Mind over matter - we’ve all heard that phrase before. What exactly does it mean? Does it mean that if we think about something we want long enough, it will simply happen? Or, perhaps, it means that our mind is a powerful tool that we can all use to unlock our full potential and become better versions of ourselves? At Dissident, we believe in purposeful, directed thinking. We believe we all have a choice to live the lives we say we want for ourselves. And the key to achieving almost anything is to stop going through motions mindlessly.
Getting in the best shape of your life is no different. Of course, you can achieve some results by simply lifting heavy weights and taking care of your nutrition; however, to really pack that muscle and get the definition you desire, you need to put your mind into work as well.
Every body movement you do is controlled by your brain. The majority of physical activities you do during the day, however, do not require you to consciously think about how to properly perform them. If you are reaching out to pick a cup of coffee from your desk, you do so automatically, without much conscious thought attached to it. That is why when you are at the gym, your thoughts may start drifting away from the workout, and before you know it you are thinking about work, or dinner plans or whatever else you may have going on.
To maximize your gains, you need to learn a new way of staying focused during your workouts through something that’s called Mind-Muscle connection (MMC). MMC helps you focus on specific muscle group and, as a result, minimizes impact on your secondary movers, while maximizing work on those primary muscles you are trying to grow.
Why care about Mind-Muscle connection?
As mentioned earlier, the simple act of lifting heavy weights can have a great impact on your overall physique. Doing so mindlessly, however, can and will stop you from achieving your highest potential. Using the principle of MMC ensures you concentrate on the specific muscle you are working on, which leads to higher muscle activation and better control of the weight. With Mind-Muscle connection, you aren’t just lifting the weight up and down, you are actually focusing on every rep, making it count.
To ensure you are getting the best out of your workouts, let’s take a look at the following principles that will help you utilize MMC:
Use Lighter Weights and Slow Down
Yes, lifting heavy weights leads to more muscle gain; this is a fact. Lifting heavy weights with bad form, however, only leads to lack of contraction, sloppy muscle training and in some cases, injury. So how do you lift heavy and reduce the risk of side effects? The answer is simple: reduce your weight and slow down. Initiate the contraction with the actual working muscle and squeeze your muscle at the top of every lift, that focus and proper form will give you the gains you want. Remember, don’t rush through the movement (momentum is not a muscle group,) focus on the movement itself and control the weight. This tactic will give you a more efficient and more effective workout.
Flex and Stretch
Two techniques that many of us ignore because we want to get right into our workout are flexing and stretching. Even though they don’t feel like they are doing much, flexing and stretching are very important if you want your muscles to grow and you want to avoid injury. This is where the MMC helps out a lot! By understanding what muscle you are working on and how to focus on that specific muscle, you will become more aware of it and use it more effectively. Stretch your muscles before your workouts and flex them during. When you flex your muscle, feel what it is doing and learn how it moves through the exercise. By using your Mind-Muscle connection you will start to understand your body much better. As a result of using this technique, your brain will draw more blood to the muscle group you are training so you will get a better pump and greater overall growth.
We can talk all we want about MMC, but if you are unable to concentrate and reach that semi-meditative state, your results will still suffer. The Mind-Muscle connection is all about focus and that focus will help your form, your speed and your concentration. To do this properly, try closing your eyes and ignoring any distractions around you. Now, tune into your muscles and feel them working. Think about how you can make them work harder and what you can do to achieve that. Music can have a profound effect as well. Using the beat of the music to keep pace in your workouts has shown to be very effective for many athletes and can make your pump much more efficient. Finally, chew gum. Chewing gum has been proven to help with concentration ensuring that you focus more on your lift.
Your mind is a powerful tool, so use it in your advantage to create the changes in your physique you’ve always wanted. By utilizing the principles of Mind-Muscle connection, you are ensuring you are getting the most out of workouts and training like a Dissident. Your mentality is what makes a difference in all aspects of your life; make the most of what we’ve got to work with. Stay focused on your goals and become the best version of yourself through self-improvement and sheer dedication.
Be Dissident, Be You!
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