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One of the biggest factors that determine whether or not you’ll see the results you want comes down to your weightlifting technique, and how you create tension.

People spend a lot of time thinking about how many sets and reps they should perform, and when and how often they should change those numbers over time.

Most people, however, don’t spend nearly as much time on engaging their muscle tissues when they lift. This is where weightlifting technique comes into play. If you want to start seeing your efforts pay off, it’s time to learn that it’s not always what exercises you do, but how you do them.

On almost any exercise, even bodyweight movements like planks or pushups, full-body tension can dictate what you get out of the exercise and help put your body in an optimal position.

What do I mean when I say “full-body” tension? Exactly that: Your entire body. It has to literally be from toes to forehead.

In addition to making exercise more efficient, learning to create tension can improve the “mind-muscle connection.  Doing this can increase certain muscle activations, so focusing on tension should help you produce better results.

When you start trying to create full-body tension in your workouts, you’ll probably feel weaker at first. While your performance and number of reps may suffer at first, you will be making strength gains and eventually surpass your previous numbers and be stronger than you were.

Here are 5 areas to focus on when trying the tension technique:

Your Grip-

Probably the easiest trick to learn is gripping the bar.  What you want is to have every finger in your hands be at an I’m about to crush this bar! level. The tension will radiate out from your hands.

Your Core

Bracing your core when you train, will make a big difference in squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and you’ll provide more support and stability to your spine.

Training core stability outside of your full-body lifts is also a great idea!

Your Shoulders

pretend like you’re squeezing an orange in your armpit during the entire rep and you’re trying to make orange juice on lifts like the Deadlift. Try it, and you might be surprised what you feel in your shoulders and back, and how much lighter the weight becomes.

Your Butt/Glutes

On just about every exercise where you’re standing, your butt should not be relaxed. You want it engaged and supporting your body. What’s that mean? Squeeze the cheeks, or even turn coal into a diamond in your butt cheeks.

Your Feet

Just as your grip can help you generate tension throughout your arms, firmly pressing your feet—and especially your toes—into the ground can send tension up your lower legs.

Ready to start putting these tips to work and getting more out of your training?

Full-body tension takes time—sometimes a lot of it—to master. Tension is an under appreciated concept and is something you can be getting better at no matter your experience level.

Spread the word!

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