T Nation

Mind/Muscle Connection?


I’m reading articles about this connection to train the muscle not the lift. How do you make sure you are training the muscle the way it is described? Is it something you have to consciously do? Are you flexing the muscle as you do the exercise? If I do a thorough dumbbell chest workout and my chest is sore as shit 2 days later is that enough?


Doms shows that you are danaging that muscle. So in theory yes you are using that muscle. Mmc as described by lets say a bodybuilder generally entails they can conciously isolate and feel that muscle contracting and doing the work. It takes a lot of practice and patience to get too this level of mind muscle connection so just keep grinding and trying to make that happen. It is not the sane as your describing but you may get a feeling for it through isolation exercises


I can see it with isolation exercises. When doing curls you can see the muscle working. It must be difficult to focus on the chest muscles when doing bench presses with so many muscles being recruited.


See this thread: The MMC Thread (Mind Muscle Connection)

For me, as an example: I can do 70+ push-ups in a row before I get bored or too tired. Conversely, if I try to squeeze my chest, arms, shoulders and upper back as hard as I can, each rep, I only get 25-35. It’s because the goals is to get as much blood to the muscle vs. efficiently completing the lift.


Would you say that the mmc is the most important component than say moving more weight when it comes to physique development as the sole goal?


Progression is the most important component. If you are using the same weight but utilizing the target muscle more, you are progressing.


I find it easy when benching to most recruit chest muscles instead of triceps, but when doing rows I do have to focus on activating my back muscles first so the biceps aren’t doing more than their fair share. I also have to focus when squatting to prevent myself from leaning over, which moves stress from the legs and hips to the lower back, which is bad; I can feel the pain in my lower back when I make that mistake so it’s always reminding not to do it wrong.


@dchris thanks for the link. That was an interesting read. Working the target muscle with lighter weights first seems like a decent idea. Getting it burning before the big lift could help get focused on the target muscle. Probably not good for gains but as a training tool I can see the benefit.

I have recently started using just dumbbells for chest and not locking my elbows at the top. I get tired sooner but if the idea is constant tension then I guess that is supposed to happen.


there’s a technique known as pre-exhaust where you do a few sets of an isolation exercise to get a good burn in the target muscle before you do your compound lift. It’s a great tool and one I often use.


@Yogi1 does it still allow you to fully work the muscle under heavy weight or do you lose strength from fatigue?


You won’t be able to lift as much, because you are fatigued. That doesn’t mean you lost strength.


you’ll lose a few pounds of your big lift, but the muscle only knows how hard it’s working, not how heavy it’s lifting, if you see what I mean…