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The Mind-Muscle Connection

Posted March 27, 2010 by

Do you ever see people in the gym that just look like they’re going through the motions, and their body composition never seems to change even after months and months of training? This is because they are not dialed in to the task at hand, or even in tune with the muscles involved in moving the resistance placed in front of them. They have a lack of focus and likely aren’t aware of a concept called the “mind-muscle connection.”

Your mind is a strong catalyst for building your dream body. That mental projection of what you want your body to look like should activate your muscles as if your mind was stretching and squeezing them—which really isn’t that far from the truth. Every movement you make involves one or more of your muscles performing flexion (muscle shortening), while the opposing muscle(s) are performing extension (muscle lengthening), so by using your mind to “stretch” (extend) or “squeeze” (flex) the muscle you can manipulate your body to push and pull its way to success.

The body is only as strong as its weakest link in the kinetic chain. The kinetic chain is made up of the nervous system (your brain and nerves, which tell the body to perform the action), muscular system (your muscles, which physically perform the action) and the skeletal system (your bones, which provide a reason to perform the action in the first place). If your mind isn’t focused on movement, how can you expect your muscles to move your body around?

Let’s put this in perspective; you don’t get fit by sitting on your couch, lifting your remote repetitively to view your favorite shows do you? Of course not, and that’s because you’re not focused on lifting it for a specific adaptation. The adaptation most people are looking for in fitness is an increase in lean body mass. In order to achieve this adaptation, you need to combine relatively heavy (but safe) loads with a strong focus on the mind-muscle connection with every repetition you perform. Try it out for yourself and see the difference in your workouts!

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