The Mind Muscle Connection
I would suggest that just under the intensity you bring to your gym session, the most important factor you must maintain during your workouts is to create a necessary mind-muscle connection throughout every rep of every set. And while this will make or break your physique, it is neglected by 999 out of 1000 people who work out. They simply don’t get it. Only the rare few who are more concerned with working out the muscle they intend, ultimately have the best physiques in the gym.
Most people, when they go to the gym, throw up weights for the sake of it, thinking that doing any form of the exercise works that particular muscle- that moving the weight by putting your whole body into it is actually doing the job to get you on your way to getting ripped. Let me save you the trouble now. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. You know the guy at your gym who throws up sets of heavy weight, but looks very soft-looking? Sure, he is building strength if he’s doing progressive overload, but you will never build quality muscle and get that rock-hard look by maintaining this philosophy. For your chest to be rock-hard and lean, you need to recruit every fiber in your chest to its maximal load on every set. Doing heavy sets of the bench press with 85% of your 1RM while putting your back and legs into it while tightening your arms will not recruit all the fibers in your chest to create stimulation for you to build a quality chest.
Novice or advanced, we’ve all fell in the trap. We let our egos get the best of us and we are more concerned with the numbers on the dumbbells we are using that actually trying to work out the muscle we set out to at the beginning of the session. You need your mind to fully connect to the muscle you are working. When you do this right, 5 pounds feels like 100 pounds. Hence, it is not about the amount of weight you are moving, but the amount of fibers in the muscle you are working that you are ultimately stimulating for growth.
The mind-muscle connection begins with first, visualizing the muscle you are working actually recruiting its fibers and growing as a result. Arnold used to say he envisioned his biceps becoming gigantic mountainous peaks whenever he would contract them during his workout. You need to visualize growth before it occurs. The mind is more powerful than you could ever imagine.
Second, your mind needs to be totally focused on contracting the actual muscle you are working and you need to actively work the muscle you intend on working out. How do you do this? You need to first master this process without any weight at all before you can add resistance. Try flexing your chest muscle now. What happens? You feel a rush of blood coming into the area, right? So ask yourself this. Are you actively performing this during your sets? Do you feel your chest getting a rush of blood during each rep on the bench press, doing dumbbell work, doing cable crossovers, doing pushups, etc.?
So now I want you to flex your chest again. Is your shoulder and your bicep flexed? So now try flexing your muscle with trying to relax. This takes a lot of practice, but once it is done, the blood rush you feel is instantly magnified- almost to the point, where you feel your muscle is going to cramp up if you hold the position for too long. Flexing in front of the mirror often gets you very used to that.
When you work your chest, you should not be working your biceps. When you work your back, you should pretend that your hands and arms are hooks working to pull the weight through your back instead of pulling the weight using your arms.
So it’s more than just flexing the muscle you are working, it’s also about trying to relax the muscles you are not working and especially the antagonistic muscles, so that they become minimally involved (if at all) during your workouts. When working your chest, that means relaxing your back, and using your chest not your arms to lift the weight. Often times, you don’t work the muscle you are working out because: A) your mind is not there, and thus, your focus is not there; and B) the weight is too heavy that you need to incorporate your other muscles just to lift the weight.
Usually when someone does a bench press, they lift it with their arms rather than using it to work on their chest. If you’re doing the bench press on chest day, then you’ve actually got to use it to increase your fiber recruitment of the chest, rather than seeing how much weight you can do today.
Here are some tips that will help you:
- 1) Lower the weight! Start out with really light weight and get in the habit of using it to work your muscle.
- 2) Slow down the rep. it should take 2-3 seconds on the way up and 2-3 seconds on the way down.
- 3) Pause the weight at the top of the movement for 2 seconds and squeeze the muscle you are working.
- 4) One important caveat to remember is that your core should always remain tight throughout every move. Posture is one of the most important factors in keeping your form proper and that always begins with the structure that your body maintains, stemming from the core.
Another part of your regimen must be flexing. Do this often! Every morning for 10 minutes. 5 minutes before your workout. 10 minutes after your workout. Just before you go to bed for 10 minutes. The more you flex, the greater mind-muscle pathways you create so that that particular muscle can fire more rapidly. This will make it much easier for you to develop that mind-muscle connection during your workouts to actually achieve a pump and fully exhaust the muscle so it can be stimulated enough to grow. Also, flexing helps flush out excess fluid laying on top of the muscle. You will finally see those deep etches and striations that you’ve always wanted. A great tip that I recommend for getting great abs is to keep your core flexed throughout the entire day, especially while walking. This helps maintain posture and increase the fiber recruitment in your abdominals so that they can come out more
So if you want that rock-hard physique, there is a very easy-fix. Focus! Nothing else matters. No one else is in the weight room. No other sounds are going on in the room. You need to connect.
To understand how to connect your mind and muscle properly and how to get the most out of your workouts so you can actually get rock-hard muscles instead of looking as soft as a pillow, then take a look at MP45. MP45 is a 45 day gradual progressive approach that will get you absolutely shredded in 45 days by implementing the philosophies of High Intensity Stimulation Training that focuses heavily on this mind-muscle connection. MP45 tells you exactly what to train for every single day (body parts, exercises, reps, sets, rest periods, rest days, cardio, etc.) for all 45 days in a very regimented fashion so you can get the body of your dreams. Just take a look at me here below.
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Date Published : 2012-02-07 15:14:33
Written By : Jaret Grossman
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