Vince Gironda, trainer of champions, referred to what he called the Alpha State. The Alpha State is when your body disassociates with any pre-conceived notions about what it is capable, pushing past any previous barriers with a vengeance.
Not merely passing your previous performance with a rep or 2 but completely blowing it out of the water. Your mind and your body are one and there is nothing else in the world. It is one of those training sessions where you are super-human and you can do anything.
In Vince's own words:
“You will also find that in this alpha state that the passage of time no longer exists and that your former imagined limitations no longer exist. (Train over your head.) You will discover a new reality heretofore never experiences. That of the absence of limitations formerly imagined. Your capabilities are unlimited if you can achieve this mystical state. I personally believe that from my observations of champions, and I have said this before many times in my writings, that they No.1, desire to make changes in their bodies and physiological changes take place, that logically should not and cannot take place, but lo and behold, they actually do.
So, to put it into plain English, you do not and cannot build anything without first making a mental blue print. This visualization and the faith to believe that you cannot fail, is the answer to the (illogical) miracles I have observed take place before my eyes. I have seen changes in bone structure (narrowing of hips) that physiologically were impossible to change. So if you don’t believe in miracles, you have never experienced one. My life is full of miracles. There is not a day that passes that I do not experience one. So don’t be afraid to ask, because you must, if you wish to receive. You create with your mind and don’t you ever doubt this.”
“Productive workouts can never be experienced until you let go of all your fears, frustrations, tensions, doubts and indecisions. When this happens a blinding light of total awareness engulfs you.
Example: I first experienced this takeover when I was sitting behind my preacher bench waiting my turn to perform my next set. This particular bench I've always maintained has a life of its own. This is due to the fact that so many famous bodybuilders have literally stood behind it and “prayed” for the magic that they know it contains.
I have never failed to observe the reverence displayed by any man who uses this bench. They all know that no one has ever been able to duplicate the magic proportions that this particular bench embodies. Try to copy it as they have, no one to this day has ever succeeded.
To get on with my story, the man before me finished his set and stepped aside. I picked up my Olympic barbell, took the proper grip, placed my elbows at the top of the bench and with both feet parallel, lowered the barbell smoothly to the low position, then slowly curled the bar to my front deltoids.
I was only interested in working the muscle in good, slow, smooth form (balanced cadence). No number of reps in mind. Just a good honest set in as perfect form as I could manage.
The number of reps I usually did was 12. But due to the fact that I had achieved a total alpha state during the waiting period my body disassociated the reps factor and I performed 24 reps with no more effort or strain than if I had performed the usual 12 reps.
The example I am trying to give is simply that if you limit yourself to any number of reps that is all you will do. I had somehow rejected the fact that 12 reps was my limit.” – Vince Gironda
Several months ago I was at a park for a festival. In China all the parks have pull-up bars, monkey bars, dip bars and various exercise apparatus. I was walking around with my lovely lady friend and came upon some monkey bars. Anyone who knows me knows that anytime I am in the vicinity of any sort of bar, pull-ups will be done.
I stepped up to do my usual 10-12 pull-ups (overhand grip, palms facing away) for fun. There were a few people watching, including my lady friend and this upped the ante. 3 or 4 pull-ups in, my lady friend said something like “Let's see how many you can do!”. With no more exertion than I would use on 10 pull-ups I did a full 24 pull-ups.
Impossible to accomplish before or since, at that moment in time it was as easy as doing only a few pull-ups and, at minimum, it is 9 more pull-ups than I have ever been able to do.
Leave a comment and tell us about a time you reached the Alpha State. When was a time you didn't just surpass past performance but smashed your way through it? And how did it happen?