What does that mean anyway? Let me use an example so you can feel what I’m trying to say.
Ever noticed when you make a new friend or fall in love? There’s nothing like it. It adds new life … You feel more alive. You’re walking on air. This method is … very similar. You feel more alive. It gives you a zest you normally don’t feel from exercise and you actually start looking younger.
I’m not kidding.
You can feel it yourself and … when you start hearing, “You look younger, what are you doing”? “You never seem to age”, then you know it’s real.
“The Direction Of Energy”
The first thing I learned after I slowed down was … how we “mis-direct” our energy when we “pump iron” or “push weight”.
Let’s change the focus.
“Concentrate on sending the energy “in” to the muscle.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be sending energy “out” but … sending it “in”. The weights aren’t alive. They can’t hear or feel but … the muscles can. They lift the weights … not us. When we try to lift the weights we “get in the way” and waste energy.
Whether you’re trying to build muscle or burn fat, your goal is to do it as efficiently as possible! Right?
There’s a principle taught by the Zen Masters known as “hitting yourself”. It’s described quite well in a book called “Zen and the Art Of Archery”. In essence … “we’re taught: your goal is not to hit the target but to hit yourself. Once you “learn to hit yourself”, you’ll hit the target”.
You grunt and push trying to get “the weight up” and you end up doing all kinds of things wrong. One of the worst is swinging and cheating with the weight. When in fact, you should be trying to feel which muscle is being worked.
What’s Happening Inside The Muscle
You’ve got all these different muscle fibers … some alert, some attentive, some down-right lazy.
It’s kind of like a class room full of kids. You’ve got some raring to go, front row kids, who want to learn … take notes, all that kind of stuff.
Then you’ve got the “drag in, plunk themselves down on the back row kind”. Just barely there. Never really with the program.
Your goal as cheerleader is to get everybody as psyched as the front row guys.
Once you do this … man … you’ve got energy and power. Now you’ve got more than just the front row pitching in. You’ve got everybody going for it. The room is so full of energetic, alert muscle fibers … The window panes will be cracking … falling out … on the school yard.
How do you do this?
First, you’ve got to get rid of momentum. It’s where the back row guys are hiding out.
Start each rep … stretching down … to the bottom of the movement. In fact, search for “new bottoms”. Find coasting, never been worked, muscle fibers. Then slowly, caress them with electrical impulses as you pass through their midst. Yeah, there will be sparks and quivering as muscle fibers bang into each other trying to get in cadence. But … they will love it, because … for the first time … they are doing what they do best.
“Pass slowly through the “Zone” and focus on the muscle being worked.”
As you pass through the “front row” fibers, the ones that normally do all the work … don’t forget ’em just because you’ve found some “lost sheep”. Encourage ’em. I mean, really cheer ’em on. As the weight passes to them send out mental energy … something like, “Come on guys, go for it. Show everybody else how it’s done. You can do it. That’s it. Great.
Next you come to the other group of back row fibers … the ones that never really get to flex they way they could.
Now you’re going for the whole class. You’re going to make every single muscle fiber feel how important they are.
At the top of the exercise … flex those little devils like you’ve never flexed ’em before. Squeeze those hummers to life. Mentally crank up the voltage in your nervous system, so it arcs across the floor, through the air, and into every single bored, lazy, ignored muscle fiber you’ve got.
Perhaps for the first time … in their life, you’ve actually done a “complete rep”. You’ve got everyone’s attention. Waiting to see what you’re going to do next. Do you think they are going to listen? Get real …
Your muscle fibers want nothing more, than to hear from you. They love it … Just like the kid on the back row loves it when the teacher shows him personal attention.
And you’re not … just … the teacher.
You’re The Lord Of Your Whole Body … Imagine the excitement! Every muscle fiber and … every nerve dendrite gets to hear from the Master! A message from the King! Isn’t that what we all want?. No wonder the back row guys become “standing on desk, stomping feet, front row guys”. Can you see why … your training takes on a whole new perspective?
“Flex as hard as you possibly can at the top of the exercise.”
It’s no longer just … you … pumping and pushing weights. This is a whole new method of training. It’s a combined effort between you, your nervous system, your internal organs and your muscles. For the first time you feel everybody working as a team.
How Many Sets and Reps Of This Stuff Do You Need?
I know a lot of this stuff is hard to accept but it gets even harder.
You Only Need One Set On Each Exercise
That’s right, one set is all you need once you’ve really made “the connection”.
You Only Need … 3 Reps For Each Exercise
I know, part of your mind is saying … give me a break … no way … there’s no way you can make progress with just 3 reps. You can … if you get the weight right. The weight is much more critical when training with this high intensity method. In order to make this system work … The weight has to be just heavy enough to stay under “muscle control” rather than “mind control” throughout each “slow rep”.
“Make sure the weight is just heavy enough to exhaust but not frighten.”
I know this is a subtle distinction, but … like I said before … You’re not going to use mental energy to lift the weight. Your job is to send mental energy to the muscle … not to the weight. The muscle has to lift the weight. If the weight’s too heavy … you’ll shift your focus from the muscle to the weight.
Let’s Review … So far we’ve got three new things to learn.
We’re going slower so we can feel what’s going on.
We’re focusing our energy on the muscle rather than the weight.
We’re using the weight “the muscle wants”, not what we want or what we “think” is correct.
By the way, I use lighter weights than anyone else in the gym. So don’t let yourself be intimidated by others using heavier weights. Once they see your progress they’ll all start copying.