You are on page 1of 212

Advance Praise For

MENTAL MUSCLE
Mental Muscle has been a long time coming. For me and probably you too.
Personally, Ive been looking for a book like this since 1993, after I was first introduced
to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Like many of us, I had heard about cutting
edge mental training techniques and I wanted to learn more. Both for myself as well as
the numerous LEOs and military personnel I trained. And, like many of us, I read every
book I could find on the topics of sports psychology, hypnosis and NLP. For the most
part, it was an exercise in frustration. None of it seemed to connect. The techniques
were often vague and ill-suited to the rapidly evolving, real-world nature of my work.
With far more tenacity than insight, I managed to piece together workable methods
to enhance performance. Methods which improved strength, focus and mental
toughness. After reading Mental Muscle, I cant help but think about how much time I
would have saved and how much further I would be on my journey if only I had had this
book twenty-plus years ago.
Mental Muscle is THE mind manual for people who want to intentionally connect
their brain to their body and experience amazing results now. As in RIGHT NOW.
In this breakthrough book, Logan completely demystifies mental training, making
it as easy to understand as hoisting a barbell. Youll get the how and the why and
immediately be able to plug in easy-to-understand techniques to improve yourself and
crush obstacles like a sledgehammer.
I can think of no other manual that gives you as many workable methods and can
get you moving forward as quickly as Mental Muscle. Trust me, youve been waiting
for this book. Thankfully, its finally here. Mike Gillette, Performance Coach,
World Record Holder, Member of the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame, Bodyguard
to Fortune 500 executives, Subject-Matter Expert for the Transportation Security
Administration and Department of Homeland Security and author of Rings of Power

In Mental Muscle, Logan Christopher provides an excellent blueprint to master


your mind and unleash your true strength potential. In fact, the techniques in this book
are so powerful, they can be applied to improving all aspects of life, not just physical
performance. Al Kavadlo, author of Zen Mind, Strong Body

Mental Muscle goes deep into what makes the human mind so extraordinary and
why is it that some people seem to possess superhuman strength and ability that is
beyond belief. All too often people attribute great physical talent and unbelievable feats
of strength as just plain lucky or genetics. This assessment couldnt be further from the
truth for most seemingly superhuman beings. There is untapped capacity inside all of
us and Logan goes into great detail about not only how to attain this incredible power
but also how to harness it on demand.Mike Westerdal, CPT, RKC, Founder of
CriticalBench

Logan Christopher is an extraordinary fitness professional who has dedicated


himself to the pursuit of self-mastery in wide-ranging, impressive avenues. If youve
been following Logans work, youll know that hes already published many books and
DVDs on bodyweight and strongman training methods. But with Mental Muscle,
Logan delivers an entire book dedicated to a realm of training that hes been alluding to
for years: the mental preparation that plays an equally important role in your strength
training. Mike Fitch, Global Bodyweight Training

All I can say is WOW. This book has been long overdue. When it comes down to
it, one of the most important components of training, lifestyle, and overall health and
fitness is that of the mind and being able to use your mind to its fullest potential. What
youll discover within Logans book will certainly not disappoint. This is a must have
resource for anyone wanting to improve their overall strength and overall fitness.
Travis Stoetzel, founder, TrainAggressive and The Forged Athlete Gym

Mental Muscle is phenomenal...truly the missing link when it comes to developing


superhuman strength, willpower and focus. What most people dont realize is that
you can and should train your mind just as hard as you train your body. With the tips,
tricks, and training techniques Logan shares with you in Mental Muscle, you will make
massive leaps forward in your physical capabilities...often doubling reps or increasing
loads beyond what you thought you were capable of...literally within a matter of
seconds. This book belongs on the shelf of every serious trainer.Nick Nilsson, The
Mad Scientist of Muscle

If you are looking to increase your strength, improve your will power for fat loss
or improve mental focus when recovering from an injury, I highly recommend Mental
Muscle. Rick Kaselj, MS, founder, ExercisesForInjuries

MENTAL
MUSCLE

How to Use
The Full Power of Your Mind
to Develop Superhuman Strength

LOGAN CHRISTOPHER
Dragon Door Publications

MENTAL
MUSCLE
Copyright 2015, Logan Christopher
A Dragon Door Publications, Inc. production
All rights under International and Pan-American Copyright conventions.
Published in the United States by: Dragon Door Publications, Inc.
5 East County Rd B, #3 | Little Canada, MN 55117
Tel: (651) 487-2180 | Fax: (651) 487-3954
Credit card orders: 1-800-899-5111 | Email: support@dragondoor.com
Website: www.dragondoor.com
ISBN 10: 1942812027 ISBN 13: 978-1-942812-02-9
This edition first published in October, 2015
Printed in China
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the
Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

Book design by Derek Brigham | www.dbrigham.com | bigd@dbrigham.com

DISCLAIMER: The authors and publisher of this material are not responsible in any manner whatsoever for
any injury that may occur through following the instructions contained in this material. The activities, physical
and otherwise, described herein for informational purposes only, may be too strenuous or dangerous for
some people and the reader(s) should consult a physician before engaging in them. The content of this book
is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Readers should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they
may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions because of
information contained within this publication.

CONTENTS

Foreword By Paul Coach Wade


Introduction

iii

Section 1

How Your Mind Controls Your Body

Section 2

11

Mental Training Tactics and Techniques

35

Achieve the Strength and Body You Desire with


Well-Formed Outcomes

37

Easy to Use Methods You Can Put Into Practice Today


for Hypnotizing Yourself and Others

49

Making Your Mental Movies So Powerful They Deliver


Instant Real Life Results (Most People Visualize Incorrectly
If They Do It At All!)

75

Psyched Up, Focused or Relaxed at the Snap of the


Fingers with Anchors

104

Section 3

Peak Performance Drills for Strength, Muscle,


Fat Loss and Performance

121

Mental Training Drills for Strength

123

Mental Training Drills for Fat Loss



Mental Training Drills for Muscle Building

133
148

Mental Training Drills for Gaining Skills

154

Entering the Flow State

162

Section 4

Word for Word Transcripts of Mental Training Drills


with Clients including the Results They Experienced

169

Bibliography

188

About the Author

189

ii

Foreword
By Paul Coach Wade

m gonna make a prediction now. I bet that when you were a kid, I bet you read
comic books and fantasized about having super-powers.
Was I right? How did I know?
Okay then. Lets take that infinite imagination off the shelf, dust it down, and put

it to work. Lets do some grown-up fantasizing. I want you to imagine what it would
be likeright now, todayto have superpowers. But Im not talking about physical
superpowers, like x-ray vision or super-breath. Im talking about mental superpowers,
superpowers of the mind.
Imagine if, with your mental superpowers:
You could control your body to a staggering degree: if you could increase your
strength, your endurance, your pain tolerance to almost superhuman levels;
You could manipulate your own brain waves to amplify the power of your will,
your senses, and even control your bodys own hormones and healing factors;
You had enhanced learning powers: the capacity to acquire skills and qualities
(like strength, or muscle mass) at a rapidly accelerated rate, compared to
normal humans;

You could enter the legendary state known as flowresulting in peak
performance, the absolute maximization of your potentialon demand, and at a
moments notice.

iii

Think about those powers for a second. If a superhero could achieve those
abilities, hed be pretty badass, right?
But this is not fictionthis is not the garish, multi-colored maelstrom of a comic
book. This is the real world. These mental abilities exist, they have been proven, they
have been utilized for centuries by the most powerful people on the planet, and they
have been widely researched over many decades by science.
So how come we dont hear about these abilities more? Well, some of you have
probably heard about them. But the flat truth is that most people seeking power look
in the wrong place. Like a doctor who tries to fix illness by only looking at symptoms
instead of the cause, most people (athletes especially!) get caught up in the results
of these mental abilities. They look at the 600 pound bench press, the one-arm
handstand, the lightning sprint, the giant drug-free arm. They dont see that these
things are just resultswhat made them happen was the mind.
It was always the mind. These dayswhen materialism ruleswe endlessly talk
about genetics as being the key factor in success. This is wrong. Genetics only dictate
the limit of your ultimate potential. But its the capacity of the mind that decides
whether you actually reach that potential or not.
Physical strength is a prime example of this. The average skinny nerd with shitty
genetics still has the genetic potential to become so strong thatif this potential
was actualizedhis abilities would be terrifying to the average person on the street.
During my time in prison, Ive seen this happen several times. Ive met average men
who trained with such ferocity, such focus, such drive, who got so powerful they could
snap redwood nightsticks in their bare hands; they could shatter steel handcuffs, when
cuffed behind their back! If thats not superhuman, what is?
You dont need to trust in my anecdotes. Just look carefully at the annals of
strength. Logan, this books author, often talks about Joe Greensteinthe famous
Mighty Atom. As a kid, this weakling nearly died from TB and lung disorders. He
never grew to over five foot four, or weighed over a buck forty; you could put a goddam

iv

picture of this dude in the dictionary to illustrate bad genetics. But using the power
of his mindsomething he often lectured onhe became the most famous strongman
in history, bending thick steel bars, breaking chains by expanding his chest, and lifting
cars. He even got shot once, and the damn bullet bounced off him!
Back in the day, many of the truly great athletes started off small and weakthe
same bad genetics rap that so many folks use as an excuse now, was what spurred
them on to greatness. Pierre Gasnier (1862-1923) was another example. At five foot
three he was even smaller than the Atom, but could tear packs of cards like they were
tissue paper, and bend steel as if it was plastic tape. In his act, he lifted a 260-pound
dumbbell overhead, one-handed! (You think the huge, modern lifters are stronger
than the old timers? Youre wrong. When was the last time you even saw a 260 pound
dumbbell in a modern gym, let alone watched someone lift it?!)
If youre more into the fighting arts, just look at the example of Bruce Lee. He was
constantly sick as a child. The kid was so thin and delicate, his father feared that hed
be killed if he got into a fight. And yet this little flowershort and skinny, with pisspoor geneticshoned his body into a tempered steel machine, and became the most
powerful, formidable fighter of his era. He did it using the power of his mind.
Its something an older guy like me just cant understandwhy is everyone so
busy talking about geneticswhich we absolutely cannot changewhen we should
be talking about the powers of the mindwhich we can access, alter and evolve, to an
insane degree?
Hopefully, Logans masterpiece Mental Muscle is the book that turns the tide.
Despite his youth, it feels like Logan has been around in the strength world forever.
Hes respected as one of the few true modern-day masters of mental trainingand he
walks the walk, too, having transformed himself from a below-average underweight
kid into a famous strongman with jaw-dropping power and strength-skills that are
admired the world over. (Even by steroid-fuelled bodybuilders three times his size,
who couldnt even hope to do what Logan does on a daily basis!)

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Take my word for it: Mental Muscle is that ultimate mental training manual
we have all been waiting for. Lets quit wasting time jawing, and go get you some
superpowers, kid. Its all in here.

Paul Coach Wade

vi

Far too many physical culturists, in their


enthusiasm for physical development,
never give a thought to mental training.
Famous Strongman, Thomas Inch

Introduction

he crowd gasped in amazement and exclaimed, WOW! They had just seen

what many people would think is impossiblenot just the feat itself, but the

nearly instantaneous doubling of strength.


Matti Marzel, who had flown in all the way from the Netherlands to join my
seminar in San Diego, California, was doing an exercise that very few people in the
world could do. Propped up on just the thumb, middle and index fingers of each hand,
he was repping out handstand pushups. In about three minutes he had gone from
struggling to do two reps to easily busting out four. In fact, he probably could have done
even more at that time, but he lost his balance at the top from moving so fast.
I didnt offer him any tips on technique. In fact, I couldnt even do this move
myself. Instead, all I did was coach Matti into accessing more of his internal power,
changing how his mind perceived this exercise. This changed his neural circuitry
which then changed how strong he was.
In doing that, he doubled what he could do! Whats more, he actually did the four
reps easier than the previous two, and set a personal record.

M e n ta l M u s c l e
It didnt take months of practice. It didnt even take progress from one workout to
another. All it took was changing his internal movies about the exercise. Even though
his mental movies were already excellent, I was able to help him take it to another level.
Youll soon learn exactly how to do this yourself, in complete detail.
Since then, Matti has continued to further accelerate his capabilities in that
exercise by proper training and the use of those mental drills.
Doing this for yourself, and much, much more, is the promise of Mental Muscle.
Youre going to learn how to run your brain in ways that few people know. In doing
so, youll be able to become much stronger, often instantly. Plus you can use the same
methods to lose weight, gain muscle, and become more skilled.
Some people will say this stuff is impossible, crazy and doesnt work. Or that its all
just mental mumbo jumbo.
First off, to anyone that thinks that, its their loss. You and I can use these powerful
drills and blow right past them with our progress while they stick to thinking all theyve
got to do is work hard.
I was showing some of the methods youll discover in this manual to my friend
Chuck Halbakken. He is somewhat of a skeptical guy. Hed also spent years training
clients and learning from some of the top people in the physical training field. After
showing him some of these methods, he told me that what I showed him in half an hour
was more amazing and impactful then anything he had learned in the previous three
yearsincluded going to many thousand-dollar certification programs. In this book
youre getting far more than what I showed him on that day.
My name is Logan Christopher. I have been called a physical culture renaissance
man. In case youre unfamiliar with the term, physical culture is an old phrase having
to do with health, fitness and strength. This means I am not a specialist in one thing,
but have achieved a fair amount in many different fields of strength.

Introduction
I lift heavy weights and do bodyweight training. Sometimes Ill lift 500 lb. in a
deadlift and do freestanding handstand pushups in the same workout. Other times
I may tear through a phonebook with my bare hands and press the Beast, a 106 lb.
kettlebell.
As a performing strongman I have pulled an 8,800 lb. fire truck by my hair. I have
lit a kettlebell on fire and juggled it around my body. I have supported over half a ton
in the wrestlers bridge position, even though people think just the basic un-weighted
version is enough to break your neck.
I dont say all this to brag. Im sharing it with you to show what you can do if you get
your mind properly behind what you want to accomplish.
I am not a natural, far from it. Growing up, I was a weak and scrawny kid. There
was a time when I couldnt even do a regular pushup. I remember in 8th grade hanging
from a pullup bar and not even being able to move an inch, and thinking about how it
was impossible.
Strength does not come easily to me. I wasnt ever willing to do steroids, but was
willing to do just about anything else to excel and become one of the strongest people
in the world. So I had to seek out the best methods, often going far outside the box of
conventional training. This led me to dive deep into the realm that so few people fully
usethe mind.
You can go to a personal trainer and learn new exercises. You can buy books and
DVDs to teach you proper lifting technique. You can even hire high-end coaches to
guide you every step of the way.
But sadly, no one has taught the mental side of traininguntil now.
I have spent the past several years diving deep into this field. Although I had
already played with a few mental training techniques like visualization, I consider my
real entrance into this field to be the time I began training with Dr. John La Tourrette,

M e n ta l M u s c l e
a 10th Degree Black Belt with a PhD in Sports Psychology. I took the same methods
he used to amplify his martial arts and applied them to strength and fitness. This set
me on a path to train with more of the best. I became an NLP Master Practitioner and
Trainer, and trained under some of the founding members who Ill introduce to you
later. I became a Certified Hypnotist, putting clients under and finding that it could be
useful for a variety of purposes, including adding strength instantly.
I have helped thousands of people get stronger, lose weight, gain skills they
previously thought impossible, and more through personal coaching as well as through
my many websites, books and videos.
For several years now, Ive been quietly experimenting with all the mental training
methods and drills youll find in this book. Ive taught a few people how to do these and
the results are always the sameamazing and instant! Sometimes, the results border
on the unbelievable.
During a break at another seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, I was with a friend back
in her hotel room. She was asking about exercises she could do. After discussing the
pushup I showed her how to do a pike press, which is halfway between a pushup and a
handstand pushup. She couldnt do it at all.
Perhaps I could have told her some physical technical changes she could have
made to help her do it, But I didnt. Instead I told her to make a single easy change in
how her mind perceived the exercise.
I told her to make her mental movie BRIGHTER. After that, she accomplished the
exercise with ease.
Important: This is a very simple yet hugely effective technique you will learn later.
With it you can often see instant gains of 15% up to 300% or more. Or as was the case
here, the impossible became easy, all within a few seconds.

Introduction

What

is

Mental Muscle All About?

This book answers the questions for which many people have been unable to
find real answers. And it gives you the step by step processes you need to change and
accelerate your results.
How do you deal with motivation? Its easy when its high, but what do you do
when its low?
Its not about having more mental toughness. That can certainly be useful in some
instances, but its impact is so tiny in comparison to the power available with other
mental training methods.
I promise you that this book goes far beyond what anyone else is offering when it
comes to the mental side of training. In fact, Im disappointed at how kindergarten
level most people are when operating in this areaif they even focus on it at all.
Many people provide maxims like, You have to believe in yourself, but they never
give you step-by-step processes to do exactly what they say. This book is different. In
fact, youll be learning the exact steps necessary to change beliefs.
They say, You should visualize yourself being successful. But they never offer
HOW you need to do the visualization. This book dedicates a whole chapter to the
intimate details of visualization.
Is there a way to truly supercharge your results? Part of physical training is
building a stronger mind-body connection. Why not do it in reverse? Is it possible
to aim your food where you want it to go, to aid in your muscle gain or weight loss
goals? Using your mind, can you double the strengthening effects you get from your
workouts? Is it possible to double your strength instantly?

M e n ta l M u s c l e
The answer to these questions is yes. Ive seen it happen for myself time and time
again when the techniques and drills from this book are applied. Ive witnessed people
going from unable to do something to accomplishing it easily. Ive seen reps doubled
and even tripled so many times I cant even count them.
So much progress has been made when it comes to exercise scienceand nutrition
as well. In fact, sometimes there is too much, and information overload soon follows. It
can be downright confusing. Until now, the mindand how powerful it is in helping us
get stronger and more fithas been rarely considered.
Yet when you look behind the scenes, what really works is when a person does
something with the right mindset. Its not just about willpower. That can be helpful but
the easiest and most long lasting changes are made when willpower isnt even an issue.
Unfortunately, when you dont have the mind properly in alignment with your aims,
the best training program or nutrition plan will not help you.
In fact, I would argue that you can make a great plan or idea turn against you, all
with the power of your mind.
It can be your greatest ally
Or it can be your greatest enemy
When you learn how to properly use your mind toward your aims, then and only
then will you be able to achieve whatever you desire.
Many of the top athletes and achievers in any field stumble across some of these
concepts on their own. Their beliefs and values are in alignment with their goals. But
they dont have a clue about how to teach you the mental frames that contribute to
their success. And even then, they could still achieve greater and faster results by
employing the mental training technologies outlined here.

Introduction
More than anything, this book seeks to prove that if youre not using your mind
power properly, then youre short-changing your results. If youve ever sought to
achieve big goals, but felt unable to reach them, its likely that your mind was the key
component holding you back.
If youre reading this book, you are in one of two camps.
If you are in the first camp, you are already getting great results from your training.
Congratulations for being a high achiever. In this book, youll learn additional skills
and tools to help you meet your goals and do it faster. And you will learn to put these
skills to good use. The slightest improvement may be all youre looking for and you will
find it here, better than anywhere else. Why? Because so few people are doing this kind
of training.
In the other camp, you are not getting the results you want. Something has stopped
you. Maybe you have gotten some results in the past but you just cant get there now.
Here youll also find the tools you need to overcome these hurdles and move far beyond
them. If you are stuck, blocked or nothing works for you, this book can be exactly what
you need. Why? Because we will work at deeper levels that can get you to change more
than just your behavior.
When it comes to achieving peak performance levels there are three areas. I call
this the Peak Performance Trinity. One section is physical training towards your aim.
The second is health and nutrition. As already mentioned, many people work very
hard in these two areas. The final area is mind power. In fact, I recently re-made my
pyramid model to put it at the topbecause mind power is over-arching and guides
both your training and health. If you wish to become a peak performer, this book will
provide the missing ingredient.

M e n ta l M u s c l e

How This Book is Different From


All Other Mental Training Books
Its a shame. As important as the field of mental training is, there is comparatively
very little written about it.
There are a few great books written about sports psychology and mental training
for athletes. Many of those will be mentioned throughout this book. The problem is
that most of these books are twenty to thirty years old or older. While the material is
as impactful now as it was back then, its hard to believe that no more advances have
happened since then. The truth is, there have actually been many advances in mental
training.
In addition, all sports psychology books are just written about sportsin most
cases, team sports. While there is nothing wrong with this, the area of strength training
is somewhat different. There is a significant difference between sports skills, and
exerting strength. While some books mention weight lifting (and of course when I
talk about weight lifting, this applies to any strength endeavor from gymnastics to
kettlebells and more) it is rare to find.
Mental Muscle seeks to fill both these gaps. Here we will take all that past
information and build on it. Also, we will specifically look at how mental training can
be used to get stronger, build muscle and lose fat. If you want to improve your skills for
any physical art, that will be one of the easiest things we can accomplish.
Most of the studies and stories youll find in this book come from the field of health.
This is because a lot of research has been done in this area, far more than in the realms
of sports, weight lifting, and muscle building. In the last areas listed, there is almost no
information at all, so many of the ideas and principles will be pulled from sports.
Throughout the book I will provide you with tons of research, and more resources
for you to examine which back up every one of my claims. Ill share personal stories of

Introduction
people Ive trained, and scientific research conducted by sports psychologists and top
people in many fields.
Most importantly, when you do the drills yourself and gain the personal
experience of how well this mental training works for you, then youll know beyond
a doubt its truly effectivebecause it worked for you. Thats the only way you can be
sure something is this powerful, when YOU do it and YOU get the results.
This book is divided into four main sections.
The first section, How Your Mind Controls Your Body, gives background
information showing just how powerful the mind truly is. A large portion of this
section is dedicated to the placebo effect as the research in that area is amazing and
showcases how powerful the mind-body is when it believes it can do something.
The second section, Mental Training Tactics and Techniques, shows you some
of the most important focus areas in mental training. This includes how to properly set
an outcome, use hypnosis, visualizationincluding the all-important submodalities
and anchoring. These skills form the foundation of your mental training, and with
them you can move into the next section.
The third section, Peak Performance Drills for Strength, Muscle, Fat Loss and
Skills, covers specific drills based on the methods covered in the previous section. In
this section, training goals are broken up into four main chapters: training for strength,
adding muscle, losing weight and finally for sports and other skill-based movements.
This section wraps up with a lengthy and in-depth drill for achieving flow on demand.
The final section, Transcripts of Mental Training with Clients, shows you these
methods and drills in action. Youll read word for word transcripts of me coaching
clients through the drills and into achieving success with various exercises. This
includes the complete process of the story that started Mental Muscle, among several
others.

M e n ta l M u s c l e
I recommend that you first read through the book in its entirety one time. After
you have the whole picture, go back and start putting the drills into practice. It is very
important to read the first two sections and lay a foundation for the skills to come
before getting to the drills. After youve read the first two sections, you can jump to
the drills that are the most appropriate for your goals. Use the book as a reference as
you practice them. Soon enough youll memorize the steps and be able to apply these
methods any time you choose.

10

SECTION 1

HOW YOUR MIND


CONTROLS YOUR BODY
Twenty-two-year-old Lauren noticed that her father was working
on his car, then watched in horror as the jack slipped and the 3450 lb.
BMW came crashing down on top on him, leaving him
unconscious and crushed underneath.
As she screamed for her mother to call 911, she feared that she was
about to lose her dad forever. Then this skinny girl did the impossible.
She grabbed the car, picked it up and tossed it off her father

his was just one story of many youve probably heard about people exhibiting

unbelievable strength in life or death situations. I simply did a search on Google

and this news story came up. Weve all heard stories like this. Perhaps you even know
some yourself or have been personally involved.
How are these stories possible? A huge surge of adrenaline may temporarily give
you super human strength, but is something else also happening?

M e n ta l M u s c l e
In this book, well explore the science behind how you can perform better in the
gym, and how to unlock even a fraction of this power for yourself on demandwhen
you want it, not just when you need it.
Throughout the book, there will be many references to studies as well as stories
about individuals, all of which lead towards one main pointthe mind controls the
body. And you can make long strides in directing that control however you see fit, if
you know how.
We are more powerful than we think we areunbelievably more powerfulin both
the physical, and within our whole lives. The main problem is we are unable to tap into
this latent ability. But no longerthis book will give you the techniques and tools you
need to harness this power for yourself.

My First Taste

of the

Power

of the

Mind

I was an extremely weak and scrawny kid growing up. There was a time when I
couldnt even do a single rep of a regular pushup. In 8th grade I recall hanging from a
bar wondering in utter disbelief how people could pull themselves up to get their chin
past the bar. I couldnt move an inch. Thats how weak I was.
Years down the road, I learned about effective training and started to see some
results. I was still quite skinny, but I was beginning to get stronger. Since I was heavily
into bodyweight training, one of my early goals was to hold a freestanding handstand
for thirty seconds. I had been practicing the skill on and off for a couple of years.
During all that time I had built up the ability to occasionally hold a handstand, but it
was very hit and miss.

Then one day I was finally fed up with my lack of progress. I cant say for sure why,
but this was when I first started using some of the simplest mental training tactics of

12

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
visualization and proper goal setting. I set myself a hard deadlinean exact datefor
when I MUST achieve a thirty-second freestanding handstand without stumbling
around.
As I worked on my handstand, the deadline date quickly approached. I was in the
twenty-second range but I couldnt break my mark. My routine was to visualize myself
holding that perfect handstand while sitting in my bed. Then I would go outside and
practice it in real life. I did this each morning.
It came down to the final day of my deadline. It was now or never. Even though
there was no real punishment for failure, it truly felt that way. I spent a little more time
than usual visualizing my success. After all, there was no more time. If I didnt make it
now, I would fail.
I went out and got started. A few kick-ups into the process I stuck a stable
handstand. And I held itand held it27...28...29...30...31 and down. I did it!
We will be discussing goals and visualization in a lot of depth later on. For now I
want to analyze this process a bit more. If I hadnt used the three main components
herea hard deadline goal, visualization, and following through with actual practice
would I have succeeded? Absolutely not.
What would have happened instead? Without the specific goal I would have
continued to practice the handstand here and there and gotten marginally better over
time. It probably would have taken me another year to reach 30 seconds at my previous
pace. But, by having the goal I was hyper-focused. This led me to employ focused
visualization for the first time in my life. With skill work like the handstand, this will
teach your body to do the movement much better. And then daily, I backed it up with
real practice.
This is a simple formula for success. I will show you much more advanced, and
faster-working techniques later as well.

13

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Heres the stupid partdespite my amazing success and how much I enjoyed
hitting my goal, it took me many more years to use these techniques on a regular basis,
and thus I had a lot more frustration and slow progress along the way.

Im addicted to placebos. Id quit but it wouldnt matter.


Comedian Stephen Wright

Placebos
The area of placebo research is all thats necessary to prove how powerful the mind
can be in causing chemical and physiological changes to the body.
The word placebo comes from Latin and means I shall please. The placebo
effect is commonly used when testing medical treatments. In fact, for a drug or other
treatment to go mainstream it must be tested against placebos in order to figure out
its real effectiveness. In most studies, where the hypothesis is that a drug, supplement
or treatment is effective, it is tested against a baseline. This baseline is a control group
that typically receives a placebo.
Common sense would say that the control group should experience zero effects, but
something tricky gets in the way. What is it? The mind. This happens because of the
simple fact that when someone believes a treatment will have an effect on the problem,
in many circumstances it willeven if there is no real reason for it to have that effect.
Scientific research is commonly conducted with double-blind placebocontrolled studies. Lets use the example of testing a new drug. Being placebocontrolled means that the substance is tested against an inert substance like a
sugar pill. However the double blind part is also added, meaning that the people
distributing the pills dont even know which one theyre giving. This prevents bias.

14

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
If the administrator knows which pill is which, theyll likely look for any change
in the people who have the real drug and not spend any time with those who got the
placebo. To prevent this bias, the pills are coded so that the people interacting with the
studys participants do not know which pill is which.
Think about the meaning of this practice. If a person giving you a drug thinks it will
work, youre likely to pick that up, which can help your mind believe in it. What your
mind believes will often cause the results to follow.
The opposite can also happen. Your mind can eliminate the effects of something
that should be effective as well as can create effects out of nothing. Im reminded of the
story of Ram Dass, who was previously known as Richard Albert, an LSD researcher.
During his travels to India, he gave a yogi 1200 mg of acida very large doseand was
surprised when no effects occurred. Hows that for control of your mind and body? Its
capable of rendering powerful hallucinogenic drugs inert!
Then, there is the nocebo effect, which occurs when an inert substance causes the
side effects that people believe the actual drug would cause. For instance, in one study,
a group of patients were given a placebo instead of an antihistamine. Antihistamine
commonly causes drowsiness, and 77.4% of the patients in the placebo group
experienced drowsiness.
A very interesting study evaluated the effects of methadone, the drug used to help
people get off of heroin. With the placebo, several people did not have the withdrawal
symptoms normally associated with stopping heroin use. However, when they stopped
taking the placebo, they experienced withdrawal symptoms.
On average, the placebo effect tends to work slightly more than 30% of the time. So
any substance or drug being tested needs to beat that number. In the case of drugs like
Prozac, and many other drugs for depression, the placebo has been found to be more
effective than the actual drugs.

15

M e n ta l M u s c l e
An amazing study about knee surgeries shows the incredible power of the placebo
effect. When I first heard about this study, I was amazed. Drugs are one thing, but
surgery!?!
Bruce Mosely M.D. of Baylor Medical University Center in Texas published the
study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. To compare the success of two
different knee operations, they needed a control. Patients were split into three groups.
Two procedures where tested, dbridement and lavage. As already mentioned, the
third group was the control. The patients in this group were given a fake surgery. They
were prepped and put under anesthesia, only to have an incision made on the skin of
the knee, but no actual knee surgery.
Here is a quote from the conclusion of the study, In this controlled trial involving
patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, the outcomes after arthroscopic lavage or
arthroscopic dbridement were no better than those after a placebo procedure.
When you look at the individual cases it seems even more amazingcomplete
elimination of pain, and patients running around who could barely walk before the
procedure. Many of the control group patients couldnt believe only a fake surgery had
been performed.
Thats right, the placebo worked as well as a $5,000 surgery. Some of the patients
swore that they had gotten real surgery because of the amazing effects they felt,
when in fact nothing had been done. Well, something had been donethey received a
powerful placebo.
A couple of important questions need to be asked concerning this data. How can
we harness the power of the placebo effect for ourselves and use it when and where we
want? Its not about tricking ourselves, but unlocking the power of the mind for desired
results.

16

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
Another important question to ask is the mental makeup of the people who
responded to the placebo. Is there something about them that produces these effects,
while other people dont respond? What causes some people to not respond to drugs or
operations that have been found to be successful? I would argue that it has to do with
their individual beliefs and meta-programs.
The placebo effect extends far beyond just medicine and even surgery. I enjoyed
this paragraph from Sports Psyching by Thomas Tutko and Umberto Tosi.
A commonly known phenomenon in psychology is the placebo effect. It means that
if you are convinced something will happen, you will unconsciously make it happen.
This effect occurs in about 30 percent of cases, whether or not the individual follows
instructions properly to reach the programs promised goal. In other words, if none of
the readers of this book did anything but just read the techniques, three out of ten of them
would still show improvement at their sportjust because they believed in it and tried
something different. Butand this is most importantthe improvement wouldnt last. It
is not my purpose in writing this book to produce just a temporary placebo effect. Do the
exercises; and do them on a regular basis.
Just reading a book can produce results. Truthfully, this can work on several levels.
The book may change your beliefs, which could give you different results. It may cause
different changes in your behavior at a subconscious level that youre not even aware
of! I wouldnt call these cases a placebo effect at alland the changes could easily
become permanent.
While I think what youll find in this book wont just give you a temporary placebo
effectbecause these things have proven to be successful over and over againIm
quite alright if it does.
I was experimenting with some new mental drills that I thought could help me with
bending steel. One of the ways I strength train is to practice feats of strength such as
bending nails and tearing phonebooks in half. This takes dedicated practice and Im
always looking to improve my performance of these specific feats. In this case I was

17

M e n ta l M u s c l e
bending a 5 1/2 Grade 5 bolt. If youre not into bending, that description is
meaningless to you, but its also not really that important to this story. But, it is
important to know that I was attempting an all-time record for myself. I had never
bent a bolt of this difficulty at that time. So I did the mental drill where I visualized the
steel becoming weaker and then bent it. I was happy with my success.
When I told my friend about my drill and the results, he said, You didnt actually
weaken the steel. It was probably just the placebo effect.
I replied, So what? The point was that I was successful. If I hadnt done the drill I
dont know if I would have been able to bend the bolt at all. It didnt matter whether I
actually affected anything with my mind, or just supercharged my belief that I could do
it, as long as it worked Im happy with the result.
The truth is I dont much care if I get results from an actual change or the placebo
effect. I care about results. How it works is less important to me than the fact that it
works.
The famous book, Anatomy of an Illness by Normal Cousins, which tells how he
cured himself of cancer through laughing among other things, has a large section on
placebos. Vitamin C is well recognized for its cold fighting properties, on top of much
else. But it appears that the belief in vitamin C as a cold fighter is even more important.
The group on placebo who thought they were on ascorbic acid, says Dr.
Chalmers, had fewer colds than the group on ascorbic acid who thought they were on
placebo.
Morphine is a strong drug. Few would doubt that. And in this next case the mind
was not quite as powerful, but quite strong in its own right.
In a study of postoperative wound pain by Beecher and Lasagna, a group of
patients who had just undergone surgery were alternately given morphine and
placebos. Those who took morphine immediately after surgery registered a 52-percent

18

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
relief factor; those who took the placebo first, experienced a 40-percent relief factor.
The placebo was 77 percent as effective as morphine. Beecher and Lasagna also
discovered that the more severe the pain, the more effective the placebo.
There are many cases of surgery with acupuncture or hypnosis as the only
anesthetic. This is not just the placebo effect in action, these practices have
mechanisms behind them that account for why and how they work. This begs the
question, if pain can be so easily shut off, or at least diminished, what else can be done?
In fact, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the founders of Neuro Linguistic
Programming (NLP), once had a plan to market placebos. Included with the bottle of
placebos would be a booklet that stated how placebos had been proven effective as
treatment for a whole number of cases. Their placebos were never sold due to FDA
regulations.
As in the case of vitamin C and the beliefs about it, Robert Dilts, in his book Beliefs,
reports another study showing similar results.
Another interesting study showed that the response expectancy (the belief about
what the drug would do) was the major deciding factor influencing results. This was a
study involving alcohol where the subjects were divided into four groups:
1. People who were told they would get alcohol and did get alcohol;
2. People who were told they would get alcohol and got a placebo;
3. People who were told they were not going to get alcohol but did; and
4. People who were told they were not going to get alcohol and didnt get alcohol.
The two groups that were told they were getting alcohol had almost identical
responses. Their responses were very different from those of the people who were
told they werent getting alcohol but did. Both of the groups who were told they were
getting alcohol started craving more of it. The group who was told they were getting
alcohol but didnt, had no such reaction. Males who were told they were getting alcohol
(whether they received it or not) tended to have slower heart rates than normal when

19

M e n ta l M u s c l e
they were put into what were termed sexual anxiety producing situations. The
groups who were told they were not getting alcohol (whether they really did or not) had
increased heart rates in the same situations. The researchers concluded that there is
both a pharmacological effect from the drug and an expectancy effect.
This shows just how much what you expect to happen will determine your
results. This is a very important factor when it comes to results in the gym and will be
discussed more in a moment. For now, lets look at how the placebo effect can affect
strength itself.
Placebos have been shown to induce powerful effects in a variety of medical
conditions, such as pain and movement disorders, as well as to increase physical
performance and endurance in healthy subjects. Here we investigated the effects of an
ergogenic placebo on the performance of the quadriceps muscle, which is responsible for
the extension of the leg relative to the thigh.
In a first experiment, a placebo was administered along with the suggestion that it
was caffeine at high dose. This resulted in a significant increase in mean muscle work
across subjects, which, however, was not accompanied by a decrease of perceived muscle
fatigue. In a second experiment, the placebo caffeine was administered twice in two
different sessions. Each time, the weight to be lifted with the quadriceps was reduced
surreptitiously so as to make the subjects believe that the ergogenic agent was effective.
After this conditioning procedure, the load was restored to the original weight, and both
muscle work and perceived fatigue was assessed after placebo administration.
Compared with the first experiment, the placebo effect was larger, with a significant
increase in muscle work and decrease in perceived muscle fatigue. Within the context
of the role of peripheral and/or central mechanisms in muscle performance, the present
findings suggest a central mechanism of top-down modulation of muscle fatigue. In
addition, the difference between the first and second experiment underscores the role of
learning in increasing muscle performance with placebos.

20

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
This study combined the placebo effect with classical conditioning. They found
that it enhanced the placebo effect. And it is actually a proven technique you can use.
Youll learn more about it in the chapter on anchoring.
To recap everything, here are a few important points:
The body-mind can effectively fix itself as well as bring about or diminish druglike effects.
The placebo effect works better for some people more than in others.
The expectancy effect is a huge part of the effectiveness of drugs, surgeries and
much else. In fact it may overpower real results by making something effective or
non-effective.

When were talking about using mental drills for our own performance
enhancement, who cares if the effects are real or a placebo result, as long as the
results come. (That being said, I firmly believe in the real effects of the techniques
taught in this book.)
As youre reading this book you may already be a believer in mental training from
your past experiences or studies. If thats the case, when you do the drills you will likely
get the results.
Other people are skeptics. Despite all the studies and many other peoples results,
they dont want to believe. If they even try a drill from this bookwhich they probably
wouldnttheyd likely enter with the mindset that it wont work. In many cases they
would be right as they could cancel out the real effects with their belief in the way. This
is an example of the placebo effect in reverse.
Instead, I ask you to take your skepticism and put it aside for now. Act as if the
drills will work for you when you do them. Evaluate the results afterwards and
compare them to your prior skepticism.

21

M e n ta l M u s c l e

The Expectation Effect


In many cases, the expectation of what a drug or placebo would do was more
responsible for any effects than the drug or placebo itself. How expectation plays into
your gains in the gym is a subject worth exploring.
This is a secret of strength, performance, and all success. It is rarelyif ever
spelled out in detail. Yet if you utilize this factor in your favor, you can easily and
dramatically increase your strength.
One way of easily getting all the benefits of the expectation effect is by training
with a partner or a group that is strong, and where the expectation of strength is high.
Doing this, and this alone, will almost assure that you will become strong.
In The Strongest Man that Ever Lived, a book about the oldtime strongman Louis
Cyr, the author George Jowett talks about how Cyr became so strong, and how several
others from the same area of Quebec did too. Here is an except from the book:
The greatest fundamental that I have come to recognize isenvironment. This
condition more than any other makes men what they are. In itself it is the product of
conditions or circumstances. The conditions and circumstance of Canada as found by
its first settlers, were what determined the real hardiness of the future Canadian. Only
the fittest survived, and necessity set for them a task of toil. It developed the true spirit
of the pioneer, and from that such a man as Louis Cyr sprung. Among them, strength is
a natural acquisition, they do not look for it, they expect it, and taking great pride in the
amount they exhibit, the element of combat evolved.
Louis Cyr is not the only great man Quebec had, there are many others, but the
great Louis was the greatest of them all. Further investigation proved that Louis
was advertising the fact that in the same province were other men of powerful bone
and sinew, more capable of comparison with himself than some of the luminaries of
Europe. Louis had already produced the prodigious Horace Barrelittle Bourette

22

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
remember his brother, Peter, as a lad of nineteen was invincible as a middle weight. All
at one time we find four superman produced from a population that then numbered not
much over a million people.
It was environment that created them, but it was Louis that created the
environment. He inspired others, and they accustomed themselves to consider certain
poundage as being ordinary, that really shocked the best products of other nations. Well,
we always follow a leader and usually find that the magnitude of his brilliance is a cause
for our continued striving. The brilliancy of Leader Louis was that he daily reduced the
extraordinary in feats of man power to the commonplace.
I know in my own life Ive experienced this many times. When I first got into
bending steel using the Ironmind bag of nails, the whites and greens where no problem.
The yellow was a huge jump and I didnt see it in my foreseeable future. Then my
friend Tyler bent it. I was amazed, yet within a week I followed suit. If Tyler hadnt
bent it, I know it would have been at least a few months for me to do it on my own. As
Tyler was someone I trained with on and off over the years, I cant tell you how many
times one of us would achieve something first, then the other would accomplish the
same thing a short time later. Why? Because we believed we were at about the same
strength levels. Thus if he could do it, I could and vice versa. How many personal
records (PRs) came for all sorts of people right after someone did an amazing feat,
related or not?
In all the training workshops I attend or lead, its always the same. At the Wizards
of Strength workshop I taught people how to unlock more power simply using their
minds. PRs fell left and rightafterwards I was pumped up. I hadnt even done my
drills, but just from guiding other people through them, I held a back lever for 10
seconds, a new PR for me at the time. I cant even add up the number of new PRs on
that weekend alone. PRs were in the air, basically all you needed to do was be there and
youd set new records!
Why do so many of the best powerlifters in the world train at Westside? Is it
because they have the best training techniques? That certainly is a big part of it, but its

23

M e n ta l M u s c l e
also because so many of the best powerlifters train there. The expectation effect and
seeing incredibly difficult lifts performed on a daily basis is probably as much a cause
as the specific training methods used.
Whats behind this effect? I think the biggest part of it has to do with beliefs. As
Henry Ford is credited with saying, Whether you think you can, or you think you
cant, youre right.
There is no doubt this is true in your training. By seeing other people easily do feats
of strength, lift weights, or practice skills you cant do, you see that its possible. When
they encourage you and tell you that you can easily do it, their confidence bleeds over
into you. Training with really strong people has a way of opening up your beliefs far
beyond what youd even expect.
Here is a story from wrestler and strongman, George Hackenschmidt:
I had almost said something mysterious about Dr. von Krajewski. Something in the
man seemed to melt in his love for feats of strength and agility, and flowed forth in an
inexplicable fire on all artistes of this genre. These people often used to say to me, We
dont know how it is, but once the doctor appears on the scene one feels as though one had
more strength. This was just the feeling I always had, but it surprised me to hear my
impression confirmed by others.
Being around the people you want to emulate is one of the surest methods to
becoming successful in any field of endeavor. But even if you arent able to be around
those people, you can make sure your own expectations allow you to get the best
results. More ways to establish and change beliefsbeyond being around those with
the strength you desirewill be covered later.

24

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy

Epigenetics
As we begin to realize that we are not totally the victims of our genetics,
conditioning, and accidents, changes begin to happen in our lives, nature begins to
respond to us in a new way, and the things that we visualize, even though unlikely, begin
to happen with increasing frequency. Our bodies tend to do what they are told to do, if we
know how to tell them. -Elmer Green
The field of epigenetics is a fascinating one. Thirty or so years ago what most
people believed (and many people still do) is that your genes determine just about
everything. For example, if heart disease runs in your family you would believe that
you would probably get it. The same is true with cancer and just about everything else.
The actress Angelina Jolie was still under this impression when she decided to have a
double mastectomy to avoid breast cancer. This is known as genetic determinism.
The field of epigenetics has found that genes can basically be turned on or off due
to a variety of other factors. While you may have a gene that makes cancer more likely,
your lifestyle factors have an overall impact that will tell that gene to start expressing
itself or not.
Nutrition plays a huge role in this, and so does your mindset. A lot of what we get
from out parents are not just genes, but beliefs and expectations. What is worse? That
they gave you a cancer gene or drilled the idea into your head that people in your family
always get cancer?
Robert Dilts, a top NLP trainer with whom Ive had the pleasure of training, looked
into cancer when his mom was diagnosed with it.
A woman had interviewed 100 cancer survivors in hopes of finding out what
these survivors had in common. She described a cancer survivor as someone who
had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer with a poor prognosis for recovery, but
who was still alive and healthy, enjoying life ten or twelve years later. Interestingly

25

M e n ta l M u s c l e
enough, she could find no common patterns in the treatment received by these people.
Different people received different treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation
therapy, nutrition programs, surgery, spiritual healing, etc. However, there was one thing
that these survivors all shared: they all believed that the method of treatment they were
getting was going to work for them. The belief, not the treatment, made the difference.
This doesnt mean some treatments may or may not be more effective than others.
Thats not our focus here. The best aim would be the most effective treatment coupled with
rock solid belief. Its the same aim you will want to have with your training and nutrition.
This is not to say that your genes dont have some very specific effects beyond your
control. But they are just thatbeyond our control. Instead, choose to focus on the
things within our control. If a knee can be completely healed with a fake surgery, and if
cancer goes away regardless of the chosen treatmentbut based on if we believe well
continue to livethen we are much more in control then we may realize.

How Are Your Beliefs Affecting You?


There is a famous story about Abraham Maslow, the psychologist who came up
with Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. He told the story of a delusional mental patient
that he had worked with early in his career. This man believed he was a corpse. In an
attempt to break this belief, one day Maslow asked him, Does a corpse bleed?
The man replied, Of course not. Dont be silly. How can a corpse bleed?
So Maslow asked the patient, Would you mind if I were to prick your finger with a
needle to prove a point?
The man agreed. Maslow went ahead, gently squeezing a drop of blood out of the
mans finger. The patient looked down at his finger and said, Well Ill be damned,
corpses do bleed!

26

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
This story shows that we only look for confirmation of our beliefs and not the
opposite. Usually, any incoming information will be reframed or skewed to fit with
your beliefs. New information contrary to your views will often be deleted, distorted,
or simply labeled as wrong. This is easier to do than changing a belief, because we dont
like to be incongruent in our minds.
The same is true for the information in this book. If youre familiar with this
information from other sources and already believe it, then youll have no problem
seeing how it can help you, and youll likely try out the drills at the end of the book.
But if not, then youll likely do a number of things. You might stop reading the book,
throw it away, say its B.S. and go back to doing what you were doing before. Thats the
easy route. Another possibility would be to finish reading it but never do anything with
it. You wont upset the status quo, or confirm or deny any of the things if you never do
them.
Finally, an insidious thing can happenyou dont believe it will work, perhaps even
on an unconscious level. If this is the case, youll actually sabotage the results to prove
to yourself that it doesnt work. Or youll pick and choose just where it didnt work and
hook your flag to that.
Instead, I encourage you to expect positive results. This by itself will give you a
greater chance of success. Its the same with physical training as it is with mental
training. Positive expectation breeds success. Sure, this may mean you only get results
from a placebo effect in some instances, but in others it will mean you get real results
and youll see and understand how you can use these concepts and drills for greater
success in the future.
Beliefs can be limiting or useful. In my opinion (and this is a belief) the best way to
look at them is in that light, rather than if they are true or not. Later in the book well
actually cover a process to transform the beliefs holding you back.

27

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Just how powerful and wide-ranging can beliefs become? Beliefs can direct
our life, and many of them come from authority figures like our parents when were
growing up. Leslie Lecron, was a hypnotist who worked with Marilyn Monroe early
in her career. When Marilyn Monroe was first trying out for acting gigs, she would
become paralyzed with fear when she had to speak. Through hypnosis she became
more confident and was able to go on to become a famous actress.
This story from Lecron illustrates this point:
A rather funny effect of suggestion was brought out by an attractive young woman.
While working with her, she was regressed to a time when she was ten years old when
her mother was punishing her. While beating her with a switch the mother cried,
Dont you ever say no again! Dont ever say that word no again! As she told what was
happening the young woman sat up and remarked, You know, Ive been so ashamed
sometimes. Ive never been able to say no. And some of the things Ive done because I just
couldnt say no!

Asking

the

Right Questions

The questions you ask will direct the results you get. The problem is, our beliefs
keep us trapped in a box of what we think is possible and we never look outside that
box. We started this section with a question related to the first story, If an untrained
person can lift a car off of another person, how can that power be tapped?
This question led me into this field and ultimately to writing this book. When I
went through the Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner Course with Robert
Dilts and Judith Delozier, two people involved in NLP from the very beginning, I had a
huge AHA! during one of the classes.

28

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
If you ask certain questions, youre led to different answers than other questions. I
asked a question that Im not sure had ever been asked before:
How is it possible that you can not only improve from workout to workout or
from training session to training session, but even improve multiple times in the same
session?
Think about the possibilities inherent in that question versus what everyone
believes about workouts. At that point I was consistently improving in just about
everything from workout to workout (and most people dont even do that). Most people
enter their workouts with I hope Im stronger than last time. But could it be taken
even further?
Over the following months I developed then refined the answers. I listed all the
different ways that someone could possibly improveincluding the physical aspects
of doing the exercise and changing the bodyand essentially change their mental
programming. I focused on mental programming to make progress in multiple steps, or
even to make a big jump in almost no time.
Wouldnt you be happy if every exercise was massively improved in your workouts?
And even if its not a massive improvement, would you be happy with just a little better
than last time?
That question led me to directly come up with the Instant Exercise Enhancer
technique youll find in detail later on in this book. Its also what led Matti to double
his reps of fingertip handstand pushups and has helped many others achieve similar
results. That one technique alone is one of the simplest yet most effective techniques I
can teach you.
Im working on some even more out there questions right now that completely
defy whats currently known about physiology and how long the body needs to recover.

29

M e n ta l M u s c l e
This question came to me recently and Im beginning to experiment to find the answers:
How can I train three times in one day working on similar exercises and set new
and bigger PRs in each one, by recovering completely from workout to workout?
The bounds of reality are beyond what we may think is possible. For example, in
the case of people with split personalities, its been found that often one personality
will require glasses while another doesnt. Its even more amazing when one
personality is diabetic while another is notand this is then verified by blood work. Its
the same body but with a different personality in control. If thats true, then imagine
what can be accomplished by consciously applying mental skills to physical training?

What Oldtime Strongmen


Said About Mental Training
If you look back at many of the oldtime strongmen and teachers of strength around
the start of the 20th century, youll find many hints about how the mind was seen as
being critical to attaining strength and muscle.
This was in a time before steroids, widespread information via the internet, and
modern gyms. But, in many cases their records still stand unsurpassed to this day.
In his famous book, Muscle Control, Maxick stated, Rational exercise must be
accompanied by mental concentration on the muscles to be exercisedMechanical
exercise will not increase bulk or strength beyond a certain degreeTo secure full
benefit from the exercise, it is essential that the mind be concentrated on the muscles,
and not on the work being performed.
When questioned about how he was able to beat men far heavier at lifting weights,
he said, I first control the muscles, and then lift with these controlled muscles.

30

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
What is controlling the muscles? The mind, of course.
Sandow essentially said the same thing in System of Physical Training:
HE PUT HIS MIND INTO HIS EXERCISES. The phrase, in Mr. Sandows mouth,
is worth dwelling upon, for, as he earnestly and persistently avows, it is the key to
success as a gymnast. The difference is great, as every learner knows or ought to know,
between going through certain exercises in a perfunctory and mechanical manner, and
putting the muscles to the strain by concentrating the mind and will-power upon the
manipulation of the weights, or whatever muscular exercise is being attempted.
Concentration does not mean necessarily mean effort, instead it means focusing
on the goal and desired outcome. This intention directs the functions of the body more
than just the physical work.
Another famous strongman said the same thing in regards to eating. In his book,
The Way to Live, George Hackenschmidt said, The ordinary mortal may be reading
his daily paper or book while taking his meals; his mind is occupied with what he is
reading, instead of being bent on acquiring nourishment.
By this simple change in focus, a person isnt likely to follow through with the
physical actionmasticationthat gives the best nourishment beyond food selection.
Properly chewing your food is critical for getting the most out of it. I also propose that
the intention to acquire nourishmentfor strength, muscle or fat losswill also help
your body to target the use of that food.
Later in his book, Hackenschmidt states, The main point is simply to be able to
keep ones body and mind under full control. You may compare the connection of body
and mind or soul to that between the mesmerist and his medium. It is a well-known
fact that the oftener the medium submits to the will of the mesmerist the more easily
the state of hypnotism is reached.

31

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Practice makes perfect in both the physical and the mental. The more you practice
these mental training techniqueslike Hackenschmidts statement about mesmerism
or hypnotism (they are actually different techniques)the better they will work for you.
In his book, On Strength, Thomas Inch says, The brain rules all, there is no more
fascinating study than that of the qualities of the mind, by which I mean practical
psychology. If there are any readers who desire to take up a hobby, one which will help
and advance them in the world, let them go in for the study of psychology. This will
naturally include concentrative power, will power, suggestion and auto-suggestion,
the sub-conscious mind, imagination and memory training.
Some of the best thinkers in the realm of mental training lived around the same
time as Thomas Inch. Other than Inch spelling out some of the different techniques
popular at that time, not much else was said by many other strongmen. But I wouldnt
doubt that many of them employed at least parts of this mental training (or perhaps a
whole lot), to help them become as strong and famous as they were. All these different
techniques will be covered in this book, although some under different names.
Arthur Saxon in The Development of Physical Power said, Think each lift out
before you attempt it, and at all times endeavor to improve your position and become
more scientific. Do not rush madly at a difficult lift which puzzles you, and make
repeated futile efforts like a mad bull rushing at a gate. One rather delicate point in
weight-lifting, difficult to explain on paper, is that you imagine in your mind the weight
in the position you wish it to be, before you attempt to lift it; then you are more likely to
succeed than if you allow yourself to doubt success attending your efforts. Those who
have studied mental culture rather than physical culture will readily explain this by
saying that you give yourself a suggestion which takes root and enables you to make a
better effort, putting forth more strength on account of having placed yourself under
more favorable conditionsI mention here that to think of failure is to fail, and I always
tell myself all the time that I am certain to succeed.

32

H ow Y o u r M i n d C o n t r o l s Y o u r B o dy
There are a number of important statements about how to practice in the
preceding paragraph. The first is the idea of using visualization or mental rehearsal
in order to improve your technique, as well as using it as a dry run before actually
lifting. This is followed up by a discussion of suggestion and belief. By running through
the visualization you should believe youll be able to do the lift and thus youll have a
greater chance of success. If you think of failure, or believe youll fail, then you will fail.
The whole point of this chapter is to instill the BELIEF in how mental training can
and will work. The mind has a proven ability to control the bodys capabilities. Story
after story and study after study has backed this upand there will be even more of
them throughout the rest of this book.
This should start to get you thinking of the possibilities of what mental training can
do for you. The rest of the book will show you the specifics of how to do it.

33

M e n ta l M u s c l e

34

SECTION 2

MENTAL TRAINING
TACTICS AND
TECHNIQUES
Never inhibit or limit yourself by the seemingly
impossible. Place no limits upon yourself
and you will have none.
Think that youre strong...and you are.
Joseph Greenstein, The Mighty Atom

ow that weve laid the foundation for why you need to use mental training
with as muchif not morefervor than physical training, its time to dive into

the specific methods and techniques. This section will give you enough details about
why these methods work and how to do them. With this base well be able to move on
to the specific drills covered in the next section.
Before we get started, be aware that there are two paths of mental training:

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Number 1 - Removing the Blocks that Stand in Your Way
Number 2 - Enhancing Your Current Ability
Both of these paths lead to the same thing Results! And you dont always need
to look at what is happening in order to get those results. Sometimes a drill will
accomplish both functions at the same time.
Why is this important? When you become more aware of yourself, you will realize
exactly what you need to do. Heres an example of how powerful a simple change in
beliefs (the removal of a mental block) can result in the immediate effects.
I had never hit more than a single rep of freestanding handstand pushups in my
life. While doing a few singles I realized that I had a belief that this exercise was hard.
And you know what? I had plenty of data to back up that belief as a factit had been a
struggle to get this far with freestanding handstand pushups. Its also something that
the majority of people alive today cannot even come close to doing. Still, I realized that
beliefs can be regarded as true, not true, or you can simply find the most useful ones for
you. Right then and there I changed this beliefhow I did this will be covered later.
What happened? I hit a double and was stoked! Then I hit two more doubles in a
short succession. I worked on my new belief that this was an easy exercise some more
and I went and did a triple. This shows the difference between possibility thinking vs.
impossibility thinking (or its-a-struggle thinking).
Often breaking a certain mark like weighing 200 lb. or lifting a 500 lb. barbell will
require overcoming a mental hurdle. With these mental blocks, nothing changes in
the physical world, the changes are all psychological. There might as well be a physical
blockwhen youre stuck behind a mental block, you wont see movement. But, the
Mental Muscle methods can make dealing with mental blocks much easier.
Bigger breakthroughs almost always occur when a block is removed. Now, when
you realize you have a block, rejoice! Youll soon know how to remove it, which will
result in accelerating your progress. Other times there is no block, and its just a matter
of amplifying what you can do.

36

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Achieve the Strength and


Body You Desire with
Well-Formed Outcomes
Success equals goals; all else is commentary.
Brian Tracy

Personally, I like the term goals. I hear what Brian Tracy is saying and I agree
with an emphatic YES! Long ago I realized if you master this skill, you can master
anything and have as much success in life as you want.
However, Im not like most people. The word goal has a lot of baggage surrounding
it for many people. Its not quite as bad as New Years resolutions. Why would you
want to take part in something that has a failure rate of over 97%?
Here are some things you may be thinking about goals:
Goals dont inspire me.
Im not a goal-oriented person
Goal setting doesnt work for me
For some, just the word goal can be disempowering. This could be because of a
number of issues, one of which would be past failures, or lack of success with goal
setting. Thats fine, but we dont want negative past associations to get in the way of
what were trying to do today.
I know how to set goals.

37

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Having this thought could be even worse. If you think you already know something,
how often will you try to learn more about it?
For all these reasons and more I am not going to talk about goals anymore in this
section. And we certainly wont be talking about SMART goals. They are important
steps for sure, but covered in so many places that our eyes tend to glaze over when we
read or hear that term.
Instead well use the NLP term of having a well-formed outcome. What is the
outcome you want to achieve?
Do you want to deadlift more?
Do you want to weigh less?
Do you want to complete the kettlebell snatch test?
Do you want do a handstand?
Do you want to have more muscle?
What do you want? Almost certainly when you bought this book, you thought that
you would learn methods to help you achieve something. What was the first thing that
popped into your mind?
For many people it will actually be a negative statement, or something you dont
want. Since the majority of the population is driven by what they dont want, this will
be your starting point.
I dont want to be fat.
I dont want to be out of shape.
However, we cant stop with a negative statement.

38

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

1. State

the

Outcome

and

in the

Techniques

Positive

So if you dont want something, what do you want instead? If you dont want to be
fat, do you want to be skinny? Well get more specific in a bit. Right now just make sure
to state something you DO want.
Since the subconscious mind for the most part does not process negatives, if you
are constantly saying to yourself, Dont be fat, thats exactly the outcome youll end
up getting.
Ive worked with several people who had a hard time knowing what they wanted. I
asked over and over again what they wanted and they kept going into what they didnt
want.

2. Identify Whether You Can Achieve


this Outcome on Your Own, or Only
Through Others
It is important that you make the outcome for yourself. Changing other people
is not easy. The following is not a good outcome to have, I want my husband to start
exercising. By all means talk to your husband and tell him this, but dont set an
outcome for something he must do.
It is ideal to choose something 100% under your control. At least it must be a goal
you can do something about.

39

M e n ta l M u s c l e
You can have an outcome that involves others. For instance, the goal that your
team will win the championship, or for you to win a judged bodybuilding contest are
both goals with outcomes that depend on others. Although these are great outcomes, it
is better to choose something you can control.
For the team championship, what can YOU do that will help ensure that outcome?
For the bodybuilding contest what weight and body fat percentage would you need
to achieve to give you the best chance at winning?

3. Use Sensory-Based Evidence


What will you see, hear and feel when your outcome is achieved? How will you
know it is done?
You must be specific. How will you know you have achieved your outcome? It is
not specific enough to say, I dont have it now, but by then I would. I will become
stronger, should become something like, I will deadlift 405 lb. You either get it or
you dont, based on that specific outcome.
I want to weigh less, becomes I will weigh 180 lb.
If youre aiming for a goal like I want to feel healthy and energized youll need to
figure out a way to quantify it so you know whether you have achieved your outcome
or not. Getting caught up in generalities stops people from knowing how to attain their
outcomes. Make it concrete and specific, then it becomes achievable.

40

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

4. Identify Who, When

and

and

Techniques

Where

In this step, we will capture some more of the specifics.


Who is involved? Is it just you? Will other people be involved in the process? How so?
When do you plan to achieve this outcome? Set a datewithout a deadline, it may
never happen since it can always be pushed off into the future. This is one of the most
crucial steps.
Where will this take place? Some outcomes may be dependent on location whereas
others are not. If yours is, then make sure the specifics of the location are laid out.

5. Chunk

the

Steps Appropriately

Now we can begin to put a plan in place. You have your outcome and a future date set.
Where are you right now in comparison to the future outcome?
What milestones can you set along the way to act as motivators and feedback
mechanisms?
What can you do on a daily basis to get you to your desired outcome? Is what you
have planned enough to get you there?
If you weigh 240 lb. now and your outcome is to be 180 lb. in six months, thats only
10 lb. per month.
More often than not, everyone knows what they should be doing, or what will lead
to their outcome. Its the internal stuff that gets in the way of making this happen.
Thus we move onto the next step.

41

M e n ta l M u s c l e

6. H
 ave or Acquire All the
Resources Youll Need
Do you currently have everything you need to achieve your outcome?
If your goal involves the back squat and you dont have a barbell and power rack,
you need to get one, or get access to a facility with one.
Do you have all the necessary information and knowledge?
If not, get that information. A best bet would be to hire a competent coach to help
get you there.
Do you have the inner resources required to achieve your desired outcome?
This is where most people fall apart in goal setting. If you dont look at your
internal capabilities you may miss the mark completely. If you have a mental block
about losing weight because it provides you security, you will sabotage your plan
somewhere along the way. This book should go a long way to help you with this, but you
may need coaching in this area as well.

7. Identify Why
Weve covered who, what, where, when and how. Now it is time to cover what may
be the most important step, your motivation behind it. A famous saying is:
If you have a big enough WHY, you will always figure out the HOW.
Why do you want to achieve this outcome? What will it do for you? How will it
make you feel?

42

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

What will happen if you dont achieve it?


Are you excited to wake up every morning and take action towards your outcome?
Could you add additional rewards for achieving it? What about a punishment for
failing?
Would involving others somehow in the process increase your desire to achieve it?
(Many studies show that having your social network involved in one way or another
dramatically increases follow through.)

8. Check

for

Ecology

This step is also essential, and I have noticed many people gloss over it too quickly.
Im sometimes guilty of doing this myself. Yet when checked correctly, you can catch
those things that would otherwise cause you to fail to achieve your outcome.
Is your outcome congruent with the other behaviors in your life?
Is your outcome congruent with your own beliefs and values?
How will what you aim to accomplish effect other people in your life?
How might other areas of your life distract or hinder what youre working towards
with your chosen outcome?
Based on your answers, you may need to alter your outcome and/or your plan to
achieve it.
The above eight-step process is sufficient to help you achieve any outcome. That
being said, Ive found a few other steps can enhance the process.

43

M e n ta l M u s c l e

A. Priority
Is this outcome a priority compared to other outcomes you may want?
Having many outcomes can be a good thing in every area of your life. However, if
you have too many, maintaining focus on them becomes the hard part. Even if you only
have a few, you must decide what takes precedence over the others.
For example, I have lots of exercises and feats I want to achieve. But I cant focus
on all of them at once. Therefore, I list them in order of importance to me (considering
how much drive I have for them, how they interact with one another, time required,
etc.). Then when Im in the gym I know what to focus on first, second, third, and so on.
It takes a significant amount of time to figure out all the necessary details of a
single outcome. So it is best to run this process to determine your highest priority. If an
outcome is not a priority for you, then doing all this work may be overkill.

B. Feedback
Since the outcome is specific, you can measure your progress towards it. Youll
know if youre on track to achieve your outcome or falling behind. This is feedback.
When you plan an outcome from the beginning, you have less information available
than any other time along the way. New feedback must be taken into consideration as
you move forward. Your outcome and plan will change based on this feedback.
Things rarely go exactly as planned, so you must adapt your plans. That doesnt
mean planning isnt worth doing. The plan gives you the best start and sets you in the
right direction, but it cant foresee everything that will occur along the way.

44

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

The best plans will have considerations for when things go wrong, and ideas for
what should be done in those cases.

C. Accountability
In general, it is not advisable to share your plans and desires with most people.
Why? Because most people are negative and will only drag you down.
That being said, finding someone to make you accountable for your outcome and
progress along the way can be very powerful. A good friend, wife, husband, or parent
may serve this purpose, but make sure they understand why youre doing it and that
they will support you. However, you also want to choose someone who will push you
when you need to be pushed. What works best for you will depend on your motivational
style.
For some, a public commitment will be the ultimate drivera big WHYto ensure
their success, since they dont want to be seen as a failure. For others, publically putting
it out there will take away all the energy before action is taken.
As Napoleon Hill said, Tell the world what youre going to do, but show them first.
In the end, find what works best for you and then do it. Also be aware that what
works best for you can change over time and be dependent on the context.

D. Daily Focus

and

Action

One of the best things you can do to ensure you achieve the outcome you desire is to
do something about it every single day.

45

M e n ta l M u s c l e
When it comes to gaining muscle or losing fat, this is obvious, since the food
choices you make every day will effect the outcome.
But what about a specific exercise you can only do once or twice a week? What
do you do on the other days? You may not be able to take action by working on that
specific exercise, but you could focus on recovery work. You always have the option of
doing mental training like visualization.
I have noticed several times in my lifeand its something that also prevents many
people from reaching their outcomesthat Ive simply forgotten about the outcome
when life gets in the way. This seldom happens if you have one big outcome youre
shooting for, but if you have many it becomes more prevalent.
For this reason Ill let you in on something that Ive been doing for some time.
Every morning I do self-hypnosis, which will be covered later, and focus on the
training outcomes I have.
For the most part, all of my gym goals relate to specific exercises and lifting certain
weights. So my process may be slightly different than those who have physique related
goals. This process involves a few different steps:
1) From the outside, visualize the main exercise you wish to achieve.
2) Visualize stepping into the picture and again achieving the exercise in your own
body.
3) Based on recent results or ideas that pop up during this process, record any
feedback you receive. With this feedback, alter your plan as needed.
More details on how to do this are covered later.

46

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

E. Pressure

and

and

Enjoying

Techniques

the

Journey

You have to be careful when setting a deadline for a specific outcome. Having drive
is a great thing. However, you can push too farespecially when it comes to physical
trainingand this can result in pain or injuries which will sideline your training
temporarily or even permanently.
Im a big proponent of listening to your body when it comes to training. You can
call this biofeedback, auto-regulation, or a form of intuitive training. There is simply
no better feedback mechanism because your body will be sending you signals. Whether
you listen to them or not is up to you.
When your deadline approaches, you may be eager to push your limits. This is a
choice you can make, but sometimes you might make the wrong choice.
Ive noticed a growing group of people preaching that you should not pursue what
you want with everything you have. Instead they tell you to enjoy the journey. In one
sense this is very helpful advice. If youre always looking at what is out there in the
future and you base your happiness on achieving it, you will not enjoy the training or
the now.
The best bet is to choose the outcomes you desire and go after them with
everything youve gotbut you must pay attention to feedback, including whether
or not your body can handle what you plan on doing to it. And when youre doing the
actual training, it is best to be in the present moment.
Sometimes we believe we can achieve an outcome in a certain time frame that just
isnt realistic. Years back, I thought I would get a one arm handstand in about 6 months
time. From where I was, that just wasnt going to happen. I grossly underestimated
what I could accomplish and the difficulty of that skill.

47

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Even today I set deadlines and sometimes simply dont hit them because my body
isnt ready. Thus I need to re-adjust my plan. A deadline is set to motivate you to take
action fast and achieve your outcome in that time frame. But if you dont, just set a new
deadline and create a new plan of action for achieving it.
In conclusion, youll need to find the proper balance between focusing on the
journey and the destination that works for you.

F. A Written Plan
The best thing you can do when starting to plan any outcome is not to just think
about it, but to write it down. A written plan of action and the desired outcome is about
ten times as likely to happen as one that is only in your head. That is a fact!
An idea I really like that I personally learned from Peter Ragnar is the idea of
writing your outcome as a contract with yourself. It can include all of the above steps
in more or less detail, though I strive to keep everything on one page. Then, you sign
and date it as a contract with yourself.
Then, re-read your contract daily. This will keep you focused on it every single day.

48

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Easy to Use Methods


You Can Put Into Practice
Today for Hypnotizing
Yourself and Others
There are many misconceptions surrounding hypnosis. Simply put, hypnosis is a
powerful tool for getting in touch with the subconscious mind, and can be used for a
multitude of purposes.
Hypnosis is used to circumvent the conscious mind. Our conscious minds are
engaged all day long as were working and during anything else that we do. Yet, the
majority of our beliefs and what runs our lives is stored within the subconscious
mind. Think of an iceberg. Although it may be large above the water, about 95% of
the icebergs mass is under water. That is the same ratio as the conscious mind to the
subconscious mind.
Its been said that the conscious mind processes about 44 bits of information per
second while the subconscious processes 44 million bits every second.
By working with the subconscious mind you can change your beliefs. You
can set yourself on a certain path to achieve the outcomes you desire. If you have
subconscious beliefs holding you back, and which may be contradictory to what you
consciously want, the subconscious mind is going to win. It is simply more powerful.
While many think that the conscious mind is in charge, the subconscious is the
man behind the curtain pulling the strings. Its efforts may be subtle but they lead to
pervasive results.
This is why many people who consciously want to lose weight do not get results.
The majority say they want it but arent really willing to do any of the work it takes. Its
a wish not a goal and it will not happen until it becomes a goal.

49

M e n ta l M u s c l e
But there are a certain number of people who have earnestly tried to lose weight
yet theres something sabotaging them. Beliefs and values are behind their actions
that hold them back. What were doing here works directly with the subconscious, can
change those beliefs, and will make more powerful ones that will aid you in your goals.

The Mechanisms Behind


Hypnosis and Meditation
When people hear the word hypnosis, most usually think of stage hypnosis where
the hypnotist causes one person to think other people are invisible, a chicken or
something along those lines. It can be highly entertaining.
What were doing here isnt stage hypnosis. Here youll be conscious, awake and
aware of your surroundings at all times. This doesnt mean it isnt working, but it
does need your participation. Plus, there is no reason to induce amnesia. It is good to
remember everything you experienced.
There are many different theories about what is actually happening during
hypnosis. Even among the top hypnotists todayand of years pastthere is debate
about how hypnosis works and what is occurring. Fortunately the exact details of why
it works are really not all that important.
When another person is hypnotizing you, its often easier to get into a deeper level
of hypnosis and follow their commands or suggestions. However, the problem with
this is that youre reliant on someone else. Unless you are paying someone for regular
sessions, this becomes a hurdle that you cant really overcome.
Thats why self-hypnosis is important and will be our focus here. If you learn how
to hypnotize yourself, you have more control and you can also get nearly all the same
benefits. It only takes a little more practice.

50

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

A main component of hypnosis is that your suggestibility increases, often greatly.


Suggestibility shouldnt be confused with gullibilityits not the same thing. When
youre being hypnotized, most times you want to follow along. Thats the whole
purpose of hypnosis, so that you can get whatever result you want from it. If you fight
yourself while being hypnotized to prove that it doesnt work, youll need to clear up
those incongruent thoughts before you begin.
With meditation, most people think of someone sitting in the lotus position,
chanting om or counting their breaths. While hypnosis and meditation are different
methods, whats happening in the brain is mostly the same. Your brainwaves are
changing.
The main difference between the two is in their purposes. The common purpose
of meditation is to calm your mind and clear it of thought. The purpose of hypnosis is
towards a desired outcome, including getting stronger, faster, losing weight or gaining
more muscle.

Brainwaves
There are four main brainwaves: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Theres also gamma
but thats not important for now. Understand that you may have a little bit of each
brainwave going on at once, but what were focusing on will be your predominant
brainwave at the time of hypnosis.
You naturally cycle through these brain waves every single day when you sleep.
Anytime youre going to sleep you go from the beta brainwave to alpha, theta, and then
delta. By that time you are in deep sleep.
Beta is your normal waking brainwave. When youre actively engaged, your
conscious mind is running and youre in beta brainwave mode. Beta is 15 to 40 cycles
per second of activity.

51

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Below beta is the alpha brainwave which is about 9 to 15 cycles per second. (It was
named alpha, is because it was the first brain wave discovered.) When you are focused
or in a light trance, your alpha brainwave predominates. Before you go to sleep, when
youre in that drifty period, or when youre watching TV or absorbed in a book, you can
get into this alpha brainwave state.
Sometimes when youre driving you get in this state. When youre just going down
the road, not really paying attention and forgot to make your turn, its because youre in
this trance.
Then theres the theta brainwave level. Theta brain wave is about 5 to 8 cycles
per second. This is a deep trance. In the theta brainwave, you can hook up to the
subconscious mind and even beyond it.
During hypnosis and in meditation, youre trying to get down to alpha or to theta.
Most people can easily get to alpha with a little bit of practice. Theta takes a bit more
practice but can be attained in time. The vast majority of people cant get into a waking
delta state, although it has been done before. Delta is pretty much reserved for sleep
and is about two to four cycles per second of brainwave activity.

Why Use

the

Different Brainwaves?

With hypnosis, were getting down into a slower brainwave cycle. This allows for
more coherence across the brain and for you to work directly with the subconscious
mind, installing new beliefs, visualizing, and more. (As a side note, it is also great for
stress reduction and your health in general.)
It makes most of the other aspects of mental training more effective when
youre able to get into these deeper brain wave levels as compared to doing the same
training while in a beta brainwave level. Were using hypnosis to get you there because

52

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

its faster than anything else. Thats what makes this practice dramatically more
effective than simple affirmations or visualizationwhich is what most people would
recommend doing.
There are many ways to get into these deeper brainwave levels. Many people use
some sort of click track or sound to sync up the brain by offering different beats into
each ear. Holosync is one such tool for this practice. There are also visual methods to
achieve the same effect. While these can be useful aids for specific purposes, if you rely
on their use they can become crutches. So, if you dont have them available and the only
way you can train is with them, then you wont be able to get the same effect.

What

is

Hypnosis?

What youre doing is using pre-conditioning to a desired effect. We all have


associations with every word in our vocabulary. This is why you can read this book and
form an understanding of what Im conveying. When I say, Relax, you know what that
word means, and you have been in a state of relaxation before. So if youre following
along (being suggestible) youre able to bring about that relaxed state once again.
All hypnosis is in essence self-hypnosis. Unless you want to follow along, you
cannot be hypnotized in the classical sense. You will want to follow the suggestions.
You shouldnt fight it unless youre trying to prove it doesnt work, in which case youll
be correct. But you want to get results and not waste your time and money.
You can become suggestible by becoming open to doing what the hypnotist says.
Only you can take the commands and apply them to your body and mind. When Im
telling you to relax each part of your body, you will be able to focus and relax into a
deeper state. By doing this, we can relax the entire body. When the body is completely
relaxed, with the eyes closed, you will definitely descend into an alpha brain wave state,
or even theta.

53

M e n ta l M u s c l e
From there we will work with the effects of words and images that are already preconditioned. When I say the word strength or stronger, you know what that means
and what it feels like to be stronger. Thus youre able to take that, use it, and get that
sort of feeling. That is what hypnosis is all about. Were using the hypnotic commands
to bring about a relaxed state that slows your brainwaves down. Next, more hypnotic
commands are given to install beliefs and conditioning to bring about greater results
in the gym. These are based on the associations you already have for certain words, but
there is even more you can do with conditioning.
There is such a thing as conversational or covert hypnosis. Milton Erickson, a
masterful therapist, was famous for being able to bring about enormous changes in
clients just by talking to them or telling a story. Of course this procedure was organized
ahead of time and he spent tons of time with it. This is a much more advanced level
of hypnotic training beyond the scope of this book. But having a good base in classic
hypnosis is the best start for further pursuing that subject.

Classical Conditioning Experiments


In our bodies we have autonomic functions and functions that are not within our
control. Moving an arm is easily within our control. But our heartbeat, and pupils
dilating and contracting are not within our control. For a long time, it was believed
those were 100% automatic and couldnt be influenced. But some people, like many
Yogis, have gained control of autonomic functions. By getting into a relaxed state
and using different mental training techniques such as visualization, you can elicit a
different state in order to get these effects.
In addition to that, there are other ways to get them into control. We can also build
on conditioned reflexes. C.V. Hudgins did a very interesting experiment where he was
able to make a pupil contract merely by saying the word contract.

54

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

How did he do this? It was similar to the idea of Pavlovs dog. Many people are
familiar with this famous research idea, but its worth recapping. Pavlov was a
behavioral scientist who had a number of dogs, and every time he would feed the dogs,
he rang a bell. He did this many timesthe dogs would see the food, hear the bell, then
begin to salivate, because thats what happens when they were ready for food. After
doing this for a while, he started to only ring the bell. The dogs became conditioned to
having the normal response for food. So just by hearing the bell, the dogs would then
begin to generate saliva. This is called classical conditioning. In essence it is hooking
into an automatic response with a stimulus that is otherwise unrelated.
Saliva generation is an autonomic function, but you can control it easily by
thinking of eating something. Think of biting into a lemon right now and youll notice
certain functions occurring within your mouth.
Normally, if light is shined into the eyes, the pupils will contract. So, C. V. Hudgins
did an experiment where hed shine a light into the eyes of subjects and said the word
contract. The pupils would become smaller because of the light. But after building
this reaction in through repetition, he made it a conditioned response because the word
contract was associated with the light. Eventually he did away with the light and all
he had to do was say contract to gain control over a normally involuntary response.
This is also called anchoring which will be explored in depth in a future chapter.

Utilizing Conditioning

for

Your Benefit

If we can get the pupil to contract and relax on command what else can be done?
Could certain health-promoting and muscle-building hormones be triggered to release
on command? Can the body be taught to relax when under a high stress endurance test?
I believe the answer is yes to all these questions and more.

55

M e n ta l M u s c l e
In the discussion of the phenomena that can be induced by hypnosis an interesting
quote comes to mind: Muscle behavior is in large a result of the interplay of outside
sensory impressions with internal thinking.
Some of the classic hypnotic phenomena that may be of interest to us and our goals
include relaxation, limb catalepsy, anesthesia, sensory withdrawal and post-hypnotic
suggestions.
J.B.S. Haldane expressed it well, Anyone who has seen even a single example
of the power of hypnotism and suggestion must realize that the face of the world and
the possibilities of existence will be totally altered when we can control their effects
and standardize their application, as has been possible, for example, with drugs which
were once regarded as equally magical.
This was written in 1924. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your
viewpoint, almost a hundred years later I would say we are not any closer to that goal.
There have been certain people who have used hypnosis and suggestion to the utmost
of its effects, but it has not become mainstream. Still, you can choose to go deep and
use self-hypnosis in a way that will give you powerful results.
Here is an example from Dr. Daniel Amen in Change Your Brain, Change Your
Life:
When I was an intern at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I spent a month
on the cardiac intensive care unit. One night when I was on call, I was caring for an
army chaplain who had a severe heart arrhythmia. We were having trouble getting his
heart rhythm under control, and he was unable to sleep. The chaplain had been feeling
a fair amount of anxiety because his heart problem was causing him to be medically
discharged from the army.
As was my habit for sleeping problems, I asked my patient if I could hypnotize
him to see if it would help him with sleep. With his permission, one of the nurses who
wanted to watch sat in with us. He readily went into a hypnotic trance and we noticed a

56

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

considerable calming of his anxiety. As I went on, the nurse touched my arm and with an
astonished look in her eyes motioned for me to look at the heart rate monitor. His heart
rhythm had normalized. He then fell into a peaceful sleep. My nurse friend caused quite
a stir on the unit by telling everyone what had happened.
The next morning on rounds our attending, a friendly but skeptical cardiologist by
the name of Bill Oetgen, asked me what happened. He was intrigued and we studied the
chaplains heart both in and out of a hypnotic trance. His heart rhythm was definitely
healthier under hypnosis. We presented the case at the hospital grand rounds and
published the case in the Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.
Hypnosis can be used for wide ranging physical effects, but it can also be directed
toward mental purposes. In The Complete Guide to Hypnosis, Leslie Lecron describes
the following studies:
William Fowler at Albany State College worked with twenty-five students, both
graduates and undergraduates using hypnosis. The goals of his study were to increase
retention and recall; to produce better concentration, and also better comprehension; to
develop a love for reading and good scholarship; to increase the students reading rate;
and to develop confidence in the students academic ability. You should note that most of
these goals are those almost anyone would have in using hypnosis for study.
Fowlers results were excellent. There was 80 percent better memory, 94 percent
better concentration, 66 percent better composition, 57 percent faster reading, 66
percent more confidence, 91 percent better scholarly approach to college work. Fowlers
work was with students having difficulty in their studies, not the average student.
Hypnotic suggestion caused the improvement.
And another case with one subject showing very dramatic increases in ability:
Another interesting experiment with a single subject was by McCord and Sherrill
in Denver. The subject was a mathematician. Under hypnosis he was given suggestions
of being able to do calculus problems post-hypnotically with great accuracy and much

57

M e n ta l M u s c l e
faster than ever before. After being awakened, he did two hours of work on calculus
problems in only twenty minutes.

Can Everyone Be Hypnotized?


Throughout the years, many people have tried to class people as easily
hypnotizable or not. And while some people are certainly more easily hypnotized
than others, and may reach deeper states, everyone can be hypnotized. More recent
experimenters have found that everyone is hypnotizable, its just that standard
methods dont work the same for everyone. The only people who may be completely
un-hypnotizable are those with impaired cognitive development.
Every single person is unique physically and mentally. If you tell two people to
relax, one may do it, and the other might get tense and angry. To properly hypnotize
people you must learn how to speak their language. And, its not just what you say,
but how you say it.
A more visual person would respond well to imagery. A kinesthetic person will
need to feel going deeper and deeper. When someone believes they cant be hypnotized,
its necessary to circumvent that belief without addressing it directly (which would
trigger them to put his or her shields up) before hypnosis could be induced.

Classical Hypnotic Functions


and Controls
Commonly, hypnotists classify trance in three levels, light, medium, and deep.

58

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

In light hypnosis:
You may notice relaxation, a tendency not to move, looseness in the muscles, and
a feeling of heaviness after following suggestions of inability to move or open the eyes,
and partial age regression.
In a medium trance:
You may experience a more complete body catalepsy, anesthesia, control of some
autonomic functions, and partial amnesia if suggested.
In a deep trance you can evoke the following:
Complete age regression, complete anesthesia, complete amnesia, vivid memory
recall, control of body functions, hallucinations in any of the senses, and time
distortion.
Having read these lists, your mind may be starting to think of all the possibilities of
hypnosisgreater results in the gym (if not in every part of your life).

The Basic Steps

of

Hypnosis

Although there are many different kinds of hypnosis, were going to follow a basic
and common framework that covers many bases.
Here are five steps of hypnosis:
1. Preconditioning
2. Induction
3. Deepening
4. Hypnotic Commands and Processes
5. The Bring Back

59

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Preconditioning
As you may have noticed from the name, this step occurs before the real act of
hypnosis. Preconditioning is the process of installing procedures and beliefs before any
hypnosis occurs. By reading through this book you now believe certain things regarding
hypnosis and mental training that you did not before. By quoting other authorities and
sharing the studies and stories of hypnotic effects, you have been preconditioned for
hypnosis. Thus when you do it, youre more likely to achieve success.
You really dont need hypnosis to install or even change beliefs. Just reading a book
can do it! It may not work for everyone or every time, but it certainly can be done.
Preconditioning also includes instructions and steps for following the process.
One of the instructions is how to breathethe correct breathing for hypnosis is
abdominal breathing. Because youre into fitness, you most likely already know how
to breathe properly, but the vast majority of the population doesnt. They breathe up
into the chest, and by breathing that way theyre only really getting half the amount
of air they could get if they were to breathe down into the belly. If you watch a baby
breathing, they raise and lower their stomach with each breath. This is how you should
breathe, it allows for slower, deeper and more relaxed breathing.
A simple test for correct breathing is to put your hand on your belly. As you breathe
in, the belly expands, and as you breathe out, the belly contracts. Your chest should not
be moving. If youre breathing in fullyfilling your lungs to capacityyour belly will
expand and then your chest will expand. But you dont need to breathe that deeply for
hypnosis. When relaxing, your breath should be deep, not shallowbut not so deep
that you take in as much air as possible. Your chest should not expand.
By breathing this way you will get into a relaxed state. You can also try another test
to make sure youre breathing correctly: Lay down on the floor, and place something
like a shoe on your stomach. Breathe in, you should see the shoe rise and then fall as
you breathe out.

60

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

The second breathing instruction is to breathe in through the nose and out through
the mouth, and to maintain this technique for the entire time of the process. By
breathing in through the nose, you focus the mind. By breathing out through the mouth,
you focus the body. Its very relaxing.

Induction
If you read many of the classic books on athletic mental training for athletes like
Sports Psyching by Thomas Tutko, theres a lot of information about mental rehearsal
and getting into relaxed states. But often, these books dont go into much detail about
how to actually do it. If anything, its simply basic autogenic type training where you
just learn to physically relax your body. Dont get me wrong, thats very important, and
if you dont include that step, then you really cant do it. But that step is really only one
part of the induction process.
Induction is the step where you get into an alpha brainwave state or trance. You
reach the point of being hypnotized and are more suggestible.
The first step of induction is physical relaxation. The easiest way to achieve
physical relaxation is to focus on one body part at a time. For example, dont just
focus on your head, since thats a big part, but instead focus on your scalp alone before
focusing on the forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. You will focus on each part in
sequence and tell it to relax. Feel your eyes and allow them to relax.
Were able to do this because weve had times when we are tensed up and times
when were relaxed. So, we should know what relaxation feels like. When you focus
with the intent to relax, it should be easy enough to relax a given body part.
If you need to, you can tense up the body part before you relax it. When youre
starting out, that can be a good thing to do, because after tensing it up, it is easier to
relax. After youve done this a few times in this process, it will be unnecessary.
61

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Along with the process of relaxing the physical body, you want to work with the
words that work specifically for you. We have associations to the word relaxation
that allow us to understand what we should do. When I say, Relax, you know youre
supposed to relax and you can understand and act on that command. But there are
other things that may work even better and this can depend on each individual person.
Feeling a wave of relaxation, a tingling sensation, or feeling the heaviness in your
limbs, are all different words you can use to relax your body.
Normally, I like to start at the top of the head and work my way down the body.
Some people start at the toes and work their way up. While that method does work, I
find it doesnt work as well for me. Considering the connotations of word down and
how it is used as a phrase to go down, down, deeper and deeper, youll see why I go
down the body.
We want to take it to the next level after physical relaxation, and that level is
generally known as mental or emotional relaxation. If youre physically relaxed, you
will also be somewhat mentally relaxed. If youre mentally relaxing, youre going to
physically relax even more. Although we separate this into different steps, its really
just a different way toward the same end goal of relaxation, which leads to being
hypnotized.
What works well for mental relaxation is to visualize yourself in any place youve
in felt very relaxed in the past. What I personally like to do is imagine myself sitting in
a sauna. Its a place where you just sit and relax. Its anchored to relaxation for myself,
both physically and mentally because I usually sit in my sauna at the end of the day
when Ive done all my work and can just kick back and enjoy it. For some people, sitting
at the beach, like they may do on a vacation will work well. Youve got to find what
works for you.
Now imagine that relaxed scene in vivid detail. Well cover visualization in great
detail in a following chapter. The basics involve incorporating all the senses, not just
sight, but feeling it, hearing it and even smelling it. Everything surrounding that image
should be incorporated.

62

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Not only does this allow you to relax more, but it will take you away you from
your current location. Thats often a part of hypnosisrelaxing outside your body and
completely into the mental zone. But at the same time, unless youre in the deepest
states and fully associated into the other place, you will experience a bit of a duality
where you recognize that youre in one place, but mentally in another.
A faster way to induce yourself or another person into a hypnotic state is to use
anchors for each of these steps. Anchors will also be covered in greater detail in a later
chapter.

The Deepening
Next we move on to the deepening step. Induction brings us down to a deeper level
of mind and gets us really relaxed. The deepening step just furthers the process. Just
as the name implies, this step gets you even deeper into hypnosis. During this process
youll notice that every step along the way gets you a little more relaxed as you continue
to do it more and more. Understand that relaxation isnt a state you either have or you
dont, but that it has many different levels.
Usually this process involves a descending count, like a countdown from ten to
one. Many times I use the visual of being in an elevator going down to lower and lower
levels. Other people like to mentally ride an escalator down. Along with these visuals
will be suggestions for further relaxation.
Here is a very quick example, With each descending step, youre going to go deeper
and deeper...10, 9, 8, down, down, deeper and deeper...7, 6, 5, down, down, deeper and
deeper. 3, 2, 1.
When youre starting out, repeat the deepening processlike riding an escalator
down (unless youre frightened by escalators)three times. Each time will serve to
bring you deeper and deeper.

63

M e n ta l M u s c l e
If youre hypnotizing someone or yourself, you are trying to get them to relax. What
is more relaxing? When someone talks really fast or when they ease back and slow
down their speech? The speed changes, but so does the tonal quality of their voice
when they relax. While there are shortcuts like anchors, you dont really want to rush
through the process because you wont achieve the desired effect.
When youre working with self-hypnosis, although you wont be speaking out loud,
you want to keep the pace slow in your sub-vocalization. This may sound simple, but it
can mean the difference between success and failure.
If you like another hypnotists voice, or have listened to recorded hypnosis many
times, you can also re-create that voice in your head, instead of your own to lead you
through the process. The audio qualities themselves can be anchors for becoming
hypnotized.

Hypnotic Commands

and

Processes

Before you enter hypnosis, you should have a goal for the session. Have a plan
ahead of time for what you will specifically work on, and how you plan to do it. Dont
get down in a hypnotized state and think, What am I going to do now? Instead, know
what you will be doing beforehand, including if you will be running through several
goals or different processes. Even if your outcome is just to physically and mentally
relax (which is great for reducing stress) that is fine, just recognize it as the goal of the
session beforehand.
You can do many things while under hypnosis. In this section, well cover hypnotic
commands but in later chapters we will cover visualization and anchoring which are
two large areas that can be used with hypnosis in full detail.

64

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

One of the most basic skills in mental training is the use of affirmations.
Affirmations can be said out loud or just repeated in your mind. We attach certain
meanings to these statements and as we say them, it will instill the belief and those
ideas into your body and mind.
While affirmations are good, theyre probably the least powerful of all the
techniques covered in this book. According to well-known hypnotist Dick Sutphen,
theyre worthwhile when used in the alpha and theta brainwave states where theyre
going to be 100 to 1000 times as powerful as affirmations made in the beta brainwave
or normal waking state. Theyre going to be that much more powerful because were
bypassing the conscious mind. The conscious minds filters can be slipped past with
hypnosis.
More often then not, beliefs are not really our own, but are built from conditioning
as we grow up. Especially as children, we dont have filters set up and just about
everything goes into our minds permanently. Children live in delta, theta and alpha
brainwave states until almost their teenage years. Thus they are constantly in a
suggestible state. Its why they learn things like languages naturally, and also why
beliefs instilled at that age can rule their lives forever.
If some of these beliefs arent helpful, they can rule our lives in ways contrary to
our conscious goals. Through repetition especially in a hypnotized state, we can
change those beliefs. And even if theyre not contrary to what we believe, by using
affirmations you can make your already helpful beliefs more powerful and move you
forward in your goals.
Repetition is used in all commands. It is used in the process for relaxing and also
to achieve the goals you desire while hypnotized. Dont expect miraculous changes by
making a command one time, but if you do it 10,000 times youd be hard pressed not to
see concrete changes.
The repetitions can be made many times just in one session, but also when
repeating the sessions over and over with the same goal. Use more repetition so youre
stacking up the power of those commands over time.

65

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Also, when you are giving yourself suggestions, its important that you always stay
positive. The subconscious mind takes things very literally. Not only do you want to be
clear and focused on what you want, but be careful of using any negatives.
Everyone uses this example because it works: dont think of a pink elephant right
now. I said the word dont, but in order for you to register that whole sentence, your
mind has to come up with a pink elephant in order to delete it. If I hadnt said that
phrase, you wouldnt have been thinking of a pink elephant at all, and the end goal of
not thinking of a pink elephant would have already occurred. Instead by bringing it up,
even in its negative form, the exact opposite was achieved. This occurs in real life, and
not just with silly pink elephants.
Your mind doesnt work well with negatives. If you are trying to stop yourself
from eating certain foods, you dont want to say, Im not going to eat this food. This
is because all you would be doing is putting images in your mind of those specific foods
and bringing up the desire to eat them. When there is a battle of will and imagination,
the imagination will always win. You may be able to hold off for some time, but its so
much easier to change the pictures in your head and the phrases you say to yourself
instead.
So if youre actually doing this when youre hypnotizing yourself, youre making
things a lot worse for yourself rather than better. Youre reinforcing what you dont
want! Instead, you want to focus on the things you do want. You want to focus on
seeing a picture of yourself weighing what you want to weight, and looking how youd
like to look. See that image of yourself stepping on the scale. Or you can see yourself
being offered the foods you dont want to eat, but feeling no desire to have them at all
and calmly saying no thanks to them.
(Negatives can be used with certain higher-level frames in specific ways, but it is
much easier just to stay positive.)

66

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Similarly, you dont want to use the word try, as in Im going to try to lift this
weight. This is because trying implies doubt and doesnt show confidence. You
want to do something, not just try to do something. When you try, there is a bit of an
expectation for failure because youre not 100% positive you can do it. As Yoda says,
Do or do not, there is no try.
You can also set things in motion while youre in hypnosis that are supposed to take
effect later. This is called a post-hypnotic command. But, there are times when you
want to have the effects immediately. For example, with the statement, Im relaxed
now. That statement will take action right away in your body.
With certain other things its not going to happen right away, so you shouldnt
command it as such. Instead you want to give it time to work. Instead, what you want
to say is, In a short time, in a few minutes, or in an hour. Use the command with the
amount of time so that it can take effect post-hypnotically. After youre done with the
session, it will come into effect. Another option is to anchor the command to a certain
stimulus as in the classical conditioning experiments covered earlier. Once again, full
details on anchors will be addressed later.
As a simple example, think of a time when you forgot someones name
someone that you should know. Of course this persons name is somewhere in your
subconscious. With this process you dont even need to hypnotize yourself, but you
could and would likely get faster effects. But if you just set the intention, Bring this
persons name into my mind within the next couple hours, youll find that almost
always this will occur. About an hour or so later, youll be thinking of something else
completely, and it will just pop into your mind.

67

M e n ta l M u s c l e

The Bring Back


Once youve run through your hypnotic processes, then you will do whats known
as the bring back or the trance termination. Basically it is the method of coming out of
hypnosis. A lot of people overlook the importance of this step, but it can be utilized in
an advanced way to increase the effectiveness of hypnosis.
The basics of the bring back is to count from one to five in ascending numbers. In
the deepening we counted with descending numbers because when youre counting
lower, that tends to accompany relaxation. Youll notice the words up versus down
and the associations you have with these words. So in the bring back, we count up.
Youll start with this command, On the count of five youre going to be wide
awake, feeling fine, feeling better than before. Youre using these hypnotic commands,
a suggestion so that when you come out youre feeling fine, youre feeling better than
before. If you say youre going to wake up, feel groggy, and that you will feel like you
need to take a nap, then chances are youre going to come out in that state. As always,
you want to use the exact commands for what you want to achieve.
An advanced form of this can be performed by adding an additional phrase that
reaffirms what youve accomplished or wish to accomplish by your hypnosis session.
Knowing that you have improved your skills or youre going to get stronger or
youre going to be able to effortlessly eat healthy choices that allow you to shape your
body how you want. You can add in this command as one more suggestion and a post
hypnotic command. And as youre doing the count up, you are going to reaffirm this
several times, so repetition is also involved.
There are specific reasons for this, when you count the first number, you will still
be in that deep level. If youre in theta, thats great but this process still works if youre
in a lighter trance. As an example, lets say during hypnosis you were down to theta.
You can say this post hypnotic command that youve improved your skills while in
theta and it will carry over into the next time you practice.

68

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Then you begin the count up but stop at the middle and reaffirm the bring back
(and your suggestion once again). This will start to bring you back up into a beta
conscious mode, but not quite fully there. You may move from theta to alpha, and after
you once again say your command: 1, 2, 3, starting to come awake now, feeling the
blood rushing back in. You wiggle your fingers and toes knowing that youve improved
your skills here through visualization, knowing you will see real results in your next
practice session.
Then you will continue the bring back up to beta, your fully conscious state: 4,
5. Eyes open, wide awake. Feeling fine, feeling better than before, your skills have
improved here through visualization, and you know you will see real results in your
next practice session.
With this process youre covering the different mental levels with the same post
hypnotic command. This will seal in all the benefits from the session and carry them
over into the future. This is an important advanced step that not many people know to
use with the bring back. It will help you get even better results.
Now that weve covered all the basic steps of self-hypnosis, Ive included a sample
hypnotic script. I used this script to record an audio that can be played back, and
you can do the same. This script could also be used as a template to build your own
hypnotic script towards your specific aims.

Sample Script for Relaxation


Installation of Strength

and

Sit comfortably in your chair as you close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through
your nose, hold it, and let it go out through your mouth letting your body relax as you do
it. Again, breathe inand out, all the tension in your body flowing out with your breath.
Continue breathing like this as you relax further down. Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing.

69

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Feel the top of your head, and as you breathe in and out relax the muscles and
skin of your scalp. Relax the forehead, the eyes, nose and mouth. All tension melting
away. Breathe in and out relaxing down, down, further and further. Breathe in and
out relaxing the left side of your brain. Feel the soothing sensations. Completely relax.
And now relax the right side of your brain. Completely relax. Take a mask of relaxation
and place it over your head. It encompasses it all as you relax so completely. Relaxing,
relaxing, relaxing.
Breathe in through your nose, feeling the muscles of your neck and traps. And out,
letting them relax more and more. Loose and limp, just completely relaxed. Continue
down your shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingertips. Imagine as you breathe in
and out that all tension runs off the arms and fingers like water, allowing you to relax
deeper and deeper.
Feel your chest as you breathe into it, relaxing the muscles on the outside and the
heart and lungs inside. Breathing in and out, relaxing further. Moving down to your
abdomen, your sides and all the organs inside. Loose and limp, just completely relaxed.
Breathe in, feeling it rise, and out as all tension goes away.
Relax, breathing into the thighs, the knees going down, down, down. Allow the
tension to melt away running down the calves and off of every individual toe. Feel the
soothing sensations. Completely relax.
See and count the number 3 three times. 3...3...3...This is physical relaxation and
you can return to it at any time by seeing and counting the number 3 three times.
Now, imagine yourself in a hot tub. See the tub with the calm but hot waters all
around you. Its the perfect temperature allowing you to relax deeply and forget all the
worries and stresses of your day. You can feel the water submerging your entire body
up to your neck. Feel the heat all around. You can even feel it on your face as steam
comes off the water. Just so completely relaxed. Let go. Sink further into relaxation
as you sit oh so comfortably in the hot tub. Soaking in the warmth. Soaking in the
relaxation and feeling fine.

70

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

See and count the number 2 three times. 2...2...2...This is mental relaxation and you
can return to it at any time by seeing and counting the number 2 three times.
Focus on the space between your eyes from behind your eyes. The space between
your ears from behind your ears. Feel that space between your shoulders from behind
your shoulders. Now your hips. And your knees. Feel the space outside your body and
inside. Feel the space everywhere.
See and count the number 1 three times. 1...1...1...This is open focused relaxation
and you can return to it at any time by seeing and counting the number 1 three times.
Now picture yourself getting into an elevator maintaining all the relaxation you
currently feel. As you get in, the door closes and the elevator begins to go down.
10...going down, down.
9...deeper and deeper. See the lights above the door as it crosses over to
8...with each floor the elevator passes, your relaxation doubles
7...go further down, descending even deeper
6...the elevator slowly goes down each floor at a time and with it you fall deeper and
deeper into an even more relaxed state
5...deeper and deeper
4...nearing the bottom, feeling so relaxed. You may not think you can get anymore
relaxed but with
3...youve doubled your physical and mental relaxation once again.
2...going down, down even deeper and
1...youve reached the basement. The doors open up to your subconscious mind.
You have entered an altered state of consciousness where you can do anything you
desire and it is so. Place the three middle fingers of your left hand against the thumb
and know that you can quickly and easily return here anytime you desire and it is so.
Know that every time you come here it will be quicker and deeper than before. This is a
safe place and it feels so good to be here.

71

M e n ta l M u s c l e
And Im going to begin by providing suggestions that will be conveyed to and
accepted by every level of your mind and your body. You are driven to workout and
achieve phenomenal strength. Every time you set foot in the gym you become stronger,
faster and in better condition. You have the strength and skill to do things few people
in the world can, and you are only getting stronger and better each and every day. As
you gain in strength you also gain in confidence. You have the self-discipline to do
anything you want to do. To achieve any goal you set. Nothing stands in your way. In
fact you are accelerating in your progress. Your recovery is better then ever allowing
you to accomplish more in the gym. You are finally making the progress you deserve.
Super strength and concentration are your keywords for anchored response. These
words have been conveyed to and accepted by every level of your mind and your body.
And so it is.
Now its time to visualize yourself having already achieved your goals of strength.
Vividly imagine what you can accomplish in full detail incorporating all the senses.
See it, hear it, feel it, taste and smell it. You execute the moves with flawless perfection.
Feel the triumph. Hear and see the reactions of those around you. By doing so youll
further communicate your desire and your goal to every cell in your body and all parts
of your mind. Visualize now.
You have just seen your reality of having the strength you desire. Now even more
so than before you, are open to suggestions which youll accept and take action on.
You are driven to workout and achieve phenomenal strength. Every time you set foot
in the gym you become stronger, faster and in better condition. You have the strength
and skill to do things few people in the world can, and you are only getting stronger
and better each and every day. As you gain in strength you also gain in confidence.
You have the self-discipline to do anything you want to do. To achieve any goal you
set. Nothing stands in your way. In fact you are accelerating in your progress. Your
recovery is better then ever allowing you to accomplish more in the gym. You are
finally making the progress you deserve. Super strength and concentration are your
keywords for anchored response. These words have been conveyed to and accepted by
every level of your mind and your body. And so it is.

72

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Now its time to discover the power of key trigger words to bring about a peak
state of conditioned response. Anytime you need to focus in and summon your great
strength just take a moment to close your eyes and say the words super strength and
concentration to yourself. These words are your anchor to your subconscious mind to
bring about super strength and concentration for the task at hand. The words, super
strength and concentration, are your keywords and every time you use them youll
find them becoming more and more powerful. Every time you hear super strength and
concentration youll find it completely effective. And you will use your super strength
and concentration conditioning to bring about even greater strength in your training.
And now once again repeat these powerful affirmations along with me. I am
getting stronger and stronger. An awesome feeling is sweeping over my body. I am
now stronger than I have ever been. I am getting stronger and stronger. An awesome
feeling is sweeping over my body. I am now stronger than I have ever been. I am
getting stronger and stronger. An awesome feeling is sweeping over my body. I am now
stronger than I have ever been. Yes, you are stronger than you have ever been. Know
that this is true and it has been programmed to every level of your body and mind.
And now once again create a visualization in which you perceive yourself
having successfully attained what you desire. Fantasize the desired result of this
programming. Create every detail in your mind, your feelings and reactions. The
reactions of others. Everything. Make it real and do this now while Im quiet for awhile.
And it is so!
Take a moment to show appreciation for your body and your mind, for what you
have done here and what it will allow you to accomplish. Say thank you inside.
And you know that each time you listen to this recording you will become even
stronger both physically and mentally. Your strength will grow and it is so. The more
you do it the more powerful it becomes. In just a few moments we are going to come
back up to an awakened state at the count of five. You will come back wide awake
but youll feel as though you just had a very restful nap. Ready to take action and
accomplish your goals.

73

M e n ta l M u s c l e
One. Two. Three. Youre starting to come up now, feeling good with vibrant energy
knowing that you are stronger than ever before.
Four. Five. Eyes open, wide awake, feeling fine, feeling better than before, knowing
that you are stronger than ever before.
The benefits of self-hypnosis are that you can control what youre doing and
make switches anytime. Being hypnotized by another person has some different
benefits, one of the most important being that you can completely let go as they guide
you. Without paying a professional, you can get many of these benefits by listening to
hypnotic audio tracks. Ive made a number of these available at the following webpage
at a special discount just for people reading this book.
http://www.mentalmusclebook.com/hypnotic/

74

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Making Your Mental Movies


So Powerful They Deliver
Instant Real Life Results
(Most People Visualize Incorrectly
If They Do It At All!)
When it comes to mental training, most people think that visualization is what
its all about. Thats because visualization a major aspect of success in any athletic
endeavor. Although it is popular, there is far more to visualization than most people
would even imagine. And of course there is much more to mental training than just
visualization.
When it comes to sports performance, the more realistic you can make your
visualizations, the better results you will get from it. Also, the more often you do it, the
more you will get out of itthis applies to both frequency and duration. Were going to
go through many steps and drills that will improve our visualizations.
But thats just one area that well dive into. Metaphorical visualization can be even
more powerful then realistic images. If you think about it, a realistic movie will be one
in which you do something you can already do, or you expect to be able to do at a higher
level. Using your imagination you can do much more, and often unlock even greater
power.
In addition, well be talking about HOW you visualize, because how you visualize
is more important than what you visualize. Even small changes can result in dramatic
differences in how you perform.
Of course before we dive into this, I want to start by saying that visualization
is a bit of a misnomer. Its not just visual. If youre only visualizing, youre not
incorporating the other sensesand that means youre not doing it correctly. You may
be able to get some results with just visual images, but its not even close to what you
can do if you incorporate all the senses.

75

M e n ta l M u s c l e
A better, more descriptive phrase is multi-sensory imagination. But thats much
longer, and most people are already familiar with the word visualization, so well stick
with using visualization. But understand that it incorporates all the senses you have,
and the more you can incorporate them, the better off youll be.

The Benefits

of

Visualization

Why should you want to practice visualization? What are the benefits of it? For
one, it will help you learn any skills faster than just doing a physical practice alone.
There are no external factors to take into consideration, or that you need to worry
about. You can do it correctly inside your mind and this will transfer over into your
actual skills and strength as well.
Visualization works because our brains cant tell the difference between
something thats effectively, vividly imagined and something thats real. When you
have your visualization vivid enough that it seems real to the brain, it sends nerve
signals to the muscles, and its firing them off. This doesnt mean youll be making
complete movements. If you visualize a press, your arms may never leave your sides,
but the nerve pathways are still being used, if you do the visualization correctly. The
muscles will not contract 100%, or even the same contraction necessary for the
physical exercise itself, but youll definitely feel it during the visualization. This is why
with visualization you can wire yourself for better skills and strength.
Since its all done in your mind, it means that youre not actually physically
training. One of the most difficult parts of physical training is the risk of overtraining,
especially if youre competing at an elite level or are just have a lot of fun with it and
want to do more. You must balance the work you do with your recovery time. Still,
you want to be able to do as much work as possible, because the more practice you can
do, the more your body will adapt and the better youll get. However, it is a balancing
act. You have to figure out the most you can do without doing too much to get the best
gains. But since visualization is all mental, it doesnt requires recovery for the rest of
the body. In fact, with visualization you can even speed up your recovery time.
And the third great benefit of visualization is that you can do it anywhere and
at any time. If you are practicing a sport that requires special equipment, you cant

76

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

always practice with it, but you can visualize any time with absolutely nothing. If youre
waiting in line, lying in bed, or even sitting on the toilet, you can put that time into good
effect. All youve got to do is close your eyes and visualize. Its that simple.
Visualization is also effective for helping to reshape your body. Its easy to see
the results of practicing mental skills and it has been studied many times. You can
accelerate fat loss, add muscle, and even strength to your frame with visualization.
Heres how it works: you create a vivid image in your mind of your goal or desired
outcome, such as how you want your body to look. When your brain receives this
message, it will marshal the forces of the body to make the image become a reality.
By providing the goal with strong emotion behind it, you can effect what are normal
automatic and unconscious processes like how food is utilized and what your muscles
and fat do in your body.

Visualization Studies

and the

Results

Feltz and Landers did a meta-analysis of 60 studies on mental practice as


compared to control conditions. In 48 of these, visualization practice was shown to
improve skills, but less so than actual practice. This is important, since visualization
does not take the place of practice but is used as an adjunct to it.
Although 20% of these studies didnt find results, it would be interesting to look
at their methodologies and find out how they could be improved. My guess is that the
experimental subjects were told to visualize without any sort of coaching in HOW to
do it properly. By the time you finish this chapter, youll know far for than most people
(including most of these research scientists) in the world about how to effectively
visualize.
Roure did a study with volleyball players using autonomic nervous system
responses. The test results revealed a strong correlation between the response in the
actual physical tasks and during the mental imagery sessions. In his conclusion, Roure
suggested that mental imagery may help in the construction of schema which can be
reproduced, without thinking during actual practice. Basically youll wire the skills and
processes into your subconscious mind.

77

M e n ta l M u s c l e
In a 1995 study on golfers it was shown that the imagery group not only improved
more, but tended to spend more time actually practicing their game. In addition, the
subjects in the imagery group had more realistic self-expectations, set higher goals to
achieve, and adhered more to their training programs outside the experimental setting.
This study shows that visualization is a good skill to enhance the drive towards your
goals along with the performance benefits.
The last example is one of my favorites, because this study actually details the
difference between people who have good visualization skills, and those with poor
visualization skills. It may be the only study done to date showing this fact. Anne Isaac
led a blind experiment with 78 subjects who were trampolinists, some experts and
others were novices. The subjects were divided into experimental and control groups.
She tested them for their visualization skills and classed them as high or low imagers.
Both groups were trained in three skills over a six-week period. The practice was laid
out as follows: For the experimental group, two and a half minutes of physical practice
on the skills, and five minutes of mental imagery. For the control group, five minutes of
abstract mental problems like math or puzzles, then two and a half minutes of physical
practice once again.
There was a significant difference between the results of both the high imager and
low imager groups, with the former getting superior results. There was a significant
difference between the mental imagery group and the control group, again the former
group leading. Both the novice and expert groups saw improvement, showing that
visualization works for beginners and experts. This was one of the few studies showing
that not only was visualization successful, but that better visualization was more
successful.
The timing of how much practice to how much visualization used in this study is
something you could use for yourself.
Dr. Witt, the director of the Action-Modulated Perception Lab at Purdue,
previously found that successful tennis players and field-goal kickers thought that
the ball or goal looked larger than it actually was. This is a sub-modality distinction

78

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

well cover later. She wondered if she could induce performance enhancement by
replicating this ability. For an experiment with golfers she used a projector to put
smaller or larger looking black spots around a normal hole. These spots increased or
decreased how big the hole looked. As you might expect, golfers did not put as well with
the smaller looking hole, and sunk more with a bigger looking hole. Although the size of
the hole never changed, the golfers perceptions did.
This quote from Athletes Guide to Mental Training by Robert M. Nideffer shows
the perception of John Brodie, a former quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers.
He remembers dropping back for a pass and seeing the whole field. In an instant he
had become aware of the future: He would throw the ball before the receiver had made his
cut, and yet he would know that the defender would be beaten, and that the ball would be
caught; he could anticipate the exact position of the receiver and the defenders as they
raced to the ball; then, he could sit back and watch his own pass seem to sail out in slow
motion as the drama he predicted would unfold. The experience of knowing what will
happen, of slowing things down, and of having them appear bigger than they really are,
occurs in many sports.
As you can see, visualization is usually considered to be a specific practice, but we
are making mental pictures and movies all the time in our head. The information in
this chapter applies to all of itby gaining more awareness of these often subconscious
visualizations, we can further enhance our abilities in any endeavor.

The Senses
I mentioned before that visualization would be more accurately named multisensory imagination. Because multi means many, and sensory refers to the different
senses. Lastly, the word imagination is chosen because it means that it is all in your
mind.

79

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Now lets discuss the five senses in depth.
Visual - using your sense of sight to see pictures and motion.
Auditory - using your sense of hearing to listen to sounds.
Kinesthetic - u
 sing your sense of touch to feel tactile sensations and
proprioception of movement. This area also covers feelings and
emotions.
Olfactory - using your sense of smell.
Gustatory - using your sense of taste.
Many beginners run into problems if theyre trying to visualize something. They
think about it and hear thoughts within their heads like a sub-vocalization. Thinking
is not visualizing. If youre stuck here, you wont get any results. Your thoughts or
internal dialog are important, but they wont give you the experience of doing the
exercise.
Instead, your visualization should be just as rich in all the senses to the point
where its like reality. Just like you are reading this page right now. If you can close
your eyes and see the same picture you were just seeing with vivid detail then you have
good visualization skills. But once again, thats only visual. Can you feel the sensations
of your body? You may have not thought of them until I mentioned it. And can you
mentally create the sounds around you that youre hearing externally?
If you can do all that comfortably, and simultaneously, then you have good multisensory imagination skills. If so, youre set to do the proper visualization for improving
performance.
Our main ways of interacting with the world are visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Olfactory and gustatory are not used as much, but if you can include them in your
visualization, then you should. Focus on the first three, which we will use while
practicing drills to specifically improve your skills.

80

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

The Keyboard

to

and

Techniques

Your Brain

The following is a big tip on how to more effectively use your senses. Our eyes are
basically the keyboard for our brain. When we are thinking about something our eyes
move around. The directions that they look towards are known as the eye accessing
cues. They move around to specific locations that give clues about how we are
thinking, and whether our thoughts are in pictures, sounds, feelings, or internal dialog.
(Note: the specific locations can be flipped to the opposite for a certain segment of the
population.)
When we understand this process we can consciously use these different eye
positions to help us in visualization. So if you are working on seeing something in your
mind better, youll going to want to look up. If you look up at about 20 degrees from a
horizontal level, then you will be able to see pictures in your mind even better. The
auditory place is on a plane level with the eyes while looking from side to side. And for
kinesthetic, you will look down and to the right.
By using these cues to help us access our internal senses more effectively, we can
become better visualizers. You dont have to always follow these specific directions,
and it doesnt mean you cant form a mental picture while looking down, but it is worth
using these ideas to train your mental imagery skills.

Drill

to Improve

All Sensory Skills

Each person will be more dominant in one sense than the others. Whatever
your primary sense is, you will be good better at that one as compared to the others.
Whatever your weaker senses are, you wont be as good at those. You may want to
spend more time practicing the weaker skills to bring them up. But, you definitely will
want to focus with your stronger sense when visualizing, while also bringing up your
weakest one. With practice, you can be really strong in all your senses. Your primary

81

M e n ta l M u s c l e
sense will probably always be stronger than the others, but if you improve them all, you
will be far above most peoples level of sensory acuity.
Begin practicing with the following basic drills. It is best to have someone else
read the following passages to you as you close your eyes and visualize. But if youre by
yourself right now, you can read each sentence at a time then practice before returning
to the next sentence.

Visualizing
I want you to see yourself standing there with a barbell in front of you. Notice what
sort of barbell it is. Is it an Olympic barbell? Is it one that holds standard weights?
Maybe its an easy curl bar. What sort of barbell is it? Notice the length of it in your
mind. Is it brand new? Is it shiny, metallic or does it happen to have rust on it? Is it
old and beat up? Are you picturing a specific barbell like one you own or one that you
just created out of thin air? How much weight is loaded on this barbell or is it empty?
Are there collars on it? What kind? Notice everything you can about this barbell and
where its sitting. Is it floating up in the air? Is it lying on the ground? Are you holding
the barbell?
You will want to look at these different aspects of the barbell. If you picture
anything in your mind, you can rotate it, flip it around, focus on different areas, and
more. What else do you notice with this barbell?
Lets assume that youre in a commercial gym with this barbell. Now, you can
continue to look around. Notice what else is around besides the barbell. Are there
power racks, machines, other people, a lot of dumbbells? What is around you in the
gym? Notice all the details that you can see. If you see a machine, there are so many
things you could observe on that one machine, we could spend minutes just analyzing
it, and you could tell me what you see. Go ahead and spend some time now to look at all
the details. Is this a gym that you have visited in the past or is it one you have created
out of thin air made from previous associations of other commercial gyms? Are you
remembering, creating or some combination of the two?

82

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Auditory
Besides what you see in the gym, I want you to hear the noises around you. Are
there other people? Are they walking around? Are they talking? Are they exercising?
Can you hear them holding their breath, grunting, or making any noises? Is there a
clock thats ticking on the wall? What do you hear around you in the gym? Is music
playing? If so, what music is it? If you dont like it you can change the song. Notice all
the details of what you can hear.
Although the most important components for sports and lifting are the visual and
kinesthetic, if you can add in auditory observations, then your visualization will be
even better. Many people neglect the auditory, and are missing an entire part of their
neurological and sensory systems in their visualization.

Kinesthetic
Now, I want you to go back to that barbell and see it in vivid detail. Keep the sounds
of the gym going on around you. Now I want you to pick up that barbell. How does the
weight feel in your hands? Notice if theres knurling on the bar or if its smooth. Can
you actually feel that weight in your hands? How did you pick it up? With a normal
grip, a reverse grip, or a grip for doing curls? How heavy does it feel? Did you feel
every part of the lift and what muscles were firing, or did you quickly get to a standing
position without feeling much at all? What temperature is the weight in your hands?
How is your sense of balance? Are any internal sensations happening inside your
body?
I want you to notice as we were doing this exercise, as I asked you more questions,
you noticed more detail than you may have originally noticed. Are you hyper-focused
on that single detail or are you still noticing everything else, including visuals and
sounds?
You can see why this takes practice. Even when youre going through your daily
life, you are not always paying attention to all the details I called your attention to in

83

M e n ta l M u s c l e
the exercise. By paying more attention in real life, you can also pay more attention in
your visualizations. You need to be able to hold a lot of information in your mind to
make it real. The more you do this, the more you will be able to do it on command, and
the better results you can gain from it.

Olfactory

and

Gustatory

Now were going to add in the last couple of senses. Smell the gym. Do you smell the
stale sweat that has accumulated in the gym for a long time? Or maybe the gym just has
a funky smell that you cant quite identify. What do you smell around you? Since we
dont often use our sense of smell unless theres a powerful scent, you may not notice
anything until you consciously pay attention to it.
Lets move onto taste. You can imagine yourself standing still, holding the barbell
with nothing in your mouth. Youre not normally focused on tasting at the gym, but
how does your mouth feel? You can notice the kinesthetics of it. Is there maybe a
leftover taste in your mouth from something you ate earlier? Maybe you havent had
enough water to drink, so you have a bit of cotton-mouth.
Lets assume the workout is over and youre having a protein shake. How does that
shake taste? What sort of flavor does it have? Maybe its vanilla, chocolate, or berry
flavored. How does that taste to you? Notice the texture of it along with the taste.

Your Strong

and

Weak Points

As you can see there are many, many details that you can use with visualization.
Notice what you noticed. Which of your senses was the strongest? Was your visual
sense really strong? Was your auditory sense really strong? Was your kinesthetic
sense really strong or was it weak? How easy was it to use smell and taste? How easy
was it to work with multiples modalities at once? Or when you focused on one thing,

84

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

did the others fall away? It would also be good to write your findings down so you know
what your strong and weak points so you can improve them with further drills. This is
good information to have so that after practicing, you can compare where you are now
to where you were.
For example, if your ability to visualizeactually seeing imageswas the weakest
of the senses, you would have heard and felt things very well, but your visual sense
really wasnt that good. It was hard for you to picture the details. First of all, to help you
improve your visual sense, we would want to use eye accessing cues. Did you use those
at all during this drill? Remember to look up 20 degrees when doing all visual drills.
For example, close your eyes and imagine an apple up in front of you, 20 degrees
above eye level, and about a foot or so away. Its just floating there in mid-air, defying
gravity. Picture that apple. What color is it? What kind of apple is it? Is it moving,
maybe rotating around? You can take it in your hand and rotate it yourself. If you
use your different senses together its often easier to use your weaker senses. If your
kinesthetics are really strong but your visuals are not, as youre imagining that apple,
go ahead and hold it in your hand so you have the feel of it. Then look at it with your
eyes, you can turn it and look at different parts of it. Look at the bottom of the apple.
Look at the shine. Feel the texture of it while youre looking at it. Is there a stem or a
leaf on the apple? How solid is it? Could you crush that apple with your bare hands and
make it into applesauce or is it a really hard apple?
You can take the apple and move it around while combining the different senses.
By bringing in your primary sense along with your weaker sense and then connecting
the two together, you will get better and better results. Imagine tapping the apple with
your hand to create a sound.

85

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Quick Drills

to Improve

Your Senses

To improve your visual senses, look at any image, then close your eyes and recreate
that image in your minds eye. Open your eyes once again and notice what you got right
and what you left out. Then close your eyes and do it again. This will improve your
visual acuity. Start with simple pictures then move on to more complex images.
For added fun, turn this into a partner drill. Stare at a picture of scenery for thirty
seconds then close your eyes. Your partner will then ask you questions about the
details. Find out how many you can get right, then pick a new picture and switch roles.
To improve your auditory senses sit somewhere where there are lots of sounds.
After listening for a short amount of time, try to recreate all the noises in your mind. A
public place can be wonderful for this drill. Note that by removing one of your senses,
like closing your eyes, you can often pay more attention to the sounds.
You can also listen to a segment of one song or piece of music. How well can you
recreate the singing and different instruments in your mind? These drills will improve
your auditory acuity.
To improve your kinesthetic senses, the gym is a great place to start. Do an exercise
while getting in tune with what you feel. Then close your eyes and recreate those same
sensations in your mind. You can practice this back and forth and with many different
exercises. This will improve your kinesthetic acuity. Youll also probably notice that
the exercise becomes easier or smoother to do in reality.
You can practice your visualization skills and the skills that you want to improve,
like in the gym, at the same time. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
(Go ahead and make a picture in your mind of that common saying. What details
do you notice? Also pay attention to whether you created a picture of it before I asked
you to picture it, or if you just processed the statement. Since its a well known saying,

86

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

you may have glossed over it. But what if I told you to kill thirteen rhinoceros with a
boulder?)

Submodalities
Weve covered the primary senses also known as modalities. You will need to
practice drills like those weve previously described to get much better results. In this
section, well further discuss the details of the senses. Each sense can be broken down
into submodalitiesthe qualities of each sense that contribute to the overall picture.
Submodalities have a tremendous influence on the quality and results of your
visualizations. They form the context while youre visualizing the content. Remember,
how you visualize is more important than what you visualize. Submodalities form the
base of how.
Below youll find descriptions of many submodalities used in visualization, and
how they can impact what occurs.

Parts
Lets say youre trying to learn a skill that is somewhat complex, such as an
Olympic snatch. When coaching the Olympic snatch, the movement is broken up into
different steps; the initial pull, the second pull, and getting under the weight. If youre
beginning to learn this skill, it is best to break up the entire picture into manageable
chunks. If were visualizing, trying to pay attention to the visuals, sounds and feel of the
skill, then its easy to lose our attention of all the details. With this lack of focus, you
wont get optimal results.

87

M e n ta l M u s c l e
So, instead of trying to visualize it all at once, break the skill down into small
chunks that you can do and start with the first one. With that small chunk, bring in
all the senses. To break it down further, use one sense at a time until youve mastered
it, then add them all together. When youve mastered that chunk, move onto the next
one until youve mastered each chunk in order. Once youre doing well with all of them
individually, add two together and work with them until the combination is perfect.
Then add the next part and so on, until you have the complete movement sequence.
Although this may seem like a long process, it will give you better and faster results
than just working on the whole pictureand thus leaving out important details. Even
with simple exercises like the deadlift, breaking the exercise into manageable parts
can still be warranted.
With any complex skill, like a martial arts movement, you definitely need to study
enough to visualize it properly. If you dont know the correct steps, you will not be able
to recreate them in your mind. The more intimate you are with the details, the better
you know it, and the more effective your visualization will be.
In his book, 2001: A Sports Odyssey, Dr. Judd Biasiotto talks about re-learning his
squat technique. Due to an injury, he had to change how he was squatting. He actually
videotaped his squat and had a friend take each frame of video and turn it into a
flipbook. He even drew the different muscles that were activated at different portions
of the lift. Even though a squat doesnt take long, you can imagine that creating a
picture for each frame was quite the undertaking. You could think of each frame as a
different part of the movement. By going through this entire process and studying it,
Dr. Biasiotto was able to better visualize every little part of it, and fully understand
which muscles were activated at each point of the lift. Do you think this could aid in
your kinesthetic visualization? The new found muscle control and awareness allowed
him to achieve an amazingly high level of strength. He also completely changed his
technique through this practice.

88

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Do you need to go this far with your efforts? No. If you did, it would be good for
achieving optimal results on something that matters as much to you as the squat did
to Dr. Biasiotto, a competitive powerlifter. But its not necessary to go quite as far as
he did with the exercise. Certainly, videotaping yourself and reviewing your form will
help your visualizations. Breaking the movement into its component parts will help as
well. Then make your visualizations as vivid as possible and keep practicing.

Speed
How fast is the movie running in your mind? The basic way to visualize is to run
this mental movie in real time. Move as fast or as slow in the visualization as you do in
real life with the same movement.
However, if youre starting out with anything, especially complex movements, slow
it down. In your imagination, you can slow the time by half, or even to a quarter speed.
Get each piece of that picture right as well as how you feel it in your body, and then as
you improve, gradually speed it up to real time. You are the editor in your mind, thus
you can easily rewind, fast forward, play in slow-motion, and skip frames as needed.
Would you actually want to go faster at any point than in real time? I think this can
be useful for working on speeding up the movement or exercise. If you can do it faster
in your mind while maintaining all the senses properly, that will actually train your
body to go faster.
I used this approach specifically for my kettlebell snatch work. It wasnt fun to
spend ten minutes visualizing every rep of 300 snatches with a 24kg kettlebell, but that
type of practice was partly responsible for me achieving the goal. Since speed was a big
factor, it was used in my visualizations, and often took only nine minutes to do it in my
mind.
There are different uses for slow speeds, fast speeds and real-time speeds. Use
them when and where needed.

89

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Color
Another submodality is black and white versus color. Were not likely to spend a
lot of time with color, since it doesnt suit our goals. There are some therapeutic uses
for going into black and white since it can help dissociate you from the picture to make
it less powerful than before. This is useful for removing the emotional charge around a
failure or trauma in the past.
But, I wanted to bring it up because some people naturally visualize in black and
white while visualizing in coloras it occurs in real lifewill be more powerful. So if
you visualize in black and white, definitely switch it over into color. If this is difficult
for you, just do the drills as before and separate it into parts. Add a single color at a
time, or focus on small objects instead of complete and complex pictures at first.
Another factor that comes into play is the brightness of the colors. That factor will
be covered in the Intensity section.

Distance

or

Size

Distance will effect your visualizations. How close or far away is your mental
image? Or, how big or small is the image? Essentially, both of these ideas these work
the same way, because in our perception, something far away is small and something
close is big.
Normally, if you bring an image closer on your visual screen, then it will have more
of an impact, and you will feel it more intensely. Once again, this idea has uses in
therapeutic settings when it may be useful to move a picture further away or bring it
closer.
In general, if you want to increase intensity, bring the image closer to you. But for
maximal realness, everything will need to be realistically sized. You should see the
same image with your eyes closed as what you would see if you were standing in the
exact location where your visualization takes place.

90

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Another important aspect of size is how big you are within the visualization.
Normally you should be regular size within the visualization for maximum realness.
But there are times when youll be smaller. If you have fear or a lack of confidence, you
may naturally visualize yourself a lot smaller in comparison to the object you fear. But
because its all within your own mind, you have control of it. You can shrink the object
or make yourself bigger as you see fit. Once again, you have full editorial control.
If you make yourself bigger when youre handling weights in your visualization, the
weight will feel a lot lighter. Youre going to feel more confident and more powerful. So
its definitely worth playing with your size in visualizations. Try imagining yourself
ten feet tall as youre going through your workout and visualizing the different
exercises. It will have quite a different feel than if you just go through the visualization
at your normal size.
Again, using this aspect this depends on the goal of your visualization. If youre
practicing skills, then most times you will want to replicate reality. But if you want to
increase your feelings of power, then dial up the intensity and increase your own size
as you do the workoutyoure likely to hit new PRs.

Association
When youre visualizing yourself, are you in your own body? If so, then that would
mean you are associated. Or do you see yourself from the outside (dissociated)?
Please note that this has nothing to do with the psychiatric evaluation of a dissociated
personality. Simply put, are you visualizing from a first person or a third person
viewpoint? Are you in the movie or watching it? There are uses for both of these
viewpoints.
For the most part, we will want to be in first person. When youre associated into
your own body you get two benefits: First, youre experiencing the visual images as
if youre able to look out from your own eyes. Secondly, when youre associated its
usually easier to mentally add kinesthetic to your visualization. You can still have
the proper feelings when viewing yourself from outside, but it is easier when you are
associated.

91

M e n ta l M u s c l e
I naturally visualize myself from a third person viewpoint, its just how I am.
Every person has natural propensities to different submodalities along with the major
modalities. No one way is right or wrong, although some ways are better or worse
for certain goals. By default, when I visualize, I see myself from the outside. I have to
consciously practice to put myself back into a first person viewpoint. And if I dont stay
on top of it, Ill snap back out into a third person perspective.
When visualizing to learn a skill, make yourself stronger, or gain similar results,
you will typically want to be associated into your mental movie. However, there
are some times when we want to watch ourselves from the outside. If you are doing
something that places a high importance on technique, like preparing for a gymnastics
competition where youre judged by other people, you can run through your routine
from a third person view. See it as the judges will see it. Then, you can see yourself
doing it while still having the kinesthetics hooked in while watching yourself, noticing
how you look from the third person view. This may give you additional information on
what you need to do to improve.
I like to start by watching myself from the outside (my natural predisposition). I
run through the exercise, then Ill step into my body and run through the exercise once
again from the first person perspective.

Intensity
How intense are your images when visualizing? Intensity has a few different
factors to it: When youre seeing a picture, how bright are the colors? As already stated,
distance can factor into an images intensity, and brightness can equally affect the
image as well. When imagining sounds, the volume would be a form of intensity.
Intensity also applies to the feelings of mental imagination. Feelings arent just
about your muscles firing during an exercise, but are also internal sensations and
emotions. You can make them more powerful if you need more emotional drive. All
you really have to do as youre visualizing is imagine that you have a dial. Imagine
the dial is set on a low number like one, two or three, then reach over and crank it up

92

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

to seven, eight, nine, tenor if you want to go Spinal Tap on ityou can crank it all
the way up to eleven! When youre imagining turning this dial, make sure you do it
incrementally and can feel the changes. Just flipping a dial to the top wont do anything
if you dont feel the difference.
By making the picture more intense, you can add more emotional drive. By doing
this, you will make it more powerful. We will talk more about this effect later with
short versus long-term goals and the specific effects of different visualization drills.

Location
Where do you see the picture? We talked about distance and size which are aspects
of location, but the picture can be high or low, to the left, right or centered. In my
experience, this is actually one of the most important submodalities for effecting how
you feel about the visualization.
Lower locations typically occur for mental pictures that are bad, or at least not
as good. If a picture is moved up or held high it is usually good, or at least better. But
dont visualize it as too high, because it can become unattached to you. These concepts
are known as criteria locations. They are a big factors in how your brain encodes
somethingincluding the difficulty of an exerciseas I have found out through much
experimentation. Youll see criteria locations as primary drivers in some of the client
transcripts at the end of this book and how changing them can make big changes.
Although some other senses were mentioned, you may have noticed we primarily
focused on visual submodalities. While many other submodalities exist, this list is
more than enough to get you started.

93

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Practice Makes Perfect


You need practice in order to build up your ability to imagine the different senses
with vividness and hold them all within your mind, without having all your focus move
to one specific thing. It also takes practice to be able to edit your mental movies in the
many ways listed, although that task tends to be easier than controlling your focus.
Once you have completed the simple drills weve covered, and can do them fairly
well, then you can then transfer those skills to actually working on the visualizations
for your goals. The great thing is, not only will you build up your ability to visualize, you
will also start to get the results you want from the visualizations as well. Its a win-win
situation.
Practice, practice, practice. I think the very minimum effective practice time for
visualization is five minutes a day. If you can practice several times a day, thats better.
If you can practice for more than five minutes at a time, thats even better. To practice,
go into a relaxed state, then visualize yourself going through your workout, or visualize
yourself hitting your goals. This can be combined with hypnosis for amplified effects.
Visualization can be done at anytime, anywhere, with or without hypnosis.
Another great time to practice it is between sets and exercises during your workouts.
Even ten seconds of visualization right before a lift can be tremendously useful.
Next well cover some different forms of visualization you can use for many
purposes.

94

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Past Visualizing
There are two main time frames for visualization when it comes to doing exercises.
The first is the past. With the past, youre basically playing a highlight reel in your own
head. Youre looking back at past peak experiences and reliving them. The term I like to
use is revivification, which means to give new life or vigor. The benefits of this practice
assumes youre replaying the positive movies from your past.
There are many great benefits to past visualization. As a personal example, if I
wanted to feel really strong and work more on my deadlift, I would go back to when
I set my deadlift PR of 505 pounds. I would relive that entire experience in my mind.
As a result, Ill feel strong, Ill feel confident, and Ill feel better in tune with my body
because some very cool things happenedI knew I would be able to do it when I
entered the gym that day.
You can get a lot of visualization practice by going back to past experiences.
Because you have already experienced it once, you will be able to visualize the entire
environment around you as it was at that time. You will know the sounds that were
there, and how it felt to actually go through the exercise.
But that doesnt mean you have to keep the image as it was in reality. The truth
is you will already be altering it from what really happened since it would be close
to impossible to capture every detail. So, why not make some changes on purpose?
With revivification, you can play around with the submodalities of size, distance and
intensity to make the visualization even more powerful. Go ahead and try it out.
Try past visualization right before you workout. If you felt really good and happy
about your previous record, relive that experience. You will gain the emotional charge
from that experience before working on the exercise once again. Setting a new PR is
much more likely to happen if you relive how you felt and everything that went into the
previous PR experience. This will also increase your motivation.

95

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Future Visualizing
On the flip side, you can visualize the goals you want to achieve in the future.
Obviously, youll need to set a goal or outcome to focus on.
When youre visualizing a future goal, it is best if you visualize it the same way each
time. You dont want to change different details unless you receive some feedback that
necessitates a change in your plans. For example, if youre visualizing a future goal and
know the place where youre going to achieve that goalmost likely the gym where you
train, or the place where you competemake the location of your visualization appear
like it will look on that day. Hear the sounds and feel the sensations of performing the
movement. This approach is best for working towards a big goal that is coming in the
future. The more flawless mental reps you can do, the more likely the future reality will
follow suit.
Although I recommend keeping the mental movie the same, I would also
recommend playing with the submodalities (at least early on) to increase the intensity
and effectiveness of the movie. Find out how you can enhance the movie to make it
even better. Play around with it until you find the most powerful form, then use it again
and again.
The great thing about this processwhich works for any exercise and record
is after you actually physically get tired to some degree, you can keep practicing the
exercise over and over and over again with visualization. Although you may not be able
to physically work on your goal every single day, you can practice it every single hour of
every day mentally.
Theres also another mental and emotional component with this type of practice. If
youre working towards a big goal, with regular mental practice youll continue to build
up that drive and desire you have toward it. Youre wiring your body and brain with the
confidence that you will be able to do it. When you see that mental movie over and over
again, your body will be able to physically do it, and youre going to accomplish your goal.

96

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

Short Term

vs.

and

Techniques

Long Term

When were visualizing the future, there are two main categories to consider, the
short term and the long term. There are some differences in how you may want to
visualize each category.
With short-term goals are mostly related to visualizing the actions themselves.
This can even be as short a term as a few seconds right before you do a set. Youre
visualizing yourself being able to do the exercise. This is especially good for wiring the
body for new and improved skills.
But working with the long term is somewhat different. It doesnt necessarily need
to be a very long time into the future, but what you will want to usually focus on is the
emotional support of the goal. How can visualizing affect your drive and volition? What
you want to consider along with the action is a more celebratory visualization. This
doesnt necessarily mean that youre going out and partying, but anytime you achieve
a major goal in the gym, there is usually some sort of celebration. Do you scream Yes!
or throw your hands up in the air? Do you call your friends or loved ones and tell them?
Do you post it on Facebook and receive tons of likes and comments? Or maybe its just
a feeling of congratulations inside you. Whatever you actually do, that is what you want
to visualize as the celebration of achieving that goal.
In related research, they found that visualizing the specific actions was most
effective for short-term goals. But for longer-term goals, also visualizing the
celebration was helpful. I thought it would be a good idea to just combine the two! Just
as you dont have to pick only one of the aforementioned areas for visualization but can
do all of them, you can also do both here.
Lets say you have a weight loss or muscle gain goal, you can definitely visualize
the exercises your doing and get better at them, but you will also want to focus on the
emotions involved with the goal. For example, that might mean stepping on the scale
and seeing how much you weigh (or however you are measuring your goal, since a scale

97

M e n ta l M u s c l e
isnt always the best method). But however you are measuring the goal, you will see
and feel your final result and experience being happy about it. If you have some reward
built into your goal or celebration, visualize yourself experiencing the reward as well.
It will build your drive and communicate once again with your body and mind what
you want to achieve.

Metaphorical Visualization
In Not Just Pumping Iron, Edward W.L. Smith PhD states, A powerlifter
working on perfecting her or his form in the deadlift might see or feel herself or
himself as a huge, powerful bull pulling a heavy boulder. An Olympic lifter might liken
her or his jerk to a space shuttle rocket taking off, seeing herself or himself as that
rocket or feeling like that rocket. A physique contestant wanting a smoother more
fluid transition from one pose to another might pick a slowly flowing river as her or his
metaphor seeing or feeling it.
In the past, I spent more time practicing real imagery, probably because I
thought of myself as a realist. But the imagination is quite a bit more powerful. If youre
seeking to unlock greater ability than what is considered normal, then youll want to
play in the arena of the imagination.
Im reminded of Garin Bader, a modern day renaissance man, world champion
musician, magician and more. When we were teaching at the Wizards of Strength
Workshop, he said to imagine an extra joint between the wrist and elbow in one
martial arts application. This allowed him to hit at an angle that was unachievable
before. There was no actual new joint, but the visualization unlocked an ability that
was not there before. The body followed through on his imagination and moved in a
way that allowed him to reach the target.

98

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Another example was when a friend led me through a hypnosis session focused
on my deadlift. After doing realistic visualization and running through the exercise a
few times, two bison appeared out of nowhere and sat on the ends of the barbell. Then
I lifted the weight, plus the weight of these two bison. I could even smell them! This
fantastical imagination led me to a stronger partial deadlift later that day than I had
ever done before.
A realistic visualization is more left-brained, while a metaphor or fantastical
visualization will access your right brain. Even Einstein agreed that the imagination is
more powerful, thus this is an area worth exploring. Still, all the details can be made
more life-like and the submodalities can be also be played with and altered.

When

to

Use Visualization

Lets talk about some more specific times and ways to use visualization.

Injuries
Visualization is great to use with injuries. When my friend blew out his knee and
made one of his legs immovable, it could have impaired his ability to use the other leg.
But, if he spent time visualizing his ability to do squats, moving the leg, and being able
to do everything he used to do, the injured leg will come back stronger. He may still be
somewhat weaker after healing from the injury, but not nearly as weak as if he never
spent any time with visualization.
Some people have even come back stronger after an injuryliterally stronger than
they were beforejust by practicing a lot of visualization, and seeing the movement
over and over in the mind. Theres also some benefit of physically working the opposite
leg. The body doesnt like to be uneven, so the injured leg wont lag too far behindit
will still be strong after healing from the injury.

99

M e n ta l M u s c l e
You can also speed up your recovery by visualizing along with your entire process
of physical therapy. If you are suffering from any injuries or chronic pain, this is a big
area you will want to work on with visualization.
Heres another study on the power of visualization for healing the body: This
psychoneuroimmunological study examined the effects of visualization, or mental
imagery, on immune system response, specifically, on the depressed white blood
cell (WBC) count in 20 medical patients. Subjects were 10 females and 10 males and
included medical patients diagnosed with cancer, AIDS, viral infections, and other
medical problems associated with depressed WBC count. Results indicated significant
increases in WBC count for all patients over a 90-day period, after a predicted initial
decrease in WBC count. No significant age or sex differences were found.
If white blood cell counts can be increased by visualization alone, what other cells
in your body can be altered or increased the same way?

Outside

Workout

What do you do when you get up in the morning? That is the perfect time to relax,
hypnotize yourself, and then do some visualization practice. Spend ten minutes or
so working on one or more of your goals. You dont want to practice too many at once
because you will spread yourself too thin (as mentioned in the outcome section).
Even if you only spend five minutes, youre still going to get a lot of benefits. Just three
minutes is better than nothing, and you can run through your primary goal many times
in three minutes.
Any time outside your workouts is great for visualization. Also try it before you go
to bed at night, then your subconscious mind will be working on it. You may find that
you start having a lot more dreams about working out and accomplishing your goal if
you do this practice before going to bed. Whatever we feed into our minds before we go
to sleep will usually be present in our dreams.

100

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

My friend Travis Stoetzel told me that he hit a new PR in the Olympic snatch
because of a similar reason. He wasnt using visualization, but he had spent hours
studying videos of elite athletes at night. He then dreamed of snatching. When he got
to the gym the next day, it was easy. By watching the videos he may have picked up
some cues on how to do it better on a subconscious level. During his dreams, his body
and mind practiced these skills in order and they became ingrained in his body. His
results dont surprise me. By mixing watching videos and visualizing yourself, it would
probably work even better.
If you have an off day, visualization is a great thing to do during that time as well.
You might as well take that extra time for good use.

Pre-Exercise
The third method is pre-exercise. This can be done before the workout. Some
people even go so far as to visualize the entire workout theyre about to do. Many times
you might want to speed this visualization up, but some people even visualize the
workout at a normal speed. If you do this properly, you will have a sense of dj vu as
you actually do the workout.
But since I feel out the exercises and listen to my body during a workout, I dont
have any sort of set routine. So, I cant visualize a specific routine right before the
workout what Im going to do. I will have some general idea, but unless I preplan a
workout, this method wont work for me. But, once I figure out which exercise Im
going to do, before every single set I can visualize myself doing that set.
How many reps are you going to hit? Do it in your mind, and then do it physically.
Many times, I like to set the bar higher in my mind than what I actually expect to hit.
Ill run through a few more mental reps than what Ive done in the past, and while I
may not get to that level, my likelihood of hitting more than Ive done before is much
higher.

101

M e n ta l M u s c l e
You dont need to go into a deep hypnotic state before each set. Instead, close your
eyes, run through the movie in your head first, then go ahead and do it. Make sure to
pay attention to the submodalities, tweaking them as needed for added impact.

Post-Workout
After your workout is another prime time to do the visualization. At this time, its
best to focus on your goals. Whatever you just did in your workout will help you further
along towards those goals. Visualize how youre going to get results from what you just
did. This is how you can send a message to your body and mind to connect what you
want to accomplish by what you just did in your workout.
Post-workout visualization will also help your body recover. I think it will aid you
in gaining even more strength. Of course this same process can be done at any time, but
now youre directing your recent physical efforts toward a future result.

Skills Practice
This category isnt about a specific time to visualize, but is mentioned here because
of how I like to practice. If youre working on something skill-based, then visualizing
how its perfectly performed will help you learn it faster.
Skills practice can be even better if you can model someone else. You can visualize
it as if youre watching them do what you want to do. Then, mentally step into their
body and go through the skill youre practicing within their body. Visualize yourself
doing it as if you were that other person. Next, come out of the visualization and
actually physically practice it. Go back and forth between mental and physical practice
and repeat the process. This will help you pick up new skills much faster.

102

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Pre-Eating
The last category has to do with eating. Lets assume your goal is to lose weight,
gain weight or just become healthier. This is a useful and simple process you can do
with any food instead of mindlessly eating it. Take some time to think about how this
food will fuel you, and what it will do for you. Is this fuel that you eat? If youre drinking
a shake with a lot of protein in it after a workout, will it allow you to pack more size
onto your muscles? If youre eating a salad or a steak, how will it help you to nourish
your body while allowing you to lose fat as well?
Remember the study about white blood cells? If you can affect the number of
white blood cells you have, shouldnt you also be able to increase your muscle mass,
or mobilize fat to leave your body? Doesnt it stand to reason that you may be able to
influence, even if just partly, how your body absorbs and utilizes the food you eat?
More on this subject will be covered later in the fat loss and muscle gain sections.
Once again with visualization its great to set aside five, ten, or more minutes to
specifically visualize. But even if you only take thirty seconds out of your day to close
your eyes for a moment and visualize how the food youre about to eat will serve you,
you will see benefits.

103

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Psyched Up, Focused or


Relaxed at the Snap of the
Fingers with Anchors
What are anchors? The most classic example of an anchor is the research done by
Pavlov covered in the earlier section on hypnosis. Although it is usually called classic
conditioning, it can also be called using an anchor. Some other terms that mean the
same thing are associative response, conditioned reflexes, or triggers. Showing meat
to the dogs caused a natural salivation reaction. Pavlov anchored this response to the
ringing of a bell. Thus the bell was then able to trigger the response.
Anchoring happens all the time even if youve never heard of it. Youre still
anchoring and using this capability every day, because the human brain works by
associating different things. This process is actually a necessity for survival. Think
about opening a door. You have an association for how doors work. If you didnt have
this capability, every time you encountered a new door, you would have to figure out
exactly how to use it again. Instead, when you see a dooreven if its different from
other doors, but not too differentyou can easily operate it because it is associated
with all the doors youve used in the past.
This is largely an unconscious process. For the most part, no one consciously
realizes how one thing becomes anchored to another in their mind unless theyre
studying it like you are right now. However, we can consciously make anchors that we
can utilize to our benefit, both inside the gym and in other areas in our lives.
Here is a quote from Andrew Salter who wrote the book, What is Hypnosis? This is
an old book, but well worth getting for further understanding of hypnosis and anchors.
In it he states, Once the condition reflex is trained into the subject, he becomes a pure
automaton to the stimulus that has been woven into the reflex.
This means that once an anchor is firmly set, you cant turn it off. Once the dogs
heard the bell ring, it was like a switch was flipped to automatically trigger salivation, a
process which is not normally under conscious control.
By setting an anchorassociating that responsesalivation came under the
control of someone other than the dog. Now, it sounds pretty crazy that you could
104

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

actually control someone else, but there are ways of doing this. But what were
focusing on here is how to do it for yourself so that you can get better results in the gym
and the rest of your life.
What do anchors do? They bring about an internal state and a physiological
response because internal states and physical states are interrelated. By having an
anchor that triggers one thing, you can cascade into something else.

The Uses

of

Anchors

in

Athletics

When it comes to athletics, there are three main areas where anchoring becomes
very important. You can do a lot more with anchors including many therapeutic
applications, but that is not our goal.

Focusing
The first step is to focus. Everyone knows that if youre trying for a heavy lift, you
definitely need to focus on it. But you still should also focus even when youre doing
easy exercises. If youre focused in on what you are doing, you will typically get better
results. You dont want your mind to wander around aimlessly as youre doing any sort
of exercise. Concentration and focus will allow you to get more out of it.
Focus is an internal state for becoming hyper-targeted onto something internal
or external. By having an anchor, you can easily increase your focus. At a powerlifting
meet youll see some competitors who are bundles of nervous energy the entire time
and even after the meet is over. Then there are other competitors who are able to
relax, joke around, and even sleep before they lift. But when its their time to lift, they
transform. By consciously using anchors, you too can do this.

Peaking
Peaking is similar to focusing. First, you need focus in order to peak. But secondly,
peaking is more of a physiological process to summon up your bodys energies than
just focusing. You can liken it to setting the intention of your body, having that
strength when you need it, and getting your body to rally toward one goal. Again, an
anchor can do this.
105

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Psyching-up would be considered to be a form of peaking. It is used by many
strength athletes to generate a lot of emotional energy to direct at a lift. If you want to
get psyched up for your big lifts, anchors will be a big help. In fact, this is what many
heavy lifting athletes are doing, even if they havent heard of anchoring.

Relaxation
And the last idea is relaxation, which is basically the flip side of peaking. If youve
read any sports psychology books, they talk a lot about arousal levels. Depending on
what sport you play, you will need to have more tension on certain muscles and less
on others. You need to find the optimal zone for your sport and what works best for
you. Relaxation is equally important, if not more important, than tension when doing
any exercise or weightlifting. At times, relaxing the superfluous muscles can be very
helpful for achieving huge strength.
Relaxation is also important for endurance. You cant last a long time doing
anything if youre overly tense. And then there are the recovery applications of
relaxationyou cant recover if you are tensed up and wasting energy with your
muscles all day. Anchors can also be used to relax with hypnosis.
So, if you set anchors for these three major purposes youll do well. Of course there
are specific applications of each purpose that youll want to zero in on.
I dont want to say that anchors alone will make you stronger. Thats not really
what they are about. You dont get stronger just from setting an anchor, then firing it
off. What anchors actually is allow you to go from a state where youre may be at 80%
and just like that, you can become 100%. With anchors, you can move towards optimal
performance more easily than without them. Once again, many people may already be
using them unconsciously without realizing what theyre doing.
So, anchors dont exactly make you stronger right in the moment, but thats the
end result you get from using them. They dont increase your strength in some sort of
magical way, but they allow you to perform at your maximum more easily. Plus, with
repeated use over time, they will allow you to get stronger, overall.
There are also many other uses for anchors. If your goal is fat loss, you could take
a food that you couldnt stop eatingthat was sabotaging your goaland anchor it

106

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

with something you hated to eat. Your desire for that food would at least diminish if
not instantly go away. This specific idea will be covered later. Once your imagination
starts turning, youll realize you can use anchoring for just about everything.

Is Psyching Up

the

Best Thing

to

Do?

Anchors are used to bring about particular states. Everything that you do will
have an optimal state to help you to achieve it. Truthfully, there may be multiple ways
to accomplish something, and different states that can work. Of course, this will also
depend on each individual.
In An Athletes Guide to Mental Training by Robert M. Nideffer, psyching is
discussed. Although this psyching up seems to work for certain individuals in certain
situations, there are others for whom it has just the opposite effect. These athletes
seem to have their best performance when they are relatively laid back or relaxed.
Some athletes know that they need to psych down rather then psych up. What all this
suggests is that each athlete has an optimal zone of arousal, and considerable research
supports this observation.
Bud Jeffries talks about psyching up during a competition to the point that
everything in the world goes blank except for himself, the bar, and the sound of the
judges voice to indicate when he should lift.
In studying what works best for most athletes, they found that the optimal
arousal level tends to be higher for things that are not very technicallike the power
lifts. A lower arousal level is necessary for feats which are much more technical
like a gymnastics floor routine. If you got yourself psyched up to hold a freestanding
handstand, it would probably not work very well.
For the most part in my training, I like to take a laid back and relaxed approach. It
is much more applicable for most of what I do. But psyching in the right moment, with
the quick use of anchors, is very useful for doing things like a 1025 lb. rack pull.

107

M e n ta l M u s c l e
That being said, you must find what works for you. But with anchoring you can
instantly set and get to the right level you need for anything, once those anchors are
well established.

How Anchoring Works


Next, I will describe the basic way an established anchor works. When stimulated
by something external, an established anchor will send a signal to your brain.
Remember that the brain controls everything the body does. You can even control
autonomic functions with anchors. Theyre not under volitional control (your will),
but you can begin to control automatic functions by using an anchor. With an anchor,
signals to bring about a specific responds are sent out of your brain to the rest of your
body.
When youre using anchors consciously, you will want to cause a specific
response that you desire. What happens naturally in the world is that things can
become anchored to specific responses without your control. It happens all the time,
sometimes its good, but other times its bad. Without conscious realization, you cant
do anything about these accidental anchors.
For example, assume that you get into a heated argument with someone that you
really dont like, and you happen to in a room painted red. Lets say youve never been
in a red room before, but now you are having this heated debate in that room. Your
emotional statean internal state that can cause physiological responses like added
tensionat that time is one of anger. This emotional state may become anchored to
being in a red room. The next time you go into a red room, even though that person is
not present, and you may not even remember the experience, your associated response
to being in a red room might bring a rising temper, tense muscles, and anger. You may
not know why, but for some reason you wont like being there. This can all happen
because of an unconscious anchor.

108

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

Use

of the

Senses

for

and

Techniques

Anchoring

In order to effectively use anchors, its important to understand the modalities


discussed in the chapter on visualization.
Its important to identify what your primary sense is. Different people have
different primary senses and different levels of each one. Personally, Im a very
kinesthetic person. You can easily pick this up by noticing how much I gesture when
I speak. In fact, its hard for me to talk if I have to stay still. A lot of people who enjoy
exercise, and who enjoy doing physical training are kinesthetic. But it isnt true for all
of them, and it doesnt necessarily mean they are primarily kinesthetic.
Visual people see images really well when they look around, and when theyre
remembering things. They tend to form mental pictures and talk about pictures. As a
culture, the USA is very targeted toward visual people. About half of the population is
primarily visual.
Auditory people are those that hear well and listen carefully to sounds. People who
love listening to music are very auditory, and many become musicians. My auditory
capabilities are probably the worst of my primary senses. Its funny to look back and
realize that I really didnt listen to music as I grew up. I wasnt a big fan of any type
of music up until about age fourteen. I started listening to music then, and now I like
music that I can feel.
Visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities are the main three senses. With
kinesthetics its important to note that includes tactile touch, proprioception, and your
sense of balance, but it also includes emotions, feelings and everything along those
lines as well. Different people may be more in tune with some of those sensations over
the others.
For the most part, you wont be using taste and smell to set anchors. Its interesting
to know that a unique smell can instantly bring back memories because of an

109

M e n ta l M u s c l e
association that you have. The smelling centers of the brain are closely related to the
memory centers which is why this effect can be quite profound. Despite that we will
primarily focus on the three main senses as they are easier to utilize.
When you are setting and using anchors, it is best to identify and then use your
primary sense. For me, kinesthetic anchors are going to work the best. Your primary
sense will be the best starting point.
And while you will want to use your primary sense for anchors, if you can, it is
best to stack all of them. Do this by using an anchor that is simultaneously visual,
kinesthetic and auditory.

The Attributes

of

Anchors

These attributes make anchors work best:


1. Specific
2. Under Your Control
3. Short and Simple
4. Overt or Covert
5. Practiced
First, an anchors attributes need to be specific. When youre setting and using an
anchor, it has to be something unique. This is important because if you accidentally
fire the anchor too much during your daily life, it will lose the association that youre
trying to set with it, and will soon stop working. For example, clapping your hands
wont work because if youre at a show or similar event, you will be clapping in the
same way. If you try to set clapping as an anchor for being super powerful in the gym,
it wont work because you will confuse the associations you already have with it. An
anchor needs to be something specific that you only do at the exact time when you
want to have that specific response.

110

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

If the anchor is non-specific, then you wont get the result from it. If you still
wanted to use clapping, you could choose a unique clap that you normally dont do,
like clapping the back of your hands together. If you choose something like scratching
your nose, again it wont work because you may scratch your nose throughout the day.
Regular clapping and scratching your nose are examples of poorly chosen kinesthetic
anchors.
For auditory senses, you will want to use a specific phrase that you dont normally
say. If it is a phrase, it should also be related to what youre doing. For example, muscle
growth works as an anchor for what it means, because its not something you would
say all the time. Youll notice that if an anchor does come up in normal conversation
after its set, youll get the same feelings from it. Thats the sign of a properly
established anchor.
If you form a visual anchor, it should be the exact same mental picture each time,
with nothing changed.
The anchor should be something short and simple that you can easily do in less
than a second. You could do something thats really drawn out, but why bother? We
want to make it instant so that you can achieve it and easily use the anchor at any time.
If you just look at all the examples given, youll notice every one is short and simple.
The anchor must be something that is within your control. This is pretty selfexplanatory. If youre relying on someone else, then you cant elicit the desired state
when you want it. Like Pavlov and his dogs, the dogs were dependent on someone
ringing a bell for their anchor. Obviously, dogs wouldnt consciously set up anchors for
themselves because thats only something humans can do, but understand that their
anchor was set for them by someone else. While you can work on other people and set
anchors for them, were really focusing on ourselves in this book.
The next attribute is the option of an overt or covert anchor. You can go either
way. Because Im using them in my gym by myself, I dont really care what my anchors
look like. Many of my anchors are fairly overt kinesthetic anchors. On the flip side, if

111

M e n ta l M u s c l e
you are participating in any sport where you dont want your opponents to know what
youre doing, then its good to set covert anchors which dont look like youre doing
anything out of the ordinary. Choose something that looks like a spontaneous motion
or better yet, a visual or auditory phrase you can imagine inside your head. Covert
anchors wont show the outside worldor your competitorswhat youre doing.
Lastly, the anchor must be practiced. With the idea of single trial learning, an
anchor can be established between two different things after just going through the
process once, but it is dependent on several factors. The intensity of it is definitely
be a big factor, but in general I would recommend when youre practicing and setting
your anchors for the first time, then you will want to do it at least three to five times. Id
say the range of setting the anchor three to five times is a good bet for establishing an
anchor that you can begin to use.

Three Methods

for

Setting

an

Anchor

The three methods of setting anchors:


1. Natural Means
2. Manufactured Means
3. Visualization

Natural Means
Anchors are set naturally when youre not consciously trying to use an anchor.
This method will not be very important for what were trying to accomplish here. Just
understand that this process happens all the time, whether you like it or not, so you
might as well consciously use it to your benefit.

112

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

Lets talk about a few natural anchors like playing music. If you listen to music that
psyches you up, like rock, heavy metal or rap, this can act as a natural anchor. Notice
that you can hear just the first couple notes of a song you love and it will instantly put
you into an altered state compared to a few seconds before. If you use music, I advise
people to actually listen to the same recording over and over again from workout to
workout. The music will become strongly associated with your training time and can
serve to put you in the necessary state. Ive even gone so far as to loop a single song
over and over. This idea works well to keep you in a peak state, but it will really annoy
anyone else, so use it with care.
Any high level lifter will advise you to set up for a lift in the same way every single
time. Why? Its not just for technical reasons, the process of setting up can also act as
an anchor. It can help put you into the state necessary for completing the lift. In the
next part well talk about doing this purposefully.

Manufactured Means
The manufactured means of setting an anchor mimics the natural process except
youre doing it with intention behind it. When you are experiencing the state that
you want to have in the future, you trigger the anchor right then to bring about the
response in the future. Youre experiencing the desired state through a natural means,
but you are setting the anchor at that time on purpose.
This is actually a normal process people practice in the gym. Watch any power
lifter get under a heavy barbell before they do squats. They get under the bar in a
specific way, have a specific way to position themselves before grabbing the bar, and
stepping out of the rack before the lift. Every single point of this process is a habit that
they have built and all these points are anchors that help to bring about their focus and
peak state.
The anchors dont have to be very overt, but I think having those anchors, in
addition to all those habits and normal patterns to go through can give even better

113

M e n ta l M u s c l e
results. The intention behind these behaviors is powerful. In essence, you will stack
some of the normal anchors you already have along with even more powerful ones.
This was just one example of how to manufacture anchors.

Visualization
The last method is in some ways the easiest, because you dont have to wait to
use the visualization processes. The important thing to note with visualization is
that when anything is vividly imagined, your brain cannot determine the difference
between the image and what actually happens in reality. So you can use visualization
to easily set an anchor. The basic process is to access the state you want, and then set
the anchor.
But regardless of the way you set the anchor, you will want to practice it fairly
frequently. If you do it five times a day for thirty days straight, understand that this
anchor will be very well established. And not only will the anchor be well established
but you will have better control of it, and the ability to use it at anytime.
For example, lets say youve established a kinesthetic anchor. To make this anchor
even more instant, you can practice it by visualizing yourself firing that kinesthetic
anchor. Its going to bring about the same response and when you have better control
of your mental states, youll be able to flip to one state versus another instantly. But,
you will be able to control your states much better through the physical practice of
actually setting the anchors and bringing about that response.
I dont want you to jump straight ahead and try to change your mental states. It
takes some practice to be able to do it efficiently. Josh Waitzkin, world champion
chess player and Tai Chi Push Hands competitor, discusses in The Art of Learning,
the method of building up a long routine and then shortening it over time until you can
get its effects in an instant. In some cases you may need something longer than a quick
anchor, but by properly doing the steps as have been outlined, you can often get the
effects quickly.

114

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

The basic way to begin setting an anchor, regardless of the method, is to first bring
about the desired state. To do this properly, youll want to remember a time when you
experienced that state before, then go deep into it, getting all the sensory details to put
yourself fully back into it, then trigger your anchor.
When youre setting an anchor, you have to get into the state first and then trigger
the anchor. After you have the anchor established, the process reverses. You fire the
anchor which instantly brings about that state you wish to achieve.

Setting

an

Anchor

with

Visualization

These are the eight steps of the visualization process for setting an anchor:
1. Identify the desired state you want to achieve.
2. Identify the anchor you will use.
3. Visualize the specific times you will use the anchor from the third person.
4. Step into the image, making sure it feels right. If it doesnt, step out and alter it
until it does.
5. Trigger the anchor at the peak time.
6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 a few times. You can redo the same visualization or use
multiple similar ones. Change or break your state between reps.
7. Future pace by visualizing yourself using your anchor.
8. Put the anchor into actual practice.
The first step is to identify the state that you want to create. Do you want to be
focused? Do you want to bring about relaxation? Do you want to peak and have all your
energy summoned for the strength to complete one specific exercise? Identify what
state you want to have this step is important since you cant achieve something if you
dont know what it is.

115

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Although I have mentioned three primary states, you can go much deeper into
detail on them. In fact, a single state can be fairly complex, especially if meta-states are
involved, but that takes advanced training. For your first attempts I recommend that
you keep it simple.
Next, identify the anchor that youll use. I prefer kinesthetic ones, since theyre
tied to my strongest sense. One example of a kinesthetic anchor is tapping the third
eye three times. This anchor is actually mentioned in the strength training classic by
Brooks Kubik, Dinosaur Training. At the end of this book theres an example of using
this anchor for Olympic weightlifting. Remember to make your anchor specific, short
and simple.
The third step is to visualize specific instances of using the anchor from the third
person. The use of hypnosis, along with your visualization to set anchors, is optional.
You will see yourself going through the motions you want to do to bring about the state
with the anchor. Another option is to watch someone else, and model their behavior
and state.
Then, after you can picture in vivid detail, as it looks from the outside, you will
step into the image. At this point, everything should feel right if you have accessed the
right state. If you dont have it right yet, you will want to step back out. Make whatever
changes to the image that you need to do in order to make it right, then step back in to
the image. Repeat this process until you get the right state.
After you step into the imageassuming it feels right at this pointyou will have
entered into the state. Now, as you reach the fullest expression of that state, fire off
your anchor. If its physical, then do the motion. If the anchor is an image, see the
picture inside your minds eye. If your anchor is a phrase, say it out loud. Or, if the
anchor is a combination, do them all. Fire the anchor.
You should be heavily into the desired mental state at this point. But now we
want to step out of it. Change your state to something else by getting up and walking
aroundor just think about something completely different. The purpose of this step

116

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

is called a break state. Between each attempt you are not in the same state as before,
which gives you a fresh start each time.
You will repeat this visualization process three to five times to set the anchor.
You have two options: You can visualize the exact same thing each time or if there
are different instances when you will want to use this state, you may want to use a
different visualization each time you go through the process. Of course, you will use
the same primary state and anchor throughout, even if the context changes, to strongly
establish the anchor. It may be effective if you do it once correctly, but it will be more
effective if you do it multiple times.
Once youve completed several anchor settings in your minds eye, the next step
is to future pace. Now you will do a visualization process in reverse. This will be just
like the way you will use the anchor in real life. You will fire your anchor and feel the
change it brings.
Lets assume you are setting an anchor for a peak mental state before doing a
specific lift. Imagine yourself in the gym. It should be a different visualization than
the previous one you used, specifically you want to visualize yourself at some point in
the near future. Also, make sure to break state before this step. Next, you will step
into your image, then fire your anchor in your visualization. At this time, you should
automatically achieve the desired state youve previously chosen.
Did you notice the feeling of the mental state as it came on? How strong was it?
At this point, it would be fine to follow through and perform the exercise in your
visualization. But, if the anchor doesnt instantly bring the proper state, determine
what went wrong in the process, then go back and fix it.
The true test is to put your anchor into actual practice. Did you notice any
differences when you tried it just now? Several of my students have found that the first
time they went through this process, their anchors helped them to set new PRs on the
target lifts right away. Of course, using anchors for specific lifts is just one of many
possible uses.

117

M e n ta l M u s c l e

More Uses

of

Anchoring

Its important to talk about success and failure when using your anchors. Did you
successfully complete the lift or not after using an anchor? Lets use a squat as an
example. If you fire an anchor then fail at the squat, it could be a bad sign, but that will
depend on how long youve used the anchor, and how many times youve successfully
used it in the past. The anchor may still be good if it has had a long good run. But, if
you have just established this anchor and didnt make your lift on the first, second, or
third time youve put it into practice then youre building a new association with the
anchorfailure. Once again, if youve used this anchor for a long time, one failure will
not be powerful enough to become a new association. But if the anchor is new, then you
may want to just scrap it and start over by setting a new anchor for the exercise.
There are others ways you can destroy associations. But this is typically more
useful in therapeutic settings where people are working with established anchors that
they didnt necessarily set for themselves. If you anchor something more powerful
to something less powerful, you can blow out the weaker association, so that it is no
longer anchored. For more information, I highly recommend Triggers by Stanley
Mann. Triggers covers many applications of anchoring.
You could set a global workout anchor to help you get started with your workout.
It would be helpful to have an anchor for motivation and that focuses you on your goal
if youre not motivated to train. Depending on how motivated you are to start, it could
be fairly easy to set this type of anchor. Moving from a demotivated state to one that is
highly motivated may require some different steps as you chain anchors together. This
process is covered in the fat loss drills section of Mental Muscle.
You will also want to make sure your anchors are strong and getting stronger all
the time, not weaker. And if you actually want to destroy associations, use something
more powerful to blow out the old associations.

118

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g T a c t i c s

and

Techniques

A form of desensitizationbasically weakening the associations of an anchoris to


use heavy weights for partials. Understand that when youre trying to pick up a heavy
weight, it feels heavy to you. Heaviness is a submodality quality, and it can also be an
anchor for feelings of difficulty or impossibility. If you try to lift a specific weight and
fail many times, youre associating your failure with that exercisethis is not a good
thing, its how mental blocks are set up.
A natural way of breaking or weakening this unhelpful anchor is to do partials.
What you will be doing is both physical and mental. Youre physically training your
body by desensitizing it to the heavy weight. Now, what felt heavy when you were
trying to do the full range movement doesnt feel as heavy any more. If youve never
lifted more than 400 pounds before and youre trying to lift 400 pounds in a full range
movement, its going to feel heavy. But, if you do a partial of the same movement and
work up to 600, 700 pounds for the partial, even though its a shorter range of motion,
the extra weight will feel heavy. Then, when you go back to lifting 400 poundseven
through a full range movementit will not feel as physically heavy. You will have
changed the physical by getting your body used to heavier weights. You will also change
your mental processing of how a heavy weight feels. Now, 400 pounds will feel lighter.
When something feels light, it is easier.

119

M e n ta l M u s c l e

120

SECTION 3

PEAK PERFORMANCE
DRILLS FOR STRENGTH,
MUSCLE, FAT LOSS
AND PERFORMANCE

n Not Just Pumping Iron by Edward W.L. Smith PhD states, Lifting weights is
the Hatha Yoga of the West.
The purpose of this statement is to show that lifting weights (or any form of

physical training) can go far beyond something you only do for health. Yoga was first
and foremost a spiritual practice. Although many people dont look at lifting like that,
there are some people who do.
And even before you get to that level, lifting is a method of self-growth that goes far
beyond just hitting your goals. When looking at what this book can do for you, youll
notice youre learning many skills that can be applied to nearly any area of life. The
gym is a great place to start, because outcomes are often very specific, and its easy to
see the results of what you do along the way. Plus, mental drills can often be verified
with immediate increases in your current ability.

M e n ta l M u s c l e
By learning these skills youll gain greater self-awareness, which is very important.
And with these skills, you can transfer this self-awareness into any area of your life.
This transfer is increased even more when you realize its possibility. There are some
people who have great success in the gym, but nowhere else in their lives. But if you
realize that similar steps and capabilities are needed in any context, you can become a
success anywhere you desire.
The gym is a great laboratory for learning about setting an outcome, making a
plan to achieve it, finding the blocks that stand in your way, and figuring out your
way around them. This regularly happens for anyone training in the gym who has
experienced any level of success. With the skills, tools and drills from Mental Muscle,
you can accelerate the process. All that being said, the focus of this book is the gym.
This section has four main categories, one for each general goal that most people
who work out are after. You may be interested in one or several of the categories.
The categories are strength, fat loss, muscle gain, and the forth relates to skills and
technique. Although these categories are separated out in this book, there is overlap
between them.
Drills will be covered for each category, and with a few slight tweaks, these drills
can transfer into any other area. For that reason, I recommend that you read through
all of drills and think about how you could use each for your own goals.

122

Peak Performance Drills

Mental Training Drills


for Strength
One of the classic books in the field of mental training for athletes is Peak
Performance by Charles Garfield. Early in the book, the following study is referenced:
In my meetings with the Soviet researchers in Milan, they discussed government
funded athletic programs that integrated sophisticated mental training and rigorous
physical training. One study evaluating these intensive programs suggests their
potential. Four matched groups of world-class Soviet athletes diligently trained for
many hours each week. The training regimens were as follows:
Group I -

100 percent physical training

Group II -

75 percent physical training, 25 percent mental training

Group III - 50 percent physical training, 50 percent mental training


Group II -

25 percent physical training, 75 percent mental training

When the four groups were compared shortly before the 1980 Winter Games in Lake
Placid, Group IV had shown significantly greater improvement than Group III, with
Groups II and I following, in that order.
Unfortunately, no more details were given concerning this research. But Charles
Garfield also tells a more personal story about the effects of mental training. When he
met up with the Soviet researchers, his training was put to the testand it was very
likely the same methods the different athletes had used. The researchers learned that
Charles had previously competed in lifting and had an all-time best bench press of 365
lb. many years ago. They asked how long it would take him to train to reach this level
once again. He replied, nine to twelve months. Then they asked what he thought he
could lift as an absolute best right now. He said 300 lb., which he was able to lift, but
with great difficulty.

123

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Then the magic began. Using a variety of biofeedback instruments and tests they
worked him over. Afterwards, they guided him into a state of hypnosis. After a long
period, he was to visualize himself lifting 365 pounds in the bench press. This was a full
multi-sensory visualization.
Charles became apprehensive and was measured with the biofeedback sensors.
They guided him through more imagery to get him to relax. At one point, it all seemed
to finally click or flow together. He then proceeded to lift 365 pounds easier than the
previous lift of 300 pounds. He accomplished lifting a previous life-time best just
through the use of mental training.
Can we do this ourselves? I dont know about you, but I dont have a collection
of expensive biofeedback equipment. While such equipment has its uses, its not
within the reach of the average person. But, the good news is that you do not need it.
The biofeedback sensors merely measured something that Charles could already feel
within his body.
At first, when they told him he had to lift 365 lb. he was very apprehensive about it,
and the sensors picked this up. But anyone observing him could have noticed this just
as well. Im sure Charles could have told them how he felt if they didnt notice.
While he was guided through hypnosis and visualization, he said he got to a point
where it all seemed to click and flow together. Once again the sensors picked this up,
but Charles or the people around him also could have easily observed this state change.
Remember the importance of self-awareness as discussed in a previous chapter. At
that point he was able to successfully complete the lift.
So, were going to do the same thing, but without the biofeedback equipment. With
sufficient self-awareness, you can do it by yourself. Even so, it is better to have another
person guide you through the steps and ask the right questionsthis will allow you to
more easily access the right state.

124

Peak Performance Drills

Visualization

for

Strength

1. Select an exercise.
2. Test out your current level with the exercise. You dont have to max out, but
the test should be near your limits. Its also useful to pick a number between 1
and 10 to rate how difficult the exercise was for you. This number will give you
something subjective, but concrete for measuring your progress.
3. Select a heavier weight or harder version of the exercise. Pick something that
you are not sure you can do, but is within the realm of possibility.
4. Evaluate how you feel internally when you think about doing this new exercise.
What pictures or movies do you see? What do you say to yourself?
5. Get into a relaxed state and visualize yourself doing the exercise over and over
again in vivid detail. Make sure youre associated into the movie.
6. As you perform this process, evaluate how you feel, what you see, and what you
say to yourself. Is it the same as before? Is it different? How?
7. When you feel like your visualization has all come together (clicks and flows)
then come out of relaxation and do the exercise. What are your results?
Done correctly, you will always get better results with this process. Why? Because
strength depends on your current mental state. The key is being able to move from a
state where you are unsure of your ability to one where you are certain. If you can do
this, you will be stronger.
That being said, sometimes you can be sure of your abilities, but your body just isnt
ready for it. If the weight had been 400 lb., Charles Garfield probably would have still
failed to lift it even if he felt like he could do it. But being in the right state will allow you
to actually put forth your full effort. This is why I suggest making smaller jumps in your
ability at any one time. Many times you may end up doing more with less effort too!
The mind can make big jumps, and sometimes the body will be ready. But, other
times the mind may make the jump, but the body just cant followyet. Strength
training in any form takes time.

125

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Dont assume that this process could take you from a 185 lb. bench press to 405 lb.
overnight. But it could probably get you to lift 205 lb.

An Amplified Anchored
Altered State for Lifting
This story is told in the beginning of Not Just Pumping Iron:
In my first Olympic weightlifting contest, a state meet in 1959, I was impressed by
a lifter in the weight class above me. He was a good lifter, far stronger than one would
have guessed by looking at him. In fact, he seemed thin. He was Oriental and a student
at Iowa State University. Between his lifts he did something which was highly peculiar.
Other lifters paced about or sat and talked with each other. But he went off by himself
to an out of the way spot in the lifting hall and sat down with his legs crossed, and his
eyes closed, and sat quietly. Remember this was Iowa in 1959. In this contest this was
surely a peculiar behavior, and for an athlete in a macho sport at that. (We thought
of weightlifting as macho, even though that word had not yet entered mid-Western
vocabulary.) This was the first time I had witnessed Eastern meditation. Whether or not
he entered an altered state of consciousness or lifted while in an altered state, I cannot
say. What I do know is that I surmised that his remarkable lifting was somehow made
possible by this exotic practice which he performed between lifts.
I think that lifting in a competition requires an altered mental state. No one lifts
something heavy without changing their mental state from normal to something
altered. If you do lift in a normal state you will not be performing at your best. One of
the best ways to gain control of your mental state is through the use of anchors.
1. Get set up for an exercise as you normally would. Do everything you normally do,
but do not do the lift. Notice what natural anchors you already have present with your
breathing, positioning, approach, etc.

126

Peak Performance Drills


2. Notice the internal feelings in your body as you set up for the exercise. Are there
also any mental images or sounds associated with it?
3. Play around with the submodalities of these mental representations. Specifically
try to amplify them and notice how that increases the intensity of your state. If
anything lessens your state, return to the baseline and try something else.
4. Anchor this increased state to a symbol, word or specific gesture you can use in
the future. Now when preparing for this lift, be sure to include this anchor each time.

Hypnotic Commands

for

Strength

I found this drill in an unlikely old book and just had to share it. In The Psychology
of Power, Capt. James Hadfield used hypnosis for strength and measured it with a grip
dynometer. He tested a group of men under three different circumstances. The first test
was under normal waking conditions. Their combined average grip was 101 pounds.
When hypnotized and told that they were incredibly weak, their average grip
strength dropped to almost a quarter of their previous test average, with only 29
pounds of pressure. One man, a prize fighter, commented that during this test his arm
felt tiny, just like a babys.
In the third test they were once again hypnotized, but this time it was suggested
they were very, very strong. The result was an average grip strength of 142 pounds, a
40% increase in strength.
Those of you interested in closing the Ironmind grippers are probably already
getting excited. I especially like how the results also showed how hypnosis can be
used to decrease strength, as well as the positive aspect. In The Complete Guide to
Hypnosis, Leslie Lecron describes in detail how this can work for you.

127

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Sometimes an operator may be able, through hypnotic suggestion, to inhibit or
prevent muscular movements. It is easier to cause this in smaller groups of muscles
than in larger ones. It may be suggested that one arm is becoming heavy, so heavy that
the subject will be unable to move it. After repetitions of this idea he is invited to try, but
reminded that he cannot succeed in moving the arm. Visible efforts may then be seen, but
the arm cannot be lifted. A somewhat similar demonstration is for the operator to ask the
subject to extend his arm and make all its muscles tight. It is then suggested that he will
be unable to bend the arm, that the elbow and wrist joints are locked, and the arm cannot
be bent. The operator can then try to cause the arm to bend and can even exert great
pressure, but the arm will remain as rigid as an iron bar.

Another simple study was done by a physician at John Hopkins Medical School.
A two-pound weight was tied to the forefinger of a subject who was instructed to lift
it once per second to the beat of a metronome. The participants were able to continue
lifting for an average of four to five minutes. However, the same experiment was
done under the influence of hypnosis with suggestions of no fatigue. Under these
circumstances, the subjects would continue to lift the weight for several hours!

Hypnotized Curls
Having someone hypnotize you would be ideal, but thats not always possible.
Luckily, you can still achieve similar effects with self-hypnosis. Guide yourself into a
relaxed, hypnotized state. You can use some of the methods from the sample scripts
provided. Once there, try the following statements repeated over and over again until
the effect is strong enough. Then bring yourself to a more awakened state and try
lifting with the effects still in place. Notice how well it works.

128

Peak Performance Drills


Recently, when I tried this exercise I did 15 reps with a 45 lb. dumbbell in my right
hand in an all-out set of curls. After hypnosis, I did 19 reps with my left arm while
going all-out once again. My right arm is normally stronger, but hypnosis allowed me
to do about 27% more repsa fairly decent improvement, though certainly not ground
breaking.

Ive shared this simple drill with my LegendaryStrength.com email subscribers


and the following are just a few of the reports that have come back:
I tried this mental exercise no less than 19 minutes ago in my gym and actually
was so surprised with the results I upped my weight with the same phrase in mind and
achieved spectacular results. Not a huge fan of curls but for experimenting purposes I
was very surprised and happy to see how important mental training is. First time ever
doing anything like that. They definitely dont teach that in the Marine Corps. Ill have
to pass this along to my buddies. As always I have zero interest in complaints but full
interest in results.
Nico

Hey Logan, I just applied this mind principle to a one arm pushup. I pulled one off
for the first time in my life. Really interesting stuff!
Mike
I have seen four more reps on both arms
George
I have been trying the visualizing thing you suggested in your email about mental
training, including setting a time-dependent goal. Yesterday, I got into a frog stand and
held it for one minute, which was my goal. I had set a deadline of this week, which I was
dreading, but I got into the position effortlessly and held it easily. Ive been struggling
with this pose for years; I finally got the mechanics thanks to one of your emails but the

129

M e n ta l M u s c l e
long hold eluded me. Truth be told, I did nothing to change my physical routine; I just
spent a lot of time visualizing my goal with as much specific sensory ideation as I could
muster. Thanks again. Your newsletter has been a big help in advancing my training.
Geoffrey
I tried the hypnosis today with a CoC gripper. However I did both hands on my
second set, And got a few extra reps with both hands.
Hector
Did it with handstands. Still learning them but had a great session with progress.
This shit works!
Kevin
Did that last Saturday, my variation: kettlebell press. Normally, I do 12 of those on
left and 14 on right. I did the thing you advised (in my case I filled up my deltoid, not
biceps) and with the left arm I did 25 and could probably go a few more but was not sure
about overdoing something. ;-) Interesting: the effect is lasting in my body.
Maryuu
Just want to say thank you for all the gold nuggets of free information you give
out. Id been stuck at 10 pull-ups for almost a year and I always dismissed the mental
training as unnecessary. Well, tried it out and yes... it worked. I took 1 minute, visualized
myself doing 11 pull-ups, uttered that strength mantra and busted it out straight away.
Just want to say cheers bro! Much appreciated.
Nat

Heres the drill:


1. With dumbbells of any weight, test and see how many curls you can do. For this
first part, just use your stronger arm.
2. Get yourself in a relaxed hypnotic state.

130

Peak Performance Drills


3. Repeat this statement over and over until you feel it is true. My bicep is full
of blood and strength. It is able to easily exert strength over and over and over
again.
4. Come to a more awakened state with the post-hypnotic suggestion that will keep
your arm feeling that way, so that you know youll do many more reps.
5. Test it out and see how many reps you can do.
This same process can be done with any exercise. For whatever reason, this drill
seems to work better with smaller, isolated muscles, but do try it with big compound
movements as well.

Instant Exercise Enhancer


The name for this exercise came about when I was teaching at the Wizards
of Strength Workshop. I found that not only could I visualize and instantly gain
strength, but simply changing how I encode my visualization could change my bodys
capabilities.
Youll find two examples of process in the transcript section at the end of the
book. The example outlined here is a simpler version that only manipulates the visual
component, which is usually enough to result in instant performance increases.
1. Do an exercise. Dont go all out but just do a few reps. Rate the difficulty on a
scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the hardest thing youve ever done and 0 being nothing).
2. Step back and visualize yourself doing the exercise. Forget the content of the
image, but instead notice its location, size, brightness and whether you are in the
image or watching yourself within it.

131

M e n ta l M u s c l e
3. Use a lighter weight, or an easier version of the exercise.
4. Step back and mentally watch yourself doing this exercise. Notice the location,
size, brightness, and whether you are in the image or watching yourself within it.
Notice the differences between the first and second exercises.
5. Imagine your first exercise again. Change the location, size, brightness and
position to match up with the submodalities of the easier exercises image.
6. Do the first exercise once again. Rate the new difficulty on a scale of 0 to 10. Of
course, also pay attention to how many reps of the exercise you can now do.
This is an extremely easy to use drill you can use with any exercise you do.
Visualize yourself doing the exercise before hand, and if you dont naturally do it in
all of your best submodalities, instantly shift them around and then do the exercise.
Soon the effects will become generalized, meaning that youll always be performing at
a higher level. And with self-awareness, you can notice if your mental pictures move
too low, or are smaller than you want them to be.

132

Peak Performance Drills

Mental Training Drills


for Fat Loss
In The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferris gives many effective methods for losing weight,
ranging from the slow carb diet, to the use of cold water and more. But one sidebar tells
an interesting story about Phil Libin and how awareness alone can be used for fat loss.
Phil lost 28 pounds over 181 days by purposefully not changing his diet or exercise
at all. All he did was to track his weight daily, with intention to bring it down. He plotted
a target weight as well as a minimum and maximum weight goal over time. He even
binged on doughnuts a few times when his weight had dropped below what he deemed
to be his minimum appropriate weight at that time.
Now, most people wouldnt think that 28 pounds over half a year is all that
amazingand by itself its not. But when you look at how the weight loss was achieved,
something becomes clear, the power of intention. Phil phrased it differently but said,
I wanted to see what effect being precisely aware of my weight would have on my
weight. The intention part comes in when he chose as his goal weight of 230 pounds,
and watched his results as he moved towards it.
Unfortunately, this process wont work for many people. And its not because of the
small discipline required to set the goal and then track results every single day.
Instead, many people would mismatch themselves in these efforts. If you had
beliefs that stood in the way of attaining a goal similar to this, or you set the bar too
high, then the opposite effect could happen to you. You would weigh yourself and
after a few days your weight would start to increase. Than, you would start to worry
and think about how its not working and that youre getting fatter. All your emotional
energy would goes towards that and actually make it happen! Of course, you would then
abandon this experiment because its not working.

133

M e n ta l M u s c l e
But with the techniques well be covering later, you may uncover any subconscious
blocks that would stand in your way. Also remember that Phils weight loss was
accomplished with intention alone, with no exercise or change in diet. How effective
would it be if you combined all of these at once?
In The Genie in Your Genes, Dawson Church quotes a 2007 Harvard study that
examined beliefs in performing work and how it relates to fat loss.
The researchers recruited eighty-four maids who cleaned rooms in hotels. The
sample was divided into two groups. One group heard a brief presentation explaining
that their work qualifies as good exercise. The other group did not. Over the next thirty
days, the changes in the bodies of the women who had heard the presentation were
significant. The exercise-informed women perceived themselves to be getting markedly
more exercise than they had indicated before the presentation. Members of the group
lost an average of two pounds, lowered their blood pressure by almost ten percent, and
displayed drops in body-fat percentage, body mass index, and waist-to-hip ratio. This
marked physiological change occurred in just thirty days, and followed one brief session
in which the researchers exposed the women to new beliefs about their level of physical
activity.
Here you can see just how impactful a single belief can be for achieving weight
loss goals. This belief likely resulted in some slight changes in behavior, perhaps like
working at a faster pace to burn more calories. In some ways this is very similar to Phil
Libins example. He believed (and this may have been conscious or not) that awareness
alone would lead to losing weight.

Psycho-Eating
A very in-depth book, Games Slim & Fit People Play by L. Michael Hall, discusses
the difficulties people especially have around food:

134

Peak Performance Drills


We should eat primarily for fuel and energy and not for comfort, fulfillment,
reward, love, nurturing, validation, status, emotional stress, etc. Thats eating for
psychological reasons. It is psycho-eating. If we eat to deal with loneliness, boredom,
anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, or any other of a hundred emotional states - then
we are eating for the wrong reasonswe can link up all kinds of psychological states to
the experience of eating. Its so easy to attach massive pleasure to eating.
Think back to when you were a child. Did your parents ever reward you with junk
food? Perhaps they took you out for ice cream because you got an A on a test, or they
had a pizza party for the whole team when you won a game. On the flip side, maybe
they rewarded you with candy after they missed something important to you. Although
it was unintentional, what they didand the people who werent treated like this are
very rareis condition you towards bad food. Often, this conditioning is very strong
because it was reinforced over and over again in very emotional (positive and negative)
circumstances. Repetition and intensity are great factors in establishing powerful
anchors.
But its not entirely our parents fault, they probably received the same treatment
as children. And if you have children, theres a good chance youre doing the same
thing. After we learned from our parents, we became fully capable of perpetuating
these programs ourselves.
Games Slim & Fit People Play is a fascinating book. But beware, it is not an easy
read. If people understood and applied the ideas in the book, even those who could
never get results on a weight loss plan before, would get results. This is because the
book considers the mental framesthe games that we play in our mindswhen it
comes to food. If you can change these games, beliefs, and values, then eating and
exercising to lose weight actually becomes easy.
The following are two helpful drills.

135

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Sensory Enhancement

of

Foods

Although food should primarily be fuel, that doesnt mean it cant come with
enjoyment. This enjoyment can also be blown all out of proportion. The truth is, many
people dont even really take the time to taste the food theyre eating. Processed foods
are created to have extreme tastes while natural foods are often much more subtle.
Problems arise when people become accustomed to processed foods and lose the
ability to enjoy foods with natural, un-enhanced flavors.
But flavor can also be effected by how much attention you pay to the food. This
drill will work for any food you choose to eat (as well as any drink). Earlier, we covered
drills to enhance your senses of sight, hearing and feeling. This drill can enhance your
senses of smell and taste, while also having a side benefit of helping with weight loss.
Before eating, smell the food and notice its aroma. Then take a small bite of it.
Notice its flavor. Notice if it has several different flavors and how these may change on
different parts of the tongue. Notice the texture of the food and how it changes as you
chew it slowly.
Continue this process. Youll probably discover that you will become satisfied
with a food more quickly than if you were to mindlessly shovel the food into your
mouth, barely chew it, while only noticing a feeling of fullness.
When eating a natural food that is good for you, pay particular attention to all the
aspects of it that you like and enjoy. What are the flavors? What changes occur in the
flavor on different parts of your tongue? What flavors are similar to other foods that
you really enjoy? What is the texture like, and how does it change as you chew the food?
This can also be done with foods that arent good for you. By doing this drill, you
may find that some tastes are overly-aggressive and that you dont really enjoy them
much at all. Pay particular attention to what you dont like about the food. What are the
flavors that you dont enjoy? It what ways are they over-powering? Can you identify

136

Peak Performance Drills


the chemical or fake tastes? Is something in the food that shouldnt be there, or that
doesnt quite taste right?
Or if you still enjoy the food, you can now get away with just a couple bites to fully
experience the taste. Now you might just eat a couple spoonfuls of ice cream instead of
the full carton.
Dr. Daniel Amen in Change Your Brain, Change Your Life describes how a
psychologist used hypnosis in this manner.
When I was an intern at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington
D.C., one of my favorite teachers was the noted psychologist Harold Wain. He was
the president of the American Council for Clinical Hypnosis and the chief of our
Consultation-Liaison Service, the group of psychologists and psychiatrists who helped
patients on medical wards who had psychiatric issues. Harold was a wonderful teacher.
When he would use hypnosis for weight loss, he would help patients take their time to
savor their food and drink. To patients in a trance he could describe drinking a cup of
coffee in such a seductive way that it made them think drinking was as pleasurable as
sex. He pointed out that people typically inhale their food and take little time to actually
enjoy it. By using a simple, descriptive hypnotic technique, he could get people to slow
down, feel full faster, and really start to enjoy the energy they put into their bodies.
Although certainly helpful, hypnosis isnt required. If you just become conscious in
this way while eating, youll find the experience will transform. What would happen if
you did this for every single meal? Establish conscious eating as a habit, and how you
eat will completely transform.

137

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Changing How Much You Enjoy

Food

This next method can completely change your desire for a food. You can take
something you dont like and turn it into something you do like. You can also take
something you love and get rid of your desire for it.
1. Select a specific food you do not like. It can be even something that you hate or
that disgusts you.
2. Notice all the details of how you think about this food. How do you see it?
Notice the location, brightness, color, size, etc. of your mental image. Do you say
something to yourself something when you think about the food? How do you
feel inside your body? Perhaps you can smell or taste it too.
3. Select a very specific food you really enjoy eating.
4. Notice all details of how you think about that food. How do you see it? Notice the
location, brightness, color, size, etc. of your mental image. Do you say anything
to yourself when you think about the food? How do you feel inside your body?
Perhaps you can smell or taste it too.
5. Pay particular attention to any differences between steps 2 and 4. You may even
want to write down these differences.
6. Now you will map the submodalities from one food to the other. If you want to
increase your desire for the hated food, transfer the image and feelings from step
2 to those found in step 4. If you want to lose your desire for a food, transfer the
image and feelings from step 4 to 2.
7. After you have made the shift, notice how you think about the foods now and
what sort of tastes and feelings they would give you if you were to eat one of
them.

138

Peak Performance Drills


It is very important to use specifics with this exercise. You cant just choose
cookies, but must think of a specific type of cookie. The effect can be generalized
if you run it on several different cookies, but this will depend on the person. You will
find that there is a certain submodality that drives the other ones. When you change
the driving submodality, everything else changes. This is the difference that makes the
difference.
This drill works for many people, but not everyone. Just recently, I tried this drill
with my brother. For whatever reason he didnt enjoy cucumbers and was in fact
disgusted by them. Doing a simple shift in submodalities wasnt sufficient, so I had
to dig deeper. There was something about the white color and moisture involved, so
those qualities were shifted. A few days later he tried a cucumber by itself. He didnt
like it, but he didnt hate it either. Then he ate some in a salad, and in that case he really
enjoyed the flavor.
Also note that if you still have mental frames like ice cream = love then
this technique may not be sufficiently powerful enough without some other
transformations. Some of these transformations are in the next drill.

Empowering

and

Limiting Beliefs

The two previous drills can be very useful, but there is a problem with them.
They work mostly on a behavior level, but if a limiting belief stands in your way, you
probably wont get results.
The amount of potentially negative or limiting beliefs in this area is huge. Realize
that most beliefs arent even thought of as being beliefs, and are seldom apparent. The
belief changing processes are very powerful, but it can take a skilled operator to notice
the beliefs in the first place before alter them.

139

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Here are some examples of limiting beliefs:
If I smell cakes and cookies my hips get bigger.
I have to have something sweet after eating something salty.
If Im not fat my friends/family wont love me.
I work hard so I deserve to have my daily treats.
Its no use, my whole family is fat. Its genetic.
If I lose weight, Im just going to gain it all back and then some.
Its the holidays, I should enjoy myself.
Eating right means depriving myself.
I hate vegetables.
I just cant resist having X.
I eat to give myself a sense of comfort.
Food makes me feel safe.
Some of these beliefs are things people will actually say, but many are not. Hidden
beliefs that drive what people do can sometimes only be found with a little digging.
Perhaps while reading through this list, one or more statements rang true for you. If so,
thats great because it will give us something to work with.
Lets switch to the flip side. Beliefs are not just negative but can be truly
empowering. How would you like to have some of these beliefs instead?
I can eat anything I want and my weight stays the same.
I love to eat healthy food.
The food goes right through me. My body only takes as much as it needs and gets
rid of the rest.
I can comfortably be hungry.
I value having lots of energy and health.
I eat for fuel.

140

Peak Performance Drills


Do you know why some people yo-yolosing weight only to gain it backwith
their diets so often? Its because theyre only changing behaviors, and many times
the only thing that gets them through a diet is a period of willpower. Unfortunately,
willpower is limited even for the best of us. Willpower takes tremendous effort and
always runs out in the end. But if you change your beliefs and how your mind works,
weight loss can become almost effortless. No willpower is required.
The truth is, people who change their weight for good have changed their beliefs
and behaviors on a permanent basis. It may not have just involved drills such as these.
But using these drills can quicken the process, and dramatically increase your chances
of getting real and lasting results.

Belief Chain Transformation


This drill requires you to use four locations that are side by side.
1. Stand in the first location and state your limiting belief. When you think of
this belief, notice feelings, your physiology, and any other words you hear and
pictures you see. What mental state is caused by this belief? You may also
have specific memories of how this belief became something you hold as true.
[Example: I have to have a big dessert every single night.]
2. Step out of this location and break state.
3. Move over to the fourth location where youll state your empowering belief.
If you already know what that belief is, go ahead and say it. Notice the state it
creates in your body and mind. Once again focus on the feelings, visuals and
sounds associated with it. Since you dont believe it yet, youll be trying it on or
acting as if it is true. If youre not sure what empowering belief youd like to have
at the end of this process, that is alright, too. Instead just hold a space of being
wise, confident and open.
141

M e n ta l M u s c l e
4. Step out once again and break state.
5. Step into the limiting belief once more and relive that experience. Then take
a step towards the end desired state into your second location. What is the
positive intention of this limiting belief you currently hold? Everything we do
is for a positive purpose, so explore the positive benefit of this limiting belief.
Notice how recognizing this positive aspect feels. [If the limiting belief is about
dessert, the positive attention may be a thought such as, I like to reward myself
at the end of each day.]
6. Step into the third location. Now restate your limiting belief, but in a way that
redefines it in light of the positive intention. Keep trying different words until
you find something that fits. Notice the state that it puts you in. [For example, I
reward myself with dessert every day because I feel like Ive done a good job.]
7. Once again, step into the final state of the empowering belief and experience
it. Form an empowering belief statement that holds onto everything youve
learned but will lead to a more positive result. [For example, I reward myself at
the end of each day for a job well done by cooking a very delicious and healthy
meal. Note that this statement must be appropriate for you. This example could
work if you enjoy cooking and are open to exploring new possibilities instead of
dessert.]
8. Walk through the chain a few times experiencing each location and each belief
and state associated with it. Notice if any new information comes up that may
lead to additional changes. Primarily, focus on what it feels like to move from
one space to another.
As was previously mentioned, working to change a belief can be trickier than some
of the other drills. It is helpful to have someone coach you through this process rather
than do it by yourself.

142

Peak Performance Drills


Youll notice that if you just talked to someone who had this starting belief and
told them to reward themselves with good food instead of dessert, the chance of that
occurring would be slim to none. Moving from one position to another, and coming up
with the new belief, is what makes this process so powerful. Going through the fourstep process several times anchors in the new belief. This internal change becomes
something held within the body and the belief will be true for the person.

Swish Pattern

for a

New Body

The swish pattern is a powerful way to anchor somethinglike being unable to


resist a certain foodthat has previously stopped you from reaching your desired goal.
1. Think of the food that stops you. Notice all the qualities of the image or movie.
2. Create a mental picture of how youd like to be. It could be of you fitting into
certain clothes or looking at yourself naked in the mirror. Make sure it is
something that excites and motivates you. This is important.
3. Play with the submodalities of each image. Find out how you can reduce the
intensity or charge that the food (or other item) has which stops you. Now,
mentally enhance the intensity of the picture of yourself from step two.
4. Start with the limiting image as a large picture, but reduce it down and make the
empowering picture fly up and take its place. You can also imagine the limiting
image on glass or a mirror that falls to the floor and shatters. It is helpful to not
just visualize, but to also add sound effects and a change in physiology as well.
Repeat this process 10-20 times, practicing it faster and faster each time. What
youre doing is anchoring one image to the other.
5. Test how well it worked by thinking of the limiting image and trying to hold onto
it. If done properly, anytime you try to imagine that limiting image, you should
instantly think of your desired body and how much you want it instead.

143

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Motivation

to

Workout

This drill is similar to the belief change process, but is performed in a slightly
different way. Many people battle with motivating themselves to workout. Their
beliefs are at the root of this struggle. So, you can go back and work to change your
beliefs. For example, this is my empowering belief that you can steal if youd like: I
love to train and have so much fun doing it and being able to hit my goals.
With that belief, I dont need motivation to workout. It is always there and will be
unless I lose sight of my goals. But if you dont value training the way I do, this belief
might be quite a leap. So well focus on a different method that can take you from a lack
of motivation to motivation.
The secret is in the intermediary states. Going straight from no motivation to
motivation is often too big of a jump, but it is much easier if you move from one
overlapping state to another.
As an example, we will use four stateslack of motivation (which we could call
laziness), apathy, curiosity and motivation. Each of these states will be located side by side.
1. Step into laziness, which is how you should currently feel. How is it that you feel
lazy right now? What do you see, hear and feel? What is your body posture?
2. Step into apathy or indifference. Think of a time in the past when you didnt care
about something, when one outcome or another didnt concern you. What was
that feeling like? You will find some similarities with laziness, but there will also
be differences. What do you see, hear and feel? What is your body posture?
3. Step into curiosity. Think of a time when you may not have cared much before,
but then your curiosity was sparked and you became interested. This feeling
doesnt even have to do with health or fitness. You will find some similarities
with apathy, but there will be more differences. What do you see, hear and feel?
What is your body posture?

144

Peak Performance Drills


4. Step into motivation. Think of a time when you were highly motivated to do
something, perhaps because you were very curious about what would happen.
You will find some similarities with curiosity, but there will be differences that
are important. What do you see, hear and feel? What is your body posture?
5. Step out and shake it off. Now go through the whole chain from the beginning
and get into each state along the way. You can think of your reference
experiences, but particularly bring up the physiological aspects, as they are key.
6. Step out and shake it off. Now you will go through it once again, but this
time think about working out as you access laziness, apathy, curiosity, and
motivation. Notice what happens. Run through it once again.
7. If youve followed the steps properly and have completed the process, you should
be highly motivated to train. Go ahead and do it!

Using Hypnosis

for

Weight Loss

Hypnosis is a powerful tool that can be helpfulused along with diet and
exercisefor fat loss. One scientific review looked at a series of weight loss studies
involving the use of hypnosis. The average weight loss was 6 pounds without hypnosis
and 11.83 pounds with hypnosisalmost twice the result. It was also found that the
weight loss continued over time to 14.88 pounds in the hypnosis group while the
control group stayed the same. This shows that the effects of hypnosis continued to
affect the experimental group.
Once again, this result has to do with changing beliefs and even identity on a
subconscious level. Since beliefs and identity direct your life, it makes sense that this
was the case in the experiment.

145

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Hypnosis can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Use it to work on what youd
like to believe, just make sure that your current beliefs and their positive intentions
into consideration. Also be sure to visualize the goal you wish to achieve, including
all of the sensory feedback that occurs. What will your clothes feel like? What will
you look like naked in the mirror? What will the scale say? If you get your body fat
measured, what measurement will you get? What will your friends, family and
coworkers say to you about it? How will you reply? (Hopefully youll recommend this
book!)
Just how far can you go with hypnosis? You might be surprised. Leslie Lecron said,
The subconscious can be told to regulate absorption so you take in less energy from
the food that you eat. You are made to absorb only as much as is needed to maintain
a weight of twenty-five pounds less than your actual weight. It is not scientifically
certain if the subconscious can control the rate of food absorption in this way, but it
is a possibility, since control of other body processes by the subconscious can be
demonstrated.
And now I want to share with you a dramatic story from The Self-Hypnosis
Diet. A woman named Margie had battled with her weight for many years. One day
she was watching a talk show discussing the benefits of gastric bypass surgery. She
paid particular attention to one comment, The food went right through me and was
unabsorbed. Margie thought about that comment and every night while lying in bed,
she told herself that she had had gastric bypass surgery and food passed right through
her. She also visualized what she wanted to look like.
What happened? She had to use the bathroom right after eating each meal. In fact
she had diarrhea to the point that she went to the doctor. What did she tell them? The
food goes right through me. Its as if Ive had gastric bypass surgery.
In a month, she lost 18 pounds and her energy and health improved. Heres the cool
part, she actually began to eat smaller portions and snack less. When she reached her
target weight she stopped having the food going right through her effects.

146

Peak Performance Drills


Instead of getting surgery, what if you can just encourage your body to act as if you
had the surgery? There were obviously some negative symptoms with her experience,
but this could have been done in a more ecological way. Although this woman didnt
really use hypnosis, she did use a natural hypnotic programming method of thinking
and visualizing as she was drifting off to sleep. This is another way to access the same
brainwave patterns used in hypnosis to program your subconscious mind.
You may not want an imaginary gastric bypass surgery (though I would say that is much
better than a real one), but what could you believe that would help you hit your goals?

147

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Mental Training Drills


for Muscle Building
Gaining muscle is similar to fat loss in many ways. These goals commonly go
together with the term body transformation. For this reason, the previous drills can
easily be adapted to suit the goal of adding more muscle to your frame.
For instance, many people believe they are hard gainers. While it can be
physiologically true that some people can gain muscle mass easier than other people,
holding this belief as true for you will only make reaching the goal more difficult.
Just because something is true doesnt mean you have to believe it! You dont have to
choose beliefs according to their truthiness (to borrow a term from Steven Colbert).
Instead, choose beliefs based on their usefulness to you. In many cases, the truth is
subjective anyway.
The truth is, many people who complain they cant put on muscle just arent eating
enough and/or are not training correctly to achieve that goal. Run through the Belief
Chain Transformation process on that belief or any other belief that may be holding
you back.
Although I havent focused much on gaining weight in the past, there have been a
couple of times I wanted to achieve it. I am the proverbial hard-gainer. When I entered
high school I weighed less than 100 lb. Just focusing on strength alone, I got up to
regularly weighing 180-185 lb.
After setting a well-formed outcome, I was able to put on about 15 lb. in about
6 weeks, breaking the 200 lb. mark for the first time in my life. I barely changed my
strength training other than adding a little bit more volume, but I did eat a whole lot
more. And I used some of the techniques youll find in this chapter.

148

Peak Performance Drills


In addition, the strength training mental drills will allow you to push your body
further in the gym, which will allow your muscles to grow more. Everything already
shared about the minds ability to influence physiological processes applies in this area
as well.
Here is another story with some amazing results which were even tested by doctors:
A woman had leukemia and colon cancer. With leukemia, the white blood cells
never quite mature and they keep on multiplying which causes many problems.
Unfortunately, the treatment for her colon cancer made the leukemia worse and vice
versa. Robert Dilts worked with her on her beliefs and how to visualize the white blood
cellswhich as weve already seen, respond well to visualization.
She went to a hospital to get blood work done. A normal white blood cell count is
6,000-10,000 per unit volume. Her first test showed 5300. She told them to do it again,
as she thought she was under a lot of stress from a recent trip. She did her visualization
before they tested her a second time, and this time it came back at 12,000. The doctors
thought a mistake had been made and tested her a third time, after she stopped her
visualization. Again the results came back at 5300. The doctors believed the second
test had been in error, but she encouraged them to do it again. While visualizing, she
was tested a fourth time and the results came back at 12,000 again. They repeated the
test again. The doctors believed the placebo effect was in place, but she knew she was
effecting the change in her body with her mind.
Later, she delayed her surgery to give herself more time for these effects to make
significant changes in her body. At her last checkup before the surgery was scheduled,
the colon cancer was gone. Many years later she is not only healthy, but through a
battery of tests they couldnt find any traces of the colon cancer or leukemia. In fact,
they couldnt find any indications that she ever had them.
If you can control your health and blood cells with beliefs and visualization, doesnt
it make sense that you could do the same to mentally pack on some muscle? In fact,
you may even be able to do this without training at all! I wouldnt recommend that
approach, but it could be done.

149

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Around the turn of the 20th century, Professor Elmer Gates of the Laboratory of
Psychology and Psychurgy in Washington D.C. did some very interesting experiments
in this regard.
By directing his thoughts to his arms every day for a period of time, over the
course of many days, he increased the size and strength of his arms. He taught this
same method to others and they had favorable results as well.
In fact, this is something many of the oldtime strongmen talk about. You cant just
exercise mechanically, but you must put your thoughts behind it. Sandow said this was
essential. Considering the fact that Sandow taught muscle control and the use of light
dumbbells, it surely wasnt just the resistance that provided growth and strength.
Professor Gates said, The mind of the human organism can, by an effort of will,
properly directed, produce measurable changes of the chemistry of the secretions
and excretions. If mind activities create chemical and anatomical changes in the cells
and tissues of the animal body, it follows that all physiological processes of health or
disease, are psychological processes, and that the only way to inhibit, accelerate, or
change these processes, is to resort to methods, properly altering the psychological or
mental processes.

Hypnotic Muscle Gain


In Self Hypnotism, Leslie Lecron talks about teaching women to enlarge their
breasts through hypnosis.
Breast development by hypnotic suggestion has been reported in many instances,
and of seven cases among my own patients, six found an increase in measurement
from one and a half to more than two inches. To say that these girls were pleased is
putting it mildly. This was carried out by the use of straight verbal suggestion, plus
the use of visual imagery. The girls were instructed to close their eyes after going to

150

Peak Performance Drills


bed at night and to form an image of themselves as they wished their breasts to be.
Another suggestion was also used. Before reaching puberty a girl has no breasts. At
puberty they begin to develop, but sometimes the process stops before the breasts
reach a satisfactory size. This was stated as an obvious fact and it was suggested that
the subconscious mind would now stimulate the same process of growth again, just
as it had at the time puberty was beginning. Growth would continue until the breasts
had increased at least an inch and a half. It was mentioned that various endocrinal,
hormonal, and other physiological processes were involved when the breasts first
began to develop and the same processes would begin again. Whether or not this
actually resulted, I cannot say. Judging from the growth that did occur, it may have
happened.
If breasts can be made bigger with hypnosis, then muscleswhich can easily and
regularly grow all throughout life from working outare easy!
Here are a number of ideas you can focus on under hypnosis for this purpose:
1. Affirmations such as My muscles are growing bigger and bigger every day. This
can also be used to target specific muscles.
2. Visualization. Imagine your body how you desire it to be. See it as you would
from your own eyes. See it as if looking in a mirror. Also feel what it would be
like to be more massive. Notice how your clothes fit you. You can even hear
comments from other people, Whoa, you got bigger!
3. Remember back to a time when you gained a lot of muscle, either from training
or just puberty itself. Re-enter that mental state and relive it.
4. Visualize blood, along with the nutrition it carries, going into your muscles,
clearing out the waste, and repairing them as bigger and stronger than before.
Visualize your hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone being
secreted and adding muscle to your frame.

151

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Pre-Eating Visualization
This drill is similar to the last step above, but I wanted to take additional time to
focus on it. In some ways, it is also similar to the Sensory Enhancement of Foods drill,
but instead of focusing on the foods themselves, youll be focusing on what the foods
will do for you.
If you are properly strength training, then adding muscle is a matter of eating food,
then having your body absorb and use it for that purpose. Unfortunately, just because
you can put food down your throat doesnt mean your body will use all of it. Plus,
digestion itself can be a very energy intensive process, meaning you will burn more
calories just by eating more food.
But by using our minds, we may be able to enhance this process. Even if it only
helps just a little bit more (5-10%) wouldnt that alone be worth it? And what if it helps
even more than that?
Before eating any food, run through a visualization of what that food will do for you.
If you know a lot about digestive processes, and what specific nutrients do for your
body you can use that knowledge. But, its not necessary, even metaphorical imagery
would work with this drill. Simply focus on your body properly digesting the food, the
blood bringing the amino acids and other nutrition to the muscles cells, and the cells
rebuilding themselves bigger and stronger. Finally, focus on how you want your body
to look.
This drill could also be done after eating, but I find it best to set the intention with
the food, before it enters your body.
If you run through this process every single time before you eat, (it wont take very
long to do once youre proficient with the drill) it will become a powerful anchor that
will align your physiological processes with your goal of building muscle.

152

Peak Performance Drills

Massive Eating Anchors


As I already stated, the key component to gaining weight is to eat a lot of food. When
you have the proper training stimulus, the body will take that food and use it mostly for
building muscle. You can overeat, and some fat will also be gained, but for people like
competing strongmen and powerlifters, that fat can be useful as extra leverage.
If you are content to add muscle mass slowly, then training right, eating a decent
amount of food, and focusing on visualization will get you there.
But if youre looking to add over 10 pounds per monthor much more than that
youre going to have to EAT! It can be difficult to force yourself to continue eating when
you really dont want to eat any more. But we can use an anchor to make it easier to do.
1. Think back to a time when you said, Im starving or something along those
lines. Think of when you were really hungry, your stomach was making noises
and felt empty. Elicit all the details of this experience and get back into that state.
An alternative is to simply wait until you feel this hungry once again.
2. Select a kinesthetic, auditory and/or visual anchor to use. (You might want to
include the desire for your goal in a visual anchor by picturing yourself standing
on the scale at your goal weight, or seeing your body the way you want it to be.)
3. Repeat the process at least two more times to stack the anchor. Use different
reference experiences of being hungry. (Heres one that will work well for most
Americans: Thanksgiving dinner.)
4. Break your state by getting up and walking around.
5. 
Test your anchor by firing it. Do you feel hungry? If so great! Mission
accomplished! Go and eat right now.
You can fire this anchor any time before you eat and youre likely to eat more. You
can even fire it after youve eaten to make your body want more food.
I would recommend combining this with the pre-eating visualization drill. Add
this to calorically dense foods and you might be surprised at just how fast you grow.

153

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Mental Training Drills


for Gaining Skills
In this section, we will turn towards sports applications, similar to most
conventional athletic mental training guides. A sport is a combination of skills, both
mental and physical. The best athletes in the world are simply far more skilled than the
average person.
And this concept equally applies to many exercise applications. Most of the
training I do is more skill-based than strength-based. Although training requires some
amount of each, activities like hand balancing, acrobatics, and kettlebell juggling have
a very large skill component. But all exercises including basics like squats and the
bench press, require some level of skill.
When youre wanting to build skills, it is useful to know about some of the recent
research regarding myelin.
A great book on this subject is The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. Theres a story
about a girl playing the clarinet in the books introduction. The story is called, The
Girl Who Did a Months Worth of Practice in Six Minutes. It compares the details
of how she was practicing in that time, versus what she did normallywhich by all
accounts was below average.
The story continues:
They have tapped into a neurological mechanism in which certain patterns of
targeted practice build skill. Without realizing it, they have entered a zone of accelerated
learning that, while it cant quite be bottled, can be accessed by those who know how. In
short, theyve cracked the talent code. The talent code is built on revolutionary scientific
discoveries involving a neural insulator called myelin, which some neurologists now
consider to be the holy grail of acquiring skill.

154

Peak Performance Drills


Myelin is a material made up of protein and lipids that is deposited over nerve
pathways as they are used. The more you use those pathways, the more myelin
is added. Myelin causes the nerve pathways to become more conductive, which
makes it easier and faster for those nerve impulses to fire. This means the skill
becomes more automatic and easier to do. The most skilled people have heavily
paved myelin sheaths like the Autobahn, while a beginners sheaths may be more
like an unpaved rocky road.
A big part of gaining skill for any purpose is to practice in the right zone. It is
like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If you go for something that is too hard, you
wont see much improvement. If you do something too easy, you wont be building
much skill. But, if you practice in the sweet spotwhich will depend on an
individuals starting pointthen youll progress much faster.
This is why when I teach handstands, I dont advise people to just kick up into
the handstand. Instead, it is better to build a base of balancing with easier skills
like the frog stand and headstand. These are far more likely to be in a beginners
sweet spot. Once that foundation is built, you can move on to the handstand and
actually achieve some success. The full details of my process for the handstand
can be found in my book, Secrets of the Handstand.

155

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Accelerated Skill Gaining Visualization


Just like other physiological processes in the body, skill acquisition may be
improved through the use of the mind.
We already know that the brain cannot tell the difference between reality and
something vividly imagined. Also, when you visualize a movement, the muscles are
firing. That means the same nerve pathways needed in any skill are in use, and that
myelin comes into play. This is how visualization alone can improve your skills. But,
this process can be further enhanced.
In Sporting Excellence by Ted Garratt, the following details of visualization are
expressed. Youll recall much that was discussed in the chapter on visualization.
Interviews with top divers, ice hockey and field hockey players, swimmers, and
gymnasts indicate that almost 98% use some type of imagery. There were tremendous
differences between these athletes, however with respect to their imagery skills.
A diver like Greg Louganis has very highly developed rehearsal skills. Louganis
continually rehearses his dives. He is thinking about them away from the pool, between
dives during competition, and when he is actually on the board or platform. He goes
over them very systematically again and again, rehearsing from several different
perspectives. He can visualize himself doing the dive, or take the perspective of someone
in the audience watching the dive. He can imagine from inside his own body, generating
the kinesthetic feelings as well as the visual images. Finally, he rehearses to music, using
the tempo and rhythm of the music to assist him in his timing and execution.
In contrast to Louganis, some other divers have not learned to rehearse at all. Often,
these individuals have been exposed to the idea of thinking their way through their dives
but have difficulty developing the images. They have assumed that other people see clear
images and pictures, and when they do not, they decided that something must be wrong.
I just didnt think I was capable of imaging like the other divers.

156

Peak Performance Drills


This shows, as was stated before, that visualizing must be practiced. Youll notice
all the different senses and perspectives at use in Louganis visualization practice.
While visualizing away from what youre practicing works well, I like to use the
following format together with practice. This process can dramatically help you to
master physical skills and build more myelin, because myelin builds during the review
and correction phases of your practice.
1. Visualize the skill you are about to perform in as much detail as you can.
2. Practice the skill. (Remember to focus on the sweet spot.)
3. Visualize what you just practiced, but this time notice what wasnt perfect and
how it could be changed. Then visualize what would have happened if you had
made those changes.
4. Repeat the practice and alternate between visualizing and practicing.
This drill is phenomenal for skills that take some physical capability, since the
visualization portions can serve as your rest time. Instead of just trying to physically
practice the skill, you will mentally correct your mistakes and advance even faster.

Negative Talk Blowout


Carol Dwech, PhD, at Stanford University noticed that differences in expectations
among students resulted in differences in performance. The main indicator was
whether a student believed that intelligence was a fixed number that couldnt be
changed, or if they believed intelligence could be increased and grow.

157

M e n ta l M u s c l e
When looking at the math scores of the two groups she found that those who
believed intelligence could grow improved their scores. Those who did not share that
belief, had lower scores over time.
She then took the study a step further. She took 100 seventh graders who all had
trouble in math, and split them into a control group and an experimental group. The
experimental group was taught how the brain grows, makes new connections when
challenged, and can become smarter. The control group was taught study skills. At the
end of the semester, the experimental group that had been taught how the brain grows
had significantly better scores then the control group.
This experiment shows how expectations plot our results. If you believe that you
can grow and get better, then you will. Believe that you cant, and you wont. In fact,
youll probably get worse, because why even use what you have if it cant be improved?
Our expectations are key, and they apply to more than just learning, strength, and
sports. One of the things that showcases how poor expectancy works is negative self-talk.
Im going to win! you may say out loud.
No you wont. says the little voice in the back of your mind.
In Sports Psyching by Thomas Tutko and Umberto Tosi, the authors state, Listen
to yourself during the game. Frequently, the things you will hear yourself saying are
immensely revealing. For example, if you find yourself saying Ill never get it right, I
can assure you that you are not making an objective judgment related to the immediate
challenge; you may simply be repeating long-forgotten criticism in childhood by a
parental figure who would ask, Cant you do anything right? When you mumble your
own name out on the playing field, much as an angry parent might, you are reliving a
past which can destroy your present.
For example, a tennis player I know would always say to herself, You klutz,
whats the matter with you? when she missed shots. Then she would tell herself,

158

Peak Performance Drills


Straighten up! When she would prepare for a game, she would always think in the
first person: Im going to try to keep the ball to the right against this opponent. But
when she flubbed, she would scold herself in the second person, You dummy! She
thought about this and realized that the nagging you voice really was an imitation of
her mother balling her out when she was a child. Shed grown up in a large family and
rarely got much attention unless she did something clumsy. She was acting this out
unconsciously on the tennis courts and she realized in other areas of her life as well.
Hypnosis can also be used for this purpose. In his book Clinical and
Experimental Hypnosis, Dr. William Kroger wrote that he had used hypnotism to
improve the ability of many athletes in the areas of baseball, football, pugilism and golf.
The results ranged from good to spectacular, all without any negative side effects. He
found that while the athletes competed at a higher level, they did so without causing
damage or injury to their bodies.
The following drill can help you to identify and transform negative self-talk.
1. Identify what the voice says to you. What is the context when you hear it? What
are the auditory qualities of the voice? Pay particular attention to whether it
is your voice or someone elses (like a parent). If it is someone else skip to the
following drill. If it is your own voice, continue to step 2 below.
2. Ask if the part of you doing the talking is willing to communicate with you. In
most cases youll receive a yes in one form or another.
3. Ask what the positive intention is behind the statement? For instance, if the
statement is, You wont win, so why bother, the positive intent may be to save
yourself from disappointment.
4. Step into a place of creativity. Now, come up with at least three alternatives that
would fulfill the positive intent in a more resourceful way.

159

M e n ta l M u s c l e
5. Ask the part of you that previously said the negative self-talk if it would be
satisfied with any of the alternatives. If not, come up with more alternatives or
figure out what needs to be added or changed so that every part will be happy
with the new decisions.
6. Integrate the new choices by having that speaking part of you take over the new
alternative and run that program instead of the negative self-talk.
7. Think about a future situation or context when that voice may come up again.
Run through the movie in your mind. What is different now?
If the voice is from someone else and not yourself, then use the steps below. Often,
something or someone from our childhood gets in our way.
2a. Go back to the first time you can recall hearing the negative statement and who
said it. Notice how it made you feel inside when you heard it.
3a. Step out into a position off to the side, where you can observe the interaction
(meta position).
4a. Now, step into the shoes of the person saying the statement to the younger
you. What was their intention when saying it? They may have had a positive
intention for you. Or, it may have been negatively intended for you, but positive
for them. For example they might have been putting you down to make
themselves feel better. Notice the reasoning behind their statement.
5a. Return to the meta position off to the side. What resources need to be given
to the younger you or the other person in the interaction to transform the
situation? Access those resources now and bring them into the past. Notice
what happens. Are these resources sufficient or is something more needed? If
more resources are needed, add them.

160

Peak Performance Drills


6a. Return to the present and bring those resources forward with you through time.
Now, go into the future to a similar context and see what comes up now instead
of the voice.
Both of these drillsespecially the second onecan be tricky to do by yourself, so
you may need a qualified coach to guide you to accurately move through the steps.

161

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Entering

the

Flow State

Talk to any athlete of any kind and ask them about a time when they entered the
flow state. Its a great place to be, everything seems to happen easily and without
struggle.
In my experience, this flow state also occurs in the gym. In some workouts, every
single thing you do comes easily and you set new PRs left and right.
In Peak Performance by Charles Garfield, a number of athletes were interviewed
about their experiences of the flow state. They found the basic commonalities that
these athletes have in the flow experience.
The athlete has an expectation of success.
The everyday world recedes, and the athlete begins to act completely in the
moment, as though an automatic pilot has been switched on.
The athlete is totally focused on the present, and their concentration is so
intense that actions are anticipated before they occur.
There is a sense of possessing extraordinary power, which sometimes appears to
be coming from an outside source or from a new source within the athlete.
There is a sense of being completely immersed in the activity. The athlete feels
perfectly in tune with the action in which they are engaged.
There is a feeling of joy and ecstasy, the perfect emotion.
Since we know what flow is, we can reverse engineer it. If we know the qualities
of the flow state, we can obtain them and access the flow state at will instead of it only
happening at random. Most athletes get into the flow state without having a clue how
they got there, why it happened, why it ended when it did, how it came about, or how to
get back into it. We want to make getting into the flow state something we have more
control over.

162

Peak Performance Drills


The athlete has an expectation of success.
Earlier in this book we talked about how much expectation plays into what were
capable of doing. I just heard of a study showing that people who hold beliefs of an
exaggerated sense of personal achievement and abilityeven when greater than what
reality would dictatehave better results then those that do not have these beliefs.
Do you expect to be successful? Look at this idea in relation to your desired
outcome. If not, then youll need to either change your outcome or change your belief.
The everyday world recedes, and the athlete begins to act completely in the
moment, as though an automatic pilot has been switched on.
There are a number of different things reflected in this statement.
The everyday world recedes
This sounds like a shift in submodalities to me. Recall how time can seem to slow
down. Remember the study with the apparent size of the golf holes. If the everyday
world recedes, the task at hand takes complete focus.
Act completely in the moment
The above statement is all about being present. Although there is much more to
how we can process and use timefor instance with time line processesa simple
explanation will be enough for now. We have the past, present and future. If youre in
the past, youre thinking about things that have already happened. If youre re-playing
mental movies of failure and thinking about how you missed last time, this will lead to
poor results. Even though there are many positive things you can re-access and learn
from with past performances, in the moment of a lift or a sport, you cant be thinking
about the past. Being anywhere besides the present will take you away from fully
focusing and functioning for the task at hand.

163

M e n ta l M u s c l e
The future is the same in this regard. While in the moment, even focusing on your
goal and how much you desire it can become a distraction. Its better to do that before
or after a lift and not in the moment itself.
An automatic pilot has been switched on
If something is on autopilot, then there is no need to manually (or consciously)
control it. In other words, it is effortless. The phrase above describes moving and
acting without effort. This means there is far less conscious thought about what to do,
and instead more action based on the subconscious mind and what it knows to do.
The athlete is totally focused on the present, and concentration is so intense
that actions are anticipated before they occur.
Weve already dealt with being in the present. Focus and concentration are fully
on the tasks at hand in the present time. But this statement goes beyond that. Its
describing a heightened awareness that allows you to know what is going to happen
before it does.
Along with more awareness, your subconscious mind will automatically bring
up data about what will happen, all without you having to think about it. This is more
obvious when youre up against a human opponent rather than working out by yourself.
It may not be actual precognition, but your reactions may become so much faster
and automatic that it seems to be the case. Many martial artists seem to know what
their opponents intend to do before any movement is made.
There is a sense of possessing extraordinary power, which sometimes appears
to be coming from an outside source or from a new source within oneself.
When youre in the zone you feel good, really good. When things are going well and
are automatically effortless, you may feel like you can do nothing wrong. This is power.

164

Peak Performance Drills


This power is not your everyday state, it is different from normal experience.
Instead of trying to control the flow, you must let it go through you. In my experience,
I feel like I am opening up to power outside of myself, which flows through me, then
back out into the external environment.
Geniuses like Mozart and Einstein didnt say that they were smart. Instead they
opened up to something that came through them. Many athletes report the same
experience. This sensation doesnt have to be religious, but it could be if you want.
There is a sense of being completely immersed in the activity, perfectly in tune
with the action in which the athlete is engaged.
Here is more information about how all the senses are in use during the flow state.
A sense of being immersed is a kinesthetic representation. Being in tune is auditory.
Not only are the senses all heightened and in use, but are working together as one.
Recall the quarterback who knew the receiver would beat the defender. He probably
felt this as much as saw it. When the senses are integrated together in this manner,
they operate at a superior level.
There is a feeling of joy and ecstasy, the perfect emotion.
When you are completely in the present, and performing at your best it is
impossible not to enjoy it. Struggle and lack of joy comes from focusing on the past or
futureor from thinking about how things should be different in life.
Furthermore, the flow is moving through you making it even more pleasant.
Everything about the flow state is perfect. To summarize, these are the nine qualities
of flow:
Positive Expectation
Physical and Mental Relaxation
Confidence
Present

165

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Energized
Heightened Awareness with Full Sensory Involvement
Control
Joy and Ecstasy
Open Channel
Understand that these qualities will be represented slightly differently for each
person. Since these are just words used in an attempt to represent sensory experience,
they are also open to interpretation. Some of the qualities may be more important to
you than others. But, this list is a very useful starting point as we work to develop these
qualities into accessible states.

Accessing Flow On Demand


If you can really experience all these qualities, you will achieve the flow state. So,
how do you do it?
While there are several ways, the below drill can be very powerful to individually
anchor each piece of the puzzle before bringing them all together. Running through
this drill in full will take a significant amount of time. Plan to spend at least an hour to
go through it completely.
As an alternative, single positions can be worked to gain just one quality of flow.
Over time, you could practice this regularly and then combine them all for great
command over achieving the flow state. Just stepping into a single position and asking
the right questions, while becoming more conscious of the qualities of that experience
can be helpful by itself.
Before we begin, I want to mention that flow is not an all or nothing experience.
There can be times when you may have some flow, and other times when youre fully
into it. Even in the latter case, the flow state could still become even better at that time,
or in the future.

166

Peak Performance Drills


The different locations will be spatially anchored, so you can move from one state
to the next. Once they are all established, youll chain them together and enter flow.
This process should be anchored at the end so you can carry it with you and use it
when you desire to be in flow.
For each location, you can access past times when youve felt the flow state, act
as if you could feel it, or step into someone elses shoes to describe and feel it as they
would. Between each step, be sure to break state.
1. Make sure you have an expectation to succeed before you begin. If any limiting
beliefs are standing in the way, clear them up before beginning this process. Step
into a marked location and access a state of expecting to succeed. How do you
know you will be successful? What makes you absolutely sure? Fully explore it
and create an anchor.
2. Step into a marked location and access a state of physical and mental relaxation.
What is the proper amount of relaxation that will allow you to flow completely in
your sport? Fully explore and create an anchor.
3. Step into a marked location and access a state of confidence. How do you feel
confidence? Fully explore and create an anchor.
4. Step into a marked location and access a state of being present. What is your
perception like when you are fully present? Fully explore and create an anchor.

5. Step into a marked location and access a state of being energized. How do you
feel when you are energized? Where in your body do you feel it? How does it
move or expand? Fully explore and create an anchor.

167

M e n ta l M u s c l e
6. Step into a marked location and access a state of heightened awareness with all
your senses engaged simultaneously. What is the most important sense in your
sport? In what ways does it operate on a higher level than normal? How are the
other senses involved? Fully explore and create an anchor.
7. Step into a marked location and access a state of control. How do you experience
a sense of control with a feeling that you can do no wrong? Fully explore and
create an anchor.
8. Step into a marked location and access a state of joy and ecstasy. How do you
sense joy within your body? How intense is this feeling? Fully explore and create
an anchor.
9. Step into a marked location and access a state of being an open channel that
allows the flow to move through you. How do you know you are open? How do
you feel this within your body? Fully explore and create an anchor.
10. Start in the first location and move through all the states, making sure to bring
each state into the next one. Notice what changes and stays the same. Repeat
this process a couple of times.
11. Choose an anchor in all three major modalities to anchor your flow state.
This drill will prove to be an interesting exploration at the very least. Doing this
drill may bring various beliefs to light that could be useful to strengthen or transform
your performance. You do not need to spend the same amount of time in each location.
Youll also determine what parts of the flow state are easier or harder for you to
access.
Do you have great or poor reference experiences at this time? By accessing and
practicing them, youll be able to enter the flow state that much easier in the future.

168

SECTION 4

WORD FOR WORD


TRANSCRIPTS OF
MENTAL TRAINING
DRILLS WITH CLIENTS
INCLUDING THE RESULTS
THEY EXPERIENCED

In order to demonstrate the power of mental training, this section contains a


number of transcripts from working with clients in workshop settings. As a

kinesthetic learner, I feel it is best to go through the drills myself. But, seeing full
examples of the drills at work can be another very useful tool for understanding the
processes.
Youll see a few of the drills from earlier in the book with a lot of detail. Youll also
get an idea of how to coach another personand the same steps apply to yourself.

169

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Whats more, Im giving you the big bonus of being able to watch videos, so you can
also see the details from the transcripts. This way you can see the anchoring, gestures,
eye accessing and other details the transcripts do not always show. These videos come
from various workshop DVDs which people have paid up to $500 for each set, or even
more to be at the live workshops.
Go to the following link and grab your $200 bonus of all these videos.
http://www.mentalmusclebook.com/bonus/

Making Kettlebell Swings Easier


This transcript comes from the Wizards of Strength Workshop where I led
Ben through a simple change of a movie he was playing in his mind, using visual
components only. This change led him to double his reps while cutting down the
difficulty of the movement. This is the Instant Exercise Enhancer technique as
described earlier.
Logan: Come on, Ben. Alright, whats an exercise that you can do here that is easy
for you to do?
Ben: Swing.
Logan: Swing? Okay. So I want you to pick something relatively heavy because you
could do swings all day. Weve got 48 kilograms, if you want, and bring that up here.
Yeah, I think thats the biggest one. Pay attention because you guys will be doing this
drill after were done with it, but dont write down the steps or anything like that. You
wouldnt want to remember it. Okay, so I want you to swing this a few times. You dont
need to go all out but have you ever trained to tension?
Ben: Yeah.

170

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

Logan: Okay. So go ahead and do that, stop at that point and notice how difficult it is.
(Ben swings the kettlebell seven times)
Logan: Okay, seven reps. On a scale of 0 to 10, how difficult would you say that was?
Ben: Difficult. I flunked out at seven.
Logan: Yeah? Give me a number.
Ben: Ill give that about an eight, because I started losing my grip really fast and had
to think about constantly fighting for that.
Logan: Okay, good. So I want you to go and stand back a little a bit now. Okay, I
want you to picture yourself doing the swing like you were just doing. Go ahead and
picture it. Where do you see it?
Ben: Where I see it? Relative to the Cancun type thing or...?
Logan: Yeah, Im saying like do you see it out here? Where do you see it? Point.
Ben: Oh okay. Right here. [Ben gestures about arms length away in front of
himself.]
Logan: Okay, how big is the image?
Ben: Not very big. Its probably about [gestures about two feet tall].
Logan: Okay, its right here, this big. Brightness?
Ben: Just normal brightness right now.
Logan: Okay, normal brightness. When you see it, are you in the image or are you
seeing yourself as if youre out here?

171

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Ben: Im actually seeing myself.
Logan: So its dissociated from the image? Okay. Now what were going to do is
lets take a lighter bell and bring that up here. Okay, go ahead and just do like ten swings
like that.
Ben: Same exercise?
Logan: Yeah.
[Ben does ten swings with the lighter kettlebell]
Logan: Now what I want you to do is picture yourself doing swings with this
weight. Or you can even picture the lighter weight, imagine like a 16-kilogram bell, how
easy is that?
Ben: Very easy.
Logan: Okay. Picture it. Where do you see it?
Ben: Here. [Ben gestures arms length out front but at about head height]
Logan: Notice its higher and thats important. What else? Size-wise?
Ben: Size-wise, here.
Logan: Bigger?
Ben: Brighter
Logan: Brighter. Okay. Are you associated with this one or still seeing it?
Ben: No, Im actually in and out. Im in it halfway.

172

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

Logan: So hes associated in this as well. So these are some key distinctions in how
his mind actually stores the exercises and now were going to have some fun. So you
see the image here. Its pretty bright, pretty big.
Ben: Yes.
Logan: And youre in it. Lets take it even bigger. Make it life-size. How does that feel?
Ben: Pretty good.
Logan: Okay. Lets turn up the brightness even more. Okay, good. So now what
were going to do now that we have elicited and even turned up what are known as
submodalities. Modality would be something like vision or auditory, what you can
hear, kinesthetic, what you can feel. Here were focusing mostly just on the visual
ones. We could also even play with the feelings associated with the movement but
weve really just focused on visual submodalities and increased them, also noticing
the difference between this one. So go ahead and imagine yourself swinging this one
again. Remember it was about here and were going to move it up here, make it bigger.
Life-size. Swinging that 48-kilogram bell. Notice that. See the brightness? See yourself
doing it easily.
Ben: Yes.
Logan: Okay. Go ahead and do that. I want you to, once again, stop at the point of
tension and notice how easy it is.
[Ben swings the 48 kg kettlebell 14 times]
Logan: Did you notice actually his form changed a little?
Man: Now his tension was like all the way down here.
Logan: Yeah. So he just doubled his reps and he wasnt going all out. I mean there
was a little struggle at the end, but how would you rate the difficulty of actually doing
that even though you did twice as many?

173

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Ben: Well, along the lines of what a 44kg normally feels like.
Logan: Yeah, so on a scale of 0 to 10?
Ben: Difficulty? Five.
Logan: Five? It was an eight before doubling the reps, so it was easier than before.

Doubling Fingertip Handstand Pushups


with Shaolin Monks, Gladiators in the
Arena and Stepping Into the Future
This example also comes from the Wizards of Strength Workshop, later in the
evening. It is the word for word transcript of the story that introduced this book. Here
youll see the beginning of the prior exercise, except all three major senses are used,
instead of just visuals. In addition, the element of time is used. This is a more in-depth
version of the Instant Exercise Enhancer technique.
As you can see when more modalities are used, and different tactics are stacked on
one another, the effects become even more powerful. After doing this drill, Matti set a
huge PR in the exercise.
Logan: Which exercise do you have trouble with?
Matti: Holding myself in a handstand on two fingers and doing more than five reps.
Logan: Handstand push-ups on two fingers?
Matti: Yes, two fingers of each hand so four fingers.

174

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

Logan: Okay. You dont need to do five reps. Do one or two reps right here.
[Matti does two reps]
Logan: Well, he does it too slow. Thats one thing.
Chuck: Probably trying not to break his fingers.
Matti: If I go too fast, I pop my tendons.
Logan: Okay, youve done more of those than I have, so that you would know. How
about rating that on a scale of difficulty from 0 to 10?
Matti: 9.
Logan: 9? Just those two reps right there? Okay.
Matti: Because Im trying to think not to break my fingers. I imagine being like steel
Logan: Yes, imagine your fingers snapping right before you do the exercise. Okay.
So I want you to picture yourself doing that exercise. Okay, tell me what you see.
Matti: Im not finished yet. Im just like the Shaolin monk.
Logan: Okay. So youre picturing someone else.
Matti: Someone else and Im actually putting myself in a persons body and doing a
scene from here.
Logan: Okay, so this is an entirely different way of doing it, not just seeing yourself.
And this is just as valid and maybe in some ways even more so. Youre basically
stepping into someone whoShaolin monksdoes this sort of finger training. Okay,
tell me about where do you see that image?

175

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Matti: There.
Logan: That high?
Matti: Even higher.
Logan: You werent looking up there.
Matti: Yeah but
Logan: You were looking, about here.
Matti: About here, okay.
Logan: Good. How big is the image?
Matti: Very big, like this room.
Logan: Okay, so it was completely all-encompassing. And are you associated into
that image?
Matti: Yeah.
Logan: Yeah?
Matti: Of course. I watch movies a lot about that.
Logan: Okay. So he already processes this at a really high level. Thats why hes able
to do something that, I mean can anyone else here to do that? No. Its already at a really
high level. Okay, any sound associated with that image?
Matti: Yeah.
Logan: Yeah?

176

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

Matti: May sound stupid to everyone but I feel like Im a gladiator and in the arena.
Logan: The roar of the crowd? Okay.
Matti: Or were fighting a war back in the old Asian time.
Logan: Okay. All right, can you make the sound even louder?
Matti: If you want me to be deaf. Yeah, I can make it louder.
Logan: Make it very loud, not to the point of deafness, but very loud. Okay, and can
you make that image any brighter? I mean, its already life-size.
Matti: Yes. It can be bright. Its already bright but it can always go brighter.
Logan: Okay. What feelings do you have as you look at this image here, the roar of
the crowd?
Matti: Like Im the king. [Matti rubs his hands together and smiles.]
Logan: Okay, how do you feel then? If I wanted to feel like a king, how would I do it?
Matti: It starts in the spine. Its some of these tingling sensations.
Logan: Okay, make those tingling sensations increase. How does that feel?
Matti: Damn good.
Logan: Yeah? Wheres does that feeling go? Is it just tingling
Matti: Its spreading all over the body.
Logan: Okay. So youve got more of a tingling here and it spreads even more
throughout your body.

177

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Matti: Yeah, it does.
Logan: Okay, feel that even more. Hear the roar of the crowd seeing the image. Hes
getting pretty intense.
Chuck: Well, his skin color is changing.
Logan: Yeah. Okay, thats good. So I want you to imagine yourself out in the
future. Youve been practicing getting in this state even more like this. I know youve
been doing plenty. Youve been training your fingers another three months into the
future. Go ahead and step forward into that. Looking at the image of the Shaolin monk
training, hearing the roar of the crowd, feeling that tingling, does anything else new
come up, taking that step forward?
Matti: Yeah, I can feel that actually now I own the exercise more.
Logan: You own the exercise?
Matti: Not own it but I mean on my way to own it.
Logan: Okay, what does that feel like? How do you know that you own the exercise
more?
Matti: Its a state of mind because I feel more comfortable, more comfortable. I feel
more like I wont snap my fingers.
Logan: Okay. But actually hes indicating certain feelings with his gestures and all
of that.
Man: Hes standing up straighter, too.
Logan: Yeah, he has even more of that. Okay, so this was the future, but since this
was just your mind were playing with, we can take that all back into the present right
here. Okay? Good. Notice that you can have that feeling of ownership along with it the
whole time. Go ahead do a couple more. You dont need to max out. Just do a couple.

178

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

[Matti does 4 handstand pushups on fingertips moving much smoother]


Woman: Wow.
Man: Yeah.
Man: Nice.
Matti: I could have done more but
Logan: On a scale of 0 to 10, how difficult was that?
Matti: 4 maybe a 5.
Logan: And you could see the dramatic difference in doing the exercise. Thank you
very much.

Visualization Technique
Improvement on Muscle Ups
This example comes from the No BS Strength Secrets Workshop. Here hypnosis is
used to enhance the performance of muscle ups. After an intensive day of bodyweight
and kettlebell training, Luis wanted to get better at the muscle up. He had performed
them before but only by using lots of kip. I began by sharing some technical knowledge
about using the false grip, since he needed to learn it first.
After a few pointers, we moved on to hypnosis. This hypnosis is quite simple. A
short relaxation period is followed by mental rehearsal, then the use of the imagination
to make the move even easier. This approach is a variation of the Visualization for
Strength exercise described earlier.
Logan: You ever been hypnotized before?

179

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Luis: No
Logan: Well actually you have, just not in this manner. You get hypnotized when
you drive. You get hypnotized when you watch TV. Go ahead and sit down. Okay. So on
a scale of 0 to 10 how hard was that muscle up?
Luis: Probably about a 7.
Logan: A 7. And would you say its usually about there? Or was that easier once you
got the technique?
Luis: It was easier once I used the chalk.
Logan: About a 7. Just remember that number. Go ahead and close your eyes and
I want you to relax. You can just put your hands comfortably by your legs. Now just
think of the muscles of your face and allow them to relax. Allow your eyes to relax.
Going down, down, deeper and deeper. Allow your trapezius muscles, shoulders, arms,
forearms and hands all to relax. Sinking deeper into relaxation. Allow your abdominals,
all the organs inside, your heart, your lungs, everything to relax. Relax your hips, your
thighs, your knees, relaxing down, down. Relaxing down, down. The loud train in the
background will only serve to sink you deeper and deeper into relaxation. Deeper.
Go ahead and imagine yourself at a nice calm relaxing place, like the beach for
instance, if thats relaxing for you. And you can feel the warm air. You can hear the
crashing of the waves. You can taste and smell the salt water in the air. Good. In this
deeper place of relaxation, your mind is calmed down. This allows you to access more
of your inner power you have.
You, I, and everyone knows we have much more strength than we can consciously
use at any time. So we are going to do a little visualization to bring up more of that
strength. Go ahead and see yourself from inside your body grabbing onto those rings
with the false grip. Going to use chalk once again. Get into position. Point your pinkies
towards the ground as Tyler said. Youre going to load in that position then boom, move

180

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

quickly up into the muscle up, easier than youve ever done it before. Now were going
to do it again. Lower into position. Get that false grip once again. You brace up in the
pull up and make the transition smoother than youve ever done before. And press up
in the dip until you get to the top. Now go ahead and run through this in your mind once
more. Good.
Now I want you to imagine yourself as if you were in Cirque du Soleil and you were
doing fantastic ring tricks. The muscle up is just your setup before you do all these
other things. So you effortlessly, with grace, with the crowd watching, muscle up so
easily, so smoothly. Then you perform an iron cross, roll back into a maltese, all these
other tricks. And its just easy because you are well practiced at this. Youve done this.
Youve spent hours upon hours, many days of your lifetime to be able to perform at this
high level. The muscle up is nothing. Its easy. Its just a simple setup for anything else
you want to do.
Good. Now on the count of 5 youre going to be wide awake, feeling fine, feeling
better than before, ready to do the muscle up as youve just rehearsed it over and over
here. Its going to be easy to do. Once, two, three, starting to come awake now, knowing
that youre easily going to be able to do this muscle up, because youve practiced it here
over and over and over again. Four, five, eyes open, wide awake, feeling fine, feeling
better than before, now lets do a muscle up.
(Luis does 3 reps in much better form.)
Logan: Now hes showing off. Have you ever done three in a row before?
Luis: Yeah, but not hanging.
Logan: Three in a row like that just coming back down. How was that scale of 0 to
10? That first rep?
Luis: About a five.

181

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Logan: Did that look different to all of you? There was a clear difference there.
Group: Yeah.
Luis: Yeah, I felt real light.

Anchor

for

Olympic Weightlifting

This example comes from the first Super Human Training Workshop I put
together along with Bud Jeffries. First youll see some discussion of selecting the right
exercise and anchor. This is followed by hypnotic visualization in order to set the
anchor, using the process discussed in the chapter on anchoring.
This wasnt immediately followed by testing the anchor, but less than a week later
Tyler reported that he set a very easy ten pound PR on his jerk, and said he could very
likely have done ten more.
Logan: Going to set in an anchor. Let me tell you a little story. So I set in this anchor
for specifically working on skill stuff. I was working on progressions for freestanding
handstand pushups. I wasnt going full range but I think it was to four inches. And I
was able to get just like one rep at a time. Then I was like oh yeah I got my anchor. I
forget to use this stuff too. But the more you use it, I was like oh yeah I should practice
my own mental training stuff. Then I fired the anchor, boom, three reps easy as that.
Easier than doing the single rep before. Just firing that, getting into the state to do it
and I was able to do it right away.
So these can actually have pretty profound effects. Its not going to add 100 lb.
immediately, but the more you use it the more powerful it becomes and it can really
help out big time. Especially the anchors because, this stuff is good, anchors can tie this
stuff all together so that its instant.

182

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

Tyler: I cant help but notice that the things that I have more skill in, I have more
rehearsals and anchors for, and the things Im not as skilled in, I dont.
Logan: Huh? I wonder if there is a correlation there.
Tyler: I dont know. Think about it.
Logan: Okay, so for your Olympic lifting or something, do you use any anchor for
that?
Tyler: Like Bud (Jeffries), I have a similar breathing anchor. I breathe in, 1, 2, 3, a
big inhale before I do things but I dont have quite a polished setup routine.
Logan: Well lets do something. You want to choose locked and loaded?
Tyler: No.
Logan: Okay, choose something like a unique, physical motion. You can tap your
wrist, cluck like a chicken. What do you want to do?
Tyler: A big clap.
Logan: You clap other times. If youre at a movie and clapping all of a sudden youll
be ready to lift. It doesnt work. Unique. Tug on your ear lobes.
Tyler: I always liked tapping on the forehead.
Logan: Okay do it with the same hand. I usually do three times right in the third eye
area. Okay were going to set that in. So tell me, do you want to work with the Olympic
lifting specifically?
Tyler: Yeah

183

M e n ta l M u s c l e
Logan: Okay, tell me when you did a really good lift that you were happy with and
your technique felt good because I know youre big on getting the right technique.
When did that feel good and you lifted a good amount of weight?
Tyler: On a snatch? Never.
Logan: No, this is important. For what were doing here, were going to take you
down and revivify a state, like the lift before. If he doesnt have one, trying to use any
one of these bad times when he didnt feel good and setting the anchor for there is
setting an anchor for failure which we dont want to do. If were setting anchors, and
we have all sorts of unconscious ones, but we want to set positive ones that help us out.
Tyler: My last split jerk PR and my last clean PRs both felt really, really strong.
Logan: Okay, were going to use both of those, one at a time. So go ahead and back
away from the chair and close your eyes and breathe in and out. Breathing in through
the nose and out through the mouth, relaxing the top of your head. Relaxing your entire
face. I really like to relax the left side of my brain and relax the right side of my brain.
This would be a good drill for everyone to participate in. You can choose your own lifts
and own experiences to revivify and set whatever anchor you would like to choose as
we work with Tyler here.
And as you just relax further down, any noises around just serve to further cause
you to relax. Your entire body is loose and limp as you continue to breathe deeply. See
and count the number three, three times. 3...3...3. This is physical relaxation and you
know that anytime you see and count the number three, three times it becomes more
powerful because that is exactly what anchors do. The more you use them the more
powerful they become.
Go ahead and visualize yourself in a very relaxed place. Im sure youve had a good
time relaxing when you were on vacation this past week or so, when you were able to
completely let go and relax. Let everything, everything just relax compeltely. Both
physically and mentally as you see and count the number two, three times. 2...2...2. And

184

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

this is mental relaxation. You can return to it at anytime, even deeper, and come down
faster than before as you relax further and further.
See and count the number one, three times. 1...1...1. Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing,
knowing that you can come to this deep level of mind any time you desire and it is so.
Go ahead and touch the three fingers of your left hand to your thumb, and know that
with this physical anchor you can achieve instantly, a deep level of mind and can use
visualization and other skills to bring about faster skills and greater skills and greater
strength. Go ahead and relax that hand.
So you had a time recently when your clean felt really good. I want to see
everything you did, right before the lift, getting prepared, approaching the bar,
grabbing it in a specific way just like Bud talked about, and then getting set, getting
ready, mentally getting yourself ready to go. Then pulling, feeling that bar just fly up
and getting under it. Feeling that completely in your body, feeling the weight of the bar.
Everything youre doing, is feeling how good that is. Go ahead and drop the bar. Notice
just how good, how happy you felt in that moment. Now go ahead and tap yourself in
the third eye three times. Do it now.
Okay and were going to repeat that once again. Except this time I want you to now
visualize yourself doing a little more weight than before. And this time its going to
feel just as good. And before you approach the bar youre going to use your anchor. Go
ahead and tap yourself in the third eye three times. Do it now. Now approach that bar
in the state, ready, relaxed and explosively clean that weight. Do it in excellent form.
Bend down, grab the bar, get set, get ready and explode. Feeling good. Coming to a
stand and then dropping the weight. That feels great.
Alright, were going to change the scene. Well you probably work out in the same
place so add or subtract weight as needed for the jerk. Get ready for that. So now with
the weight on the bar, see yourself having done this before, except this time were going
to add yourself using your anchor. So see the bar there with all the weight, feel your
feet on the ground. Know youre about to lift this. You know very well because youve
done it before. Go ahead and tap yourself in the third eye three times. And you know

185

M e n ta l M u s c l e
instantly the state you need for this lift. Approach the bar. Grab it, get set, get ready,
and you gotta clean it before you jerk it so clean it up into place.
Tyler: I take it off of the rack.
Logan: Okay, take it off of the rack. Thats good. You have it, get ready, get set, and
explode upwards, getting under it. Feeling stable, feeling strong, feeling like, Oh wow,
thats easy when I use my anchor this seems easier than before. Knowing that I can
use this many, many times. And I will continue to use it as I go forward.
So now I want you to see yourself down the road, three months in the future, youve
been working on snatches, working on cleans, working on jerks more than regularly.
And also using this anchor regularly. See how much weight, see what weight can you
do in three months with the clean?
Tyler: 275
Logan: 275. See that 275 on the bar. And you know youve been working hard but
this weight is even very difficult for you to do. So go ahead and fire your anchor. Go
ahead and tap yourself. And approach the bar, get set, grab it, the feet in the right place,
your body relaxed, ready to explode. And explode. The bar in place, the body gets in the
right place and you stand up feeling good. And you go ahead and set it down and just
enjoy that for one moment. And now were going to come up, back to an awakened
state, knowing that you can use this anchor.
Its pretty late today but maybe youll try some out tomorrow and see how powerful
it is, how good it feels to use this, knowing that you can continue to use it every time
you lift, every time and make it more and more powerful. Because the more you use
anchors the more powerful they become. Coming up now on the count of one to five.
1...2...the blood starts to rush back in...3...you can wiggle your fingers and toes...4...5.
Eyes open wide awake, feeling fine, feeling better than before.

186

T r a n s c r ip t s

of

M e n ta l T r a i n i n g D r i l l s

Remember that you can watch the video of this hypnosis, see the anchoring in
action and other details, plus all the other drills detailed here by going to the following
link to grab this $200 bonus.
http://www.mentalmusclebook.com/bonus/

187

M e n ta l M u s c l e

Bibliography
Judd Biasiotto, 2001: A Sports Odyssey
James Hadfield, The Psychology of Power
Daniel Amen, Change Your Brain Change Your Body
Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness
L. Michael Hall, Games Slim & Fit People Play
L. Michael Hall and Bob Bodenhamer, The Users Manual for the Brain Volume 1
Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith, Beliefs: Pathways to Health & Well-Being
Steven and Joy Gurgevich, The Self-Hypnosis Diet
Ted Garratt, Sporting Excellence
Charles Garfield, Peak Performance
Terry Orlick, Psyching for Sport
Robert Nideffer, An Athletes Guide to Mental Training
Thomas Tutko and Umberto Tosi, Sports Psyching
Elmer & Alyce Green, Beyond Biofeedback
Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
Andrew Salter. What is Hypnosis?
Leslie M. Lecron, Self Hypnotism
Leslie M. Lecron, The Complete Guide to Hypnosis
Edward W.L. Smith, Not Just Pumping Iron
Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief
Dawson Church, The Genie In Your Genes
Stanley Mann, Triggers
Thomas Inch, On Strength
George Hackenschmidt, The Way to Live
Arthur Saxon, Text Book of Weightlifting
Eugene Sandow, System of Physical Training
George Jowett, The Key to Might and Muscle
George Jowett, The Strongest Man That Ever Lived
Maxick, Muscle Control
Brooks Kubik, Dinosaur Training
Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier, NLPU Practitioner Manual
Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier, NLPU Master Practitioner Manual

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/07/31/woman-pulls-car-off-dad-performs-cpr-to-save-his-life/
http://www.castlecraig.nl/professionals/onderzoek/additional-methadone-increases-craving-heroin/
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa013259
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18702709
http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/csa/vol26/rushall4.htm

188

M e n ta l M u s c l e

About

the

Author

ogan Christopher has been called a physical


culture renaissance man for his work in many

different areas of fitness and strength training.


While many people become experts in one specific
area he seeks to master them all.
As a performing strongman he has pulled an
antique fire truck by his hair, juggled kettlebells
that have been lit on fire, did weighted back flips,
supported half a ton in a wrestlers bridge position,
and many of the more typical oldtime strongmen feats like phonebook tearing and nail
bending.
Being born without genetic gifts for strength he sought out the best training
information to develop his strength. In addition to learning from top trainers he went
outside the field of strength training. This led him into mental training and sports
psychology which he has explored in depth, becoming an NLP Master Practitioner and
certified hypnotist. He has studied many fields from energy medicine to Chinese tonic
herbalism to help support the goals of peak performance.
He is the author of many books and DVD programs to help people increase their
strength, skills, health and mental performance. You can find more information at his
main website, http://www.LegendaryStrength.com.

189

Get Your Ultimate Blueprint for the Attainment


of Power, Functional Speed and Agility
The first physical attribute we lose as we age is our ability to generate power. Close behind is the loss of skilled, coordinated movement.
The fix is never to lose these abilities in the first place! Paul Wades
Explosive Calisthenics is the best program for developing power and
skilled movement I have seen. Just as with his previous two books,
the progressions are masterful with no fancy equipment needed.
Do yourself a favor and get this amazing work. This book will be the
gold standard for developing bodyweight power, skill, and agility.

Chris Hardy, D.O. MPH, CSCS, author, Strong Medicine


Explosive Calisthenics is an absolute Treasure Map for anybody
looking to tear down their bodys athletic limitations. Who doesnt
want to be able to kip to their feet from their back like a Bruce Lee?
Or make a backflip look easy? Paul makes you want to put down
the barbells, learn and practice these step-by-step progressions to
mastering the most explosive and impressive bodyweight movements.
The best part is? You can become an absolute Beast in under an hour
of practice a week. Way to go, Paul! AROO!

Explosive
Calisthenics

Superhuman Power, Maximum Speed

Joe Distefano, Spartan Race, Director of Training & Creator of the and Agility, Plus Combat-Ready
Spartan SGX Certification
ReflexesUsing Bodyweight-Only
Explosive Calisthenics is a masterfully constructed roadmap for the
attainment of power, functional speed, and agility.

Patrick Roth, M.D., author of The End of Back Pain: Access Your
Hidden Core to Heal Your Body
Coach Wade saved the best for last! Explosive Calisthenics
is the book all diehard Convict Conditioning fans have been
waiting for. There has never been anything like it until now!
With his trademark blend of old-school philosophy, hardearned wisdom and in-your-face humor, Coach expands his
infamous system of progressive bodyweight programming to
break down the most coveted explosive moves, including the
back flip, kip-up and muscle-up. If you want to know how far
you can go training with just your own bodyweight, you owe it
to yourself to get this book!

Al Kavadlo, author, Stretching Your Boundaries

Order Explosive Calisthenics


www.dragondoor.com/B80

Methods
By Paul Coach Wade
#B80 $39.95
eBook $19.95
Paperback 8.5 x 11 392 pages

How Do YOU Stack Up Against These


6 Signs of a TRUE Physical Specimen?
According to Paul Wades Convict Conditioning you earn the right to call
yourself a true physical specimen if you can perform the following:
each
 T LEAST one set of 5 one-arm pushups
1. A
side
each
sets
100
of
goal
E
sidewith the ELIT
ts each side
2. AT LEAST one set of 5 one-leg squa
side
each
50
of
sets
with the ELITE goal of 2
each side
3. AT LEAST a single one-arm pullup
side
each
6
with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of
ight leg raises
4. AT LEAST one set of 5 hanging stra
with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of 30
e

5. AT LEAST one stand-to-stand bridg


with the ELITE goal of 2 sets of 30

?
Well, how DO you stack up

hances are that whatever athletic level you have achieved, there are
some serious gaps in your OVERALL strength program.
Gaps that stop you short of being able to claim status as a truly
accomplished strength athlete.
The good news is thatin Convict
ConditioningPaul Wade has laid
out a brilliant 6-set system of 10
progressions which allows you to
master these elite levels. And you
could be starting at almost any age
and in almost in any condition
Paul Wade has given you the keys
ALL the keys youll ever need that
will open door, after door, after
door for you in your quest for
supreme physical excellence. Yes, it
will be the hardest work youll ever
have to do. And yes, 97% of those
who pick up Convict Conditioning,
frankly, wont have the guts and the
fortitude to make it. But if you make
it even half-way through Pauls
Progressions, youll be stronger than
almost anyone you encounter. Ever.

Order Convict Conditioning


www.dragondoor.com/B41

Heres just a small taste of what


youll get with Convict Conditioning:
Can you meet these 5 benchmarks of the truly powerful?...
Page 1
The nature and the art of real
strength Page 2
Why mastery of progressive
calisthenics is the ultimate secret for building maximum raw
strength Page 2
A dozen one-arm handstand
pushups without supportanyone? Anyone?... Page 3
How to rank in a powerlifting
championshipwithout ever
training with weights Page 4

____________

Calisthenics as a hardcore
strength training technology
Page 9
Spartan 300 calisthenics at
the Battle of Thermopolylae
Page 10
How to cultivate the perfect
bodythe Greek and Roman
way Page 10

____________

The difference between old


school and new school calisthenics Page 15
The role of prisons in preserving the older systems Page 16
Strength training as a primary
survival strategy Page 16

____________

The 6 basic benefits of bodyweight training Pages 2227


Why calisthenics are the ultimate in functional training
Page 23
The value of cultivating
self-movementrather than object-movement Page 23
The real source of strengthits
not your muscles... Page 24

____________

One crucial reason why a lot


of convicts deliberately avoid
weight-training Page 24
How to progressively

strengthen your joints over a


lifetimeand even heal old
joint injuries Page 25

____________

Why authentic exercises


like pullups are so perfect for
strength and power development Page 25
Bodyweight training for quick
physique perfection Page 26

____________

How to normalize and regulate


your body fat levelswith
bodyweight training only
Page 27
Why weight-training and the
psychology of overeating go
hand in hand Page 27

____________

The best approach for rapidly


strengthening your whole body
is this Page 30
This is the most important and
revolutionary feature of Convict Conditioning. Page 33
A jealously-guarded system for
going from puny to powerful
when your life may depend
on the speed of your results
Page 33

____________

The 6 Ultimate Master


Stepsonly a handful of athletes in the whole world can
correctly perform them all. Can
you? Page 33
How to Forge Armor-Plated
Pecs and Steel Triceps
Page 41

____________

Why the pushup is the ultimate


upper body exerciseand
better than the bench press
Page 41

____________

How to effectively bulletproof


the vulnerable rotator cuff muscles Page 42

Observe these 6 important rules for power-packed


pushups Page 42
How basketballs, baseballs and kissing-the-baby
all translate into greater strength gains Page 44
How to guarantee steel rod fingers Page 45
Do you make this stupid mistake with your push
ups? This is wrong, wrong, wrong!... Page 45
How to achieve 100 consecutive one-arm pushups
each side Page 64
Going Beyond the One-Arm Pushup Pages
6874

____________

Going up! how to build elevator-cable thighs


Page 75
Where the real strength of an athlete lies Page 75
Most athletic movements rely largely on this attribute Page 76
The first thing to go as an athlete begins to age
and what you MUST protect... Page 76
THE best way to develop truly powerful, athletic
legs Page 77

____________

The phenomenon of Lombards Paradoxand it


contributes to power-packed thighs Page 78
Why bodyweight squats blow barbell squats
away Page 79
The enormous benefits of mastering the one-leg
squat Page 80
15 secrets to impeccable squattingfor greater
power and strength Pages 8182

____________

Transform skinny legs into pillars of power, complete with steel cord quads, rock-hard glutes and
thick, shapely calves Page 102
How to achieve one hundred perfect consecutive
one-leg squats on each leg... Page 102
Going Beyond the One-Leg Squat Pages
106112
How to add conditioning, speed, agility and endurance to legs that are already awesome. Page 107

____________

How to construct a barn door backand walk


with loaded guns Page 113
Why our culture has failed to give the pullup the
respect and attention it deserves Page 113
Benefits of the pullupking of back exercises
Page 114
The dormant superpower for muscle growth waiting to be released if you only do this Page 114
Why pullups are the single best exercise for building melon-sized biceps
Page 115
Why the pullup is THE safest upper back exercise Page 115
The single most important factor to consider for
your grip choice
Page 118

____________

How to earn lats that look like wings and an upper


back sprouting muscles like coiled pythons
Page 138
How to be strong enough to rip a bodybuilders
arm off in an arm wrestling match Page 138
How to take a trip to helland steal a Satanic sixpack Page 149
The 5 absolute truths that define a genuine sixpack from hell... Page 150
This is the REAL way to gain a six-pack from
hell Page 152

Order Convict Conditioning


www.dragondoor.com/B41

How to choose authentic over artificial shoulder


movements Page 223
Why an understanding of instinctive human movement can help solve the shoulder pain problem
Page 224
Remove these two elements of pressingand
you will remove virtually all chronic shoulder
problems
Page 225
The ultimate solution for safe, pain-free, powerful
shoulders Page 225

3 big reasons whyin prisonsleg raises have


always been much more popular than sit-ups
Page 152
Why the hanging leg raise is the greatest single abdominal exercise known to man... Page 153
10 waist training secrets to help you master the
hanging leg raise Pages 154155
How to correctly perform the greatest all-round
midsection exercise in existence Page 174

____________

____________

Going beyond the hanging straight leg raise


Page 178
Setting your sights on the most powerful midsection exercise possiblethe V raise. Page 178
How to develop abdominal muscles with enormous contractile powerand iron hip strength
Page 178

____________

How to combat-proof your spine


Page 185
Why the bridge is the most important
strength-building exercise in the world Page 185
How to train your spineas if your life depended
on it Page 185
Why you should sell your barbell set and buy a
cushioned mat instead... Page 188
How to absorb punitive strikes against your
spineand bounce back smiling Page 188
Why lower back pain is the foremost plague of
athletes the world over
Page 189

____________

Why bridging is the ultimate exercise for the spinal


muscles Page 189
The 4 signs of the perfect bridge
Page 191
How to master the bridge Page 192
How to own a spine that feels like a steel whip...
Page 193
How the bridging series will grant you an incredible combination of strength paired with flexibility Page 216
Why bridging stands alone as a total training
method that facilitates development in practically
every area of fitness and health Page 216

____________

How to look exceptionally masculinewith broad,


etched, and powerful shoulders Page 219
Those vulnerable shoulderswhy they ache and
the best way to avoid or fix the pain Page 220

The mighty handstand pushup


Page 226
Using the handstand pushup to build incredibly
powerful, muscularized shoulders in a short span of
time Page 225
How to strengthen the vestibular systemusing
handstand pushups Page 225
8 secrets to help you perfect your all-important
handstand pushup technique Pages 228229

____________

Discover the ultimate shoulder and arm exercise


Page 248
Going beyond the one-arm handstand pushup
Page 252
The master of this old technique will have elbows
strong as titanium axles Page 255

____________

The cast iron principles of Convict Conditioning


success Page 259
The missing x factor of training success
Page 259
The best ways to warm up Page 260
How to create training momentum Page 262

____________

How to put strength in the bank Page 263


This is the real way to get genuine, lasting strength
and power gains Page 265
Intensitywhat it is and what it isnt Page 265
Why cycling or periodization is unnecessary
with bodyweight training Page 266
How to make consistent progress Page 266
5 powerful secrets for busting through your plateaus Page 267
The nifty little secret of consolidation training
Page 268
Living by the buzzerand the importance of regime Page 275

Convict
Conditioning

How to Bust Free of All WeaknessUsing


the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival
Strength
By Paul Coach Wade
#B41 $39.95

eBook $19.95

Paperback 8.5 x 11 320 pages


191 photos, charts and illustrations

The Experts Give High Praise to


Convict Conditioning 2
Coach Paul Wade has outdone himself. His
first book Convict Conditioning is to my mind
THE BEST book ever written on bodyweight
conditioning. Hands down. Now, with the sequel
Convict Conditioning 2, Coach Wade takes us
even deeper into the subtle nuances of training
with the ultimate resistance tool: our bodies.
In plain English, but with an amazing understanding of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology
and, go figure, psychology, Coach Wade explains
very simply how to work the smaller but just as
important areas of the body such as the hands
and forearms, neck and calves and obliques in
serious functional ways.
His minimalist approach to exercise belies the
complexity of his system and the deep insight into
exactly how the body works and the best way to
get from A to Z in the shortest time possible.
I got the best advice on how to strengthen the
hard-to-reach extensors of the hand right away
from this exercise Master I have ever seen. Its so
simple but so completely functional I cant believe
no one else has thought of it yet. Just glad he
figured it out for me.
Paul teaches us how to strengthen our bodies
with the simplest of movements while at the same
time balancing our structures in the same way:
simple exercises that work the whole body.
And just as simply as he did with his first book.
His novel approach to stretching and mobility
training is brilliant and fresh as well as his take
on recovery and healing from injury. Sprinkled
throughout the entire book are too-many-tocount insights and advice from a man who has
come to his knowledge the hard way and knows
exactly of what he speaks.
This book is, as was his first, an amazing journey
into the history of physical culture disguised as
a book on calisthenics. But the thing that Coach
Wade does better than any before him is his

unbelievable progressions on EVERY EXERCISE


and stretch! He breaks things down and tells us
EXACTLY how to proceed to get to whatever
level of strength and development we want. AND
gives us the exact metrics we need to know when
to go to the next level.
Adding in completely practical and immediately
useful insights into nutrition and the mindset
necessary to deal not only with training but with
life, makes this book a classic that will stand the
test of time.
Bravo Coach Wade, Bravo. Mark Reifkind,
Master RKC, author of Mastering the HardStyle
Kettlebell Swing

________________________

Ive been lifting weights for over 50 years and


have trained in the martial arts since 1965. Ive
read voraciously on both subjects, and written
dozens of magazine articles and many books on
the subjects. This book and Wades first, Convict
Conditioning, are by far the most commonsense,
information-packed, and result producing Ive
read. These books will truly change your life.
Paul Wade is a new and powerful voice in the
strength and fitness arena, one that is commonsense, inspiring, and in your face. His approach
to maximizing your bodys potential is not
the same old hackneyed material you find in
every book and magazine piece that pictures
steroid-bloated models screaming as they curl
weights. Wades stuff has been proven effective
by hard men who dont tolerate fluff. It will work
for you, tooguaranteed.
As an ex-cop, Ive gone mano-y-mano with
ex-cons that had clearly trained as Paul Wade
suggests in his two Convict Conditioning books.
While these guys didnt look like steroid-fueled
bodybuilders (actually, there were a couple who

Convict
Conditioning 2
Advanced Prison Training
Tactics for Muscle Gain,
Fat Loss and Bulletproof Joints
By Paul Coach Wade
#B59 $39.95
eBook $19.95
Paperback 8.5 x 11 354 pages
261 photos, charts and illustrations

Order Convict Conditioning 2


www.dragondoor.com/B59

did), all were incredibly lean, hard and powerful.


Wade blows many commonly held beliefs about
conditioning, strengthening, and eating out of the
water and replaces them with result-producing information that wont cost you a dime. Loren
W. Christensen, author of Fighting the Pain
Resistant Attacker, and many other titles

________________________

The overriding principle of Convict Conditioning 2 is little equipment-big rewards. For


the athlete in the throwing and fighting arts, the
section on Lateral Chain Training, Capturing the
Flag, is a unique and perhaps singular approach
to training the obliques and the whole family
of side muscles. This section stood out to me as
ground breaking and well worth the time and
energy by anyone to review and attempt to complete. Literally, this is a new approach to lateral
chain training that is well beyond sidebends and
suitcase deadlifts.
The authors review of passive stretching reflects
the experience of many of us in the field. But,
his solution might be the reason I am going to
recommend this work for everyone: The Trifecta.
This section covers what the author calls The
Functional Triad and gives a series of simple progressions to three holds that promise to oil your
joints. Its yoga for the strength athlete and supports the material one would find, for example,
in Pavels Loaded Stretching.
I didnt expect to like this book, but I come
away from it practically insisting that everyone
read it. It is a strongman book mixed with yoga
mixed with street smarts. I wanted to hate it,
but I love it.
Dan John, author of Dont Let Go and co-author of Easy Strength

Convict Conditioning is one of the most influential books


I ever got my hands on. Convict Conditioning 2 took my
training and outlook on the power of bodyweight training to
the 10th degreefrom strengthening the smallest muscles in a
maximal manner, all the way to using bodyweight training as
a means of healing injuries that pile up from over 22 years of
aggressive lifting.
Ive used both Convict Conditioning and Convict Conditioning 2 on myself and with my athletes. Without either of
these books I can easily say that these boys would not be the
BEASTS they are today. Without a doubt Convict Conditioning 2 will blow you away and inspire and educate you to take
bodyweight training to a whole NEW level.
Zach Even-Esh, Underground Strength Coach

Paul Wades section on developing the sides of the body in Convict Conditioning 2
is brilliant. Hardstyle! Pavel Tsatsouline, author of The Naked Warrior

Online Praise for Convict Conditioning 2


Best Sequel Since The Godfather 2!

If you liked CC1, youll love CC2

Hands down the best addition to the material on Convict Conditioning that could possibly be put out. I already implemented
the neck bridges, calf and hand training to my weekly schedule,
and as soon as my handstand pushups and leg raises are fully
loaded Ill start the flags. Thank you, Coach! Daniel Runkel,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

CC2 picks up where CC1 left off with great information about
the human flag (including a version called the clutch flag, that I
can actually do now), neck and forearms. I couldnt be happier
with this book.
Justin B., Atlanta, Georgia

The progressions
were again sublime

From the almost laughablysimple to realm-of-the-gods

Never have I heard such in depth and yet easy to understand description of training and physical culture. A perfect complement
to the first book although it has its own style keeping the best
attributes of style from the first but developing it to something
unique. The progressions were again sublime and designed for
people at all levels of ability. The two books together can forge
what will closely resemble superhuman strength and an incredible physique and yet the steps to get there are so simple and easy
to understand.
Ryan O., Nottingham, United Kingdom

Convict Conditioning 2 is a great companion piece to the


original Convict Conditioning. It helps to further build up the
athlete and does deliver on phenomenal improvement with
minimal equipment and space. The grip work is probably the
superstar of the book. Second, maybe, is the attention devoted to
the lateral muscles with the development of the clutch- and pressflag. Convict Conditioning 2 is more of the same - more of the
systematic and methodical improvement in exercises that travel
smoothly from the almost laughably-simple to realm-of-the-gods.
It is a solid addition to any fitness library. Robert Aldrich,
Chapel Hill, GA

Well worth the wait

Brilliant

Another very interesting, and as before, opinionated book by


Paul Wade. As I work through the CC1 progressions, I find its
paying off at a steady if unspectacular rate, which suits me just
fine. No training injuries worth the name, convincing gains in
strength. I expect the same with CC2 which rounds off CC1 with
just the kind of material I was looking for. Wade and Dragon
Door deserve to be highly commended for publishing these
techniques. A tremendous way to train outside of the gym ecosystem. V. R., Bangalore, India

Convict Conditioning books are all the books you need in


life. As Bruce Lee used to say, its not a daily increase but a daily
decrease. Same with life. Too many things can lead you down
many paths, but to have Simplicity is perfect.Brandon Lynch,
London, England

Very Informative
Convict Conditioning 2 is more subversive training information
in the same style as its original. Its such a great complement to
the original, but also solid enough on its own. The information in
this book is fantastic-- a great buy! Follow this program, and you
will get stronger.
Chris B., Thunder Bay, Canada

Just as brilliant as its predecessor!


Just as brilliant as its predecessor! The new exercises add to the
Big 6 in a keep-it-simple kind of way. Anyone who will put in the
time with both of these masterpieces will be as strong as humanly
possible. I especially liked the parts on grip work. To me, that
alone was worth the price of the entire book. Timothy Stovall
/ Evansville, Indiana

Order Convict Conditioning 2


www.dragondoor.com/B59

Go Beyond Mere Toughness


When You Master The Art of Bar
Athletics and Sculpt the Ultimate
in Upper Body
Raising the Bar is very likely the most important book on strength and conditioning
to be published in the last fifty years. If you only ever get your hands on one training
manual in your life, make it this one. Buy it, read it, use it. This book has the power to
transform you into the ultimate bar athlete.
Paul Coach Wade, author of Convict Conditioning

R
Raising

the Bar

The Definitive Guide to Bar Calisthenics


By Al Kavadlo
#B63 $39.95 eBook $19.95

aising the Bar breaks down every


type of exercise you can do with a
pull-up bar. From the basic two
arm hang, to the mighty muscle-up,
all the way to the elusive one arm pull-up,
bar master Al Kavadlo takes you step by expert
step through everything you need to do to build the
chiseled frame youve always wanted.
Whether youre a die-hard calisthenics
enthusiast or just looking to get in the best shape
of your life, Raising the Bar will meet all your
expectationsand then some!
The message is clear: you can earn yourself a
stunning upper body with just 3 basic moves and 1
super-simple, yet amazingly versatile tool.

With Raising the Bar, Al Kavadlo has put


forth the perfect primal pull-up program.
Als progressions and demonstrations
make even the most challenging exercises
attainable. Anyone who is serious about pullups should read this book.Mark Sisson,
author of The Primal Blueprint.

A Kick Ass Encyclopedia of


Bodyweight Exercises

Al Kavadlo has put together a kick ass


encyclopedia of the most powerful and
most commonly used bodyweight exercises
amongst the various groups of bodyweight
masters.
From the most simple form of each
exercise progressing to the most challenging
form of each exercise, Al covers it. As a Coach
and bodyweight training addict I loved all the
variations shown.This book is far beyond just
pull ups and there are countless exercises

Order Raising The Bar


www.dragondoor.com/B63

And whats even better, this 3 + 1 formula for


upper body magnificence hides enough variety to
keep you challenged and surging to new heights
for a lifetime of cool moves and ever-tougher
progressions!
Cast in the concrete jungle of urban
scaffolding and graffiti-laden, blasted wallsand
sourced from iconic bar-athlete destinations like
Tompkins Square Park, NYCRaising the Bar
rears up to grab you by the throat and hurl you into
an inspiring new vision of what the human body
can achieve. Embrace Al Kavadlos vision, pick up
the challenge, share the Quest, follow directions
and the Holy Grail of supreme upper body fitness is
yours for the taking.

for upper body and abs. Al covers what is


probably EVERY exercise he knows of, uses
and teaches others, breaking down proper
techniques, regressions and progressions.
This is HUGE for the trainers out there who
do NOT know how to adapt bodyweight
exercises to each individuals fitness level.
If youre a fan of bodyweight training,
between this book and Convict
Conditioning you can turn your body into
a deadly weapon!!! Zach Even-Esh,
Manasquan, NJ
Al has put together the companion manual
for all the crazy bar calisthenics videos that
you find yourself watching over and over
againa much needed resource. Within
this book is a huge volume of bar exercises
that will keep your pullup workouts fresh

for years, and give you some insane goals to


shoot for.

ANNOUNCING:
Announcin

Danny Kavadlos new book,

Diamond-Cut Abs

How to Engineer the Ultimate Six-Pack


Minimalist Methods for Maximal Results
Diamond-Cut Abs condenses decades
of agonizing lessons and insight into
the best book on ab-training ever
written. Hands down. PAUL WADE,
author of Convict Conditioning
Danny has done it again! Diamond-Cut Abs is a no-nonsense, results driven approach that delivers all
the goods on abs. Nutrition, training
and progression are all included, tattoos optional!
ROBB WOLF, author of The Paleo
Solution
There are a lot of abs books and products promising a six-pack. What sets
Dannys book apart is the realistic and
reasonable first section of the book
His insights into nutrition are so simple
and sound, there is a moment you wish
this book was a stand alone dieting
book.
DAN JOHN, author of Never Let Go
Danny Kavadlos book might be titled Diamond-Cut Abs but the truth
is that it goes way BEYOND just ab
training. Danny has actually created
a guide to Physical Culture & LIVING
healthy. The traditional fitness industry

has gone astray from what the body


truly needs. Since 1989, Ive read a ton
of abs-related booksand they dont
scratch the surface of whats inside
Dannys masterpiece. From powerful nutrition methods to training the
entire body with a holistic approach,
Diamond-Cut Abs is a vital addition to
anyones library. I LOVE it!
ZACH EVEN-ESH, author of The
Encyclopedia of Underground
Strength and Conditioning
As soon as I received Diamond-Cut
Abs, I flipped to the table of contents.
Amazingly I found what I have been
fruitlessly looking for in ab books for
decades: 66 pages dedicated to NUTRITION. Kavadlo passed his second
Marty audition by not echoing all the
bankrupt politically-correct, lock-step,
mainstream nutritional commandments. When Dan starts riffing about
eating like a horse, eating ample
amounts of red meat, shellfish and the
divine pig meat (along with all kinds
any types of nutrient-dense food), I
knew I had to give my first ever ab
book endorsement. When he noted
that he drank whiskey while getting
his abs into his all time best shape, it

sealed the deal for me. Oh, and the


ab exercises are excellent. MARTY
GALLAGHER, 3-Time Powerlifting
Champion, Author of The Purposeful
Primitive
Dannys new book definitely hits
the mark. Diamond-Cut Abs outlines
pretty much everything youd ever
need to know about building the best
midsection your genetic potential allows for and without the need for any
equipment. Keep up the great work,
Danny!
BJ GADDOUR, CSCS, author of
Mens Health Your Body is Your Barbell, CEO of StreamFIT.com
Danny flexes his expert advice in a
way thats solid, applicable and often
entertaining. If you want the abs of
your dreams, stop looking for the
quick solution everyone claims to have
and get ready to learn how to maximize your efforts towards your very
own set of
Diamond-Cut Abs.
MIKE FITCH, creator of Global
Bodyweight Training

DiamondCut Abs
By Danny
Kavadlo
Paperback 8.5 x 11
230 pages

$39.95

eBook $19.95

Order Diamond-Cut Abs


www.dragondoor.com/B77

Rings of Power

The Secrets of Successful Suspension Training


A Simple, Proven System for Building Sustainable Strength
If you care about getting
strong, staying strong, and
remaining injury free, Rings
of Power is essential reading.
I incorporated rings into my
own training program a couple
of years ago and am glad I did.
At 45 years old, I am able to
continue my strength pursuits
unhindered by the joint and
tendon injuries that plague
many in the over-40 athletic
community.
I wish I had Mike Gillettes
book when I started with
rings. The crystal clear
instruction on techniques and
progressions in this book would have saved me the countless
hours of often-fruitless experimentation.
Rings of Power will help you harness the power of your entire
body in optimal synergy with your nervous system to greatly
surpass the strength results seen with traditional isolation
training, while bullet-proofing your joints and tendons against
injury. The result is true, useable strength that translates to
both your most demanding athletic pursuits and your daily life.
This is a fantastic book for all ages, but absolutely essential for
the aging athlete.
DR. CHRIS HARDY, author of Strong Medicine
Finallyone of the great modern strength experts has taken
the most powerful mass and power-building tool from pro
gymnasts and liberated this tool for the rest of us... Ring work
is a very old method of total-body training, while being cutting-

edge at the same time, and Gillette is clearly a master of this


art. The finest book on this topic ever published.
When a legendary powerhouse like Mike Gillette dumps the
bench presses and preacher curls for bodyweight methods,
its probably time to put the usual junk techniques on hold and
listen up... and when Gillette tells you that he actually gained
strength and mass with his new methods while healing his old
joint problems, youd be crazy not to want to hear what he has
to say.
Possibly the best aspect of this book is that Gillette takes the
athlete all the way from weak and shaky to insanely badassstrong with just a few technical modifications, and using a
single training tool. Five stars from Paul!
PAUL WADE, author of Convict Conditioning
Mike Gillette is one of the strongest men Ive ever met in my
life. Ive seen him break bricks with his hands and bend iron
with his neck. It thrills me to see that hes applied his training
principles, both physical and mental, to the common man,
using some of the most old-school, minimalist equipment
available: suspension rings. Hell Yeah, Mike! Mr. Gillette can
teach more about strength training and body mechanics in one
hour than many could teach in a lifetime.
DANNY KAVADLO, author of Diamond-Cut Abs
Rings of Poweris simple and to the point. No fluff or
gimmicks here. Commitment to the Basics AND Technique
is the theme. If you follow through on these workouts and
methods provided by Mike, you WILL build impressive
strength from top to bottom.
ZACH EVEN-ESH, author of The Encyclopedia of
Underground Strength and Conditioning

Rings of Power

The Secrets of Successful


Suspension Training
A Simple, Proven System for
Building Sustainable Strength
By Mike Gillette
Paperback 8.5 x 11 120 pages

Book $29.95
eBook $9.95

Order Rings of Power


www.dragondoor.com/B82

1 800 899 5111

24 HOURS A DAY FAX ORDERTO: (866) 280-7619


ORDERING

INFORMATION

Telephone Orders For faster service you may place your orders
by calling Toll Free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per
year. When you call, please have your credit card ready.
Customer Service Questions? Please call us between 9:00am
11:00pm EST Monday to Friday at 1-800-899-5111. Local and
foreign customers call 513-346-4160 for orders and customer
service

100% One-Year Risk-Free Guarantee. If you are not


completely satisfied with any productwell be happy to give
you a prompt exchange, credit, or refund, as you wish. Simply
return your purchase to us, and please let us know why you
were dissatisfiedit will help us to provide better products
and services in the future. Shipping and handling fees are
non-refundable.

Complete and mail with full payment to:


Dragon Door Publications, 5 County Road B East, Suite 3, Little Canada, MN 55117
Please print clearly

Please print clearly

Sold To: Sold To: (Street address for delivery)


B
A
Name__________________________________

Name__________________________________

Street _________________________________

Street _________________________________

City ___________________________________

City ______________________________

State _____________________ Zip ________

_____

Email_______________________________

Item #

Qty.

Item Description

Item Price

HANDLING AND SHIPPING CHARGES NOCODS

Total Amount of Order Add (Excludes kettlebells and kettlebell kits):


$00.00 to 29.99 Add $7.00
$100.00 to 129.99 Add $14.00
$30.00 to 49.99 Add $6.00
$130.00 to 169.99 Add $16.00
$50.00 to 69.99 Add $8.00
$170.00 to 199.99 Add $18.00
$70.00 to 99.99 Add $11.00
$200.00 to 299.99 Add $20.00
$300.00 and up
Add $24.00

Canada and Mexico add $6.00 to US charges. All other countries, flat rate, double US
Charges. See Kettlebell section for Kettlebell Shipping and handling charges.

A or B

Total

Total of Goods
Shipping Charges
Rush Charges
Kettlebell Shipping Charges
OH residents add 6.5%
sales tax
MN residents add 6.5%

METHOD OF PAYMENT ____Check ____M.O. ____Mastercard ____Visa ____Discover ____Amex


Account No. (Please indicate all the numbers on your credit card)

EXPIRATION DATE

Day Phone: ______________________


Signature: __________________________________________ Date: _________________
NOTE: We ship best method available for your delivery address. Foreign orders are sent by air.
Credit card or International M.O. only. ForRUSH processing of your order, add an additional
$10.00 per address. Available on money order & charge card orders only.
Errors and omissions excepted. Prices subject to change without notice.

WARNING TO
FOREIGN
CUSTOMERS:
The Customs in your
country may or may not
tax or otherwise charge
you an additional fee
for goods you receive.
Dragon Door Publications
is charging you only for
U.S. handling and
international shipping.
Dragon Door Publications
is in no way responsible
for any additional fees
levied by Customs, the
carrier or any other entity.

1 800 899 5111

24 HOURS A DAY FAX ORDERTO: (866) 280-7619


ORDERING

INFORMATION

Telephone Orders For faster service you may place your orders
by calling Toll Free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per
year. When you call, please have your credit card ready.
Customer Service Questions? Please call us between 9:00am
11:00pm EST Monday to Friday at 1-800-899-5111. Local and
foreign customers call 513-346-4160 for orders and customer
service

100% One-Year Risk-Free Guarantee. If you are not


completely satisfied with any productwell be happy to give
you a prompt exchange, credit, or refund, as you wish. Simply
return your purchase to us, and please let us know why you
were dissatisfiedit will help us to provide better products
and services in the future. Shipping and handling fees are
non-refundable.

Complete and mail with full payment to:


Dragon Door Publications, 5 County Road B East, Suite 3, Little Canada, MN 55117
Please print clearly

Please print clearly

Sold To: Sold To: (Street address for delivery)


B
A
Name__________________________________

Name__________________________________

Street _________________________________

Street _________________________________

City ___________________________________

City ______________________________

State _____________________ Zip ________

_____

Email_______________________________

Item #

Qty.

Item Description

Item Price

HANDLING AND SHIPPING CHARGES NOCODS

Total Amount of Order Add (Excludes kettlebells and kettlebell kits):


$00.00 to 29.99 Add $7.00
$100.00 to 129.99 Add $14.00
$30.00 to 49.99 Add $6.00
$130.00 to 169.99 Add $16.00
$50.00 to 69.99 Add $8.00
$170.00 to 199.99 Add $18.00
$70.00 to 99.99 Add $11.00
$200.00 to 299.99 Add $20.00
$300.00 and up
Add $24.00

Canada and Mexico add $6.00 to US charges. All other countries, flat rate, double US
Charges. See Kettlebell section for Kettlebell Shipping and handling charges.

A or B

Total

Total of Goods
Shipping Charges
Rush Charges
Kettlebell Shipping Charges
OH residents add 6.5%
sales tax
MN residents add 6.5%

METHOD OF PAYMENT ____Check ____M.O. ____Mastercard ____Visa ____Discover ____Amex


Account No. (Please indicate all the numbers on your credit card)

EXPIRATION DATE

Day Phone: ______________________


Signature: __________________________________________ Date: _________________
NOTE: We ship best method available for your delivery address. Foreign orders are sent by air.
Credit card or International M.O. only. ForRUSH processing of your order, add an additional
$10.00 per address. Available on money order & charge card orders only.
Errors and omissions excepted. Prices subject to change without notice.

WARNING TO
FOREIGN
CUSTOMERS:
The Customs in your
country may or may not
tax or otherwise charge
you an additional fee
for goods you receive.
Dragon Door Publications
is charging you only for
U.S. handling and
international shipping.
Dragon Door Publications
is in no way responsible
for any additional fees
levied by Customs, the
carrier or any other entity.