Today I encountered a phenomena that I like to call runaway sets. It first occurred in my second set of exercises at 9:30 am while doing the Robot Trio. Instead of doing 15 reps I caught myself at 21. While I was still counting my attention was not on the exercise. The movement had become routine and wasn’t taxing (even though I do them with a 5 lb weight) that I sort of checked out of from it. This can be bad because if not careful my form could have broken down and led to an injury. I finished out the trio doing 21 reps for the remaining exercises and moved on to squats where I again went beyond the 20 reps. There are two things going on here. The first, I mentioned earlier, is my attention was elsewhere, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The second thing is that the exercise itself or the amount of repetitions I was doing was too easy. My body was feeling the cues that the exercise was taxing. There was no fatigue or pain (the good kind that lets you know you are working hard) at 15 reps. Which means to either up the weight, which I won’t do for the robot trio or up the number of reps. So that is what I did, I went back to 25 repetitions.
Lets get back to attention and my mind wandering. Its a natural thing. You might experience it often in your day. Things that are mundane or repetitiously boring our minds might drift off to other things. Either externally or internally. The scope of our attention can be either broad or narrow. Check out the work of Roger Nideffer if you are interested. In his attention model there are four channels: Broad External, Broad Internal, Narrow Internal and Narrow External. And through the course of the day our attention shifts between these four channels and we each have a preferred channel. My mind likes to go to Broad Internal. I like to think about a lot of stuff. I needed to be in narrow internal focusing on the movement and how it felt. The ability to shift between channels and be in predominantly in the right channel in a given situation is important and can lead to better performance. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to manage that switching of channels and become more efficient at it.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”