When performing an exercise, such as lunges, a wrestler could visualize an opponent standing in front of him as he attempts a take down. Repeatedly drilling these "take downs" over and over with dumbbells in hand, the athlete can place higher value to the effectiveness of their training. The athlete can actually see how the exercise is benefiting them, and in turn can promote an emotional connection as well. If I am not emotionally attached to my training, I can tend to wander and not stay on track.
For some people the emotional connection could be competing in the Olympics, the CrossFit Games, a strongman, weightlifting or powerlifting meet, or even looking better at an upcoming wedding. This is good for staying connected to a program. But looking at it on a smaller scale, we need to stay connected to every workout, every second. This is why getting personal with your training can have a critical impact on your success. Find a reason why you need to do this thing, and why you should do it to the very best of your ability.
A workout one of my athletes did recently is called the "Fire Drill," and the story behind it has a very unfortunate and horrible ending. Several years ago while I was in college at Susquehanna University in central Pennsylvania, a group of friends of mine went on a friendly camping trip to have a good time. After an eventful day of hunting, fishing, eating, relaxing and whatever else you do with your peers at a family cabin, the crew called it a night. Somehow the cabin caught fire and I suppose the sleeping friends were kept unconscious from the fumes and the next thing you know the inconceivable occurs, the worst possible ending. These were all good people in the community and everyone associated was obviously devastated by the event. I apologize to any friends who remembers this tragedy who might read this post.
Some things in life we have no control over, as was the case here. But, if you're in a position where you can make a difference, you should be best prepared to make the most positive difference possible. If a person was driving by such a scenario, they would have the choice to act. Any responsible person would see it their duty to help those in need. But if you are not prepared to do so, you are only making the situation worse. (Have you ever had a weak friend help you move heavy furniture?)
The workout required the athlete to simply remove all the dumbbells, kettlebells and sandbags from the gym and return them as quickly as possible. If you think about just moving the equipment, it sucks. If you think about saving Katie, your little sister, from a burning building, you might work quite a bit more efficiently and a lot harder. Adding this personal touch keeps people motivated if they can believe in what they are doing. We took out all the smallest dumbbells first to represent the children, then the larger objects last. We replaced them in opposite order, heaviest to lightest. Most people will not be extremely motivated to shoulder a 120 pound sandbag several times, but if they act as if they are saving their loved ones from a burning fire, they will surely do their very best.
Visualization is paramount to the success of your training. Putting the personal touch on these types of workouts has caused me to break down and cry on more than one occasion in my training. I also feel a larger sense of triumph and victory upon completion. I may think about adversity I had went though in the past, my father who died when i was a boy, my mother who took care of me when things were very tough, or opponents who stand in the way of my goals. There are many ways to visualize putting yourself into the context of your workout, and by doing so, you can have a much greater connection to yourself and your training.