Working out with weights can be somewhat uncomfortable. It requires physical exertion as well as mental exertion. At some point during a good set the muscles will likely burn or become sore to some degree. This burn or soreness can persist even after you put the weights down. It’s hard to describe to people who have not done it.
Focusing on the muscle you are working is called making a mind-to-muscle connection, and it can boost the results of any exercise. You can improve the quality of your workout by developing a mind-to-muscle connection. Mind muscle connection describes a synergy between your brain and your muscles – meaning that you are much more aware of how your muscles are functioning, much more focussed on the movements you are making, and strongly in tune with how effective your workouts are. The truth is that while this concept is not going to turn you into Mr Olympia overnight and certainly isn’t essential to making some basic muscle gains; it is an important aspect that helps you to get the very best out of your workout.
It is the power of the mind – more specifically, the state of the mind – that directly reflects what happens to our bodies. While many of us accept this truth – that there is something to be said for “mind over matter,” or the impact our thoughts have on our realities, including our bodies – many of us fail to use our minds to the best of their abilities when it comes to our workouts.
Steps to Create Mind-Muscle Connection
1. Focus on form:
Lose weight and build calorie-burning muscle by learning proper form for every exercise. Proper form is designed to allow the muscle to operate efficiently. What’s more, using good form reduces the risk of injury.
2. Focus on targeted muscles:
It’s possible that you are wasting energy by tensing muscles other than the ones you are targeting. Work only the areas you are targeting at that moment and relax any areas not related to the exercise.
3. Controlling the Heart Rate through Breathing:
To control the heart rate when working out, breathe in for six seconds, hold your breath for a couple of seconds then breathe out for seven seconds.
If you have practiced yoga, you may be familiar with the idea that focusing on breath can connect the mind and body. Concentrating on breathing clears distractions from the brain and releases tension that may stop muscles from working efficiently.
4. Focus on visualization:
When the brain focuses on an image – say visualizing toned biceps – it sends a message to the corresponding muscle to increase in mass. And these muscles tone up regardless if you don’t train it that often. When you practice visualization and combine it with training, you will surprise yourself with the shocking result. Before workouts, imagine the exercises you are planning to do. For instance, picture each motion your arm will make during a perfect bicep curl.
5. Focus on being realistic:
Don’t set yourself up for failure with virtually unreachable goals; these goals will lead to the frustration and stress that will tell you to give up. Instead, start with small goals in can-do time frames. If you have never worked out before, commit to 10 or 15 minutes on a treadmill or doing the Shape up Size down Beginners Workout. As you see results, you will be motivated to add more time and increase intensity.
6. Flex Your Muscles:
Flexing stretches and strengthens the muscle tissues. Stand in front of your mirror and start flexing certain muscles. Contract the muscles one at a time in slow, deliberate movement. This will help you achieve a sculpted form and improve muscle control when you exercise.
These small steps are not difficult to achieve and will keep you motivated!