Welcome back to this week’s edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays. It is often thought that mindfulness and exercise are only reserved for activities such as yoga and pilates. However, you can improve your mindfulness with almost any activity you do, even resistance training. This week, we want to give you two tips that can be applied to any exercise to help you start improving your mindfulness while you do resistance training.
1) Slow Down
The first thing you can do to improve your mindfulness while resistance training is to make sure you are slowing down while you are doing each exercise. When you move fast, your focus can often shift to the finish line as opposed to being present for the entire set. The faster you move, the more details you will likely miss, bringing you further away from being mindful while you resistance train and closer to being mindless.
Action Step: Start with a 3:2:3:2 tempo – take three seconds to lift the weight, pause for two, then lower the weight for three seconds, then pause again for two. This starting tempo will help you stay present and mindful while you are doing resistance training.
2) Focus On What Is Happening Inside
The second thing you can do to improve your mindfulness while resistance training is to focus on what is happening inside of your body while you are doing the exercise. Specifically, you want to focus on squeezing the muscles you are trying to challenge. This shift in focus from “lifting weight” to “squeezing muscles” may seem subtle, but it will make a tremendous difference in what you are feeling and what you perceive while you are doing the exercise.
For example, if you are doing a lateral raise, focus on squeezing your deltoid muscles and upper traps while you perform the motion instead of thinking about just trying to do another rep. If this is your first time focusing internally, it will immediately create a sensation unlike you any you have felt before while doing an exercise.
Action Step: Before you do an exercise, acknowledge what muscles you are trying to challenge. Practice squeezing those muscles before you even start the exercise, bringing attention to that area of your body. Then keep that same level of focus while you are performing the exercise. It may be difficult to do at first, but with consistent practice it will get easier.