I recently wrote an article about my own personal favourite kind of warm –up routine. In a segment of that article I recommended the habit of performing a warm up set for each and every exercise during your workout session. Today I will elaborate on why I feel this is something worth implementing into your routine.
For the rest of this article I will call this kind of extra warm up set a “honing set”. This is a more apt description of what I’m talking about.
The benefits of performing a honing set each time you start on a new exercise are the following:
Increased muscle contact.
The honing set allows you to “find” the muscle that you intend to target. This will lead to better muscle contact during the following work sets.
Improved visualisation and effectiveness.
When performing the honing set, do it as deliberate and with as much concentration and intent as your “real” sets. You might even want to take it as far as pretending that you are already lifting heavy. Visualise yourself mastering the strain that has yet to come. This will increase your sense of presence and further enforce the other benefits of the honing set mentioned in this article. Your mind can actually lure your muscle into responding more effectively to a light weight once you get good at this kind of visualising and “pretending”. This ability will in turn allow you to make better use of light weights, which will make you able to fully reap the benefits of high volume training. Once you master these skills you can accomplish great results through the use of very different training methods. You become more versatile and adaptable. Your pallet, so to speak, becomes more varied. For example, you will be able to get the most out of the kind of light weight routine that I myself sometimes make use of.
Reduced risk of injury.
Getting in contact with your muscle before you put serious strain on it will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Local warm up.
The honing set is also a renewed warm up set. The joints that are involved gets a good taste of what is coming and you get the blood flowing where you meant it to be: into the targeted area of your body.
Hitting your muscles with different kind of weights, alternating between light and heavy in close succession will allow you to activate different layers of muscle. I have touched upon this earlier, for example in my article layers on layers of pump.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an exercise that you have performed a thousand times, you will always benefit from further honing of your technique. Remember that muscle building is about technique and form, much more than it is about brute strength.
Getting the basics right in order to perform better.
Finally, I want to urge you to do the following: when you perform your honing sets, remind yourself of what you are trying to accomplish and what aspects of recommended technique you want to live up to. This will help you to be fully concentrated and fully present, in a way that will help you develop the most important kind of strength, namely your mental strength, and your most important kind of skill at the gym, namely your ability to concentrate.
You probably have favourite exercises. This is a good thing, but there might be a risk of rushing through certain parts of your workout in order to get to the good stuff. The honing set will help you to be fully engaged in the exercise being performed at the moment, so that you don’t allow what is coming to occupy your mind. You don’t want to just go through the motions, but to make the absolute most of each and every exercise.
Try making the honing set a habit and reap the benefits while achieving a strong and chiselled body!
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