You’ve most likely heard the term “Mind Muscle Connection” but to truly apply it to your training, a basic understanding of how it works is crucial in order to achieve optimal results.
What is the Mind Muscle Connection?
Every movement we make is controlled by the brain. When it comes to weightlifting, the mind-muscle connection ( in technical terms) refers to ‘feeling’ the muscle you are training throughout every rep. When your muscles contract, a signal has been sent from the brain to the muscle telling it to do so. This is when the brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called ‘Acetylcholine’ to communicate with muscles in the body.
What are the benefits of Mind Muscle Connection?
Improving your mind muscle connection works to increase the number of muscle fibers recruited during lifting and increasing the contraction of the muscle on each repetition. In return, this results in increased strength and muscle mass.
How to master the Mind Muscle Connection –
The first thing I’m going to tell you here if you really want to master this technique is to check your ego at the door. Too often lifters are more concerned about pushing more weight when they should be more concerned about the quality of each and every rep.
Now that that’s out of the way, here are 3 tips for improving your mind-muscle connection.
- Check in- before you even pick up the weights, mentally check-in and visualize the set you are about to perform. For example, before you start your bicep curls, imagine the feeling of every step in this exercise. The feeling of both contraction and retraction.
- Warm Up Sets – warming up is important and is also a great way to help you get into the mind-muscle connection. Using light weight perform 10-15 reps of given exercise. Perform each rep slowly, concentrating on the target muscle. When at the point of contraction, hold and squeeze for a count of one before slowly releasing.
- Slow, Controlled Movements – after you have warmed up, move your weight up and perform your reps with the same mindset as you did for your warm up. Movements should be slow and controlled while you concentrate on both the concentric and eccentric phases of the movement. If at your usual weight you have a difficult time keeping control and proper form, lower your weight.
- Flex! – Before and during resting between sets, flex and hold the target muscle for 2 seconds. Not only will this help you better your mind-muscle connection but will force additional blood into your muscles and help you achieve an insane pump!