Mind Muscle Connection

Can you perform an exercise more effectively by thinking about it?  

Brett Contreras PhD, CSCS, states research has shown that “advanced lifters can steer neural drive to and away from various muscles without significantly altering form”.  

A study was performed utilizing electromyography (EMG) to assess muscle activation on various upper and lower body exercises. When each exercise was performed the load, speed and form remained constant. The difference was which muscles were concentrated on being activated. The study showed a strong evidence of the mind-muscle connection.

Contreras states “when purposely trying not to focus on the glutes during the back extension, glute EMG activation reached just 6% of MVIC (maximum voluntary isometric contraction).  However, when trying to use the glutes, glute EMG activation rose to 38% of MVIC”.

How does this affect your training?  I want to challenge you to start “thinking” about your training.  A Get Fit NH Family member sent me a quote that I absolutely love:

“Whatever the exercise, however hard we’re working, if we’re not doing it mindfully, we’re really not doing it justice.”

My goal is for you to be able to make a connection between the exercises we do and the muscles we are supposed to be using.  Often times I see people perform rows using mostly their biceps and shrugging their shoulders. It is important to use your back muscles when performing rows because it can take pressure off the elbows and prevent the shoulders from rolling forward.  For many this does not happen naturally, so you have to use the mind-muscle connection. You have to actually think about activating and squeezing your back muscles during the row. Making the mind to muscle connection will greatly impact your training!

-Coach Erin  

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