When it comes to bodybuilding, the mind is
almost as important as the body. The champion bodybuilders we have known
have been so motivated that they practically willed their muscles to
grow. But the mind is important for another reason. To succeed in
bodybuilding or in any other sport, you need to learn to think. You have
to understand what you're doing. You have to master training techniques.
You have to go beyond the basic principles of bodybuilding and find out
what really works for you. You must develop your own instincts just as
you develop your muscles and learn to listen to them. Sure, you have to
train hard, but it won't do that much good unless you also train smart.
Of course, that all comes with time. In
the beginning, every bodybuilder should stick pretty much to the basics.
When you are starting, you can't train according to "how you feel"
because you have no idea what correct training feels like. That makes
experience. The trick is to master the correct training techniques, get
used to how working out this way feels, and then you can begin to rely
on "feel" or "instinct" to guide you.
Like other bodybuilders, we started out
doing the basic exercises. Over time, experimenting in our own workouts,
thinking about what we were doing. We found that we could do many sets
for chest or for lats, train these muscles with as much intensity as
possible, but we still didn't get as good a result as when we
supersetted the back and chest - combined a pulling movement with a
pressing movement. But this same technique does not necessarily apply to
every muscle, nor will every bodybuilder get the same good results
training like this that we did. You must learn all of the relevant
techniques, and then study how each technique affects you as an
individual. This is the true art of bodybuilding.
The first step in this process is to
understand exactly what you are doing in the gym, and to learn to
interpret the feelings you experience from day to day as you go through
your training routine. Remember, if you contemplate ever becoming a
competitive bodybuilder, your opponents will probably know just as much
about technique as you. What will make the difference is the degree to
which you have been able to utilize your own instincts and feelings.
No matter how advanced a bodybuilder gets,
there are still questions that arise, which is another reason you have
to use your mind - to analyze what you're doing and evaluate your
progress. Even a Mr. Olympia can find himself unhappy with his progress
in the gym and begin to experiment with various training principles to
find something that works better. This is all the more reason to learn
as much as possible about different principles and ways of training, so
you will understand what alternatives are available to you.
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