There are two main ways to train through attentional focus. Meaning what you think about while you are lifting weights. They will be externally focused (thinking about the movement, proper form) or internally focused (thinking about activating the muscle you are training. You hear this done various ways while we are coaching you in the gym. Internal focus would be what is known as “mind muscle connection”. A common example of this would be when squatting we tell you to focus on squeezing your glutes.
When to use what.
If you are a beginner, we would start with external force always focusing on perfecting form and moving your body through the movement first. Another time you might focus on external force would be if you need to focus on increasing your 1rm for a meet or have to improve a skill like jumping higher for basketball.
Internal force is beneficial for hypertrophy, helps to have someone cue you to activate a specific muscle. It is also beneficial for someone recovering from an injury trying to build their strength back up.
The mind is a powerful tool use it to become stronger in all ways!!