What does “mind muscle connection” actually mean? The generally accepted definition is to completely focus your mind on the muscle you are training. Alleviate all distractions and make sure the intended muscle group is working its butt off! This concept really comes into play when lifters hit a plateau or just find that no matter their efforts they are just not gaining muscle. If you are executing your exercises and not seeing any results then the answer to your problem is all inside your head.
Let’s take the bench press, for example. When you are doing a set of bench presses, are you bouncing it off your chest? Are you using more shoulders and triceps to get that heavy weight up? Are you using momentum? How about your ego…are you lifting for ego? Forget all that stuff! If you don’t feel 100% of the weight in your chest as you come down and press back up and feel the contraction, you’re NOT using your mind muscle connection. If you have to reduce the weight you are using, PLEASE DO SO!
How about for dumbbell bicep curls? Are you throwing the weights up – i.e. using all momentum? Or can you feel every fiber of your biceps bringing the dumbbell up, squeezing, and then bringing the dumbbell down?
The main point is to actually feel in your mind the intended muscle doing the work since the lift initiates in your brain as it sends the signal to your body to physically do the movement. Sure, ancillary muscles will get some work, but you certainly should hurt more in your intended muscle group than all the others. By focusing your thoughts on every movement your brain then calls on more muscle fibers to fire and execute the lift in turn resulting in a higher quality rep and overall more effective workout.
Achieving that Zen-like mind muscle connection may take some time, but once you get there, you will definitely notice a change in your physique. Remember…leave your ego at the door!