The Mind Muscle Connection
Is a conscious and deliberate muscle contraction. It’s the ability to focus the tension you create during exercise on a specific muscle or region of muscles in the body.
When you focus on using specific muscles to create contractions, the brain calls upon a greater percentage of high muscle fibres to complete the task.
Size & Strength
By creating tension in the right muscles, your body is better able to gain strength and size in all the right places.
Cueing is a tool used to help improve movement and performance. You can use cueing to help improve how your brain connects to the right muscle fibres.
Once you establish your cues, work on one at a time.
- E.G Bench Press. You have set up, lowering the bar, and pressing the bar.
Building on your skills over time helps improve attention because you focus on movement in segments rather than trying to master everything at one time.
More Time Under Tension
TUT during resistance training is a key component for muscle building. The more TUT you spend during a lift, the stronger and bigger your muscles grow.
Increase Time Under Tension by…
- Pause during peak contraction. E.g. hold a glute squeeze at the top of a bridge, pause during the flexed position during a bicep curl, or hold at the bottom of a push-up.
- Slow down the eccentric, or elongated portion of the exercise. Adding a eccentric movement improves your mind-muscle connection because your mind automatically focuses on controlling the slowed down the movement.
- Isometric contractions improve how your brain relates to the muscle. Planks are a great example of isometric contractions. Loaded carries, isometric chin-ups, and iso-hold squats are a few more ideas.
Putting It All Together
Your mind has plenty of ways to connect with your muscles during exercise.
Choose one thing to focus on at a time and build this skill as you become more in tune with your body.
If you are newer to exercise, it’s best to start by turning off all distractions. Eccentric contractions are the easiest to learn and a good way to build muscle fast. If you’re a gym veteran, focus on concentric and isometric contracts, and build cues into your training in order to tap into your muscle-building