Look Here to Get Stronger

A few blogs back I wrote about the importance of vision and how it helps dictate posture and movement. In this blog, we will explore how the direction you look toward can help improve your strength. Considering that we receive 70-90% of the stimuli from the world around us through our eyes, it makes sense that our body would react to what we see. The body will actually experience a muscular reflex when the eyes move in different directions. Therefore, we can utilize the reflex to help turn on the appropriate muscle in an exercise.

You can experience the reflex easily enough. Stand comfortably on both feet in a neutral posture. Look upward. Did you lift your head, or experience how your head tilted slightly up, or how your chest began to lift? Next look down. Did you find your head dropping?

The body moves in the direction the eyes look. It is a basic survival instinct. We want to be prepared to face whatever is coming at us. This means that when we look up we turn on the extensor muscles of the body. When we look down we engage the flexor muscles. When we look to the side our body rotates in that direction. Below is a list of common gym exercises with the suggested eye position to hold. For instance, if you were going to perform a standard biceps curl, that is an act of flexion, you will want to look down when performing the movement. You may want to drive the eyes up on the next set to compare the two and see if keeping your eyes down was of any help.

This does not mean that you should always drive your eyes in the direction of the movement. It is just a starting point to make sure your body is activating the proper muscles. Ultimately it would be great to have your eyes drive in different directions when performing any exercise. Consider it multi-tasking.

Eyes Up Exercises:

  • Squats
  • Push Ups
  • Triceps Pushdowns

Eyes Down Exercises:

  • Pulldowns
  • Biceps Curl
  • Abdominal Crunch

Eyes Left Exercises:

  • Left Leg Lunge
  • Left Cable Rotation
  • Right Arm Cable Press

Eyes Right Exercises:

  • Right Leg Lunge
  • Right Cable Rotation
  • Left Arm Cable Press
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