Subjects were required to hold a static lift in a neutral position, ie, standing up straight, a knee-flexed position, ie, bending knees but back upright, and trunk-flexed position, ie, knees straight but leaning forwards.The NORMs showed increased ES and EO activity in the knee-flexed position compared to neutral. NORMs also showed large increases in ES and LAT activity accompanied with smaller RA and EO increases for the trunk-flexed position compared to neutral.When the loading was increased, NORMs showed increased activity in all muscles forall positions. In contrast, the LBPs showed a different pattern of muscle activity.In the knee-flexed position, they showed increased E This study (Chen et al (1998),Clinical Biomechanics, 13(S1), S9-S15) compared the EMG activity of the Erector spinae(ES), Rectus abdominus (RA), External Oblique (EO) and Latissimus dorsi (LAT) during various static lifting tasks in two groups of subjects, those who suffered from low back pain (LBP) and those with no symptoms (NORM).O, ES and LAT activity compared to neutral. In the trunk-flexed position, LBPs did not show increased ES activity;instead, they showed increased right-side LAT and increased right-side EO activity. When the loading was more motivated (Schunk, 1995). The general principles of effective goal-setting must be adhered to, ie, SMART goal-setting with constant feedback (perhaps in the shape of rewards), in order for efficacy beliefs to be enhanced and maintained. SE arises from a range of sources, which I've listed here in descending order of importance.
1 Past performance accomplishments - if an athlete continually experiences success in an activity, within the constraints of the training programme, then he/she will feel more able to perform that activity. Past performances are reckoned by Bandurato have a reciprocal relationship with SE - in other words, not only do past accomplishments induce greater SE, but a greater sense of SE can affect the person's subsequent performance.
2 Vicarious experience - this means seeing other people, more often peers, successfully reaching a target, thus instigating a feeling of 'If (s)he can do it, so can I!' This suggests that it makes sense to surround yourself with people whom you consider to be similar to yourself in terms of build, age, ability, etc., so that realistic positive role models abound. Obviously this could be achieved by joining a suitable club.
3 Verbal persuasion - this is a mildly effective method of inducing SE, and can easily be implemented by coaches and team mates. However, verbal persuasion is reckoned to have greater impact when it comes from someone who is perceived as a trusted and credible source of information. Feltz (1992) also considers that self-talk and imagery are forms of persuasion (but that's a subject for another time).
4 The athlete's psychological arousal is also regarded by Bandura as a factor in determining his or her sense of efficacy. Heightened physiological signals such as elevated heart rate are sometimes interpreted as signs of anxiety, leading to a preoccupation with them that can damage performance (I wrote about techniques for controlling heart rate in PP issue 105).
Finally, the concepts of goal-setting and rewards can be incorporated into a holistic perception of competence, namely global SE. A SMART programme sets out difficult but attainable goals. Consequently, efficacy perceptions should increase as successive targets/objectives are reached. Similarly, the token rewards that the coach gives for desirable behaviour or performance can become tangible evidence of competence in the goal-setting programme. Use the techniques highlighted in this article and stick to their guidelines, and I can guarantee that your training will motivate you to new heights.