Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pimpin' your Nervous system?

Chad Waterbury usually writes some good stuff for T-Nation's web site. Recently, I glanced over an article about supercharging any workout called, "Pimp Your Workout." He suggested awakening your nervous system to get the most results out of your workout. After all, if your nervous system isn't firing and it's as asleep as you are when you enter the gym, then you're not going to get the most out of your muscles. He also gave a suggestion of some movements that you could do to get things going.

Now, I don't have any problem with getting your nervous system going. I understand the importance of doing so. What I'm curious about is why didn't Chad Waterbury mention the other end of this chain of getting the muscles firing on all cylinders...


After all, the nervous system is merely the liaison between your mind and your muscles. He even mentioned entering the gym in a daze. What about entering with a focused, determined mind? In my opinion, if you're entering the gym in a daze, you're already screwed if you want to get the most out of your workout. I'm writing this after a morning workout consisting repeating the following superset twice (along with some isometrics):

Mixed Grip Chins, 15 reps
Diamond-divebomber, 15 reps
Mixed Grip chins, 15 reps
Handstand push-ups, 15 reps

I don't work out well in the morning for reasons that Waterbury stated: I'm still half-asleep. What I considered so impressive about this is that I've never done a superset like this where I completed two chin-up sets of 15 reps. I usually can't get past 14. I also did it when I'm not completely awake and warmed up. I did this because I told myself I was going to do it. I forced my nervous system to send the signal to my muscles. My muscles didn't have any choice but to obey. Such as the power of the mind.

Maybe it was just an oversight that he didn't mention getting the mind straight in order to get the most of out any workout. Frankly, it seems like that detail gets left out pretty frequently though. I remember reading that Vince Gironda used to insist on mental focus to the point where if something interrupted his training, he'd take two hours off just to get focused again. Then, he'd resume. Now, we don't all have that kind of time to kill but it does demonstrate how seriously one of the masters of bodybuilding took mental focus and concentration in training. If you want to pimp your routine, then I suggest that you put this at the top of the list too.

1 comment:

Jens Upton said...


Enjoyed the article. I agree with you on entering a workout with a focussed mental attitude. Its what i use my warm ups for. I want to enjoy my training and avoid injury.

I started a brief return to the gym and I ran the mile there and back as a mind-body preparation. A quick run before a workout boosts my enthusiasm and endurance. I much prefer BW workouts.