Meditating a Better Power Clean

Hope Everyone Had a Great Weekend!

I got to do some reading this weekend.  I poked around for some literature on meditation and skill acquisition.  I turned up two interesting papers on the subject.  I couldn’t turn up anything directly studying meditation and skill acquisition.  But, these papers have some interesting findings I find relevant.

Here are the two papers I read:

Levy, D., Wobbrock, J., Kaszniak, A. & Ostergren, M. (2012). The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in a High-Stress Information Environment. Proceedings of Graphics Interface. 45-52.

Davidson, R., and Lutz, A. (2008). Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation.  IEEE Signal Processes Mag. Jan 1, 2008; 25(1): 174-176.

Paper 1 studies a 3 groups of office workers. Group 1 received testing after an 8 week meditation training. Group 2 received testing after a waiting period and then underwent the same 8 week meditation training. The last group received 8 weeks of training in body relaxation.

Those trained in meditation demonstrated ability to focus on tasks longer. They also reported feeling more satisfied with their performance.

Paper 2 is by a psychologist at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior. To better understand the effect meditation has on the brain, the Dalai Lama requested US researchers test a group of Tibetan Monks. The Tibetan Monks accumulate thousands of hours of meditation in their lifetimes. Research showed that the Tibetan Monks had heightened electrical activity in regions of the brain associated with attention and emotion. The research also noted a spike in activity in the left pre-frontal cortex: the region associated with positive emotions.

For Me This Is Interesting

See I am one of those guys who tries to do 100 things at once and often doesn’t end up getting much accomplished. It’s frustrating. I have 50 tabs open on my internet browser, and my distractions draw my focus in lots of directions. I’m distracted easily and then I forget what I was trying to do!

I’ve identified this as a problem I need to fix. My ability to focus correlates to my ability to perform well, and learn new things. This act of distraction resistance must also help to control impulses and emotions.

There Seems to Be Scientific Evidence

Which supports the notion that meditation can improve these areas of weakness. But how did my experimentation go?

Last week my goal was to practice some of my olympic lifts and then meditate for 10 minutes following. I wanted to see if brief meditation (like sleep) improves motor skill acquisition. Here are my takeaways:

1. Meditation is a skill like any other. It takes practice to master, but it is quite rewarding.
2. I didn’t practice the lifts every day (I did the meditation). On days that I did practice back to back, I noticed on the second day my lifts felt much smoother and came more naturally. Related to the meditation? Hard to say, but I’m sure it isn’t hurting my performance.
3. Too early to draw any significant conclusions, but I plan to continue because I can see the value.

As With Anything, Studies Are

Sometimes misleading.  With something like meditation, it’s tough to really say if meditation alone greatly affects performance.  I find the Tibetan Monk study compelling evidence though, and plan on making mindfulness a skill on my list.

A Reminder…

The combine is fast approaching.  Look for an email this week explaining why you should participate, and addressing some of the biggest concerns I’ve heard from people.

The O-Board Says…

A. Front Squat
Work up to a heavy 6 repetition set, then
5-4-3-2-1 at the same weight

B. 2 Rounds for Time
600m Run
30 Push Press
30 Toes to Bar

Posted by: Stets