December 16, 2016

Mind Muscle Connection Training

Connect Mind & Muscle

Mind Muscle Connection training is all about really feeling the resistance in the target muscle you’re working. It’s about mental focus as you take a muscle to ‘exhaustion’ in each set.

You see too many people in the gym who are using bad form that is not generating any benefit for them:

  1. The Macho Cheater. Here’s a guy who swings around extra heavy weights to impress himself. But does it using body english, bad form and momentum. He’ll arch his back, swing the weights and do whatever it takes to make them move. In terms of building muscle, much of this is wasted motion.
  2. The Little Dumbbell Swinger. This person kind of idly stares off into space while swinging a light dumbbell around. Maybe it’s aerobic, but it aint building any muscle.
  3. The Email Reader. He or she tends to sit on the machine you’d like to use next to check email and social. Obviously, Zero impact on building muscle. 

None of those people is practicing the Mind Muscle Connection, and as a result they’re just not getting much muscle-building benefit from the time they spend in the gym.

So, what is the Mind Muscle Connection? It’s a long held belief in the bodybuilding world that your mind can actually control your muscles. Personally, I think that’s going a bit far with it for what we’re trying to do.

I tend to keep things simple. For me, the MMC is about being mindful of the specific muscle you are working and really feeling the sensations caused when you work it. That should be your goal vs. how much weight you lift.

Your Purpose

If you’re practicing my style of training, you’re sole purpose is to exhaust a specific muscle or group of muscles in each particular exercise you do.

We’re going for Hypertrophy. That’s the process of causing microscopic tears to the muscle fibers. NOT pain, but it will result in a little soreness. Think of it as the “Pumped Up” feeling. With good nutrition and rest, the tiny repairs happen as you sleep and make you just a little bit stronger. It adds up over time.

You will sometimes hear that pumped feeling  referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.

We’re not talking about exhaustion as in you want to pass out. We’re really just focusing on working that target muscle in a way that returns maximum benefits for our effort.

For example: If you’re doing bicep curls, you want each set you perform to exhaust  those biceps. That means you do good reps until you can’t do another. You’re not thrashing yourself, you’re just going till you can’t do another good, clean rep.

You use just enough resistance so you can do 8 – 12 reps in each set. Usually, you’ll target 12 reps in the first set and then get as close to that as you can in the next sets. You might even go lower in reps. Doesn’t matter too much.

The most important thing is to be conscious of how the muscle feels. Really feel it!

It’s not about the numbers. How much weight or how many reps. That’s all for ego. We want to feel the sensation. It’s about focus and mindfulness.

Feeling the pump or the burn as the muscle fights back against the resistance. That’s the essence of the MMC.

Check out this article for more on how to build a workout around the Mind Muscle Connection. Focus and Feeling (Pump) vs. How Much Weight (Ego)

There are a lot of methods for resistance training. It’s mind boggling how many are out there. HIT, Cross Fit, Power, etc., etc. If your intention is to build muscle, and that’s what it should be if you’re north of 40 and trying to reverse the effects of aging, then this is the way you should go.

And here’s a good short and sweet review on how to do it by IgnoreLimits. com. They break it down in 3 simple parts kind’a like this:

  1. Visualize before you begin. Get focused on the specific muscle or muscles.
  2. Warmup first with a light set. Again, you’re tuning in to the feeling.
  3. Tense the muscle a few times before each set. Get your mind to focus on that pumped feeling in a specific area.

And if you really want to take a dive down the rabbit hole, you could check out some hardcore bodybuilding sites for more on the MMC. Virtually everyone agrees that it is a critical component of successful training.

But the hardcore guys can go off on complex and serious tangents with in-depth reviews of anatomy and all kinds of theories on top of that. It’s a lot more detail than necessary IMO, but if you want it, try looking at:

Muscle & Fitness


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