If you want to get amazing results in the gym, you have to use the power of your focus to contract your muscles efficiently each and every time. You will do so once you learn to use your mind/muscle connection.
Once you master this, you will be in a league above everyone else. This is the secret to massive, super human like results that people witness and leaves their mouth wide open.
So what the hell is this “mind/muscle connection”, why is it important, and most importantly, how can you develop it to it’s fullest? Read on…
What is the Mind Muscle Connection & Why Does It Matter?
The mind and brain are responsible for all movement. The neuromuscular junction is where the mind meets the body. When we have a desire to move, the brain receives the impulse, which then stimulates the nervous system and we end up with a muscular contraction. (via the neuromuscular junction)
The stronger your focus and mind muscle connection are, the greater your contraction will and the more you will FEEL the muscle being worked…and I don’t REALLY have to explain why that’s important do I?!
“From a strength perspective, when the brain can communicate with every muscle fiber faster, the growth potential and the speed of contraction increase. From a movement perspective, the speed of communication between the mind and the muscle creates a faster and more efficient response system at the muscular level.” –
Bodybuilding is all about contraction of the muscle under resistance…
AND NOTHING ELSE!
Here is what you need to do to assure you develop your mind muscle connection to it’s fullest and get the results you really want…
Building Your Mind/Muscle Connection: Tip 1 – Check Your Ego At The Door
Most of the time, people at the gym are more concerned with how much weight they’re lifting instead of the intensity and contraction of the muscle behind the weight.
This usually leaves open the possibility of secondary muscles lifting some of the weight, or using momentum, bad form, or a combination of each.
For example, it’s very easy to do pull-ups using your arms, and not your back if your focus is not in the right place.
See, most of us only worry about strengthening our EGO by lifting too much and trying to look good. As a result, the muscle we’re trying to grow barely gets stimulated enough to get results.
The moment you switch your focus to the intensity of the stimulation rather than the weight that’s being lifted, you’ll start to become aware of the mind/muscle connection and it will get stronger.
Energy goes where attention flows. Once you change your focus to actually feeling the muscle contract and being aware of it in every rep, you’ll start to notice when heavy weight becomes too much weight.
When you cheat on your reps, you’re only cheating yourself. Remember that.
It will be easy to decide whether you need to lower or increase the weight once you put all your awareness on the muscle you’re working.
Mind/muscle checkpoint: are you sore the next day?
This is a good question to reflect on if you want to know the amount of mind & muscle connection you really have when you’re lifting.
Do you know what it feels like to actually FEEL your rear delts the next day? Have you ever woke up from back day and you can literally FEEL your entire back?
If you’re consistently sore in certain areas like your chest and legs, but you don’t feel it in other areas the next, consider that you might not be efficiently working that muscle to your fullest potential.
Here’s another one: abs. Do you ever feel sore in your abs after working the core? If you’re like most people, you probably count how much crunches you do rather than SQUEEZING the abs after each movement. Try doing that next time and you’ll know what it’s like to really work them.
Building Your Mind/Muscle Connection: Tip #2 – Squeeze & Contract
During each set, squeeze your muscle as hard as you can. Put ALL of your attention on the muscle you’re working, and nothing else! If you are doing a chest press, think ONLY about your pecs and actually FEEL them contract.
By focusing on your muscle, studies have shown that you will actually increase activation in the muscle fibers and cause it to grow more quickly.
Think of every rep as a pose. When you flex your bicep, you bring your forearm up and squeeze that muscle as hard as you can, right? Do the same thing but with a weight in your hand.
ALL you are doing is squeezing your muscle to lift the weight. Very little should be moving to help assist you in the weight you’re lifting except for the muscle you’re working.
The harder your contraction, the more your muscle will get stimulated and the bigger you’ll grow. With a strong mind/muscle connection, you will more efficiently contract the muscle you want and you’ll be on your way to getting swole in no time.
Make Every Rep Count
What is a set other than just a series of reps? The quality of your set depends on the intensity of each rep. If your reps are weak, you’re not doing a complete set. The rep is the stimulation part, the phase that causes ALL of the growth.
So give each rep everything you got and squeeze that muscle as hard as possible.
A good rule of thumb to go by is: If you don’t feel the rep, it doesn’t count!
Building Your Mind/Muscle Connection: Tip #3 – Visualize The Muscle & Actually “SEE” It Growing
Numerous studies on visualization have found that by simply using vivid enough visualization, your body will fire off the same muscles you are imagining as if you are actually using them.
Your visual cortex influences the physical mechanisms of the body, so visualization will actually help you to use certain muscle groups more effectively.
When doing each rep, watch your muscle contract and SEE it growing. If course, if you’re working an area like your back, just imagine what your back would look like from behind as it does.
This will also strengthen your mind/muscle connection because your imagination is part of the mind.
As Kai Greene has once said:
“Your imagination should be inspired every time you’re bodybuilding. The more you can use your mind body connection and your imagination, the better your results are going to be.”
Building Your Mind/Muscle Connection: Tip #4 – Use Lighter Weights & Do Lots of Warmup Sets
Start off with lighter weight and higher reps so you can get used to activating the muscle properly without compensating. Sometimes we like to start off heavy and we end up using momentum and additional muscles to help move the weight. The muscles we want to work do not get the fullest stimulation possible.
When you use light weights with high reps and good form, you will really feel it in your muscles. Go until that muscles is BURNING and you experience complete failure.
Sometimes we have to over train in the beginning just so you can get used to feeling the muscle and building a stronger mind muscle connection in that area.
After this, you can gradually increase the weight and you’ll become more sensitive to how much stimulation that muscle is receiving compared to the lighter weight you were using. You’ll become attuned to the amount of work your primary muscle is getting as opposed to secondary muscles.
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Building Your Mind/Muscle Connection: Final Tip – Flex Your Muscles Between Sets
Even go as far as doing the movement of the upcoming set without using any weight at all. If you’re about to do a shoulder press, raise your arms over your head and squeeze your delts as hard as you can at the top.
Get some blood flowing in that area until you are consciously aware of it during your next set.
The concept behind any of these tips is to increase awareness in the areas you are working so you can then stimulate them as efficiently as possible.
The more you stimulate, the more you grow. And the stimulation you receive is a direct correlation between your mind muscle connection. The better your brain can communicate with your body, the better off you’ll be.