Mind-Muscle Connection: The Best Kept Secret for Increased Muscle and Strength

The 3 Types of Muscle

Our bodies consist of three different types of muscles: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal.

  1. Cardiac muscles are located in the heart and function involuntarily,
  2. Smooth muscles are located in the walls of hollow organs such as the stomach and intestines and function involuntarily, and
  3. Skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons, are responsible for our physical movement, and function voluntarily, meaning that we have the ability to control how and when we choose to move them.

Muscle Contraction Explained

Muscle contraction, or the recruitment of specific muscle fibers, begins with our brain.

6 Tips to Improve Mind-Muscle Connection

1. Warm-up Correctly

“Warming up” or getting the body ready for exercise is often associated with “static stretching” or movements performed by holding a single position, either standing, sitting, or lying down, for a designated period of time. Static stretch holding time typically ranges anywhere between 15 to 60 seconds.

  • Walking lunges
  • Leg swings
  • Mountain climbers
  • Arm circles
  • Jumping jacks

2. Let Go of your Ego

One of the most common mistakes I see when it comes to strength training is lifting too much weight too soon.

  • Can I perform the exercise with proper form?
  • Can I do at least 3 sets of 15 repetitions with control?
  • Am I able to lift this amount of weight without straining my joints or other parts of my body?

3. Visualize to Increase Your Size

4. Breathe Properly

Inhale…Exhale….

  • Dizziness,
  • Early fatigue,
  • Fainting,
  • Increased blood pressure,
  • Decreased oxygen to our muscles
  • Impaired performance, and
  • Injury to the muscle (muscle strain)

5. Slow Down, Squeeze, and Hold

Slowing down your exercise movements can help increase your mind-muscle connection and your ability to properly target the muscle you are utilizing.

6. Ask your Workout Partner to Lightly Tap or Touch the Muscle you Are Exercising

This is probably one of my favorite mind-muscle connection techniques.

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Jasmine El Nabli

Jasmine El Nabli

Registered Dietitian and Health and Wellness Director