Advertisement

Sports Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 47–58 | Cite as

‘Psyching-Up’ and Muscular Force Production

  • David TodEmail author
  • Fiona Iredale
  • Nicholas Gill
Review Article

Abstract

Psyching-up refers to self-directed cognitive strategies used immediately prior to or during skill execution that are designed to enhance performance. This review focuses on research that has investigated the effect of psyching-up on force production; specifically, strength, muscular endurance and power. Although firm conclusions are not possible, the research tentatively suggests that psyching-up may enhance performance during dynamic tasks requiring strength and/or muscular endurance. However, more research is required. Power has received scant empirical attention and there are not enough data to support any conclusions. Preparatory arousal appears to be the most effective strategy although other strategies like imagery, self-talk and attentional focus also have empirical support. The range of tasks that have been used to measure force production have been limited tomovements such as handgrip, leg extension, bench press, sit-ups, pressups, pull-ups, and the standing broad jump. Additionally, most studies have used undergraduate and/or untrained samples. Only a very small number of studies have examined well-trained individuals. Currently, no explanation for why psyching-up may influence force production has any substantive support. Although a small number of studies have examined moderating and mediating variables, few consistent patterns have emerged and knowledge in this area is somewhat restricted. Given the importance that many athletes place on their mental preparation just prior to performance this is an area that warrants further examination. Research needs to examine a range of complex sport-specific tasks and use well-trained samples. Additionally, research needs to further examine why psyching-up may enhance force production.

Keywords

Force Production Handgrip Strength Bench Press Rugby Union Training History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Dr Michael McGuigan from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Mr Graeme Thomas from the Waikato Institute of Technology and the two independent reviewers for their helpful comments. The authors received funding from the Waikato Institute of Technology to assist in the preparation of this manuscript. The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.

References

  1. 1.
    Shelton TO, Mahoney MJ. The content and effect of “psyching up” strategies in weight lifters. Cognit Ther Res 1978; 2: 275–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brody EB, Hatfield BD, Spalding TW, et al. The effect of a psyching strategy on neuromuscular activation and force production in strength-trained men. Res Q Exerc Sport 2000; 71: 162–70PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hardy L, Jones G, Gould D. Understanding psychological preparation for sport: theory and practice of elite performers. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1996Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Harman E, Garhammer J, Pandorf C. Administration, scoring, and interpretation of selected tests. In: Baechle TR, Earle RW, editors. Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 2000: 287–317Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kraemer WJ, Fry AC. Strength training: development and evaluation of methodology. In: Maud PJ, Foster C, editors. Physiological assessment of human fitness. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1995: 115–38Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Abernethy P, Wilson G, Logan P. Strength and power assessment: issues, controversies and challenges. Sports Med 1995; 19: 401–17PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elko K, Ostrow AC. The effects of three mental preparation strategies on strength performance of young and older adults. J Sport Behav 1992; 15: 34–41Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gould D, Weinberg RS, Jackson A. Mental preparation strategies, cognitions and strength performance. J Sport Psychol 1980; 2: 329–39Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Theodorakis Y, Weinberg R, Natsis P, et al. The effects of motivational versus instructional self-talk on improving motor performance. Sport Psychol 2000; 14: 253–72Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tynes LL, McFatter RM. The efficacy of “psyching” strategies on a weight-lifting task. Cognit Ther Res 1987; 11: 327–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Weinberg RS, Gould D, Jackson A. Cognition and motor performance: effect of psyching-up strategies on three motor tasks. Cognit Ther Res 1980; 4: 239–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Weinberg RS, Gould D, Jackson A. Relationship between the duration of the psych-up interval and strength performance. J Sport Psychol 1981; 3: 166–70Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Whelan JP, Epkins CC, Meyers AW. Arousal interventions for athletic performance: influence of mental preparation and competitive experience. Anxiety Res 1990; 2: 293–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wilkes RL, Summers JJ. Cognitions, mediating variables, and strength performance. J Sport Psychol 1984; 6: 351–9Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tod D, Iredale F, McGuigan M, et al. Psyching-up increases force production in the bench press exercise [abstract]. Sports Science Conference, Annual Conference, Sport Science New Zealand; 2002 Oct 31-Nov 2; Wellington, 109Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Murphy SM, Woolfolk RL, Budney AJ. The effects of emotive imagery on strength performance. J Sport Exerc Psychol 1988; 10: 334–45Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pierce EF, McGowan RW, Eastman NW, et al. Effects of progressive relaxation on maximal muscle strength and power. J Strength Cond Res 1993; 7: 216–8Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tenenbaum G, Bar-Eli M, Hoffman JR, et al. The effects of cognitive and somatic psyching-up techniques on isokinetic leg strength performance. J Strength Cond Res 1995; 9: 3–7Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Blazevich A, Newton R, Gill N. Reliability and validity of two isometric squat tests. J Strength Cond Res 2002; 16: 298–304PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Murphy AJ, Wilson GJ. Poor correlations between isometric tests and dynamic performance: relationship to muscle activation. Eur J Appl Physiol 1996; 73: 353–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wilson GJ, Murphy AJ. The use of isometric tests of muscular function in athletic assessment. Sports Med 1996; 22: 19–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schmidt RA, Wrisberg CA. Motor learning and performance. 2nd ed. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 2000Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Caudill D, Weinberg RS. The effects of varying the length of the pysch-up interval on motor performance. J Sport Behav 1983; 6: 86–91Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lee C. Psyching up for a muscular endurance task: effects of image content on performance and mood state. J Sport Exerc Psychol 1990; 12: 66–73Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Weinberg RS, Jackson A, Seaboune T. The effects of specific vs nonspecific mental preparation strategies on strength and endurance performance. J Sport Behav 1985; 8: 175–80Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Biddle SJH. Mental preparation, mental practice and strength tasks: a need for clarification. J Sports Sci 1985; 3: 67–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nisbett RE, Wilson TD. Telling more than we can know: verbal reports on mental processes. Psychol Rev 1977; 84: 231–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Perkins D, Wilson GV, Kerr JH. The effects of elevated arousal and mood on maximal strength performance in athletes. J Appl Sport Psychol 2001; 13: 239–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Berntson GG, Cacioppo JT, Quigley KS. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia: autonomic organs, physiological mechanisms, and psychophysiological implications. Psychophysiology 1993; 30: 183–96PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bigland-Ritichie R. EMG/force relations and fatigue of human voluntary contractions. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 1981; 9: 75–117Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Carroll TJ, Riek S, Carson RG. Neural adaptations to resistance training. Sports Med 2001; 31: 829–40PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Green HJ. What do tests measure? In: MacDougall JD, Wenger HA, Green HJ, editors. Physiological testing of the high-performance athlete. 2nd ed. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1991: 7–20Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Enoka RM. Neuromechanical basis of kinesiology. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1994Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Geiger PC, Cody MJ, Sieck GC. Force-calcium relationship depends on myosin heavy chain and troponin isoforms in rat diaphragm muscle fibers. J Appl Physiol 1999; 87: 1894–900PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Luttgens K, Hamilton N. Kinesiology: scientific basis of human motion. 9th ed. Boston (MA): WCB McGraw-Hill, 1997Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Bray JJ, Cragg PA, MacKnight ADC, et al. Lecture notes on human physiology. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1994Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Atha J. Strengthening muscle. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 1981; 9: 1–73PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Thomas JR, Nelson JK. Research methods in physical activity. 3rd ed. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1996Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Murphy SM, Woolfolk RL. The effects of cognitive interventions on competitive anxiety and performance on a fine motor skill accuracy task. Int J Sport Psychol 1987; 18: 152–66Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport Science, School of Human Movement, Recreation and PerformanceVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Waikato Institute of TechnologyHamiltonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations