You’ve probably heard your favorite trainer talk about the mind-muscle connection over and over. But do you truly know the meaning behind what they’re asking you to do? Read on to understand how to connect your mind to your muscles and maximize every rep.
The mind-muscle connection is a conscious, deliberate, and emphasized muscle contraction. It requires you to focus the tension you create during a movement pattern specifically on the muscle or muscle group that should be working, and it makes all the difference between passively and actively moving the weight. And it’s really important because by using the mind-muscle connection to target an internal focus you’ll achieve better gains over the long run.
We asked Chief Curriculum Lead, Alex Sapot, for tips on how to establish and improve your mind-muscle connection. Grab a pen, you’re going to want to take some notes.
Alex begins, “First, SLOW DOWN. Rushing reps actually make you less efficient.”
Movement is controlled by the brain, and the first step towards muscular contraction is understanding the signals that meet at the intersection of mind and body. The move you can improve this communication between what you want your body to do versus your body actually doing it. If you’re rushing you don’t give yourself the time to think and execute.
Alex continues, “Actively think about the muscle you want to work while you’re performing the exercise.”
Think about it, a single muscle head is made up of SO MANY individual muscle fibers. When you improve your mind-muscle connection, you increase the number of fibers being recruited when you perform a lift.
Finally, Alex says, “When doing unilateral work you can touch the muscle and feel it as it contracts.”
A little biofeedback goes a long way. By lightly pressing into the muscle, or flexing and releasing said muscle before you begin your work. By doing so, you force blood into the surrounding area and it makes it easier to mentally isolate them.
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