A repetition is an event

“Remember Ar-aaaash, make every repetition a separate event.”

These were the words, expressed in his slow, charming Alabama drawl, of one of my trainers a while back during a rather challenging exercise. He was a corky guy, eccentric yet affable, and I probably only worked with him a handful of times, but he had an eclectic knowledge of the body and liked to share his experience which was largely based on his years as a professional body builder.

He said that when it comes to many repetitive exercises, most people think only about completing the desired number of repetitions. Instead of that approach, he suggested that it’s not important whether you’re doing six, ten, or twenty repetitions but that you shift the focus from the completion of the entire set to an intense concentration on each repetition as its own end goal.

Clearly, the idea of “making each repetition count” wasn’t a new one at all, but the way he expressed it, his suggestion to think of each as an “event,” resonated with me.

The reason I’m thinking, and writing, about this now is that I’ve reached a point now in my rehabilitation where this advice is especially useful. In the last couple of months, much of what I’m working on has been extremely specific, focused and calculated exercises targeting small muscles and newly established and still weak neurological connections. These aren’t movements I can just complete unconsciously or with minimal attention. Now, I have to concentrate more than ever to turn on certain muscles, turn off other muscles that want to take over and dominate the movement and give every ounce of mental energy I have to try to strengthen a dormant or underutilized neurological connection.

After all this time, it’s still really hard for me to describe what it feels like to deal with a damaged neurological system.

It’s not like anything I ever experienced before my accident. It’s nothing like being on a long run or bike ride and battling complete exhaustion to fight through to the end. It’s not like being in a weight room and challenging a previous feat by adding a heavier weight, gritting your teeth and muscling through the movement. Nor is it like getting into a challenging yoga pose and trying to contort your body into a pretzel-shaped position.

I have to concentrate so much more on each specific aspect of my movement because I’m not only engaging the muscles that I do have control of, but I’m trying to reestablish those damaged connections. That’s why treating each repetition as a separate event is such great advice. It slows the entire process down, demands tremendous brainpower and forces me to prepare, complete and analyze each repetition with focus and determination. I also like that it can be applied to any repetitive movement or practice, not just physical exercise and it allows me not to take any practice for granted. Slowing down and treating each repetition as its own event can only benefit my continued recovery.

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18 thoughts on “A repetition is an event

  1. I love that approach. Thanks for passing it along

     You certainly are educating and sharing too many people in theindustry. Your blog is infected and I can’t respond to it. My Panda securityblocks access. Vince Nash

    From: Arash Recovery To: vnmnvn@yahoo.ca Sent: Monday, January 5, 2015 9:06 PM Subject: [New post] A repetition is an event #yiv2374217055 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2374217055 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2374217055 a.yiv2374217055primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2374217055 a.yiv2374217055primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2374217055 a.yiv2374217055primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2374217055 a.yiv2374217055primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2374217055 WordPress.com | AB posted: “”Remember Ar-aaaash, make every repetition a separate event.”These were the words, expressed in his slow, charming Alabama drawl, of one of my trainers a while back during a rather challenging exercise. He was a corky guy, eccentric yet affable, and I” | |

  2. It reminds me of zen; each repetition is an event to be celebrated in and of itself. it is actively engaging in what you are trying to do and not being passive or assuming success without huge effort each time you do a repetition. thank you for sharing what it is like.

  3. Thank you Arash. You are inspiring as ever – this time you inspire me to be in the moment focussing on what I am doing at any one time and making it count. I can feel how difficult it is to do what you are doing – the tremendous focus and presence you need to carry out these exercises – all I can say is that from my perspective, I understand that you are building a great power in doing this. Who knows what this power will bring to you? All my very best wishes, Melanie 🙂

    1. Maybe I’m building up the power to rule the world!!! Just kidding… Yes the focus and concentration are there, and it IS difficult but I appreciate being able to slow down and be in the moment. I think it will only help in the future. -AB

  4. I tend to forget that not only are you building the muscle, but also rebuilding the connection in your brain, this post was a great way to explain it in terms I could understand – and respect the progress you’ve made even more! Sending you healing energy as you continue this journey making every repetition a separate event!

    1. I’m so glad I could clarify! I know so much of what I write about is probably so esoteric and unfamiliar to most people so I’m happy I could get through and explain it a bit. Thanks for the positive words -AB

  5. Deeply inspiring as always Arash. I so look forward to your posts. Thank you for bringing us along in this journey with you. I’m forever changed because of the perspective you’ve granted.

    Sending so much Kiva Love your way and may 2015 be filled with many blessings for you and your loved ones! 🙂

    1. Many thanks to you. I’m receive that Kiva love happily. Hope you’re doing well and thanks for keeping up with my story. Best to you. -AB

  6. …nor does reconnecting feel like the mental calisthenics of sculpting an argument in an essay or coming up with the perfect birthday gift. It involves elements of these, and of the exercises you mention, but it is far less simple, far more nebulous. Good work making each action discrete; I hope you weren’t multitasking when you were writing…!

  7. Hi Arash. Carol and I have been following your progress and process since the accident. We’re thinking of you, and get much inspiration from your blog. Much love to you and your parents, Jeff Diamond

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