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Virtual exercise?

September 23rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

As most of us know, imagining that you’re doing an activity (imaging) can help you improve your performance at that activity. Athletes have done this for years, but how about this: what if imaging a strength-training exercise can increase your strength almost as much as actually doing the exercise?

A study has shown that if you do the imaging under circumstances similar to those under which the real exercise would be performed (smelly gym and all), you’d get similar results to those you’d get if you actually performed the exercise.

“The percentage increase in weight lifted was 23.29% in the PETTLEP imagery group, 28.03% in the combination group, and 26.56% in the physical practice group. The traditional imagery group and control group increased by 13.75% and 5.12%, respectively.”

In other words, pumping iron increased strength by 26%, but imaging with this technique increased it by 24%. The PETTLEP imagers first pumped iron while being viedotaped, then did the imaging while sitting at the bicep curl machine and watching the tape, recalling as many bicep-curling sensations as they could. It seems that recalling the physical sensations was very important.

Here’s the study. “PETTLEP” is the name of the imaging technique.

This has terrific potential for rehabilitation, although someone who could not do the exercise (and thus could not be videotaped) would not perform as well.

By the way, this actually ties in somewhat with Yiquan’s imaging techniques as written in J.P. Lau’s Yiquan Beginner’s Guide. Interesting.

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