Fact Check: Can Visualisation Exercises Help You Build Strength?

Do visualisation exercises work? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Mustafa ezz)
Do visualisation exercises work? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Mustafa ezz)

There is a concept in the fitness industry that seems to work for athletes - visualisation exercises. They have been around for a while, and there have been instances where athletes and fitness enthusiasts have revealed that visualisation exercises work.

These are not physical exercises, but visualisations of the same. If you are to incorporate then into your fitness routine, you will need to take the time out to visualise the exercises and your goals.

The concept of visualisation

Often athletes such as swimmers, skiers, gymnasts and others are seen with closed eyes, where they are rehearsing the moves in their heads.

The idea is to use your mental power to enhance your performance. While there might not be enough scientific evidence to support that, it has been rather successful in improving confidence levels.


Visualisation focuses on improving one’s ability to focus and be attentive. It helps with preparation before the actual sport.

Additionally, studies have focused on whether visualisation exercises can improve muscles or not, and the answer is yes.

Apparently, when brain power is considered, it helps with improving strength. The reason being - the brain sends a signal to the muscle which in turn helps improve the muscle’s activity levels.

Visualisation exercises often help with physical fitness

If your physical fitness is at its peak, and you’re preparing to compete, visualisation exercises can help you address your specific problem areas.

It so happens that when you’re practising or weight-lifting, you might not immediately know what’s going wrong or how you can improve.


However, guided imagery can help you narrow down your weak points, and you can work on those points to improve your physical fitness.

The brain creates a visualisation of the movement. When you perform the same, your brain works in autopilot mode and makes it easier to accomplish the task.

Additionally, visualisation exercises can help relax your mind. If you keep your focus and concentration, that can help you relax by calming your mind.

This calmness is extremely helpful for athletes before they compete. That drives away the nervousness and allows the muscles and mind to work like a well-oiled machine.

Visualisation exercises can work well for individuals going through physical therapy and rehab too. Imagining the movement and constantly creating a mental image of that can help with injuries and the healing process.


Imagining the movement and enabling the brain to send signals to the muscles can help with improving muscle strength lost due to an injury.

Bottom line

Visualisatiin exercises shouldn’t be confused with actual resistance training. If you want to attain physical fitness, nothing will help unless you do the physical exercises.

Visualisation only helps when the muscles are well aware of the exercise, and there is enough for the muscles to reap the benefits.

You can become stronger or rather retain muscle strength via mental imagery, but it’s not going to be fruitful unless you’ve gone to the gym and put in the required efforts.

Edited by Bhargav