Mind-Muscle connection, what and how to do it!
Ever struggled to really ‘feel’ the muscle you are trying to work during exercise? You’re not alone gf! Mind-muscle connection is one of the most challenging parts of training, but it is often the key to making gains and seeing muscle-building progress.
So, what is mind to muscle connection? Basically, it is the process of consciously and deliberately contracting your muscles when exercising. This means focusing on the ‘primary mover’ (the main muscle you are isolating or trying to work) when performing a certain movement. An example of this is thinking about squeezing your glutes during a hip thrust, or imagining the contraction of your bicep during a bicep curl.
When we train, our brain is in constant communication with our muscles. However, there are ways we can improve this communication so that our muscles are ‘firing’ better, and we are actually engaging the muscles we want to work.
Here are my top tips for improving mind to muscle connection, and getting the most out of your training!
- Choose 1 or 2 cues to focus on while performing your lifts. This could be something like ‘hips back’ during RDL’s, or squeezing your quads during a leg extension.
- Increase time under tension. This can be done by adding paused reps, slow eccentrics, tempo reps, and 1 and ¼ reps, and will help you to place additional stress on the muscle you are trying to engage.
- Minimise distractions while training. This can be hard in a busy commercial gym, but try and minimise your distractions during sets. Stay focused, keep your mind present, and focus on 1 rep at a time.
- Reduce the weight you are using. Sometimes, going too heavy can affect our form and stop us from engaging our muscles correctly. Don’t be afraid to drop your weights down to slow your tempo and focus on executing your lifts correctly.
- Use touch. Get a training partner to (or if you can yourself) touch the muscle you are trying to engage. This will help you to contract that muscle and keep your focus throughout the set.
Happy (mindful) lifting gf!