2017 is the year of my dedication to what I call “purposeful mindfulness.” I try daily to have a time out for meditation. But as I practice this habit, I have realized how often I use mindfulness while exercising. Focusing while training allows me to push my body further than I thought possible and making strength and fitness gains I would not have with out the practice of mindful lifting.
While you are lifting, take time to pay attention to what muscles you are using during a particular exercise. When you are preparing for your set, know which muscles are doing what part of the exercise. For instance, when you set up to squat, engage your glutes, your abs, your hamstrings and quads. Focus your mind on your breathing. Inhale with the weight on its descent, and exhale on the exertion. Take a moment and look at the muscle while it is contracting; see the muscle expand and contract. Then take a soft gaze away from the muscle (or close your eyes if you are seated or lying). Feel the tension in your muscles as they contract and move on the concentric and eccentric contractions. Finish the first rep and then embrace the next reps as fully as you did the first. Enjoy the feeling of the strength in the muscles that you are working.
Through weightlifting I have found strength outside my body; I have found it in my mind. Weightlifting, I have come to find, is my meditation. Breathe in, breathe out, lift, hold and repeat.