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What is 'Mind-to-Muscle Connection?'


Okay so I, and a lot of other fitness professionals bang on about the concept of mind to muscle connection, but what is it?

Mind to muscle connection is an “internally focused strategy that involves visualising the target muscle and consciously directing neural drive to the muscle during exercise performance” - (Schoenfeld and Contreras, 2016.)

The approach, in theory, aims to increase activation of the target muscle (agonist) while diminishing the contribution from secondary muscle movers (fixators and synergists)

How to perform mind to muscle connection:

  • actively think about the target muscle working

  • Slow down the movement. Focus on the eccentrics and the feel of the muscle working!

  • drop the weight: lower your weights and focus on engaging the muscles!

Evidence of mind to muscle connection;

Through focusing on the hamstrings during an RDL, research found a 9% max glute capacity. However, through focusing on the glutes during an RDL, the experiment found a 32% max glute capacity.

Through actively avoiding activating the glutes in a back extension, research found a 6% maximal glute capacity. Contrarily, through actively engaging and focusing on the glutes, the study elicited a huge 38% of glute capacity!!

Finally, through focusing on quads during a squat, the study found an 11% max glute capacity but through focusing on glutes there was a 25% capacity.

(Study by Lewis and Sahrmann, 2009).

Research concludes that simply focusing on the muscle moving contributes to strength gains as well as hypertrophy (muscle growth).

If you’re not making the gains and progress you’d like, I’d really recommend implementing mind to muscle connection in your next workout!

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