Attentional Focus Explained Simply

Attentional Focus – All You Need To Know

In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about Attentional Focus, defining exactly what it is, exploring the two primary types, which is more effective and more.

What Is Attentional Focus?

Attentional Focus (AF), in the context of exercise performance, refers to where an individual directs their focus whilst engaged in an activity. More simply, it is where we allocate mental resources.

Understanding AF is key to optimising workout programmes with the goal of maximising muscle growth.

Internal Versus External Attentional Focus

There are 2 types of Attentional Focus: Internal and External.

Internal AF refers to focusing on the internal process of an activity, for example, contracting a muscle. External AF refers to focusing on the external result of an activity, for example, completing a rep.

Internal AF is based on the cause of our actions. External AF is based on the effect of our actions.

Internal AF tends to be more qualitative. External AF tends to be more quantitative.

Internal AF induces a deliberate and conscious type of control. External AF induces an automatic and unconscious type of control.

Which Is More Effective For Bodybuilding?

In the context of bodybuilding, whether you should use internal or external Attentional Focus depends on your goal.

Studies show that an internal Attentional Focus is more conducive for muscle size while an external Attentional Focus is more conducive for muscle strength.

Therefore, if your goal is increasing the size of your muscles, then you should leverage internal AF and if your goal is to increase the strength of your muscles, then you should leverage external AF. If your goal is both muscle size and strength, then you should integrate both into your routine then you you leverage both internal and external AF.

Summary

Attentional Focus refers to where an individual directs their mental recourses whilst engaged in an activity.

The 2 types of Attentional Focus are internal and external. If your goal is increasing muscle size, you should maximise internal AF. If your goal is increasing muscle strength, you should maximise external AF.

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