generation ironGetting those gains are all in your mind.

Ask any athlete, any real athlete; they’ll tell you that the mental game is just as important as the physical, maybe even more so. In any sport, the mental preparation will likely get you over the hump where competition is concerned, and bodybuilding is no different. There are differing opinions on the subject, but it can’t be denied that in some way your mind has a big influence on your body.

Whether it’s looking into the mirror and feeling inadequate or not feeling up to snuff – it’s your mindset that’s ultimately going to determine how hard you’re going to push yourself in the gym. Hell, even more than that – it’s going to determine just how far you’ll be able to develop a given muscle group. Which brings us to the topic of conversation, one that many bodybuilders debate to this day – Is the mind-muscle connection real?

In a way, yes. There’s no doubt that hard work is going to bring you the gains you seek in the gym. Becoming shredded is more than just about pumping iron endlessly. The mental drive to build up the muscle of the day is important to development as well. Does that mean just by thinking on it, your muscles will activate and react to your commands to grow? That may depend on who you are. When you have a mental plan of attack heading into a workout, focused on building your biceps or hamstrings, the mind-muscle connection is already being established. So in what ways can you mentally activate you muscles?

Total Focus

It may seem a bit self explanatory, but there’s nothing worse than working out a muscle group and being distracted by some other outside force. This can throw you off your game and distract you from concentrating on targeting the muscle of the day. When it’s time to lift, your mind should be totally focused.

Warm Up

Your warm up should be done with light weights and have a emphasis on contracting the muscle, making it tight, working on that form before you start lifting the heavier weights. It’ll be easier to lift that heavier weight and get better results once that form is perfect. Warm ups get the muscles activated and ready for the main course.

Perform Exercise Slowly

For instance, if you’re performing curls, then perform the motion at a steady pace, then squeeze out one or two reps very slowly. Contract and squeeze the muscles and your bicep will feel like they’re on fire. The slower the movement the more concentration you can place on your muscles contracting and growing.

Flex Muscles/Pose In between Sets

Find a mirror after your set and flex & pose to check out the development of your muscles. From there you can practice on your contractions and squeezing your muscles. This will ultimately help with the mind-muscle connection when performing an exercise that attacks that muscle group.


So what do you think? Is the mind-muscle connection real? Let us know what you think in the comments below and be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.