What is the mind-muscle connection?

Personal/Fitness Training Blog

While weight-lifting is seen by many individuals to be strictly physical training, there are many important psychological aspects to it.  In years gone by, many bodybuilders supported the value of implementing a “mind-muscle connection” while performing strength and resistance training.

Remaining focused in the gym isn’t always easy as some may make it look. This is especially if you’re pulling a late-night workout just before your health club closes or, alternatively, if you’ve had a stressful day at the office.

Have you ever felt like you’re merely going through the motions of your workout? Perhaps your mind starts to wander and your thoughts float to your work or an item that you’ve read in the news. You probably don’t realise it but while your mind is elsewhere you’re missing out on one of the most important secrets to success with your training routine: the mind-muscle connection.

The mind-muscle connection: defined

Making use of a mind-muscle connection refers to concentrating on the muscle that is working throughout a set of strength-training exercises. The mind-muscle connection is the distinction between just going through the movements as opposed to creating a connection with your muscles. Legendary bodybuilder, Arnold Schwartzenegger, brought the concept into the limelight in the classic documentary entitled ‘Pumping Iron’.

Practically speaking, while performing an exercise you need to have a laser focus on your working muscle. Having a terrific mind-muscle connection will assist you with getting an incredible pump and shredding your muscles.

While this area of personal training may not seem like an apparent area for researchers to investigate, the impact of where we focus our attention during the course of physical activities has held great importance for scientists.

This wider body of literature, in addition to some recent studies into attentional focus during strength training, allows us the opportunity in order to assess if  making use of the mind-muscle connection could help or hamper us on our quest to achieve greater muscle growth.

Ways to improve your mind-muscle connection

As you can gather from the above-mentioned points, developing a good mind-muscle connection during your strength-training workouts will put you in good stead in terms of increasing your muscle mass. Here are some ideas of how you can improve this connection

Apply the Brakes to the movement

Many weight lifters make the terrible mistake of speeding through their reps. Getting through the motions just for the sake of it isn’t going to provide you any benefit. It is possible for you to significantly improve your mind-muscle connection by reducing the speed at which you do the reps.

Warm-up before you train

Some individuals jump into their workouts as soon as they get to the gym. Give your body sufficient time to warm up and become ready for the exercises. One of the greatest ways to warm up before resistance training is to stretch out your muscles as well as warm up the joints.

Make use of isolation exercises

It can be more difficult to establish a mind-muscle connection when you’re doing compound movements as opposed to isolation exercises. If you don’t feel a pump when you’re doing a compound (multi-joint) movement, try to do isolation (single joint) lifts. For example, rather than performing the barbell bench press, do the hammer strength press or a chest press machine.

Training hard is crucial and, of course, every single weight lifter out there wants to lift heavy weights. Leaving your ego at the door of the gym can be a difficult thing to do. However, if you want to make serious gains it’s something that you definitely have to do. There’s no point in working yourself to exhaustion if you’re not working your muscles efficiently.

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