If you are reading this right now, I want you to raise your hand as high as you can. Go ahead and do it right now if you haven't already, I am going to make an important point here. OK, keeping your hand as high as you can, I want you now to raise your hand a little bit higher. What's my point? Most of us have no idea what we are truly capable of, and we tend to often cut ourselves short. Metaphorically speaking, we tend to believe we have "raised our hands" as high as we can, when in reality we can always go a little higher.
If you are interested in building muscle and gaining some raw strength beyond what you thought was capable for yourself, or maybe you just want a little trick to get some better results, then try visualization. You have probably heard someone at one time say, "I have to see it to believe it." Well, any successful person in life in any category thinks the exact opposite, they believe it first and then they see it. Apply this to your training and your results will shoot through the roof.
Two ways in which you can use visualization are what we'll call long-term and short-term. Let's use the bench press for example. Let's say you currently can bench press 185 pounds for 10 reps and your goal is to eventually bench press 250 pounds for 10 reps. Long term visualization is when you take some quiet time at night when you are lying in bed, relax your body and mind, and after a few minutes when you feel relaxed, you begin to visualize yourself bench pressing 250 pounds for 10 reps.
The key is to make it as real as possible, as if you are really in the gym working out. Use your senses to make this visual as real as possible; recall the smell, what the gym looks like, the feel of the bar in your hands, what it sounds like in your gym, everything. See yourself completing each and every one of the ten reps in good form. Repeat this visualization every night, making it more and more of a real experience.
Another trick you can use is to see someone else perform ten reps with 250 pounds. When I was squatting around 300 pounds and had my goal of 415 pounds, I went on YouTube and watched videos of other people squat 415 pounds with ease and this totally gave me a new perspective, and the 300 pounds I was currently squatting no longer seemed so heavy.
Short term visualization works like this: when you are actually at the gym and getting ready to bench press, lie down on the bench and close your eyes. If you are going to do ten reps, then visualize yourself doing all ten reps in good form. It is important that you go through each rep in your head - and that you finish! Once you see it in your mind, snap open your eyes and perform the set; and repeat what you've already done in your imagination.
A final little trick you can use is to visualize yourself as being your favorite bodybuilder, or anyone with a lot more muscle and strength then you have while performing a set. Convince yourself as much as possible at that moment that you are really that person; visualize having those muscles, and the strength that comes with it, and then perform the set. This technique also works when doing exercises that might not be as challenging on your strength, such as pumping out your pectoral muscles with some dumbbell fly's; I'll bet you'll be able to pump out a few more reps then usual acting like a pro bodybuilder.
Practice these visualization techniques and over time you will be getting a heck of a lot better of a workout then you were without them, thus bringing you closer to performing your best, meaning you'll get better results.
Derek Manuel is the author of the best-selling How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle for Hardgainers. If you want to learn how you too can gain 20 to 30 pounds of solid muscle in as short as 8 weeks, or if you just want more quality information on how to gain weight and build muscle, please visit hardgainers-weight-tips.com