What is the Mind Muscle Connection? And How to Train It
Contrary to popular belief, muscle size does not always correlate directly with muscle strength. In general, stronger athletes will have bigger muscles but this does not always hold true. And perhaps the best example of this can be seen by looking at Bruce Lee, who had relatively thin arms but was capable of performing some incredible feats.
How? In all likelihood, it comes down to the mind muscle connection. The ability to will your muscles into action.
How the Mind Controls the Muscles
In order to move any given muscle, you start by generating a signal in your brain. Specifically, this signal will begin life in the motor cortex. This is a part of the brain that consists of a one-to-one mapping between body areas and that controls movement and is responsible for feedback from touch.
So the signal originates here and then it travels through the body, following the central nervous system. Eventually, it reaches the ‘neuro-muscular junction’ where the signal jumps across to engage muscle fibers. The strength of this signal is partly responsible for how many muscle fibers fire at once and for which fibers in particular fire.
This is your mind muscle connection. Because, the stronger the signal you’re able to send, the more power you’ll be able to generate the same amount of muscle.
And here’s the thing: right now, you are probably of engaging only around 20-40% of your muscle fiber at once. That means that you have at least 60% of your strength that you can’t tap into.
Want proof? Then consider what happens when someone is electrocuted and thrown across the room: they fly through the air, not because of the force of the energy but because their muscles completely contract!
How to improve mind muscle connection
So how do you strengthen this connection? One simple strategy is simply to train the connection by using it more. That means lifting 100% of your 1RM, it means pulling against an immovable force (called ‘overcoming isometrics’) and it means concentrating more on your muscles as you use them.
On top of this, you can also train harder by increasing your production of excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenaline, and acetylcholine. Studies show that you can do this even by just shouting – when we shout, it causes us to release hormones that help us tap into more of our own potential and lift even heavier weights!
Our Best Mind Muscle Connection Fitness Programs
- We hope these simple tips will help you on your fitness journey. If you are not sure where to start with your exercise program we do recommend The Home Workout Revolution. A follow-along exercise program we use because of both the simplicity and depth of the program. We feel it is a great program for the beginner as the follow along video workouts get you in the habit of fitness and allow the beginner to ease into exercise. Then for the more advanced fitness enthusiast, there are some really challenging programs to follow. Each workout has it’s own video, so you aren’t alone in any training session. You can get it HERE
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