All you need to Know of the Mind-Muscle Connection

 

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How To Use The Mind-Muscle Connection for Growth (What The Science Says)

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You probably know your brain controls your muscles and joints. But in science, there’s actually a name for that phenomenon: the mind-muscle connection. “The mind-muscle connection is a person’s ability to focus on engaging an individual muscle, almost like ‘flexing’ without actually making any large body movements,” explains Alan Snyder, DPT, owner of Breakaway Physical Therapy. We can say that our mind-muscle connection is the transference of our attentional focus onto the activity we’re performing. To this day, two major types of attentional focus have been identified – internal and external. The external relates to focusing your.

The mind-muscle connection is one of the strongest forces behind muscle growth. It’s a bodybuilding tip that requires so much focus that it is often overlooked. In fact, that the Ohio State University published a study basically stating that you have the power to will your muscles to grow with the bodybuilding tips in this article. Ian uncovers some of the most effective methods for enhancing this neurological brain muscle connection and coaches you through the process in muscle groups throughout the body with detailed coaching notes and videos. Enjoy this one!

Here’s What You Need To Know 1. The mind muscle connection is real, and backed by real science, not just bro-science. 2. You can enhance the connection with tempo. You could show these principles to everyone at the same time before starting the class. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of personal training in my opinion, and if you can master the mind-muscle connection with your clients, they will see incredible results. Let me know if you have any questions by shooting me a comment down below.

The idea behind the mind-muscle connection is simple: If you consciously and deliberately place your attention on the contraction of the primary muscle you are working, the quality of the contraction is enhanced. In other words, the more your mind is focused on the muscle being work as it contracts, the greater your gains will be. If you fall into this category, here are 5 simple tips that should help you develop a better connection with your back and get it growing the way you want it to. Tip #1: Take a false grip One simple way to help you pull with your back versus pulling with your biceps is by taking a.

19 Things You Should Know Before You Lose Your Virginity Read up on everything you need to know about This myth might come from the fact that many people do feel some sort of a connection. Internal focus, i.e. the “mind muscle connection”. External focus, i.e. external cues you use to improve your form on exercises. To maximise your results you should be using both: Prioritise the mind muscle connection on light isolation exercises (<60% 1RM). This can mean a 50%+ reduction in your bench press to improve your mind-muscle connection.

Heavy weights work when you don’t know what you are doing, but eventually there comes a point when you need to take a step back and start focusing more on the quality of your repetitions than the quantity. 2. Control and slow tempo.

List of related literature:

The combination of muscles one contracts at any given moment is often determined as a movement sequence and executed in response to teleceptive stimuli (stimuli at a distance taken in mainly through the senses of hearing and vision), kinesthetic feedback (the feeling of one’s body moving), or thought.

“I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self” by Rodolfo R. Llin's
from I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self
by Rodolfo R. Llin’s
MIT Press, 2002

The information it conveys, especially that from muscle spindles (see box on page 14), allows the brain to oversee and control movement.

“Performance Rock Climbing” by Dale Goddard, Udo Neumann
from Performance Rock Climbing
by Dale Goddard, Udo Neumann
Stackpole Books, 1993

Muscles exercise such control as they interact with the brain through “neuromuscular circuits” (Jacobson, 1964).

“Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition” by Paul M. Lehrer, Robert L. Woolfolk, Wesley E. Sime, David H. Barlow
from Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition
by Paul M. Lehrer, Robert L. Woolfolk, et. al.
Guilford Publications, 2007

Jacobson believed that if a comparison between tension and complete relaxation of muscle fibers could be recognized by the individual, the awareness would promote a deepened sense of relaxation, not only in the muscle itself but throughout the entire body.

“Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing” by Brian Luke Seaward
from Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing
by Brian Luke Seaward
Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006

When we wish to contract a muscle, in order that we may perform some action, we send an impulse from the brain to the muscle, an extra supply of Prana being conveyed to it, and the muscle contracts.

“The Complete Works of William Walker Atkinson: The Power of Concentration, Mind Power, Raja Yoga, The Secret of Success, Self-Healing by Thought Force and much more” by William Walker Atkinson
from The Complete Works of William Walker Atkinson: The Power of Concentration, Mind Power, Raja Yoga, The Secret of Success, Self-Healing by Thought Force and much more
by William Walker Atkinson
Musaicum Books, 2017

In addition, and probably more important, they provide the CNS with information about the current tension of the muscle at all times.

“Textbook of Work Physiology: Physiological Bases of Exercise” by Per-Olof Åstrand, Kaare Rodahl, Hans A. Dahl, Sigmund B. Strømme
from Textbook of Work Physiology: Physiological Bases of Exercise
by Per-Olof Åstrand, Kaare Rodahl, et. al.
Human Kinetics, 2003

For such movements, the relationship between EMG and muscle tension still remains elusive although the search for it continues to be worthwhile.

“Introduction to Sports Biomechanics: Analysing Human Movement Patterns” by Roger Bartlett
from Introduction to Sports Biomechanics: Analysing Human Movement Patterns
by Roger Bartlett
Taylor & Francis, 2007

For the purposes of this book, the focus is on the role of the skeletal and muscular systems in generating the movements that create asana, knowing that starting at any beginning point can bring us into a relationship with all the other systems and tissues in the body.

“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews
from Yoga Anatomy
by Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2011

A basic understanding of muscle physiology is useful for any coach.

“Successful Coaching” by Rainer Martens
from Successful Coaching
by Rainer Martens
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

A number of studies have shown greater activation when you think about contracting the muscle you’re trying to target, which is outlined in an article that I wrote with my good friend and colleague Brad Schoenfeld titled “Attentional Focus for Maximizing Muscle Development: The Mind-Muscle Connection.”

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
from Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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72 comments

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  • I can contract my thighs very hard in the squat, if I wanted to lift more weight I would lose a lot of contraction, so I think I will have more hypertrophy gain in this way, but strength would not mind much contracting the target muscle.

  • Mind muscle connection is simple just squeeze the muscle you want to get mind muscle connection with like crazy and itll start burning. Now you feel your muscle and can put some weight up. This is how i did it in the beginning just squeeze my bicep like crazy and then i started feeling the muscle.

  • I’ve had this issue with my biceps forever. I work them but I feel like I’m getting no where with them. I’ve never heard the contract first then worry about moving the weight after concept. Gonna give it a go Ron!

  • Here is the deal. I think giving a cue for a movement, with relation to mind muscle connection, can help someone focus on how to better perform the movement with relation to the target muscle. Example: when doing a seated row with a row bar, about shoulder width apart…. many people may focus on their hands and grip, and pull with their biceps. Sure, they are moving the weight in the end, and will see results in back development over time. However, show them the anatomy of the back muscles involved and insertion on the humerus, if you do the same movement, but have them pretend that their hands are merely hooks, forget about your hands, think about pulling your elbows back, and minimize bicep involvement, YOU GET A WHOLE DIFFERENT FEEL. Someone who is less trained will get a soreness in their back and lats, they haven’t had in the past. Just small tweaks in the thought process, did possibly change the arc motion of the movement for them, so they performed the exercise in a different way. The cues, and mind muscle connection are real. The cues try to get you to perform the exercise in the best way for YOU to experience the best from the exercise. I don’t see the issue with lower extremities, because I can give cues on the squat so that you focus on the quads. Mainly dealing with force placement in the feet, and torso angles, and what to think about when pressing through the floor. How much experience do these people conducting these tests have with actual lifting in the real world, that qualified them to even give proper cues. You have to actually touch some people, and touch their muscle that you are wanting them to focus with that cue, so they can get an accurate representation of what you need them to do. You see trainers doing this all the time with pro bodybuilders.

  • Fantastic video and approach to the subject matter. Really like the conclusions and it makes a lot of sense.
    This channel is amazing!

  • Such a small sample size. I think it is more likely that the internal group happened to get more people who responded better to the excersizes.

  • I did tricep extension last night. Now I know I was doing it all wrong! No wonder I didn’t feel any stimulation in my triceps ��Thanks for the tip guapo ��
    Mind body conexión got it! ✔️��️

  • Great idea for a video. I always use an isolation exercises to activate the muscle and really visualize contracting the muscle in each rep. I’ve heard the flexing tip quite a bit and it’s true it really does work and it keeps the muscle under some tension as well

  • Soooo informative!! ����✊������, and that makes hella sence!!! Great video, you a YouTube bodybuilding legend, been watching since 16 I’m 22 now!

  • Weightlifting has nothing to do with mind to muscle connection… mind to muscle connection has nothing to do with steroid users… mind to muscle connection has nothing to do with newbies or wannabes…. mind to muscle connection has nothing to do with swinging or jerkin yanking the weights…. mind to muscle connection is Advanced Training… most people have not learned how to concentrate… like Jeff nippard… he likes to look all around the room going through the motions!

  • Tip #5
    Have your training partner touch the muscle you’re training! It automatically puts your mind exactly on the muscle you’re training!

  • I feel a leg extension makes you use the quads primarily much more than the barbell curl makes you use your biceps It’s much easier to compensate with other muscles on the barbell curl than the leg extension. I don’t see how you can use any muscles besides your quads on the leg extension. So a mind muscle connection is much less important.

  • I do more powerlifting than anything but i agree 100% and i use every tool. Freeweights, bodyweight, machines, bands etc. The tools are there for a reason. Great message Chris ����

  • i miss this to the point, spot on jones. Been a fan since the ghetto spatula, keep getting after it chris,. If i were you id hire people to do all the boring shyt (Business wise) and focus on doing the fun stuff yourself, we need more beast mode <3

  • Trying to commingle strength training and bodybuilding is not a good idea… it takes longer to recover from strength training…. that would seriously hinder bodybuilding…. the exception to the rule are juicers, they can get away with any abnormality!!!

  • I have been training for about 20 years. I have made great gains, bad gains, strength gains etc. I started heavy manual labor at a very young age, and did not ever participate in sports growing up. With that said, my body EASILY will get strong rapidly, especially in squat, and DL, pushing is my weakness. A challenge for me was to actually activate the muscle groups i were working, regardless of good form bad form etc. It took me years to develop a good mmc and how to use it properly, and a tremendous blow to the ego, because all of my strength was made irrelevant, when focusing on squeezing out every rep. It is my belief, people like me who have been wired for work, the adaption process is entirely different than your basic rookie gym rat wannabe. Even with training young people, you can see every exercise fires the muscle group theyre working, and they’re not even aware to think about it. The real world strength wired folks, typically will NOT develop hypertrophy as easily, even after mmc training. Just my observation.

  • Hey v shred you are the shit and am so very excited that I seen one of your adds on YouTube because once I started listening to your videos everything made sense more and was more about getting strait to the point

  • This video definitely deserves more views! With the quarantine going on a lot of people like me finally picked up working out and I find that this subject is not talked about enough

  • I love how you explain everything so detailed that i can almost feel it myself lol. I am watching your videos since POG. Big Support from Germany

  • Great videos my man. Still pumping out the quality shit! When I first got into the gym a few years back I’d watch your stuff since physics of greatness was a smaller channel. Now you built up your empire! Great job! I’m recently back into the gym and going to start to implement your new stuff. I can tell you have learned from your mistakes in the past and want to share your knowledge you have gained over the years to help prevent others from the same. I appreciate you! ��

  • I enjoyed all of his analogies because I have an issue. I’m told my form is textbook, but I’m always getting hurt. I pull muscles constantly, so I appreciate all the help I can get. ��

  • I do! and it works! Our minds are powerful. Btw you should take those headphones off, if you want to get a real mind-muscle connection:)

  • Finally someone who fucking explained it properly so it makes sense. Other guys in this website just telling us to fucking “concentrate” on MMC.. this makes so much more sense and i already feel it more

  • I’ve been lifting for a solid 4 years now and just happened to come across your channel. Subscribed instantly! Honest information, I’ve learned at least one thing new from each of your videos I have watched and I’ve watched over 100s of fitness videos through YouTube. Keep the content coming! Looking forward to trying some new techniques and growing my physique �� Thanks for taking the time time for us!

  • When i use anything on the right side of my body i don’t feel any connection. Say bicep curls, i feel my entire arm getting tired where as the left arm just my bicep. I have been trying to flex my right trap for a loooong time, i can do the left just fine. Those same examples go for the entire right side. It gets even weirder than that. My left is dominant hand for writing and any finesse activity but my right side is stronger/can lift more. My left side also gets more sore, sometimes the right not even being sore one bit.

  • If anyone wants to say he’s not natural because he’s still making gains. Yeah probably if he was perfect from day 1. But he wasn’t. Nobody in the real world is.

  • External cuing for compounds, and internal cuing for isolation movements �� Somehow have been practicing this right for four years now by coincidence

  • Do you think as you gain more muscle, you can establish a better mind muscle connection because you can feel the contraction more? Before I started working out consistently and gained muscle, I couldnt really feel my muscles when I contracted them.

  • wait! in my understanding… having the discipline in lifting the weight using the correct form is basically using mind-muscle connection. So in essence, its EF & IF altogether!

  • I’ll try all three of these, yet being a survivor of two Traumatic Brain Injuries, I fear that making that mind-muscle connection may take me longer than others. Thanks for the tips nonetheless.

  • Yep, that why guys like lee Haney and Kai Greene always have said they will never be a weightlifter, they are bodybuilders.
    Weight does not matter, making the target muscle work is what counts.

  • Not Busted. The brain is the central processor. Makes sense (bro science) call it what you will but it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that the brain tells the body what to do. Nonetheless, Jeff’s got us covered with the research. With large compound movements I’d say not max weight, controllable weight with M&M connection may be more beneficial. There are so many variables we cant exactly factor.. in the end, the mind is the most important muscle.

  • Is it possible that the biceps grew more than the quads for the internal focus group because “getting the weight up” on biceps curls could be more likely to incur swinging and a breakdown of form?

  • It’s just a matter of feeling the muscle or muscular group we are working out at the moment, feeling how is contracting as squeezing, how we are directing the strength and energy to that muscle to perform the motion!!! And not a movement of our limb which is supposed to develop something.

  • If the weight is moving with the right movement, the muscle has to be working. If you curl your wrists up without cheating, how can the bicep not be working?

  • FOR ME, mind muscle connection does have an effect and it does make a big difference if you include properly executing the exercise.

  • Its the most important thing during workout, if your biceps aren’t lifting the weight instead of your whole arms and other muscles being involved then what good will the workout bring? Go moderate and build mind muscle connection.

  • While bench pressing especially, I just can’t focus on my chest muscles, I can focus for about 3 reps and then I focus on my shoulders and can’t switch back. Any fixes?

  • Im right handed, but im struggling with the mind muscle connection with the right bicep. I can absolutely feel the left bicep, and can flex to the point where it feels like its gonna pop, but the right, i just cant feel it.

  • Best of all your muscles don’t know the difference between squatting with a bar or someone else on your shoulders so eg you can put on a bar 100lbs and ask someone to push against the bar I won’t make a difference

  • Activation is the biggest bogus word in fitness today! Physical therapists are the ones who activate a person’s muscles, it’s called physical therapy!

  • Whenever newer gym members ask me for workouts or gym advise I just tell them too look up this channel the majority of what I know today is credited to the amazing content DP has been putting out for free! Forever grateful for every gem of a video you’ve uploaded!!! Forever team Total Alpha ����

  • Activation is a bogus word… any quack can use that word…. there’s many forms of exercise…. there’s calisthenics there is stretching exercises, static and dynamic… there is rehab exercises like Tai Chi… there’s Mobility and Agility exercises for sports, basketball football Etc… that means the word activation has no significant meaning!!!

  • How would you focus on the muscle and have bad form without the rep failing? Focusing on the muscle is just good form to the nth degree.

  • Qi is a useful idea to employ. It’s the Chinese concept of life energy, and thinking about forcing your qi into your targeted muscle.

    At least, that’s how my martial arts coach talks about it, and it’s served me well thus far.

  • Weight lifting is all about moving the weight… Bodybuilding is about contracting the muscle, the positive and the negative or the eccentric and concentric… Mind to muscle connection only works when using good form and not ego lifting! When people are constipated they use good form and mind to muscle connection!

  • Hmm this video makes me think about the possibility of useing some kind of psychedelics during training. Or maybe after the gym to help with regeneration.
    If nothing else the experience should be very spiritual. Shame that there are no studies on the subject.

  • Man Chris I can’t believe how long I’ve been watching you on YouTube learnt so much from you an og physiques of greatness sub. I remember meeting you the first time in the Vegas Olympia. The only fitness YouTuber I watch honestly keep it up love the videos.

  • This is the best explanation ever ron. Now i understand what mind muscle connection is. I watched many videos on youtube before but i failed to understand hahaha

  • pretty good explanation. I have heard about the mind muscle connection a long time ago and believe in it, but it is something I need to develop a bit more!

  • I tried it with deadlift. Tried to concentrate more on glute and it got really sore aka more activation. perhaps mind muscle connex is like not using ur back or forearm when doing curl

  • Excuse me, but your statement is incorrect. It’s right that internal focus increase muscle activation (measured with EMG) but it DECREASE the performance! You better have to focus on something external to you to maximise your performance (and thus gainz).
    Just take a look at some research from Gabriele Wulf (She made a review about external focus)

  • You’ve really helped motivate me to get back into training after i had a bad back injury and watched all my hard earned gains leave me over a couple of years. Haven’t felt this level of focus or motivation towards getting myself back into the shape i used to be in for far too long. Cheers DP

  • Hey, just wanted to ask if you could make a video on how to recover from crash dieting, or give me some tips to you PictureFit and the viewer:)

  • Can you do a video (or videos) on popular lifting routines? Stuff like Starting Strength, Stronglifts, German Volume, etc.? Pros, cons, what’s legit and what’s hype/bro science… stuff like that.

  • I write with my right hand but I’m laying down holding my phone with my right hand and too lazy to switch so I wrote with my left,I also had a cast on right arm kinda use to my left

  • I am moderately lean with somewhat high bodyfat percentage. I want to gain muscle and get in proper shape. Should i increase reps with medium weight(like 3 sets each with 15 reps) or shd i lift heavy with with more sets ( 5 sets 10-5 reps decreasingly). Need ur advice.

  • I am moderately lean with somewhat high bodyfat percentage. I want to gain muscle and get in proper shape. Should i increase reps with medium weight(like 3 sets each with 15 reps) or shd i lift heavy with with more sets ( 5 sets 10-5 reps decreasingly). Need ur advice.

  • Theres more muscles in the upper body, shoulders chest traps could all get involved on the curl. While lower body theres not as many muscles down there I feel like that’s why mind muscle works for biceps.

  • Hey Vince I like the first method of flexing so much and works great for me but when I start doing it I loose my flexing thing after 4 to 5 reps so I find it hard to implement if you can help me with any tip that will be really appreciated ��

  • Can you do a video on:
    1) The whole apple cider vinegar shit
    2) Drinking water first thing in the morning shit
    3) Why I’m alone
    4) Creatine, lifting and how it affects hair loss

  • I literally stopped watching everyone else & only watch DP’s videos now. Following the workouts & the results are working. No nonsense or playing around just that work

  • Look you use your arms for everything on a daily basis which creates a memory implications. Your legs are used for few things in a day, until you create a memory implication you will grow your legs just as good as your arms, flexibility is also a factor. Bare in mind how freely ur arms can move in comparison to your legs, long story short muscle memory is what helps this situation.

  • While bench pressing especially, I just can’t focus on my chest muscles, I can focus for about 3 reps and then I focus on my shoulders and can’t switch back. Any fixes?

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  • I can do 8 chest dips with 30 pounds but only 7 without weight when i squeeze at the top…
    Flex between sets for 30-45 seconds
    Then hang on pullup bar for stretch
    Ive never had such a good chest pump

  • I don’t know how I landed on this video, but after laughing hilariously at your glute joke, I decided to subscribe! Great content!

  • Definitely the best trainer on you tube. Pretty much everything I know Iv learned from this channel. Maybe a few gems from other bodybuilders but most of knowledge is thanks to DP. I appreciate the advise. My gains do to!

  • These are solid principles to follow! I do have trouble making the mind muscle connection doing a dumb bell front raise. Any tips?

  • I’ve read about having an external focus when lifting to help your lifts. Like when squatting, think about the bar as a line that needs to go up. I do find that this helps me perform better.

  • Is it better to drop down in weight and go nice and slow on your negative for your workout or should I go heavy and not worry about going slow?

  • Everybody has a strong side… as with any sports you develop neurological adaptation.. henceforth you get better at the sports… that is not mind to muscle connection… in bodybuilding ego lifters always get better in ego lifting…. that’s neurological adaptation… mind muscle connection is about contraction a muscle… it’s not about moving that weight! Most people avoid that like a black plague… they’ll say something like I felt that and they’ll stop doing that immediately!