The “Secret” to Muscle Growth

Letting go of your ego isn’t always an easy thing to do. However, if you want to get the most out of your workouts, drop your ego as soon as you walk through the gym’s door. Mind-muscle connection (MMC) seems to be a “secret” that not many people take advantage of.

I must admit… When I started my fitness journey, I was far too worried about the amount of weight I was lifting. I compared my weight to other girls at the gym and tried to increase if I noticed they were doing more. Not only was this a terrible thing to do, it was also dangerous! I struggled FAR too much to pull/push the weight and it could have resulted in an injury. During this time, I had never heard of mind-muscle connection. My focus was just on finishing my reps. If this sounds like you – STOP!

Muscles grow when they are forced to contract. By maximizing the work performed by your target muscles (the primary muscle you are working on), you are maximizing your results. The brain controls movement and contracts the muscle when it receives the signal to do so. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine and is able to communicate to your muscles this way. By solely focusing on your target muscles, you are recruiting more muscles fibers, leading to an increase muscle contraction quality.  Your main focus should not maximizing the amount of weight you are pushing/pulling. Bodybuilding.com provides the perfect example for this:

“Think of it this way, you bench press 250lbs for 8 reps. But because your MMC is poor, your triceps and deltoids are pushing much of that weight, so your chest might only be bearing 60% of the load. In other words, your chest is being recruited to push 150lbs (60% of 250lbs). Instead, try lowering the weight and focusing more on your MMC. Say you reduce the weight to 220lbs for 8 reps; this time because of your improved MMC your chest is bearing 80% of the load. Now you’re pushing 176lbs (80% of 220) with your target muscle, so your chest is actually doing more work” -Brent McGrath

Many people focus on moving up in weight when in reality, sometimes the best option is to lower the weight. Next time you’re in the gym, try a warm up set and really allow your mind to focus on the contraction of the target muscles. If you perform these reps slowly, you should feel your target muscles contracting and the isolation of these muscles will become easier.

Moral of the story: Drop the ego. Focus on your workout. Allow your mind to focus on the contraction of your muscles. Doing this during your workouts will lead to the greatest amount of efficiency and the best results. Our minds are powerful, so let’s use them as best as we can. Train smarter, not harder.

Leave a comment below on your experiences with mind-muscle connection or how you plan on incorporating it into your workouts! Follow me on my social media platforms where you can get all kinds of motivation, tips, and tricks on working through your fitness journey!


Photo: I Can Do It

 

 

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