Internal signals help to improve what is called a “mind-muscle connection,” which increases the neuronal momentum in the muscles. In a physical training context, this can be translated into improvements in muscle growth (o hypertrophy in exercise science they talk!). Muscle hypertrophy appears to be related to our ability to activate more muscle fibers in the target muscle. When more muscle fibers within a muscle are active, these additional portions of the muscle can be stimulated to grow. Therefore, when muscle growth is a goal, internal signals can be especially helpful.
However, internal clues can also be created less efficient movement. The idea is that when we hear an internal signal, our focus is on our body, and that makes us more directly aware of the movement in question. If our conscious mind pays more attention to movement, this can interfere with it automatic coordination Otherwise, our nervous system would act reflexively. This can lead to a more clumsy and less efficient movement.
(Note on the side: One deceptive way to sabotage someone’s athletic performance is to direct their focus internally. For example, you might ask, “Hey, did you do something different with your wrist in this last shot?”)
While internal signals support muscle growth goals, there are other measures of athletic performance that research has shown are adversely affected by internal indications and the less efficient movement they create. These include strength, speed, jump distance, jump height, and accuracy (such as shooting a basketball through a basketball hoop). The investigation has really revealed this the external signals are superior to the internal ones to improve all of these aforementioned sports goals.
This is probably due to the fact that external signals guide the focus of attention away from the body and the movement that is taking place. When we focus on the effects from our movement instead of the movement itself, we can “get out of the way of our nervous system,” so to speak. This allows our nervous system to do its automatic and thoughtful work of coordinating our movement on its own, without our conscious interference. This translates into more efficient movement.
EXTERNAL COOKING IS FASHIONABLE, BUT IS IT EVERYTHING WE NEED?
If you’ve learned about internal and external cues before, you may know that external signaling tends to be the most “experimenting” style these days, thanks to the appeal of performance enhancement. Many sports coaches and sports coaches defending external signals while discouraging the use of internal signals. In my experience, this trend has also spread to the world of yoga. (At least the parts of the yoga world where pointing styles are discussed, which doesn’t seem to be a big part of the yoga world, I know!)
A more precise approach to the directions is to understand it both types of signals have their unique benefits. We can choose which style to use depending on the context of the specific movement, the specific individual and their specific goals. Internal signals are inherently no less dignified because they create less efficient movement.
In athletic and physical contexts, internal signals can be quite advantageous if the goal is to target a specific area of the body for muscle growth! And external directions can be very useful if things like jump height or maximum strength are goals.
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