Can’t feel a certain muscle working when exercising? Then you probably won’t build much. Here’s a quick fix for that problem.
Immediately flex your biceps. Do you feel the squeeze of your muscles and the rush of blood in and around your fibers? The harder you bend, the more you can feel it. This is an example of the mind-muscle connection.
It is defined as the focus of attention on the muscles when performing movements, especially during strength training. In his book, The Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophywrote Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, “Attention is a well-recognized aspect of motor learning, and its use has implications for muscle hypertrophy.”
When you lift weights, each rep and each set will have varying degrees of effectiveness. There’s a big difference between working through the movement and internally focusing on the muscles. This focus-based feeling is achieved through optimal form and emphasizing the contraction of every muscle involved in the exercise.
The connection between the brain and muscles cannot be measured by itself; however, researchers have found that the activation of a given muscle can be enhanced through the use of an internal focus of attention.
Schoenfeld noted: “Snyder and Leech demonstrated that focusing on the lat muscle during pull-downs significantly increased EMG (electromyographic) activity in the lat muscle.”
We have motor units in our muscles that send signals through the spinal cord to the brain, which is strengthened by training. When activation is higher, more motor units must be recruited. This can be achieved by adding weight, increasing speed, and muscle fatigue.
However, these scenarios do not take into account or measure your focus on the active muscles during the lift. This may vary from person to person. Mind-muscle difference between people with stronger connections and those without? All other factors being equal, a person with a higher level of mind-muscle connection will have more effective reps and sets.
You can develop your mind-muscle connection in a few different ways:
- time representative
- keep equidistant
- super high repetition group
- bend or pose
Here’s an overview of each:
When concentric, eccentric, and in-between cycles have prescribed timing, we call them rhythm reps. This is usually represented by a 4-digit code. Similar to “4040”.
- The first number is the eccentric (descent phase) time. In the example it would be 4.
- The next number is the time between the eccentric and concentric phases of motion. So there might be a 1 or 2 for the pause at the bottom of the exercise. But in our case, there is a zero, which means that you immediately go into concentricity (ascension phase), with no pauses.
- The third number is the time it takes you to complete the concentric (ascension) phase. So, 4 seconds in our example.
- The fourth number is the time between the end and the next eccentric contraction. So in our example, once you lift the dumbbell, if there’s a zero there, you can immediately go back to the eccentric phase. If there are more numbers there, you just pause at the top for that amount of time.
Why do rhythm reps?they can enhance your mind-body connectionThis is especially true when the cadence is slow in both phases of the lift and there are pauses at peak contractions.Additionally, slower phases and longer pauses increase the tense time And enhances the eccentric and concentric portion of the lift within the muscles.
To do this, hold the weight or position statically or isometrically under the load. This muscle action involves no shortening or lengthening of a given muscle, so it’s a great strategy for developing positional strength, positional endurance, and the mind-muscle connection.
It forces you to focus on the area you hold. There is almost no way to avoid the mind-muscle connection. It’s foolproof. When held long enough or hard enough, it induces high levels of muscular engagement to hold whatever position you’re in.
This also helps stabilize the joints, which in turn aids in the mind-muscle connection. If there is less stress on a joint, the muscles can contract around that joint more effectively.
When you hold a certain weight or position for a long time, there is nowhere to hide the weak link. The muscles that have to work in that position are felt, often with a burning sensation from fatigue and a buildup of metabolites.
Every now and then, think about something outside of the basic repeat schedule. Powerlifters already use heavy weights for super low sets, but you can also do super high reps with lighter loads. This could be anywhere in the range of 30 to 100 non-stop repetitions. The concept here is basic: Muscles are overtired, forcing you to work as hard as you can to get your body parts moving.
When you do a super high rep, the muscle is usually pushed to a place where there is too much blood and too much lactic acid building up in the muscle, so the only way to get the next rep is to focus on strength up for the next contraction while maintaining good form. Use these sparingly or try them as finishers.
It can be awkward in public, but flexing is one of the best ways to create a mind-muscle connection. You can do it in a mirror, but bending with your eyes closed is more effective.
if you just have trouble flex muscle group Without weights, it may be difficult for you to feel that muscle when you add weight. Each contraction peak essentially mimics a pose and helps create neural connections to the muscles you’re flexing. If you want to create a mind-muscle connection, practice bending and posing. Just make sure the bathroom door is locked!
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