it is, you able able to blast though barriers.
Here's a little trick I use when I'm trying to increase a max lift, but are stuck at a certain weight, use bench for example. You just can't seem to get 405, so as you are warming up and increasing the weight, don't just slide on 45's. Mentally you know at a glance how much weight is there. Mix it up 35's 25's 45's 10's whatever. do a couple reps, throw more weight on til you fail. Most of the time you will beat that sticking point which was really just a mental block.
I do think one should train their mind - harden it and toughen it - alongside your training? Why? Simply because, unfortunately, out of every bodybuilder/weightlifter Ive come across, most are...well, weak willed and lack the toughness of mind youd expect - even though theres no doubt they have the determination to get in shape... Does it make sense?
Just buy a first year calculus text and have fun. If that doesn't toughen your mind i don't know what will
lol yeah gurux, i'm not a hippie even though I happen to live in British Columbia. They're about to de-criminalize weed here and everyone thinks it's a good idea.
Tree hugging yoga crap is not going to make 350+ come out of your bench. Of course I think any of us that stick to the iron game for any reason have the mental "toughness" that's needed. But, I'm looking for that mental edge only the most experianced of us have. Come on guys I know you have more tricks in your bag, I'm looking for general ideas and specifics. Suggestions so far have been excellent. Lets get some more out there!