Hoisting Goliath like poundages around, the sound of metal on metal crashing and ape like grunts are all common scenes in hardcore gyms across the globe. This is great, there is nothing wrong with lifting very heavy to stimulate growth. However, there is a limit to the effects this approach to training can have for most people. There is a much smarter, more productive and safer way to train which should certainly yield much better results in the short and long term. We are talking the ultimate ‘‘mind to muscle connection’’ training.
What is ‘’mind to muscle connection’’ training?
Whenever you lift weights the idea is to gain a maximum muscular contraction, especially when the goal of your training is to stimulate muscular hypertrophy. However in the midst of all the heavy hardcore lifting you can end of losing this connection due to excessive body movement. Every time you complete a repetition the target muscle needs to contract. For example, when you perform a bicep curl the two bicep heads must contract at the top of the muscle. If you swing the weight up and find it is too heavy to hold therefore the gravity pulls the weight back down right away you are failing to achieve this much needed muscular contraction. Over time as you use tight form your ‘’mind to muscle connection’’ will improve thus resulting in better muscle contractions. The better the contraction, the better the rate of growth and conditioning, in theory. In practice, I also believe this to be the case considering I and many others have experienced great results!
Who do I need to improve my ‘’mind to muscle connection’’?
By doing so you will be able to achieve a better muscle contraction. The more your muscle contracts the more it is stimulate and engaged, potentially forcing it grow and develop faster. If your just swinging a barbell up opposed to using your bicep muscles to lift it, the chances are is that the contraction you get is poor. This is why people with bad form don’t grow so well, usually. It will also result in more calories being used considering the amount of energy to fully contract a muscle on and off for around an hour is immense! Remember, normally a lot of people may only contract the target muscle for maybe 50% of their workouts, you will be doing for for 90%+!
How do you improve your ‘’mind to muscle connection’ through training?
There are several ways you can improve the overall connection between your mind and the muscles you’re targeting. Here are our top 3 ways to do so in the gym!
In your mind, as you complete a repetition visualise that muscle contracting, squeezing it hard as you do so. It is all about engaging the target muscle as efficiently as possible, and as you do so really try and visualise in your mind this muscle contracting. As you reach the part of the repetition where your target muscle is fully contracted squeeze it really hard and watch the muscle where possible. This really helps to build up the ‘’mind to muscle connection’’ you are after.
When your training with your ‘’mind to muscle connection’’ in mind there is no way you will be able to use quite the same weight as when you ‘loosen’ up your form a little. This is because throughout the entire range of the exercise you need to contract that muscle and focus on every millimetre of the movement. Therefore if you can usually chest press 50KG dumbbells for 8 repetitions I would suggest 40KG dumbbells would be about right if your focussing on your ‘’mind to muscle connection’’.
This is a similar point to the previous two yet it needs to be stressed. Don’t think about moving the resistance from A to B; instead focus on the entire journey. Here is an analogy for you to get the point. Simply shifting a big weight from A to B is like getting on a train and falling a sleep until you arrive at your destination. In contrast, if you focus on every part of the movement it is like ‘’getting on the train and looking at every stop you make, every field you go past, every city’’, you get the picture. This requires a lot more mental focus and this can be said for ‘’mind to muscle connection’’ training. It is all about engaging the mind and the muscle simultaneously to get a better muscular contraction, resulting in a more productive workout!
This should enable you to really take your physique to the next level. We are not saying to do your repetitions VERY slowly at all, but instead just be mindful of every section of the every repetition and ensure the target muscle remains engaged and contracted!!!