How to make your exercises better by Cueing
This is the art to provide clear concise instructions and feedback to execute any programmed exercise in your workout. This article majorly deals with types of cuing and how should you cue to make exercise better and more effective Broadly classifying there are 2 types of Cues. 1) Internal Cue 2) External Cue Internal Cue: These are the cues which draw your attention towards specific movements of the parts of the body involved in the exercise or the whole body movement as well sometimes. This sometimes corresponds with the idea of mind-muscle connection which I am not inline within my personal views. A typical example of a bicep curl cueuing would be squeeze your biceps as you bend your elbow. External Cues: These are the cues that ask you to pay attention to the movement result or outcome and the implementation of the movement. A similar example of a bicep curl external cueuing would lift the weight up towards your shoulder. Its shown in researches now that external cues increase performance more than internal cues and are recommended as an internal cue may create a distraction and the learner is cautiously thinking of separate parts of the exercise rather than the movement. On the other hand when you think of the movement outcome your brain figures out the most efficient way to perform that movement. Although yes Internal cuing offers more Muscle activation but this comes with inefficient motor control. Think of it as you need to spend more brain to study the same topic which you could have learned via examples. Also if you are someone who does not train near failure(which is unlikely in most scenarios) for hypertrophy then this greater activation can lead to more hypertrophy when muscles are not fatigued. As far as performance is concerned external cueing is the way to go. Examples of Cues: Squat: Internal cue: Flex hips, Spine extended, lower yourself down. Squeeze quadriceps while extending your knees and hips back to standing position. External cue: Keeping spine long push hips to come in a sitting position in a chair. Press the floor away from your hips to the front of the room while coming up. Bench Press: Internal cue: squeeze your triceps and pecs and extend elbows to bring the bar up. External cue: Throw the bar through the ceiling. Deadlift: Internal cue: Lift chest up and straighten your back while bringing hips to the bar. External cue: Pull up to the ceiling and spread the floor(or push the floor away). References: 1. Wulf G. Attentional focus and motor learning: a review of 15 years. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology 2013 6:1, 77-104 2. Snyder BJ, Fry WR. Effect of verbal instruction on muscle activity during the bench press exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 3. Marchant DC, Greig M, Scott C. Attentional focusing instructions influence force production and muscular activity during isokinetic elbow flexions. J Strength Cond Res. 4. Lohse KR, Sherwood DE, Healy AF. Neuromuscular effects of shifting the focus of attention in a simple force production task. 5. Wulf G, Dufek JS, Lozano L, Pettigrew C. Increased jump height and reduced EMG activity with an external focus. Hum Mov Sci. 2010 Jun 6. Winkelman, N. (2015). Attentional focus and cuing. IDEA Fitness Journal, 12, 5.