Mind muscle connection is the answer to what you have been looking for! It can help you build those stubborn muscles that just don’t seem to grow and takes just a little extra effort. Give this a try next time you are in the gym!
Weight lifting is predominantly a physical activity but most people tend to ignore the fact that there are many psychological aspects of it. The most important aspect is this concept of mind muscle connection. Mind muscle connection is thinking about a certain muscle being activated while working it out. For example, actively thinking of the chest getting stretched in a dumbbell bench press. The science backs up that if you can think about the muscle more, you’ll activate the muscle more.
The science behind it gets a little tricky. The physical movement is controlled by the brain through a signal sent to your muscles telling them to move or contract. Once the signal has been received the brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called “acetylcholine” to communicate with muscles in the body. This then crosses the synapse (the space between the nerve and muscle). Then boom, muscle contraction.
The idea behind this connection is the more you can strengthen the mental aspect of firing the muscle, the more muscle fibers you will be able to recruit. This will result in a better-quality muscle contraction and ultimately a better workout.
- Check the ego at the door – Pushing too much weight can cause too much swinging or cheating motions limiting that mind muscle connection and quality reps.
- Slow and controlled – lighter weight should help but think about going slower than normal and feeling the full stretch. Pausing at certain points of the movement can help too.
- FLEX – in between sets flex the muscles your working. For example, if you are doing bicep curls, after you put the weight down flex your biceps. This is going to force more blood to rush into the muscles making them more pumped.
Article written by GUADS staff member, Paul