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From Mind to Body: Is Mental Practice Effective on Strength Gains? A Meta-Analysis

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Mental practice is an internal reproduction of a motor act (whose intention is to promote learning and improving motor skills). Some studies have shown that other cognitive strategies also increase the strength and muscular resistance in healthy people by the enhancement of the performance during dynamic tasks. Mental training sessions may be primordial to improving muscle strength in different subjects. The aim of this study was to systematically review and meta-analiyze studies that assessed whether mental practice is effective in improving muscular strength. We conducted an electronic-computed search in Pub-Med/Medline and ISI Web of Knowledge, Scielo and manual searchs, searching papers written in English between 1991 and 2014. There were 44 studies in Pub-Med/Medline, 631 in ISI Web of Knowledge, 11 in Scielo and 3 in manual searchs databases. After exclusion of studies for duplicate, unrelated to the topic by title and summary, different samples and methodologies, a meta-analysis of 4 studies was carried out to identify the dose-response relationship. We did not find evidence that mental practice is effective in increasing strength in healthy individuals. There is no evidence that mental practice alone can be effective to induce strength gains or to optimize the training effects.
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Keywords: Mental practice; imagery; motor imagery; muscle strength; resistance training; strength; strength training

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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