Slept through this morning’s weights session?
Go to your room now and think about what you’ve done.
No really, we mean it: new research shows that simply visualising a past workout will make you stronger.
While the interplay between mind and muscle is well established, scientists at Germany’s University of Giessen claim you can replace some of your sweat sessions with imaginary ones, “without any considerable reduction of strength gains”.
Try getting your head around that.
In their study, participants were asked to train three days a week for four weeks, performing calf raises, leg presses, bench presses and triceps extensions. Now, here’s the mental bit: for the second four-week stretch, some of the participants replaced half of their workouts with “fantasy sessions” in which they inwardly rehearsed their reps.
By the end of the study, the visualisers had boosted their strength by up to four per cent, compared with five per cent in those who trained for eight weeks straight.
So, next time you’re stuck in rush hour traffic, go somewhere else in your head. Just try to keep your fantasy sessions specific, focusing on individual muscle contractions. We’re calling this one the thinking man’s strength plan.