Focus. It is one of the must underrated aspects of training. Most people don't think about the ultimate importance of focus when lifting weights.
I was taught the approach I use by my friend and mentor, Carlos DeJesus. He follows what he calls N.I.T. — Natural Instinctive Training. The concept will likely blow your mind. I hope to be able to share more N.I.T. nuggets with you in the coming months, but for now here is a preview.
My approach is to use my mind and muscle connection to the maximum benefit. The inner speak that you hear when lifting is going to change the results you get. I don't count repetitions because that distracts me and takes away from my concentration. I talk to my muscles and tell them that I want them to grow. I tell my muscles exactly what I want from them during the exercise.
By talking to the muscles and telling them what we want from them we can no longer count repetitions. This means our training will be more intense and more concentrated. It enables us to get more from less. What matters to you–repetitions or results? I am personally looking for results.
Call this whatever you want: focus, concentration, inner speak control. The end result is that your body is going to respond. You avoid pushing a muscle beyond what it can handle, yet at the same time you avoid stopping short. This approach focuses on maximal stimulation of the muscle. That's the goal of any bodybuilder. It is also the major goal of N.I.T.
I want to implore you to give this a chance. The next time you hit the gym, no matter what the muscle group, focus on that muscle. Feel it moving. Feel it contracting. Talk to it and tell it what you want from it. Try this for a few weeks and see what happens. I am certain you won't be sorry.