What is mind muscle connection?
Mind muscle connection is the ability to concentrate on a muscle or muscle group to apply extra tension to a desired area. Let me give you an example. If I asked you to squeeze your biceps, you would proudly strike a pose similar to your post shower ritual. What about if I asked you to squeeze your lats or your quads, would it be as easy? Probably not.
How could it benefit me?
This ability to squeeze your muscles during an exercise could have a potential benefit to building muscle. A study was recently carried out on the matter and it had some interesting results. 30 individuals were assigned to two groups. One group was instructed to squeeze the muscle during the exercise, and the other group was instructed to “get the weight up”. After 8 weeks the results were in. It seemed that the group that was instructed to squeeze the muscle group gained more muscle in the biceps than the “get the weight up” group (12.4% and 6.9% respectively). It seemed that both groups gained the same amount of muscle in the legs.
From looking at this study, there could be a potential benefit to squeezing a muscle during an exercise instead of just going through the motions. Whilst a single study is never the complete picture, it did show a dramatic increase in muscle compared with the control group. So until more research is carried out on this topic I am going to be squeezing that muscle as hard as I can.
How can you increase mind muscle connection?
There are a few strategies that I like to implement to help increase mind muscle connection and all are relatively simple to implement.
Slow the tempo down
Instead of throwing the weight around and going through the motions to count up your reps, slow down and move the weight under control. This especially applies to the negative portion of the rep. For example, the negative section of a bicep curl is the lowering portion. This is the section of the rep that is stretching the muscle.
Stretch and squeeze
When we lift weights, our muscles are getting longer (stretching) and getting shorter (squeezing) during every repetition. Picture this vividly in your mind when you carry out that exercise. Whether that’s a chest press, lat pull down or a tricep extension. If you are unsure which muscle group you should be focussing on, then ask.
At the very top and the very bottom of each rep, take a second to pause. This will take the momentum away from the exercise and focus more on the muscle doing the work. During those pauses try to squeeze those muscles even harder. This is called an isometric hold.
Mind muscle connection is a skill that needs to be learnt and practice. You wont be able to perfect it first time but you will get better the more you implement this technique into your training.
Mind muscle connection is new in terms of scientific studies, but has promising outcomes from initial results. Using this tactic in your training will ensure you are getting the most out of your gym session, and your form is spot on. If you need any help implementing this into your own training or any particular exercise, then get in touch and I will happily help you out.
The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.