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Love Connections Are Overrated– It’s Your Muscle Connection That Counts

I mentioned “connecting your mind” in yesterday’s post about making your pushups count but I wanted to expand a little bit on what I meant when I said:

The first step to this is connecting your mind to your muscle. In other words, don’t just “do the move”. Think about it.

“Connect your mind to your muscle” may sound like a line that belongs in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s book of best quotes or on the wall of some mystical self-help scroll but it’s the key to making the muscles you’re trying to work, well… WORK.

Here’s what I mean– muscles are grown and used based on their contracting against resistance. This tears muscle fiber which causes new muscle fiber to grow stronger in the place of old… Blah-blah, “science”, blah-blah..

What’s not “blah-blah” is the fact our body will sometimes compensate for our weaknesses by incorporating other muscles to do the job when the muscle at hand “can’t”. It’s why you see dudes “throwing” weights with their backs– leaning way back to get that last rep–, “kipping’ (IE-, swinging) the heck out of a pullup or sagging on a pushup. If you’re not focused on USING the muscle you’re trying to work, you risk injury and a full-body workout instead of a focused and effective one.

Make That Connection

Focusing your mental game to your physical game sounds weird, but it works pretty simply. It’s basically being aware of your form. When you do a move, focus on the muscles the move is intended to strengthen or work. For example, if you’re doing a bicep curl focus on lifting with your bicep- not your wrist, not your forearms, not your shoulders or back. Imagine your hand as a hook and think solely about lifting your weight with that bicep. The same concept works for all muscles. Pullups? Focus on pulling with your lats and back instead of your arms. If you can’t do it without using other muscles…

Drop The Ego

Properly using the muscle group you’re trying to focus on may be a humbling experience as you realize you’ve been cheating your gains. “Pick the weight that’s right for you” is especially true as when you’re done, you’re done. Your curl weight may drop. Your pullup count may take a nosedive… but it doesn’t mean you’re working those muscle any less– just BETTER. And soon, you’ll see those numbers go up as you truly make strength gains and those strength gains lead to fat burning muscle.

Focusing may take some practice but once you get it, it’s an “Aha!” moment– a moment that will allow you to make all your work even more productive and speed you to your program goals.

If you’re having trouble making the connection, stick around or give me a shout out here. I’m here to help. 

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