Internal Vs External focus -
When the goal is to get strong and be able to move a lot of weight, training with an external focus of moving that weight from A - B and ‘training the movement’ is the way to go to achieve the goal.
When the goal is to build specific muscle groups training with an internal focus where we’re actively thinking about ‘training the muscle’ in use and creating a solid mind muscle connection makes more sense.
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Using myself as an example here, i get (jokingly) ridiculed at work (🖕🏼) for my preference of using machines over barbells.
I want bigger quads and when I barbell squat it’s very difficult to direct tension to that area, all I’m thinking about is getting the weight up (external focus) and the tension is spread elsewhere, mainly my glutes.
As soon as I get on a hack squat or pendulum for example, I am extremely good at directing tension through the quads (internal focus), exactly where I want it and I don’t have to worry about losing stability and my form breaking down too much.
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I’m not at all implying that if you want to grow more muscle you should solely train with an internal focus all of the time, progressive tension overload is still a key driver of hypertrophy.
Which again, is why I’m a fan of these machines as it’s easier for me to ensure a balance of internal and external; Every rep creating a strong mind muscle connection and placing tension through the quads whilst still aiming to move as much weight as possible.
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Think about what your goal is and what’s the best way for you to achieve it.
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Top set and back off set from today’s lower session. Kicked the shit out of me.
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