Feeling overwhelmed or discouraged with your practicing, playing or anything else? Push back!
“Dynamic Tension” is an exercise system developed by bodybuilder Charles Atlas in the 1920’s. The core principle of Dynamic Tension is self-resistance, using your own muscles to provide resistance to train other muscles.
Atlas always said he got the idea for this system from watching the lions and tigers at the zoo. Watching the animals display their strength, he realized that their fitness didn’t require barbells or other equipment. They simply pitted one muscle against another to maintain and develop their strength. Charles Atlas
Dynamic tension is said to very safe, as you use only your own strength to provide the resistance. Similarly, as you grow stronger, the exercise also becomes more intense.
You can apply these principles to any area of your life. Simply put, you can use your own strength to master your weaknesses. It’s not just willpower; it’s more like doing the thing you know you can do, to help you do what you think you can’t do. You do this every day already, whether you know it or not.
Every time you practice a passage hands separately, or edge the metronome up a notch you are using your strengths (what you can do) to help you do what you can’t (play the passage hands together, or play faster). And as you gain skill, you set the bar a little higher, and do more.
But you can also use the principles of dynamic tension to face any difficult task, from breaking a bad habit to overcoming procrastination. Applying your own best force to counter your less productive tendencies will make you stronger, and move you past whatever is in your way.
So next time you feel:
The pull of a destructive habit, push back with a new daily ritual.
The pull of resistance to change, push back with one baby step forward.
The pull of procrastination, push back with action.