Improve Your Mind-Muscle Connection With These Steps
The mind-muscle connection is the difference between just going through the movements and establishing a connection with your muscles. The Governator, Arnold, brought the concept into the limelight in the classic documentary, Pumping Iron.
While performing an exercise, you should have a laser focus on your working muscle. Having a good mind-muscle connection will help you get an incredible pump and annihilate your muscles.
Slow Down The Movement
Many people make the mistake of rushing through their reps. Going through the motions for the sake of it isn’t going to do you any good. You can significantly improve your mind-muscle connection by slowing down the reps.
Arnold didn’t train his muscle, he became the muscle. Your entire focus should be on your muscles while performing an exercise. You can try taking two seconds on the concentric, two seconds on the eccentric movement and a second at the top and bottom to improve your mind-muscle connection.
Warm-Up Before Training
Some people jump into their workouts as soon as they reach the gym. You should allow your body enough time to warm-up and get ready for the exercises. One of the best ways to warm-up for resistance training is to stretch out your muscles and warm up the joints.
Other than priming your muscles for your workout, warming up before training helps in circulating blood to the muscles. Warming-up before training can help you experience a better mind-muscle connection.
Use Isolation Exercises
It can be harder to establish a mind-muscle connection while performing compound movements as compared to isolation exercises. As bodybuilders, we are pump chasers. A pump is when blood rushes into the working muscle and expands it. The blood takes the essential nutrients for growth to the muscle fibers.
If you don’t feel a pump while performing compound (multi-joint) movements, try doing isolation (single joint) lifts. For example, instead of performing the barbell bench press, prefer the hammer strength press or a chest press machine.
Hold and Contract At The Top and Bottom
Holding and contracting your muscles at the top and bottom of the movement can be incredibly effective in inducing a pump by establishing a mind-muscle connection. A mind-muscle connection and pump are inter-connected.
Hold a rep for a couple of seconds and squeeze the living hell out of your muscles at the contraction point to help ignite new muscle growth. You should also consider user lighter weights and focusing on your muscles if you’re not able to set-up a mind-muscle connection.
Have Your Training Partner Tap Your Working Muscle
A lack of mind-muscle connection can be overcome by actively engaging your muscles while performing an exercise. As an example, while performing the tricep cable pressdowns, ask your training partner to tap on your tris while you perform the required number of repetitions.
The external tapping by the spotter will send signals to your mind and force it to connect with your muscles. The tapping should be gentle and continuous following a pattern. You shouldn’t be disturbed or rocked back and forth by the tapping.
Pose Between Sets
Most people unknowingly lose their mind-muscle connection between sets while they are resting. Some of them either start chatting or using their phones and break out of the workout “zone”.
Posing between sets is the best way to maintain or establish a mind-muscle connection. Contract your working muscles as hard as you can, and you’ll feel the mind-muscle connection and pump in your sets.
Header image courtesy of Envato Elements
What do you do for better muscle pumps?