Mind-Muscle Connection | The secret to your fitness goals.
What is the mind-muscle connection? It may sound like some weird hippy-dippy slogan, but it is a real scientific connection. It is the ability for you to tell your muscles to work. The better your ability to tell the muscle to work, the better your mind-muscle connection.
For instance, if I asked you to flex your abs right now, without moving your body at all, could you do it?
Did you have to lean forward to get your abs to flex?
What if I asked you to do the same for your biceps? Would you have to bend them towards your shoulder to feel the "flex" or "recruit the muscle"?
If not, you have a great mind-muscle connection. But if you did have to contort your body to recruit the correct muscles, you are not alone. I work with many of my clients to improve their ability to "flex" their muscles.
But Why Would You Want To Improve Your Mind Muscle Connection?
Simply put, the better your ability to recruit the correct muscles, the better your ability to gain strength and add additional muscle!
This is due to the fact that moving a weight doesn't magically make you stronger or more fit. The weight puts stress on your muscles and that stress causes very small tears in the muscle that you are working out. These small tears are then healed afterward with the protein you consume. The muscle then heals to become larger, building lean muscle, and making you stronger!
This is all great... but HOW can you improve your mind-muscle connection??
The mind-muscle connection is built in only one way. As you workout, you need to intentionally move the weight. This means instead of picking up the weight and "throwing it around", you instead should move it with control through the entire range of motion. For instance:
When I am front squatting and I want to improve the performance/size of my glutes, I will intentionally move throughout the squat form.
I would start by bending my knees, sending my hips backward, while
focusing on my glutes: How they feel, how they are supposed to move during the full range of motion, and attempting to contact the glutes throughout.
Control the weight, relying on the muscles themselves to slowly lower me, instead of allowing gravity to pull me down quickly.
After I reach the bottom of the movement, I contract my glutes harder, pushing through my heels, and intentionally using my glutes, I push me from the bottom of the movement.
This is all in a controlled fashion while focusing on the contraction of my glutes, improving my ability to utilize my glute muscles and increasing their strength and size over time.
Try this next time you do squats or use the same technique on any other body part you are wanting to improve!