Hitting the Weight Room
Lifting weights is a great way to get stronger and embody your authentic emergence. The two main components of lifting weights are repetition and workload. Use the repetition to organize your muscles for optimal effectiveness, then increase the workload to increase muscle memory.
The hamstring curl is a good exercise to test your overall muscle organization. Start by loosening up the feet. In a seated position, roll the feet up onto the toes, then roll onto the heels and lift the toes. Listen for tension in the feet that prevents you from evenly rolling heel to toe. Roll your feet from the outsides to the insides, again listening for tension that prevents your feet from fluidly doing this movement. Do your calf raises in three positions: with toes turned all the way out, toes pointed forward and toes pointed inward. Do three sets of a specified repetition, focusing on stacking your sit bones over the heels. Not sure where your sit bones are? Google them and visualize where yours are every day.
Now that your calves are worked, move on to the adductors, a powerful family of five, the inner thighs. Visualize your Magnus, the most important member of the adductor family, connecting your inner knee to your sit bone both legs. Use each repetition to lengthen and engage this muscle. Next, exercise your quads. A family of four, they connect the top of the knee to the leg socket, both legs. Take a few moments to locate the leg sockets. The sit bones connect to them. Each time you execute a quad rep, listen to how the thigh muscles want to bunch up mid-thigh and visualize them lengthening all the way to the leg sockets instead. The workload here is actually the visualization. No point in strengthening the quads if you strengthen them to shorten and bunch up.
When you sit on your sit bones, your pelvic bowl is neutral. Focus on aligning the pelvic bowl neutral as much as possible during your workout. To strengthen your lats, sit on the sit bones, reach up and grasp the angled bar overhead. Visualize the lats lifting up like a fountain, flaring out at the top to connect to the back of your arms. When you pull the bar down, visualize the top of the lats, directly below the scapular blades, closing like a drawbridge. With each successive repetition, focus on keeping the lat line closed. This allows the scapular blades to do the work of lifting and lowering the arms so you can focus on the lats managing the weighted workload.
Lie down on a bench for your chest press. When you lower the bar to the chest, visualize the pec line expanding, flattening your chest. Pause at the bottom of the press to engage your lat muscles, then, keeping the pec and lat lines expanded, press upward. Keep the lower back on the bench. Master the muscle organization form before adding weight to the bar. At this point, you have wakened feet, calves, adductors, quads, lats, and pecs, all working together for effective effort.
Move onto the abs. Position your pelvic bowl neutral, then visualize your AB Wall connecting the spot where the ribs come together and the top of your pelvic bowl front plane. It is common to do ab exercises by rocking the pelvic bowl to the rear and spilling the guts forward. This does not strengthen the abs but compromises and weakens the lower back and ab connection. When you visualize the abs like a wall connecting two points, the exercise feels more like compression than engage to disengage.
Biceps curls are commonly done incorrectly. Look in the mirror. Position your arms so your biceps face forward. When your elbows are away from your sides your biceps do not face forward. Position your elbows next to your sides until your biceps face forward. Keep them that way through your set. Next, do your triceps pull down. Stand close to the machine, grasp the bar or split ropes, align your neck with your spine, call on your muscle organization, stacking sit bones over heels, engaging the Magnus, lengthening the quads to the sockets, lifting and flaring the lats, expanding the pecs, positioning the ab wall and keeping biceps facing forwards. Each repetition brings the muscles closer and closer together as a unit.
The hamstrings form an acrobat-like handgrip with the calves above and below the knee. Keep the pelvic bowl neutral, organize the Magnus, quads, lats, pecs, biceps, triceps and abs to curl the leg. The hamstrings family of three attach directly next to the Magnus at the sit bones. You have come full circle. You have visualized and activated your muscles like the glorious choir they are meant to be, all singing together.