It is like having a magic genie at your disposal.
We have known for years that visualization is a proven method to enhance success. A new study recently published proves that visualization can also help maintain and rebuild muscle strength. This study confirms the powerful use of visualization for optimal sport performance and enhancing physiological development with the power of your mind.
Scientists discovered the nervous system plays an important role in the development of muscular strength. Researchers are still working to fully understand exactly how the nervous system interacts on the muscles to be a determinant of muscle strength or weakness.
Brian C. Clark and colleagues from Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI) at Ohio University conducted a recent study to discover what role the brain has in muscular strength development. One subject group underwent guided visualizations whereby participants were specifically instructed to imagine contracting an immobilized muscle (placed into a cast for 4 weeks), hold it for 5 seconds and then release it. They were told to imagine they were pushing their muscle contraction as hard as possible. This visualization was repeated four times in a row followed by a one-minute break for a total of 13 rounds per session and five sessions per week.
The other group with casts immobilizing the same muscle group performed no visualization exercises.
At the end of the four-week experiment, both groups who wore casts had lost strength in their immobilized limbs when compared to the control group without casts.
The amazing results showed that the group who performed mental imagery exercises lost 50% less strength than the non-imaginative group (24 percent vs. 45 percent, respectively).
The participants who used visualization also rebounded more quickly, upon having the cast removed, compared to the group which did not perform the mental imagery.
These findings suggest that when you activate your brain, in a specific manner, through the use of visualization, you can significantly impact the development of your body. You can rehabilitate an injury and gain muscular strength more rapidly than if you do not use visualization. The same goes for optimal sport performance, those athletes who visualize themselves performing their best, have been found to perform better than those athletes who do not use visualization.
Need help optimizing your sport performance, or recovering from an injury more quickly? Call coach Karen 520-955-9503. Email: Karen@trueformcoaching.com www.trueformcoaching.com
The full article "The power of the mind: the cortex as a critical determinant of muscle strength/weakness" is published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.