While working out and lifting weights may seem excessively complicated for beginners, when it comes to the actual exercises themselves, it’s really not that confusing.
Think about a sport like wrestling – you have to spend countless hours on the mat working on all the subtle nuances of something like a double leg takedown.
A bench press, however, is a lot more straightforward. While it does take some getting used to, you can have the technique down pat within a few weeks provided you work on it properly.
With that said, there is one aspect of form that SO MANY guys overlook – even years into their lifting career.
Today we’re going to be talking about the mind muscle connection – what it is, why you’re probably not doing it right, and why it’s critical to building muscle.
What Is The Mind Muscle Connection?
The mind muscle connection refers to the ability of your brain to contract and fire a certain muscle during a specific exercise.
You see, many guys simply think of weight lifting as a simple process, in which moving the weight up and down in a particular direction is enough to stimulate the muscle.
It isn’t. You need to engage the neurological pathways as well.
Let’s take a dumbbell row as an example. Many guys complain that rowing doesn’t engage their back as much as they’d like (despite it being primarily a “back exercise”). The issue could be their technique – but it could also be a mind issue as well.
When we row, our brain is suppose to send certain cues that cause use to engage and contract the various muscle fibres in our backs. Instead, what happens to a lot of guys is that they end up overcompensating with their arms, and not getting the most out of the movement.
Why Does The Mind Muscle Connection Matter?
The first reason you want to focus on this is obvious. A lack of engagement of the muscle fibres means that you’re not getting as much muscular development as you should be.
But it can also lead to some pretty nasty injuries down the road. Take chin-ups for example, another exercise where guys make the mistake of not engaging their backs. This can lead to you overcompensating with the arms, which puts strain on your joints and can lead to injuries like tendonitis.
How Can I Develop The Mind Muscle Connection?
There are a few things you can do to improve in this area if you’re lagging behind.
The first is to make sure you’re using the appropriate weight that lets you properly contract the muscle. A lot of men let their egos get in the way and choose something that’s WAY to heavy for them.
Resist the temptation boys.
You’ll also want to make sure you control the tempo. You don’t necessarily need to be going super slow, but you do want to perform the exercises slow enough that you get a proper contraction.
Finally, make sure you warm up the target muscle before you start working it. Doing this will kickstart the process of engaging them so that when it’s time to do the exercise, you’ll be fully primed and ready to get the most out of it.