If you have participated in one of my workout classes or follow me on social media, you’ve probably heard me talk about the mind-muscle connection over and over. Mind-muscle connection means being aware of what is happening inside the body, such as breathing or thinking about the muscle you're contracting.
Thinking about your workout while you're doing it can give you better results than just mindlessly performing the exercise alone, regardless if it’s about maintaining weight, losing fat or gaining muscle mass, or improving performance – fitness is a lifelong learning process and I believe that everyone can win from practicing mind-muscle connection.
Mind-muscle Connection is a skill. The more often you practice this skill, consciously feeling the movement and contraction of the individual muscles, the more efficient at it you will become. The benefits of such a skill are numerous to say the least.
The most important thing that can help you to improve your mind-muscle connection is: being completely "in the zone". To expand on that though, I will now show you three practicing tools with which you can train the mind-muscle Connection even more targeted:
2 - Isolation
3 - Observe and Touch
Let’s go through them one by one.
1 - Static exercises
Also known as isometric exercises, recruit muscles and exert tension without actually lengthening or shortening the muscle, in other words, without moving. These exercises will work your muscles in a different way than you’re used to—and if you do them correctly, you’ll definitely be feeling the burn. The easiest example of an isometric move to think about is a plank. When you hold the plank position, you’re squeezing and engaging your entire core the whole time. That muscle contraction is the main muscle you are working on, and is what you must remain focused on to practice mind-muscle connection.
2 - Isolation
Pretty much all of my workout sets are based in Isolation exercises. It's very effective practice to keep good form and proper stabilization while working out. The main focus of this kind of training is to tackle one specific muscle at a time, instead of compound exercises that work two or more muscles. Another workout style that will help you benefit from mind-muscle connection.
3 - Observe and Touch
The primary reason mirrors adorn the walls of so many conventional gyms is that they give users the ability to check their bodies moves in such a way as to contract the muscle they wish to target without getting injured in the process. More you focus on what your body is doing, the better results you'll get and lesser the chances of getting yourself hurt. So my suggestion number three is for you to stop in front of the mirror, observe and touch every muscle individually while you contract each one at the same time.
Also, consider working out sometimes in front of a mirror, it can provide great insight into how you actually look, how you're breathing, and how your body is aligned during a particular movement.
By watching your muscles flex in the mirror, you are forced to practice mind-muscle connection because you’re naturally focused on holding proper form and muscle contraction rather than quickly running through a strength training set.
I highly recommend mind-muscle connection to be part of your lifestyle in general, it should be present while you're simply standing and breathing. Try to notice whether you're standing with your weight evenly balanced on your feet, and if while you're breathing your abdomen muscle is contracting.
Feel your body every time it moves, be present, always.