by Shannon Clark
Whether you’re just looking to get started with weight lifting exercise or you’ve been going at it for months or years, there is one element that is of particular importance to everyone. That element?
Mind muscle control.
Most people who hit the gym focus on one of a few things. Adding more weight; bumping up the reps; trying a new exercise.
All of these are great and can help you move further toward your end goal – if mind-muscle control is present.
Let me share with you what this concept entails and why it’s so critical for success.
What Is Mind-Muscle Control?
Mind-muscle control essentially refers to you mentally focusing on the particular muscle group(s) that you are working whenever you’re doing a given exercise.
For instance, if you’re doing a bicep curl, your mind is focused on squeezing that bicep as hard as you can to hoist the weight upward. You focus on the muscle contracting as the weight nears the top of the movement and then slowly lengthening as you lower it back down – all while keeping the tension present on the muscle tissue.
Compare this now to someone who just swings the weight upward, only focusing on getting it to the top.
Who’s going to see better results?
Mind-muscle control ensures that you are present in the workout session. As far as strength training is concerned, this is the best way to enhance mindfulness, a characteristic that can enhance just about any element of your life.
What It Can Do For You
In addition to boost mindfulness, maintaining mind-muscle control also offers some additional benefits.
- Reduces your risk of injuries.
- Allows you to get a better workout without as much total weight.
- Ensures you are only working the target muscles. not be working into play. This reduces the total results you will see.
- Gives faster results in a shorter time period.
Struggling to master mind-muscle connection? Improve your game by lightening the weight you’re lifting 20%. This will allow you to really focus in on the squeeze. Additionally, visualize the muscle. Imagine it contracting and relaxing and you’ll feel the difference immediately. For those who are still struggling, actually touching the muscle with a free hand can help you ‘connect’ with it better, mastering control.
So next time you head for the gym, start paying attention. Are you focusing as much on your muscle contractions as you could be?
Shannon Clark has a degree in Exercise Science and is an AFLCA certified personal trainer. She has written on the topics of health, fitness and nutrition for the last 8 years. Her insights are regularly published on bodybuilding.com, askmen.com and FitRated.com. FitRated is a leading fitness equipment review site offering expert commentary on equipment, workout plans and weight loss strategies.