If you’ve been working out but aren’t quite seeing the progress you thought you would, it may be due to a very simple reason: lack of mind-muscle connection.
There’s a big difference between someone who just goes through the motions as she completes her workout sessions and someone who feels each muscular contraction, really giving it her all with each rep that’s performed.
Who do you think will see superior results?
If you aren’t focusing on the muscle squeezing throughout the rep, but rather, just mindlessly doing the movement, you’re missing out. This puts you at a greater risk of injury, and you may not be targeting the muscles you thought.
Dial in and focus on each muscular contraction with these easy tips.
Lift Less Weight
While conventional wisdom may state that you should aim to lift as much weight as possible in each set that you do, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes lightening the weight can actually produce better results if it helps you focus on the muscle contraction.
If you’re lifting too heavy for what you can actually handle, there’s no doubt that additional muscles will be recruited to carry out the exercise.
When you then lighten the weight, you can put those secondary muscles “to sleep” and focus on the target muscle contracting.
Slow Down the Movement
It’s also important that you slow down the movement. Rushing through an exercise will more than likely cause momentum to take over; this will, without a doubt, impact the results you see.
If momentum is doing the work for you, you’re actually getting very little benefit from doing that particular exercise.
Slow down, and you put a stop to this. Pause at the top and bottom of each rep to ensure no momentum is there.
Breathe and Relax Non-Working Muscles
Finally, don’t forget to breathe. This will help you keep your focus on the task at hand—squeezing the muscle fibers you are targeting.
It’ll also help you relax the muscles that you don’t want to call into play, ensuring all the stress is being placed on that one muscle only.
Remember that you should be breathing in during the eccentric phase (muscle lengthening) of the exercise and out during the concentric phase (muscle shortening).
Don’t just go through the motions when you’re at the gym. Really focus on squeezing the target muscle through each rep you do, ensuring it’s contracting to hoist the weight up and down.
You’ll not only see better results, but you’ll also enjoy your workouts more.