I recently started on a strength training routine. For years I mostly did cardio through my running and spinning and then yoga for flexibility and stability. I have never had a strength practice perhaps because I have not found a program that weaves into a habit. This year I vowed to include it primarily to set a more solid fitness base as I move into my 40s.
One thing that surprised me about this type of training is its focus on intention. You may be doing the same movement as someone else but if you have different intentions, it will impact a different muscle area. I like the idea of intentionality in movement. I never would have thought that lifting weights would have this as a core principle. I also like it that the practice seems to operate based on key principles that flow as you progress. It starts with repetition to build muscle so you can lift heavier. Repetition is also for muscle memory so the form leaves its imprint in your physiological makeup, ensuring that you are mindful of how you do a workout, consequently avoiding injury. All these build up to a strength that allows you to lift heavier and get stronger. Overall it is an interesting and deliberate cycle.
Another principle that struck me was the notion of being “in tension” or keeping all your core muscles, limbs tight and introducing tension to the body. I used to operate by keeping tension only on the focused area. But the rationale behind introducing tension is making sure that you center yourself, focus all your energy into that single movement so you do not lose your form. It is tension that is intentional.
Once again, my workouts teach me about how to show up in the world. In this case, it is about clarity of intention for the stuff I say yes to. It is about the tension or vigilance that I need to keep as I practice my profession.These combined would result to increased energy and vitality. All in all a much better way of living everyday:)