Relaxation: The Key To Success!

Do we truly understand the stress we place upon all our varying joints and muscle from strenuous physical activity? Learn why relaxing is so important!
Relaxation, kind of similar to recovery huh? Well, not really. Many times as bodybuilders we have our game face running 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We strain and strive to pump those last reps, to drive our body past the limits our mind wants to hold us at. Do we truly understand the stress we place upon all our varying joints and muscle from strenuous physical activity? Our bodies suffer tremendously from the stress we place upon them day in and out toiling under weights that tear us apart and reform us into living machines.

I have developed a technique that can offset this stress and fatigue. It will drive your workouts into uncovered territory, and your recovery will change and become more efficient. The stress and strain can now be combated, and recovery is going to occur faster than you previously thought possible. What and how can we experience a better workout with quicker recovery you ask? Through the use of set preparation, and relaxation of course.

Set Preparation

Set preparation (coined by myself) is the activity of mentally and physically preparing yourself for the upcoming set. It includes actively thinking of what you want to achieve with your next set, and the physical motions of actually relaxing the muscles before the set takes place. You must purposefully relax each muscle group to the best of your ability before each new set, and clear your mind of any distractions or disturbances. This will give you that edge that you might have been looking for.

The concept of mental preparation isn't new, but that of muscle relaxation between each set is. It has been proven that when our muscles are relaxed only then can they produce the maximum contractile ability possible. If you are tense and wound up from your all out set, do you think your muscles will be able to stretch and contract to the best of their ability every set from then on? Would you like an extra 10-15% power in each and every lift? Well maybe its time you begin to relax.

Most often between each set we are still tense and psyched up from our previous set. We've been thinking about work, women, our future, and how much we want to rip those weights in half and become the hulking monsters we hope to one day become, but aside from the mental focus and intensity, the actual tensing of your muscles in response to your attitude actually hinders your upcoming ability to produce the best sets possible. If I don't have to live with extra stress and strain upon my muscles, producing less contractile force and strength than possible, I definitely want to know what I can do. The tension you've inadvertently placed upon the muscles is keeping them under some strain, and not allowing them the full relaxation that could be taking place. If they aren't full relaxed, how can they go from full relaxation to maximum contraction to bring out the highest possible lifts you're capable of? Your right, they can't. So its time to start employing set preparation every so often in order to enhance your training and improve your workouts.

Getting Your Oxygen Flowing

The first thing you need to do when finishing your last set is to take several deep breathes. Breathe deeply and get that oxygen flowing to your brain and body, and while you're at it consume some water and keep those insides lubricated. You want to be in tip top shape for that next set, and you will be. Begin by standing still and clearing your mind off the garbage and stress it's experiencing right now. You've just been psyched up for a set, and its time to wind down and calm down. Once you've cleared the clutter, begin to progressively relax each major muscle group down to your toes. When these muscles are relaxed, they will feel like they are giving off a tingling sensation, and your legs will feel like they are going to give way underneath you.

Now down to the neck, through the shoulders and into the chest, and finally continue down and finish. Feels pretty good doesn't it? Wait until you hit those weights. Now finish up your relaxation with some visualization. See yourself lifting heavier weights and producing more reps. See your muscles stretching and growing, and your body changing into the extraordinary piece of artwork it was meant to be. Now take a few seconds to get psyched and hit those weights hard! Now after you've done this technique for a while, you will be able to relax at whim, and will begin producing some of the best workouts of your life.

"I personally relax my entire body occasionally when I go to bed and find that I fall asleep much easier."

So you want to begin making sure you relax between each set, while this technique won't just benefit your bodybuilding, it will carry over into many other daily activities, such as when you sleep and go about your work each day. I personally relax my entire body occasionally when I go to bed and find that I fall asleep much easier. You will immediately reap the benefits of this practice as your lifts go up and your muscles produce much more output than previously thought possible. Your flexibility will also increase as you've given your muscles time to relax and return to their former lengths and positions.


Set preparation will work for you if you give it a convincing effort. It might be frustrating at first to mentally and physically attempt to relax your body but you will love the feeling once you are able to do it anytime anywhere. So you've got the tools to take your mental and physical limits to their peak, now go do it. Set preparation is a new concept for most people, but its something that can dramatically increase the results you experience on your journey to become the best bodybuilder you can be. Use it, and reach the next level.

Jonathan S.

If you have anymore questions you can e-mail me at or Instant message me at my name WorldMuscle.