The aims of the present review were to i provide a critical overview of the current literature on the effects of mental imagery on muscular strength in healthy participants and patients with immobilization of the upper extremity i. This paper also discusses the theoretical Athlete dating reality vs imagination library practical implications of the contemporary literature and suggests possible directions for future research.
Overall, the results reveal that the combination of mental imagery and physical practice is more efficient than, or at least comparable to, physical execution with respect to strength performance. Imagery prevention intervention was also effective in reducing of strength loss after short-term muscle immobilization and ACL.
The present review also indicates advantageous effects of internal imagery range from 2.
Thus, in samples of students, novices, or youth male and female athletes, internal mental imagery has a greater effect on muscle strength than external mental imagery does. Imagery ability, motivation, and self-efficacy have been shown to be the variables mediating the effect of mental imagery on strength performance. Finally, the greater effects of internal imagery than those of external imagery could be explained in terms of neural adaptations, stronger brain activation, higher muscle excitation, greater somatic and sensorimotor activation and physiological responses such as blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate.
However, sport and exercise psychologists have reported that strength athletes need to undertake some form of psyching-up prior to performance, both in training and competition McCormick et al.
Athlete dating reality vs imagination library strategies include mental imagery.
This psyching-up technique has been applied to a reduce muscle fatigue, b improve strength performance in sports without sensorial input, Athlete dating reality vs imagination library mental training with perceptual experiences, which includes simulations of movements and specific task perceptions and c enhance motor recovery in patients after injuries Reiser et al.
This technique has become one of the most widely used simulation tools and performance enhancement strategies in sports psychological interventions Cumming and Williams, ; Slimani et al. Recent research has shown that mental imagery improves motor tasks muscular power: As will be discussed, a few early researches suggest that mental imagery training may improve functional recovery after short-term muscle immobilization and anterior cruciate ligament ACL by the reduction of strength loss Clark et al.
Mental imagery can be carried out in various forms, including the auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, kinesthetic, and visual modes Cumming and Williams, Furthermore, mental imagery can be performed using one of two basic perspectives, namely internal or external Cumming and Williams, The internal perspective involves imaging from within the body and experiencing the motor act without overt movement, i.
The external perspective, on the other hand, involves imagining the action as if it is outside the body, i. Despite the general consensus among experts that mental imagery could offer promising opportunities for the enhancement of physical strength performance Tod et al.
In fact, research on this cognitive simulation technique has evolved Athlete dating reality vs imagination library the past three decades, and researchers have spent considerable efforts investigating the mental imagery perspectives and their relationship with strength performance.
Despite a voluminous literature on this subject, there is no definitive understanding of the effects of mental imagery perspectives on muscle strength Sidaway and Trzaska, In fact, the literature presents different and sometimes opposing views, and it is only recently that researchers have realized the need for a timely literature review that critically analyzes and updates current knowledge on mental imagery.
Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated the presence of muscular activity electromyography: EMG during mental imagery directed towards the production of force Guillot and Collet, ; Yao et al. Accordingly, and based on the imagery perspectives and the relationship with EMG activity, internal imagery results in significantly higher muscle excitation than external imagery of the same movement Bakker et al.
Thus, several studies have demonstrated that alternation of mental imagery and voluntary contractions could increase the volume of training and limit the development of muscle fatigue in healthy adults Guillot and Collet, ; Ranganathan et al. Athlete dating reality vs imagination library in this area could provide both theoretical and practical contributions to the field. For example, it could provide athletes and coaches with principled insight on how to optimize their use of mental imagery, help understand the underlying mediators and moderators influencing the effect of mental imagery on strength performance, and stimulate future research on the multiple factors involved in the development of mental imagery theory and practice.
Although many practical imagery interventions have been shown to improve strength performance, little is known about the mechanisms underlying these improvements.
According to the literature, such mechanisms are marked largely by references to the role of neurophysiological variables. There is also little question that neural factors play an important role in muscle strength gains and motor recovery after injuries. One of the historical reasons for the lack of evidence is that mental imagery has not been subject to extensive empirical examination. The situation has evolved somewhat over the past two decades, and researchers have expended considerable effort investigating the mental imagery and the mechanisms underlying strength increases.
As it is now well known, common neural substrates underlie motor performance and mental imagery Guillot et al. In addition, despite the consensus between sports psychologists regarding the increase in strength conditions with internal mental imagery and the correlations between neural adaptations and strength performance improvement, there Athlete dating reality vs imagination library no conclusive result concerning which modality perspective is most effective in neurophysiological adaptations.
To date, each type of mental imagery has been considered to have different properties with respect to both psychophysical Jeannerod, and physiological Stinear et al. Accordingly, many studies have shown that external imagery perspective produces a little physiological response Lang et al. Previous reviews examined the effects of mental imagery on various outcomes i.
Thus, six imagery models and frameworks were reviewed by Guillot and Collet Although some psychophysiological models related to endurance performance are currently available in the literature Smirmaul et al. The purpose of the present systematic review is to examine the influence of mental imagery on the outcome of muscular strength.
There are three reasons why such a systematic review will advance current understanding. First, previous reviews have not examined the effects of mental imagery on strength performance in healthy participants as well as strength loss for persons with immobilization and ACL Braun et al. Second, much research is currently interested in the relationship between mental imagery and muscular strength to provide guidelines for coaches, sports psychologists, and therapists to create effective imagery intervention for use with their athletes or patients.
Third, unlike narrative review, systematic review involves a detailed and comprehensive plan and search strategy derived a priori, with the goal of reducing the risk of bias by identifying, appraising, and synthesizing all relevant studies on the present topic. Thus, a systemic review about effects of mental imagery on muscular strength in healthy and patients subjects is a well planned way to answer this specific research question using a systematic and explicit methodology to identify, select, and critically evaluate results of the studies included in the literature review Khan et al.
While narrative review works have an important role in continuing education because they provide readers with up-to-date knowledge about a specific Athlete dating reality vs imagination library or theme Khan et al. Furthermore, this review aims to a identify the effects of mental imagery on strength performance and EMG activity in healthy participants and patients with immobilization and ACL, b evaluate the moderator and mediator variables related to the mental imagery-strength performance relationship and c determine the neurophysiological mechanisms implicated in the imagery-muscle strength relationship Athlete dating reality vs imagination library the goal of laying the foundation for practical applications in sports medicine.
Actually, Moher et al. Some papers claiming to be systematic reviews are actually narrative reviews, because they do not apply transparent, objective, and replicable methods to all aspects including the literature search, data extraction, and data analysis.
Many times these papers also report results from individual studies without making objective and rigorous attempts to integrate findings and advance knowledge. Adherence to PRISMA guidelines in this review helped ensure these standards of rigor and objectivity were applied to all aspects of the study. A systematic search of the research literature was conducted for randomized controlled trials RCTs studying the effects of mental imagery on strength performance and strength loss.
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Studies were obtained through manual and electronic journal searches up to March The present review used the following databases: The search was restricted to studies written in the English language published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Reference lists of included studies were selected. The present review examined internal validity and included studies: Moreover, studies using the moderator and mediator variables of mental imagery for the enhancement of strength performance were also reviewed.
Investigations studied the effects of mental imagery on physiological changes were also included. Furthermore, studies not mentioning mental imagery perspectives i. Reviews, comments, interviews, letters, posters, book chapters, and books were also excluded. This rates validity on a scale of according to Athlete dating reality vs imagination library following criteria: Item 1 is not used in the scoring because it is related to external validity.
Additional evaluation criteria were also applied. Moderating variables whose strength performance changed were recorded when applicable. Consistent with other systematic reviews Tod et al.
Overall, the current literature on mental imagery provides ample evidence that internal mental imagery is an effective strategy for enhancing strength performance. Nevertheless, interesting questions have been raised concerning the factors that might govern mental imagery effectiveness.
These factors can be classified into four broad categories: Furthermore, self-confidence, motivation, imagery ability, controllability, and past experiences represent key mediator variables involved in the effects of mental Athlete dating reality vs imagination library on muscular strength.
The search strategies yielded a preliminary pool of possible papers. After a reading of abstracts and full-text review, only 27 articles met the inclusion criteria. Nineteen papers examined the effects of mental imagery on strength performance in healthy participants.
Particularly, fourteen of them studied the effects of imagery perspectives on muscular strength. Thus, eight investigations examined the effects of imagery on strength loss and functional recovery in patients with immobilization of the upper extremity i.