When it comes to strength training, lifting weights is much more than simply lifting the weight. Strength training requires you to really tune in and be present in order to have proper form. So to get the most out of your workout, you must understand the mind-muscle connection.
What Is the “Mind-Muscle Connection?”
You may have heard people refer to the “mind-muscle connection” phrase when it comes to strength training, but what does it actually mean? As you know, all movement starts with signals from the brain that then travel down your spinal cord to produce muscle movement. This is known as the mind-muscle connection (MMC), or where the mind meets the body to carry out tasks. This connection is so strong, that it has been proven that just thinking about moving a targeted muscle can strengthen the muscle without even exercising it.
How Do You Create the Mind-Muscle Connection When Strength Training?
Give these two helpful tricks a try for a deeper mind-muscle connection:
- Close your eyes. Yes, when you lift with your eyes closed visual distractions are eliminated. But by visualizing the muscle fibers contracting and relaxing, you also deepen the mind-muscle connection. Note: Do not close your eyes if you have balance issues, are lifting heavy loads, or performing an exercise that requires a spotter.
- Move with intention. Move slowly as you lift and then pause for 1 second at peak contraction. Then, with a count of 3, mindfully return to the starting position. Your muscles have to work harder the longer they are under tension. This results in you having to mentally connect to the muscle movement.
At the end of the day, you should be seriously committed to feeling each rep in the primary muscle that you are working. At BootCampSF in San Francisco, we take pride in helping our boot campers focus on the target muscle and emphasize using proper technique in order to see the best results.