How to Learn and Improve Mind-Muscle Connection

March 7, 2017 by VAHVA Fitness

6 tips you can use to learn and improve your mind-muscle connection (the most effective training technique).

Learning and improving your mind-muscle connection (MMC) is one of the best tools you have for making progress in training. MMC means that you feel the targeted muscle contract and work efficiently when you train it.

In the previous video we already talked about the importance of mind-muscle connection and how you need to be in tune with your body to obtain it. In many ways your training needs to become more mindful and you need to be more present in the moment.

Once you master the mind-muscle connection, it will become the cornerstone of your training and allow you to make best progress.

MMC will allow you to develop mobility, structural balance and muscle quality to the highest level because you will be able to pinpoint the weak areas and effectively strengthen them.

Improving your mind-muscle connection is a never-ending process that should be practiced in every gym session. Every time you train an area or a muscle, you should be able to improve the muscle contractions in the area.

1. Reduce resistance

Using too much weight will almost automatically ruin the connection to the muscle because the weight can be too much to handle for the muscle.

Just because you are able to lift the weight up, doesn't mean the muscle you want to target is trained and contracted to its full potential.

You need to leave the ego at the door and start tracking your progress with your feelings instead of external weights. This can mean a 50%+ reduction in your bench press to improve your mind-muscle connection.

Heavy weights work when you don't know what you are doing, but eventually there comes a point when you need to take a step back and start focusing more on the quality of your repetitions than the quantity.

2. Control and slow tempo

When you twerk and lift the weights explosively up, your initiator muscles do majority of the work and every other muscle between the range of motion isn't worked effectively.

Control and slow tempo will not only make all the muscles work, but you will also be able to contract them properly.

Many people recommend to lift the weight up explosively but lower it with control. For best results you want to lift the weight up slow and lower it slow. 

3. Eliminate rest of the body

The more purely you can focus on the targeted area, the better results you will produce when it comes to training the area.

To enhance this focus, learn how to stabilize the rest of the body while you focus on the targeted area (i.e. biceps). This means that you freeze everything else. In the bicep curl only your elbow is moving and there are no movement in your shoulders, hips or anywhere else.

Using a wall to do lifts, sitting down in a bench or taking support will help a lot and change dramatically how you feel the exercise. 

4. Study anatomy

Learning the anatomy and functions of the muscles will help a lot with mind-muscle connection because you will have a general idea what muscles are supposed to work and how in different exercises.

Strength training anatomy by Frederic Delavier is a world-renowned book and one of the best ones out there. It's entirely visual and very easy to comprehend (highly recommended).

Websites like and many others (wikipedia) also offer tons of free exercise science knowledge. If you want to go deep, ACSM's strength training books are the best college-level textbooks out there.

5. Experiment with different forms

There are countless of ways to do one exercise. To learn how to effectively contract the muscles, experiment with different forms and angles to find the form that burns and feels the most.

Just because you do the exercise with "a correct form" doesn't mean the form is necessarily working for you. Everyone is different and everyone has different muscle groups that are stronger than others.

When you want to target a weak muscle group, you need to find a form where the strong muscles "don't get in the way" of weaker muscles and dominate the form.

6. Posing/flexing

In bodybuilding the purpose of posing is to display your muscles and you can only do that by learning how to flex them. This knowledge regarding how to flex your certain muscles is immensely helpful and will come helpful in your training.

This is what mind-muscle connection really is: learning how to flex and contract the targeted muscle. Just flexing in front of a mirror will develop MMC and let you later use the knowledge in the gym.

Ultimately, mind muscle connection is about becoming the master of your own body.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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