Lately i am having trouble focusing on my weight exercises. I don't really know how to explain it, but i have the feeling that the exercises i do are not having their effect, because i am not focused. In the gym there is always music, people coming and going... sometimes i feel disturbed and cant really concentrate on my training.

Would you like to share with me some of the techniques you use to concentrate or focus, when you are at the gym?

How do you manage to clear your mind and do things correctly with no hurry?

  • You say lately you are having trouble focusing. Does that mean that you did not have trouble focusing before? If so, you may need more recovery time. Lack of concentration is one of the signs of overtraining. Aug 27 '11 at 4:25
  • Another thing to consider: are you bored with your workouts? If the exercising you're doing isn't fun or engaging to you, or if you feel like there's no point to it, it can be hard to put effort into it. Doing a million biceps curls with the same weight every week would get old fast. But trying to squat the heaviest weight you can manage with good form is challenging and fun. Take some time to evaluate the things that comprise your workout!
    – parkker007
    Aug 31 '11 at 21:36
  • Also, do you workout outside the gym? If you can, give it a try. Gym isn't mandatory for iron pumping. Mar 3 '14 at 19:02

This question might be a little vague for this forum I'm not sure, in any case it's an interesting topic.

I find the following considerations useful.

Before the activity

  • Some prior thought about the movement/exercise in the hours preceding the doing of it. I find just thinking about an ideal execution of the movement and its components a few hours before has a sort of 'priming' effect on the subconcious, particularly with more complex or composite movements like those of gymnastics. I usually take some time to recall pointers I've been given and mistakes I've made in the past, then largely forget about it all until I come to actually do it, but it seems to help me recommence where I left off.
  • A cup of coffee before the exercise (not immediately before). Nothing surprising here.
  • Have a prescribed and relatively tight window of time in which to complete the exercise. Tasks expand to take the time available and all that.
  • Have a prescribed plan and pattern for the exercise ahead of time; the distance, repetitions, intervals and so on. Ideally with some flexibility for 'failure' by devising some viable substitutions. A lighter weight or switching to push-ups on knees, for example.
  • Keep a record of the same work outs over time and bear in mind what constitutes progression; I am more motivated to try for 11 reps if I know I got 10 on the same round last time.

During the activity

  • Get warm and hydrated before the exercise. You should be sweaty after a good warm-up.
  • Listen to music. I find music appropriate to the effort and good isolating headphones really help me zone out of my surroundings and in to the exercise.
  • Use a timer. Set reasonable recovery and interval times and try to stick to them; the external authority of a ticking clock is less sympathetic than one's gasping, exhausted, mid-exercise self when determining how long to rest.
  • Vary the effort. A small amount of variety can help overcome the plateaus of training adaptation.

I find that intensity helps me focus. If you are struggling a little bit because of muscle fatigue or endurance, it is hard to be distracted by other things. One way to achieve that intensity is to try to do your sets quickly. Instead of just doing 5 sets of 5, you could try to do 5 sets of as many reps as you can in 10 seconds, with 10 seconds rest between. This also lets you have a number to beat next time you workout, by doing more reps in the same amount of time, or the same number with higher weight.


I tend to listen to my own music. I have a particular playlist that is just for gym, tune in and focus. When I am resting I stare at the mirror straight into my very own eyes, counting 60 seconds at least before I start my next set. I also tend to keep the weight as high as possible, while making sure I get to at least 6 reps if the pain is a lot, or 8 if I can manage, with 10 being the max, but 6 is the bare minimum.

I also try to keep to one area in the gym without moving around too much and avoid talking to other people.

Good luck, hope that helps.

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