Using your brain to train, the Mind Muscle Connection
This is a tip you can put into practice in your next workout. It involves what fancy people call the Mind Muscle Connection.
The idea is that if you focus on the muscle you are working it will increase the effectiveness of the exercise. For instance, Arnold Schwarzenegger used to picture his biceps turning into mountains as he did bicep curls.
Now this may or may not be a goal of yours. And it doesn’t work for everything.
I sometimes lay in the sun and picture myself being as tan as George Hamilton, but I just end up burnt and peeling. So let’s stick to exercise with this technique.
The next time you do any resistance training exercise (his works with weights, bands, bodyweight, anything heavier than air) give this a try. Focus on the muscles being used for that exercise.
Picture them working through the full range of motion. Picture how you want that muscle to look. Do that exercise all the way with the muscles involved.
Let’s use the bicep curl for an example again. If you are doing a bicep curl, concentrate on your bicep doing all the work. Keep everything else still, no swinging at that hips, no slinging your arms around. Just folding your arm up, squeeze at the top, and then lower the weight down under control.
Put an image in your head of that muscle doing all the work. As you raise the weight up and especially as you lower the weight down.
The lowering part, or eccentric contraction in fancy talk, is one that many people neglect. Have you ever lifted a weight and then let it just kind of flop back down on it’s own? Um, yeah, don’t do that anymore.
Remember to ABC:
Control of the weight
Start focusing more on muscles and less on the movement you are performing. You will see a lot of people just trying to get the weight up and down by any means necessary. This is usually done with momentum doing most of the work, rather than their muscles.
Start taking advantage of the mind muscle connection to improve your form, reduce your injury risk, and get better results.
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