I by nature tend to be a people watcher, which means when I am training, I tend to look around and see what other people are doing during my rest intervals.
I have concluded that there is one MAJOR reason more people do not get better results from their training efforts.
It’s not a lack of intensity or effort as I see a lot of people seemingly training pretty hard.
It’s not resting too darn long between, although this is a variable to consider too. I’ve posted at length about this one before.
It’s not a lack of training volume since most people do plenty, and arguably in some cases simply too much.
It’s not even coming in without a plan and just winging it. “Hey bro, what do you want to do next?” although I WOULD argue this is probably the second biggest reason. There is a BIG difference between simply going to the gym and working out and actually following a program with a designed objective behind it. BIG difference!
Hey, exercise is great yeah, but that’s really all you’re doing in my opinion if you’re not going in with a plan. But hey, this clearly does seem to work for at least some select people.
It’s TENSION! Or rather, a tremendous lack of it.
From my observations most trainees are so focused on the load and moving it from A to B no matter what it takes that they lose the entire point of why they’re even there – to place as much targeted tension on the trained muscle as possible; to promote an adaptive response that results in bigger and stronger MUSCLES. Your muscles do not know how much weight you’re lifting; they only know the TENSION they experience during your working sets.
If I see a decently developed guy or girl in the gym, I see a difference. They get it. They’ve got the mind-muscle connection and you can tell by watching their rep execution. Of course they train heavy (for them) but their focus is on the muscle being trained – from the stretch to the contraction. Every inch of every rep seems to count, as it should.
Contrast this to the underdeveloped trainees and you see pretty much the opposite. You still see effort, you still see volume, etc., but you do NOT see the same rep execution. You can just tell the focus is less on the stretch and the contraction and more on A to B.
Physique development is about maximal TENSION on the target. This isn’t weightlifting or powerlifting. It’s ALL about tension. Yes, more weight is one way to add tension but on the condition that it’s targeted.
Reduce the weight a bit, control the movement, take it through the full range of motion and you’ll put more stress on the target muscle ultimately bringing about greater development.
This ONE emphasis change in your approach to your workouts will make a difference very quickly.
This is also one of the major focuses of our LBC/CWT Training Conference in VA Beach that we recently announced for this June. I’ve amassed so many little “tension tricks” over the years when it comes to making movements harder and more target focused by simply making slight adjustments to how a movement is done and I’m really looking forward to sharing them all with those coming. Anyone who has trained alongside me in person can attest to how a simple little tweak can make an exercise suddenly feel all that much more intense.
Train the muscles, not the ego.