T Nation

The MMC Thread (Mind Muscle Connection)


Yeah, a fantastic tool for getting that MMC on hard to connect areas! My wife and I often train together, especially helpful on rows to initiate with the specific area in the back and not the arms, and anything for rear delts.


I was feeling a bit like I’d killed a great thread… crickets… so I’m glad you chimed in, Chris.
At touch, I often have one hand on the opposing lat. It probably looks like a 7-year-old boy cupping his hand over his armpit to make a certain sound effect, but I just can’t worry about these things.


Agreed @anon71262119! That’s a great exercise, touching the rear delt to make sure the tension is where you want it. This is a really good point, just because it’s sore doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be hit. And often times working the muscle (to an extent) can speed recovery and growth!

It’s awesome to have so many people giving quality input here, we’re all helping each other and learning along the way which is exactly why these forums are here. We all have a lot to learn, the journey is never done. Personally I’ve only been in the gym for about 4-5 years, lots of people on this thread have been training easily 2,3 and 4 times that long!


Or 10–but hey, who’s counting? :wink:


I’ve been trying a new approach lately (past couple months). For whatever workout I’m doing on a certain day, I start it with one exercise that hits the muscle group I did the day before.

So, for example, if it’s back day and yesterday was chest day, I will start the workout with pushups or cable flyes or something. Or I’ll start with lat pulldowns. Or I’ll go to the track and do a lap of walking bodyweight lunges.

I’ve noticed that this extra push of blood into the sore muscle area helps with recovery a lot, without necessarilly breaking the sore muscle down even more.

I thought that maybe getting blood back to that muscle group would help. Does anybody think this is crazy?

Potential Royal Marines Officer 2017

Not crazy, CT wrote about this awhile back. I usually start my workout with 3x10-15 with cable flys, leg extensions, DB rows, etc, depending on what I did the day before. I’ll use super light weight and just focus on feeling the target muscle.


Here’s a method I use for straight arm pull downs with ropes to ensure solid MMC. I wrap my straps around the ropes, and hold them tight to pull. I’ve tried various attachments and handles, long ropes, etc., I like this method most for two reasons:
-I can have a greater range of motion than if I used my hands on the ropes, or a straight bar. I can pull the ropes past my thigh and squeeze the lats hard.
-I just feel more of a targeted pump and tension in the lats with this method than any other I’ve tried.


Nice. Video appreciated.
@ training for only 4-5 years, you’ve done a great job.


Thanks! That video of the DB rear delt raise shows me bringing it all the way up to vertical. Not that anybody in this group would miss it, but they are really most effective as a partial where you don’t actually bring it all the way up. It’s been bothering me that the video doesn’t show that! Filming self, harder than it looks!!

@robstein , the video you put up using straps to hold onto the rope made me order an old school set of straps. I’ve been using Versa Grips, which are really nice for a BB, or anything with a straight handle, but I like your idea. Also, I’m doing more snatch grip DLs and they would be easier with conventional lifting straps.

Practicing lifts with a snatch grip will make my lats sore, which has been a bit of a surprise to me. I think it’s the straight arm effect, and tightening of the lats to get ready for the pull, more than anything.

Just a couple of thoughts about MMC for glutes. I like this as an isolation exercise. You guys are probably less concerned with ham/ quad/ glute balance, but a lot of you train women, or train with your wives so this might be helpful. Also, it’s good if you just have inactive glutes and have hammies or quads that take over. I got this from Amanda Latona, but Christian Thibaudeau has also recommended it for filling out the glute.

You can see how she’s sitting forward on the edge of the abductor machine, instead of resting her back against it. Really good for glute medius. Full range, moving to heavy partials, drop sets…


@anon71262119 awesome recommendation for the glutes, admittedly I don’t do any direct glute training but I think I should implement a little to make sure if I do get to the “holy grail” of shredded glutes next prep they’ll be in optimal condition. Will try this later in the week!

That’s awesome. I use straps frequently, especially on back day, I pretty much use straps with everything. Using straps really allows me to fully contract and initiate tension with my back, rather than arms at all. Obviously for bodybuilding we’re not concerned with grip strength, I think it’s silly when people say, “if you use straps all the time you’ll have no grip.” That’s not the case, obviously none of us go through the day dropping stuff because we can’t hold it. While grip strength might be better without them, I have a better back without with them, which is the priority. Chest, shoulder and arm days I’ll use some thick wrist wraps, and I usually use one layer of liquid chalk for better grip during all sessions.


I completely agree…with one caveat:

I think that, as a beginner (say a 16 year old that wants to be a "bodybuilder), using straps from day 1 isn’t awesome. I was always AMAZED by all the articles that would talk about what to do for “lagging” forearms. I think forearms only lag because young guys never do any lifting without straps.

Or maybe I’m crazy?

Otherwise, I’d completely agree with you – I too get much better mmc when using straps. Hell…it’s not even just back day. I like to strap up on dumbbells when I try to go really heavy with lateral raises or hammer curls.

I was going to remove this because, after rereading it, I find my phrasing to be asinine and uncaffeinated (I’m making that a word now). But since Rob already commented on it, I’ll leave it…with a second thought that I wish I would have phrased these thoughts better.


Yes for sure, good observation. Straps shouldn’t be implemented from the beginning for anything, I think once you get to the point where the weight you’re lifting is more than the grip can handle, or is hindering the exercise, might be time to think about straps. This takes a while, probably at least a year or two before straps for anything. Obviously there’s no hard and fast time table, but I agree that using straps from the beginning will definitely give poor grip and forearm development.


Lol I’m glad I’m not the only one here who does this.


straps are great; I only really use them for pulldowns. Thumbless grip and straps all the way.


Here’s one for upper chest I got from Stu, seated incline cables. A lot of folks, when they do cables for upper chest, bring the arms way too high up, working more front delt than chest. This exercise isolates the chest very well as it’s seated and avoids any momentum being generated. The focus should be on stretching the fibers with a slow negative, and bringing the arms up to about your legs, initiating the movement in the pecs and not the arms. I feel a great stretch and contraction in the upper chest with this one. Doesn’t take a ton of weight, going too heavy will put too much tension in the arms.


One of the things I’ve noticed about doing incline movements is it helps force the chest to be more forward. I think a problem many people have when doing pec-dec or regular DB flyes or cable flyes is that the don’t retract the scapulae (pull the shoulders back). I’ve noticed that when I let my head fall back a bit, and push my chest forward, I get a much better connection to my chest during flye-esque movements.

I think your video illustrates that point perfectly. :slight_smile:


What a great hat too! I’m sure it totally helps to really get the most out of that movement.



So, a few weeks back, I began using straps and a rope for the straight-arm pulldown (like in the video you linked here).

The range of motion is much greater! And I’m able to use slightly more weight because my palms don’t get slippery on the rope…awesome suggest, Rob!

I will say that I get a few funny looks from people when they see me strapping up with a rope attachment, though! :grin:


Nice man, glad you like it! Just goes to show there’s nothing wrong with experimenting and doing something in an unconventional way if it works.


Truly! The stretch is better and the contraction is a lot harder since my elbows can go further back!

What other secrets to gains are you hiding away? :slight_smile: