In this blog, I will discuss the importance of the mind-muscle connection, and provide tips on how to improve it for optimal muscle growth.
The mind-muscle connection refers to the ability to focus on the muscle being worked during a workout. Research has shown that having a strong mind-muscle connection can lead to greater muscle activation, improved muscle control, and therefore, greater muscle growth (Gentil et al., 2015). A study by Willardson and Burkett, (2007) found that when participants were instructed to focus on the muscle being worked, they reported a greater sense of muscle fatigue and muscle soreness after the workout. This suggests that when the mind-muscle connection is strong, the muscles are working at a higher intensity and thus, leading to greater muscle growth.
One of the key ways to improve mind-muscle connection is by focusing on the muscle you are working during each exercise. This means, instead of just going through the motions of a workout, you should actively think about contracting the muscle you are targeting. This will help to ensure that the muscle is being fully activated, leading to greater muscle growth. A study by Schoenfeld, et al. (2014) found that when participants were instructed to focus on the muscle being worked, they showed greater muscle activation and muscle growth, compared to when they were not instructed to focus on the muscle.
Another important aspect of the mind-muscle connection is proper form. Using proper form not only helps to prevent injury, but it also ensures that the muscle being worked is being fully activated. This is especially important when performing exercises that work multiple muscle groups, as it can be easy to rely on other muscles to do the work instead of the intended muscle. A study by Gentil, et al. (2015) found that when participants used proper form during exercises that work multiple muscle groups, they showed greater muscle activation in the targeted muscle, compared to when they did not use proper form.
Pausing and visualization are also effective techniques for improving mind-muscle connection. Pausing at the peak contraction of an exercise can help to increase muscle activation, while visualization can help to improve muscle activation and focus on the muscle being worked (Schoenfeld et al., 2014). A study by Guadagnoli and Lee (2004) found that when participants visualized the muscle contracting before performing the exercise, they showed greater muscle activation compared to when they did not visualize the muscle contracting.
Incorporating these techniques into your workout routine can help to improve your mind-muscle connection and lead to greater muscle growth. As a personal trainer, I highly recommend taking the time to focus on the muscle you are working and using proper form during each exercise. Additionally, incorporating pausing and visualization techniques can also be effective in improving mind-muscle connection.
In conclusion, the mind-muscle connection is an essential aspect of muscle growth that should not be overlooked. By focusing on the muscle you are working, using proper form, and incorporating techniques such as pausing and visualization, you can improve your mind-muscle connection and achieve greater muscle growth.
As a personal trainer in San Mateo, I invite you to come and try out a session with us and see the difference it can make in your fitness goals. Contact me at Holly Roser Fitness and let’s get started on your muscle-growing journey!
Gentil, P., Soares, S. R., Oliveira, A. R., Martins, J. F., & Bottaro, M. (2015). The effect of mind-muscle connection training on muscle activation and muscle thickness in untrained individuals. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 19(3), 490-496.
Willardson, J. M., & Burkett, L. N. (2007). The effect of mental focus on muscle activation during resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(3), 930-935.
Schoenfeld, B. J., Peterson, M. D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G. T. (2014). Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on muscular adaptations in well-trained men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(10), 2909-2918.
Guadagnoli, M. A., & Lee, T. D. (2004). Challenge point: a framework for conceptualizing the effects of various practice conditions in motor learning. Journal of Motor Behavior, 36(2), 212-224.