The mind muscle connection

Fitness & Spa

This is either because they don’t fully understand what it is or how to use it effectively.

The mind muscle connection is the practise of focusing internally on the muscle which you are training rather than just moving the body through the exercise to complete a given amount of reps. The theory is that if you can focus on the muscle that you are using it will not only activate more but also increase the hypertrophy (growth) within the muscle.

Does it work?

Numerous studies have been conducted regarding the mind muscle connection, investigating whether it can make a difference and how it would be best utilised during training. Studies have been done on abdominal vs. oblique activation within a sit-up, glute vs. hamstring on a lying hip extension, core activation within a squat and many, many more. All these studies found that if you focused on using the specific muscles during the exercises, they would have an increased EMG reading (muscle activation). So, from a muscle activation stand point, it will help with getting the muscles to activate more efficiently.

How will this help your training?

So, getting a specific muscle to work harder sounds great, but how does this help with your workout?

When training for hypertrophy, it is important to get the most out of your muscles, which means trying to get the highest amount of muscle activation every rep. So being able to help increase this by thinking of the specific muscles you are using and trying to flex them as hard as possible is a very important technique to help reach your goals in the quickest time possible.

When and how to use this technique

Make no mistake, using this technique shouldn’t be the top priority when starting training for the first time. Form should take precedent when you begin lifting to make sure you lift safely.

Those who have passed this stage should only be using the mind muscle connection during the lighter weight lifting phase (hypertrophy), not during a heavier phase of training (strength training). The reason behind this is because when going for heavier weights to increase strength, our goal changes and so do the techniques used. It would be a lot harder to focus on the muscle and lift safely during these heavier lifts, meaning you should only implement this technique if you are lifting for muscle size and not strength.

For tips on how to incorporate the mind muscle connection into your training, speak to one of the Fitness Team.

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