Happy Friday! I am so thankful to all my Feature Friday participants, it is wonderful to read about others struggles and successes. I will still be doing the Feature Fridays segment, it will only run the first Friday of the month. If you have a story you would like to share please contact me and I will get in touch with the information. Today I am excited to share a guest post with you from Hanna who is a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador, about the importance of the mind-muscle connection. I have been doing a lot of reading on how important it is to be fully focused on your workouts and the muscle you are working. Now that I am trying to build as much muscle as possible before my first bikini competition I realize how important it really is. Hanna does an amazing job of breaking it down and explaining just how to get the most from each rep! Read on and be sure to head over and visit her blog and social media sites, she has a ton of great resources!
Build More Muscle Fast...The Mind Muscle Connection:
My name is Hanna, a fellow sweat pink ambassador and fitness blogger over at scratchpaperfitness.com. I am an NASM certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor - I LOVE training and use my blog to post all kinds of workouts, fitness advice, and general musings on health.
I am very excited to have the opportunity to write a guest post for Angelena on the subject of using visualization and focus in fitness training. This is something I discuss with all my clients as it takes results from good to amazing with relatively little work on the client's end - who doesn't love that?
I hope you enjoy the post and I hope some of you will stop by and say hello at www.scratchpaperfitness.com as well as find me on twitter and instagram :)
There is one thing I emphasize during every. single. workout. with any and all clients. It isn't necessarily something you would expect to be that important either. It seems more like something you would mention just to build healthier habits, have more awareness for your body, and focus during exercise. It should be something you are thinking about during every workout because it makes such a HUGE difference.
Focus on the specific muscle group you want to work while you are working it.
Really. That’s it.
Because science, that’s why.
But no really. Your mind effects your physical movements and ability, and our minds work in a way that if we focus on the specific muscle we intend to contract in order to perform a movement of some type of resistance, we are actually stimulating that muscle before we do any work. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research found that when an athlete was verbally instructed to focus on a specific muscle group during an exercise, the activity of that specific muscle increased by 22% compared to the other muscle groups working. How cool is that?!
Skeletal muscle is what we rely on when we exercise, and skeletal muscle contracts voluntarily, meaning that they contract when you tell them to - the contraction is a result of an electrical signal traveling down nerve cells leading to a release of a neurotransmitter from the neuron to the muscle cell at the neuromuscular junction. This entire chain is produced voluntarily, from our own thoughts or need for movement, so it makes sense that we could enhance muscle stimulation through focusing our thoughts on muscle contraction. A 2004 study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation studied this idea by measuring strength gains in groups using mental contractions of little finger abduction and elbow flexion. The study compared the strength gains in the "mental training" groups against control, and were able to show significant gain in muscle strength as well as an increase in measures related to voluntary muscle contractions in groups that practiced mental training. Check out the article here.
moral of the story...
Actively focusing on a specific muscle group you want to tone during an exercise could greatly improve the results you see in that muscle from the workout.
Try out this technique with a few of my favorite workouts and I promise you will start seeing better results than ever!
Upper Body Workout (at home!):
Toned Legs, Butt, and Abs - no equipment needed:
Check out this YouTube Video that gives 4 tips to improve your mind muscle connection.
Give it a shot! Next time you workout, focus on each muscle group you are working as you go through the exercise.
Do you already do this? Does it make a difference in your workouts?
Leave a comment below and/or tweet me your thoughts! @camilletraining
Thanks to Hanna for sharing this helpful and insightful post with us! I know I am going to incorporate this technique into all my workouts. Try it out and let me know if you see and feel a difference!