The mind-muscle connection. This mentality is nothing new. In the late 80’s and early 90’s it seemed to be a body building buzz word. But with all the supplement advertising and steroid news, it seems to have fallen through the cracks to some degree.
What is the mind-muscle connection?
The mind to muscle connection is to use your mind to connect with the muscle you are training and to actually envision the motion, the tension, the growth and power you need to push yourself to another level.
One thing that is key for anyone is that you have to believe that the subconscious can aid in your workout. Seems a little hard to swallow at first, but think of it this way, you buy a supplement that you’ve heard others talk about and you start taking it, within two workouts you feel awesome! Intensity is high, better workouts, adding a few pounds to your lifts, etc. etc. Now, was this strictly from the supplement? Or could it be somewhat due to the fact that in your mind you thought that you were taking this new “super” supplement? These thoughts are known as a “placebo effect” and will eventually dissipate.
Now, what if you could keep this effect all the time?
This is what the mind-muscle connection may do for you.
Just so you know, this connection is not visualizing the next set or the next exercise to do in your workout. Nor is it looking at those amazingly pumped biceps in the mirror while doing preachers.
It is the ability to subconsciously connect with your muscle fiber through the nervous system and make the muscle believe it is capable of more.
All lifts start with the brain. The brain directs the muscle through nerve impulses to push or pull and then the pulses, depending on their frequency and strength, can become a big factor in how much force you may apply on a given lift.
You must picture the explosion of energy that is needed in each muscle group to get that last rep, push the last few inches, pull that dumbbell all the way up on the concentration curl, or press that bar up and over the head on a military press.
Nothing else matters, you hear nothing, you see nothing, all you do is CONNECT!
How do you start this connection?
It is as simple as posing in front of a mirror.
Try to connect with a particular muscle on your body when posing in front of a mirror and see if you can get it to contract/tighten and then release.
Then you need to apply this in the gym.
It will require slowing down your lifts and lightening the load so that you can feel the muscle working while moving.
Through time you will have greater control over the area being worked.
Mind-Muscle Connection For Your Back
I chose back as it is an area we do not see, and can be a little harder to connect with.
Perhaps the single best way, next to actually working the back, is posing. Different lat and back poses will teach you how to keep your back tight through flexing, and help you learn to squeeze your back muscles harder during a lift. Mastering the front and rear lat pose (showing lat spread), is for lat width, and the double back biceps pose is for thickness and detail. Utilize this posing technique as you perform various back movements. For example as you perform lat pull downs, imagine you are hitting a double back biceps pose.
If you are just starting into bodybuilding, practice these back poses twice per day. This will help put you on the fast track to huge lats. It is also suggested that everyone flexes their back hard after a good set, and of course stretch hard between and before sets.
You will also build a better mind-muscle link through working the muscle properly. The correct form will better establish this connection. As you do any kind of back exercises try to think of your arms more as hooks, rather than being used in pulling the weight. Pull hard with your back muscles, and force them to take the brunt of the load.
Along with all of this, you must provide adequate recuperation time and proper nutrition.
It will be the catalyst that works with what is mentioned above to put you in to a less stressful training situation and provide you with a mixture of ingredients for better body building success.
Once you start to master the mind muscle connection, it is what separates you from everybody else. Some people have parts that respond better than others, some will say its genetics. Which surely plays a part… But could it also be that the person has a better mind muscle connection to that particular muscle?
Something to think about.
Its like wiggling your fingers. Some folks can’t move each individual finger without moving another. Connecting with a part vs. the whole can make for a big difference in your training. Give this a try the next time you step in to the gym and see what it can do for you.