Focus on muscle group during strength training does not result in more reps
If strength athletes focus during their workouts on the muscle groups they are working on, the electric activity in this specific muscle group increases, but this does not result in more strength. Also, the effect on the number of reps that strength athletes can do during their sets does not increase due to the focus on muscles.
In 2021, Jozo Grgic, an exercise scientist at Australia's Victoria University, published a meta-study in which he aggregated and re-analyzed the results of 5 previously published studies. In those studies, subjects - usually experienced strength athletes - had to perform exercises with a fixed load, and try to achieve as many reps as possible.
On one occasion the subjects were instructed to focus on the muscle groups they were targeting [internal focus], on the other they had to concentrate on the weight they had to move [external focus].
The table below gives you more details about the studies used by Grgic. Click it for a larger version.
The subjects were able to squeeze fewer reps from their sets if they focused on the muscle groups they activated during their exercises than if they focused on the weight they had to move.
No effect on strength, no effect on number of reps. The effect of concentration on the muscle group has so far been disappointing. But we're not giving up just yet.
Soon we will continue.
Sports (Basel). 2021 Nov 12;9(11):153.
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