Saturday, July 13, 2013

Not Just Pumping Iron, Part Twenty-One

Lucan and Gray write in character as two peripatetic Wildean flaneurs, driven by the stylistic flair and pleasure-seeking values of the late 19th century Decadent and Aesthetic movements. This orchid-scented duo bring their wit and monstrous imaginations to play across the entire history of sport, with chapters ranging from the Greek athletic ideal and its perversions to the Nazi Olympics of 1936 and the use of drugs, alcohol and visionary states of being. The book also includes the full text of their proposal to the IOC for a new and more impressive Alternative Olympic Games, with events such as voyeurism, dentistry, Russian roulette, cocktail mixing, posing, couture, hairdressing, mendacity, bohemianism, architectural p√Ętisserie, and the roasting and carving of meat.


If words are the language of the left-brain, imagery is the language of the right brain. Some psychologists, is discussing dreams, have spoken of dream imagery as the preferred language of the unconscious. So, by using mental imagery, the lifter is engaging the right  brain and using the language of the unconscious.

I want to distinguish two types of mental imagery. First, is visual imagery, in which one "sees" in the mind's eye. This is like watching a movie, except the movie is going on inside one's head. Second, is kinesthetic imagery. In this case it is body sensations which are imagined. In both types of imagery, one's focus is on one's internal world. The outside world is let go of, as one turns inward to a private world of images.

Let us explore the use of visual imagery first. Visual imagery can be used both for the enhancement of one's training and the enhancement of one's performance in competition. Here are the fundamentals: get in a comfortable position, close your eyes, stop any mental chatter, and see yourself in your mind's eye. Watch yourself perform. watch carefully. Concentrate. See yourself as vividly as possible executing the particular movement, be that an exercise, a competitive lift, or a pose. Rehearse the movement over and over. See yourself from different angles - front view, back view, left side view, right side view, looking up at yourself as if you were performing on a transparent platform, looking down at yourself from above, and various angles in between these. Be like a television camera operator, moving closer, moving farther away, zooming in, and fading back. Change the distance and change the angle. Explore thoroughly with your mind's eye. You can also slow down the action. The slow motion visualization may allow you to see something that you missed when you were visualizing at natural speed. As you do this visual imagery, you are rehearsing your performance. You are practicing. This method is especially helpful in your preparation for competition. You can watch yourself successfully making your lifts or smoothly flowing through your posing routine.

Key to the effectiveness of the use of visual imagery is the visualization of a successful performance. See yourself in impeccable form. See yourself succeed with the lift in perfect form. See yourself pose smoothly, gracefully and in perfect form.

In the case of the other type of mental imagery, the image is not visual, but is kinesthetic. Rather than "seeing" yourself perform, you "feel" yourself perform. In order to do this, again, make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and stop and mental chatter. Now, in your mind/body, feel yourself performing the movements. Imagine yourself doing the exercise, doing the competitive lift, or doing the pose. Feel the body sensations as vividly as possible as you execute the movements. Get the "feel" in your mind/body. Rehearse your performance over and over. Feel every detail. In the case of lifting, feel the steel in your hands, feel the motion of every body part, and feel the resistance of the weight. Be realistic. Don't make the resistance either too little or too much. Feel yourself in impeccable form, succeeding. If you are mentally rehearsing a posing routine, feel the movement of every body part. Feel the rhythm and timing of your moves, your balance, and the strain of flexing.

When you perform in your mind, using visual imagery or kinesthetic imagery, you are rehearsing for your performance in the outside world. What you do in your private mental world will be mirrored in your outside, physical world.
The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes:
This does not imply a one-to-one correspondence between the two worlds, of course. I could rehearse a 500-pound Press in my mind for a half-hour a day for the next three months, but I would be very unlikely to be able to do it. Imagery rehearsal will not allow you to do more than you are physically able to do. Although a truism, this is worth pondering.  Most of the time, however, we do far less than we are physically capable of doing. Imagery is a method for assisting one to approach his or her potential performance. The images you use will tend to produce the physical conditions and overt performance that correspond to them.

There is an important implication to what I have just pointed out in the above paragraph. That is, imagine only the correct and desired action. Never rehearse what you do not want to do. If you rehearse what you do not want to do or see happen, often and strongly enough, that will surely be yours.

Continued . . .

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