How Focus Can Improve Your Fitness Performance

How Focus Can Improve Your Fitness Performance

Focus…it’s crucial to success in all areas of life, and it’s essential to maximizing results from your workouts. Today we’ll share an excellent tip that will show you how focus can improve your fitness performance up to 20%.

For the fitness nerds like me, you’ll appreciate hypertrophy specialist Brad Schoenfeld’s excellent study that explains why you want to have a unique focus on different parts of your workout.

Here’s the main points…

Improve Muscle Building By Focusing On The Muscle

When you’re performing mid to higher reps (6-20) you will get a 13 to 20% improvement in muscle activation (EMG) if you focus on the muscle you’re targeting while performing the movement. For example, if you’re doing bench press, thinking about your pecs throughout the movement. Or if you’re doing Hip Thrusts, thinking about squeezing your glutes. This is essential to building muscle and shaping your ideal body. These are known as “internal ques”.

Achieve Optimal Strength By Focusing On External Ques

When you’re performing strength movements you’ll increase strength optimally by focusing on external ques. For example, on a Barbell Squat, you’ll move more weight by using ques such as “Hips back and down. Push through your feet evenly.” By thinking about a particular muscle it will decrease your performance.

Where It Gets Interesting….

For some movements, both sets of ques are valuable, depending on the rep range and your goals. For example, Barbell Hip Thrusts or Bridges should use external ques (“Hips up”) for low rep sets and internal ques (“squeeze your glutes”) on higher rep sets.

Often times, we’ll coach a combination of the two types of ques at Faster Fitness to get the best of both worlds with a Hip Thrust que of “Raise your hips up, squeeze your glutes at the top.”

While that may seem insignificant, it’s up to a 20% increase in your fitness performance and benefits every time!

Other Key Factors

The main things that separates people that achieve their ideal body from those that do not, is their consistency and focus. Training consistently, living a healthy lifestyle (sleep, stress, alcohol, nutrition, etc) focusing every set and giving great effort will lead to superior results from the compound effect of smart choices.

But you have to have a program that features the right kinds of exercises, number of sets, and other training variables that allow those improvements to happen. So if you want to be lean and athletic, favor barbells over light weight exercises so you can progress on key movements such as Deadlifts, Squats as forth. Save the kettlebells for cardio 😉

If you follow a great program and focus on internal ques at the right time, you’ll be able to get results like many of our clients, including my wife Savanna:

What About Metabolic Conditioning Movements?

I thought you might ask that.

We generally suggest focusing on the movement (aka external ques) to clear your mind and allow for maximum speed and performance.


In closing, training with intention as much as possible will go a LONG way to help you look and feel how you want so you hit your fitness performance and other goals.

If you’re interested in learning how our coaches can help you achieve your goals, please check out our Group Personal Training or Personal Training program.

About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.