Friday, December 2, 2011

Mind Muscle Connection

by Kris Pitcher

There is great benefit to slower and lower when it comes to pushing the weights. It's tough on the psyche...we want the big numbers. But depending on what our goal is it just might be to our advantage to lighten up.

Making the mind muscle connection is very powerful. Putting your mental focus on your working muscle through the eccentric (lengthening) and concentric (contracting) phases of the lift is very beneficial.

But in order to do that we have to sacrifice a little bit of weight in order to slow things down and control the movement. Often when we're pushing the big numbers we've got momentum and gravity on our side. The big problem with that is propensity for injury.

Feeling the full contraction and squeezing through each repetition is the mind muscle connection in action. Controlling the movement and feeling each contraction allows you to actually recruit more fibers and work harder than just pushing more weight.

What's the benefit? Better recruitment means better symmetry, it also means greater growth. We also take out the involvement of our antagonist muscles when we work slow and controlled. For instance the antagonist to the biceps are the triceps. When we're flinging the weights around doing curls our triceps are working to slow things down. They're trying to put on the breaks.

But by reducing the weight and controlling the movement our biceps can take on all the resistance, and we benefit from making the mind muscle connection. We can execute the full contraction, feel the squeeze and recruit more fibers. Yeah! Bigger biceps!

So, put your ego in the locker and try controlling the entire movement with lighter weights. Feel the contraction and squeeze. Focus your mental energy on the movement and experience the improvements the mind muscle connection will bring you.

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