Thirty "young, healthy volunteers" participated in the 12 week study. They were broken up into 4 groups:
- Eight participants thought about exercising their little finger muscle for 15 min. 5 days/wk.
- Eight participants imagined exercising their biceps for 15 min. 5 days/wk.
- Eight subjects were in the control group...they did nothing special
- Six subjects actually did maximal little finger exercises for 15 minutes 5 days per week
Sounds crazy. So why don't we all just stay home from the gym and just imagine working out instead? Actual resistance training exercises are still the best way to improve muscle tone and strength. It's not a bad idea to add some metal imagery to your training session. Perhaps the next time you go to do a workout, spend 5 minutes visualizing the exercises, I bet it helps!
1. From mental power to muscle power; gaining strength by using the mind, Vinoth K. Ranganathan, Vlodek Siemionowa, Jing Z. Liu, Vinod Sahgal, Guang H. Yue, Neuropsychologia 42 (2004) 944-150;956.
2. Yue GH, Cole KJ: Strength increases from the motor program: Comparison of training with maximal voluntary and imagined muscle contractions. Journal of Neurophysiology, 67: 1114-1123, 1992.