Mind-muscle connection will allow you to make the most progress in the shortest time when utilized correctly.
One of the highest levels of fitness is achieving mind-muscle connection (MMC) with your body. In order to do this you have to be very deeply in tune with your body.
Mind-muscle connection is not only for the bodybuilders. It's incredibly effective way to strengthen your body regardless of your field. All martial artists, athletes, movers and fitness enthusiasts will greatly benefit from mindful training.
Most mobility drills are just about isolating the smaller muscles and increasing the strength of the muscle in its entire range of motion. You need mind-muscle connection to produce the best results.
You see, without MMC you can never be sure you are targeting the right muscle. The form alone guarantees nothing: you can do a squat in many different ways with the exact same form by using different muscle groups.
It's possible to squat yourself up with the strength of your hamstrings and glutes, or use dominantly your quadriceps. Without mind-muscle connection you will always be utilizing the strongest muscle group.
This lack of mindfulness in training is one of the reason for structural imbalances in the body. When you are ALWAYS using the dominant (strongest) muscle groups to generate strength, the less dominant muscles will remain untouched. The longer you continue to do this, the more evident structural imbalances will become.
For example, it's entirely possible you are dominantly bicep curling all the weight with your long head of the bicep which is why you might have a nonexistent short head and a weak brachialis muscle (these are also elbow flexors).
It takes time to develop mind-muscle connection
Mind-muscle connection is a high level technique most bodybuilders learn after years of training.
In order to learn how to deeply connect to your muscles, you need to practice it in every gym session. Every time you lift weights, you should focus on the targeted muscle and learn how to contract the muscle to its maximum.
Every muscle is different: it's much easier to learn to connect to your biceps than it is for many smaller leg muscles. You just need to keep digging and practice it. At some point you will find the connection.
Too much weight will ruin your mind-muscle connection.
Kai Greene is one of the best bodybuilders of all time. He is using baby weights and everyone who doesn't understand mind-muscle connection is making fun of him. Kai Greene is actually doing the right thing at the highest level.
If you are using too much weight, the weaker muscles won't be able to lift it. If they can't lift the weight, you won't be able to connect to the muscle. This is the reason why all mobility drills and all isolative exercises should be done with extremely light weights and very high repetitions (15 to 30 per set).
You need to leave your ego at the door.
In order to achieve mind-muscle connection, you likely need to drop weight of all of your exercises 2 to 3 times. Yes, you will likely bench press with just the bar and do bodyweight squats.
People's obsession with extreme weights is one of the biggest things that is holding back their progress. Just because you are able to lift heavy weights, doesn't mean it's the best way to strengthen them. A great example: kipping pull ups with extra 30 kg (60lbs) vs. slow tempo pull ups. Which one do you think will produce better results?
This is what you have to do to learn mind-muscle connection:
- Practice mind-muscle connection in every gym session by focusing on the targeted muscle(s)
- Drop significantly the weight of all of your exercises
- Slow controlled tempo for high repetitions
- Feel the muscle burning and contracting
That's all for today, train hard stay safe!