This Simple Trick Will Improve Your Next Run

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We all need a little encouragement during our workouts. Whether we’ve enlisted a trainer to tell us to bang out 10 more burpees, a running coach to tell us to pick up the pace or we’re mentally telling ourselves to go for it during the last five minutes of SoulCycle. Those little motivational messages and nudges seem to do the trick—most of the time. Now, a new study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at which types of cues work best.


Internally focused cues are those that stress the actual movements of the body—for instance “take longer strides” for runners. Externally focused cues are those that stress the intended effects of a given movement, like “find the gap” for a running back in football or “get the runner at home” for an outfielder in baseball.

The researchers wanted to test what cues, if any, made the biggest mark in terms of improving performance. Past studies have found external cues have the upper hand in terms of producing results, but now researchers were interested in seeing if some types of internal cues could be more beneficial than others.

To do this, they equally divided 68 participants into four groups and asked each person to perform five standing long jumps. There was an external focus group (told to “jump as far past the line as possible”), a broad internal focus group (told to “use your legs”), a narrow internal focus group (told to “extend your knees as rapidly as possible”) and a control group for comparison.

After analyzing the results of each group, they found the external group performed significantly better when compared to the others, with an average distance of 198 centimeters. The broad internal focus group and the narrow internal focus group saw about the same results as the control group (roughly 173 and 178 centimeters respectively). Basically, the researchers found that thinking about the actual body mechanics didn’t do anything to help the athletes. Concentrating on the results did.

So if you want to pick up the pace on your run, focus on the finish line.

source : Self.com

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