How to memorize hundred of workout routines?

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#1 23 June, 2014 - 19:59
top's picture
Joined: 3 years 7 months ago

How to memorize hundred of workout routines?

I have a book that shows several hundred different workout methods without any tools, so work out exercises you can do when you are at the park, or traveling.

I would like to memorize not just all of the workouts, but also the muscles they work out. I would like both to think of a workout and see the muscles it exercises, and think of a muscle and know the workouts that involve it.

My current plan is as follows.

1) I will add a gym in my memory palace.
2) I will create a fitness model in my mind where I can see each of their muscles and joints and how they all work. I will do this via illustrations and diagrams on the web.
3) Then, I will station that fitness model in my gym and make it a guru.
I will do the first exercise in my book, and memorize not only the muscles and positions from the book illustrations, but also feel which parts of my body are being worked out.
I will associate these muscular feelings and book knowledge with my fitness guru in my mind. I will teach it.
I will do this for each and every one of the exercises in my book.

I imagine that now, I should be able to go into my memory palace, and seek from my fitness guru the workout plans. As the unisex model plays out a certain exercise, I should be able to vividly see which muscles are being worked on, and to what degree.

I should also be able to explore the body and pick a muscle I want to stretch (for example if I had a cramp). Then I should be able to remember which exercises would work that muscle, or at least figure out how to exercise it based on the body's structural make up.

I figure this method has other benefits as well, such as learning the bone and muscle structure of your body, the how they all work together.

This will also be a fun challenge for me, as it's my gateway into playing and interacting with "living" entities in my mind. Till now, I've only interacted with simple things such as constructing toy houses or visualizing animated exploded diagrams of daily things (such as fans, guitar, skateboards) in my mind so this would be taking it to the next level.

Any suggestions to make the exercises more memorable, or how to create different custom sets of exercises?

Thanks for the read!

2 July, 2014 - 16:23
Joined: 3 years 6 months ago

Hi there top, thanks for posting :)

What you've asked in the title and the plan you've created to achieve it don't necessarily align with each other. If you want to memorize hundreds of workout routines quickly, and with almost guaranteed retention, you would use the Method of Loci (using your mind to walk through a route of a place you know -- imaginary, real, or virtual) to memorize the workout sequences. As far as I know, it would be pretty difficult to basically "query" (or scan) that set of sequences in your palace to get the exercises for every muscle group. So basically the task of memorizing the workout routines would be straightforward.

What you're describing in your plan is not what I (personally) would call a Memory Palace, but instead I would use a more apt definition of Mental Play, which is actually a very powerful mind tool that can be seen as encapsulating the concept of Memory Palaces (then using Memory Palaces would be a subset of Mental Play). Basically, Mental Play is the act of performing a skill (or task) in your mind rather than with your physical self. With Memory Palaces, this is walking around. When I started playing piano, I found Mental Play EXTREMELY useful. Going through the workout routines and muscular anatomy in your mind will be very beneficial for acquiring the understanding of exercise science, as it is with the performance of top athletes.

So in short, your method is actually a really good way to understand and retain what you're learning in the long term. That is, by practicing the exercises and anatomy in your mind. But, if you want to memorize sets of routines (with near-guaranteed recall), then I think doing a set of conventional Memory Palace routes is probably the way to go.

Personally, I would devise a standardized encoding for each routine to uniquely identify it as a single image, then place those images along a route in a memory palace (as you mentioned, there are several hundred routines, so you'll need several hundred loci). Each routine image would need to link to another memory palace, where the actual routine is encoded as its own route along the nested memory palace.

P.S. Having a trainer that you can consult in your mind reminds me of Napoleon Hill's imaginary council (he's the author of Think and Grow Rich, which was written in 1937 and studied the most successful people at that time).


2 July, 2014 - 20:37
top's picture
Joined: 3 years 7 months ago

Haha, I guess you're right; my plan didn't really solve the issue I originally had in mind.

But your feedback makes a lot of sense, and introduced me to the terminology "Mental Play" which I shall research (seems like a heavily piano themed topic based on a few quick Google searches). It seems a lot of the type of thing and mental activities I perform are actually mental play, rather than the idea of a memory palace, as I suspected.

It's understandable how Olympians and athletes use this, and reminds me of Gandhi's quote

"Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions"...

Also interesting is Napoleon Hill's imaginary council and his book, which I actually started reading yesterday! (the original unabridged version, of course). Based on the article, it seems we have an overlap of figures we respect, admire, and follow, specially Edison, Darwin, Ford, and Carnegie.

While I'm at it, do you know the terminology similar to mental play (or perhaps that is it), where you vividly visualize something and mess with it in your mind? I guess it would be similar to what Tesla did in his mind, setting up laboratories and running experiments on them. He could vividly see models in his mind and play with them to the point that he couldn't distinguish them from reality or his imagination.


3 July, 2014 - 08:49
Joined: 3 years 6 months ago

What a coincidence that you were already reading the book!

As of yet, I haven't encountered a formal definition of mental play. I've just been using the term very generally after learning it from piano and applying it to everything else. To me, playing music in my mind like a radio is mental play, and what Tesla does is mental play. It's all one concept to me.


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