Our minds spend a lot of time throughout the day making decisions and trying to remain focused. We all know that during the day it can be challenging enough, but during our workouts our minds may start to drift on either some work project, or homework or some dentist appointment you may have tomorrow. When this starts to happen we notice a mind-muscle disconnect while attempting to focus on our muscle strengthening – leaving the workout less effective.
Tip 1 – Lower the weight.
Since movement is controlled by our brains, it is important for the mind to meet the muscle – especially during a weight lifting session that is supposed to focus on a specific part of the body. For example, today you are training arms and you grab your handy 10 lbs. weights to begin doing a bicep curl. You notice your body begins to swing as you get more tired. Now you aren’t just using your bicep anymore but a bunch of adjunct muscles throughout the body including your back, shoulder, etc. Try lowering the weight to center your body and to be able to concentrate on the muscle in focus only.
Tip 2 – Go slower.
Rushing through your workout doesn’t encourage a strong mind-muscle connection. It is helpful to flex/squeeze the muscle during upward movements, and as you are coming down – keep just as much focus on it, release the weight slowly. Thinking about the time under tension will help you with this. Time under tension refers to the amount of time the muscle is under strain during a set. Depending on how many sets you do – that number can range anywhere from `20-40 seconds. The slower the more focus.
Tip 3 – Work on your Breathing Technique.
The way that you breathe during a workout also plays a big role in your mind-muscle connection. Inhaling when you contract and lift and exhaling when you release slowly and with intention. This will help you focus on the muscle and stay in that specific muscle only. If you have ever noticed yourself holding your breath, really give this a try!
Tip 4 – Take a yoga class.
Yoga is a great way to get your mind and muscle connection focused. If you have never taken a yoga class this is a great introduction to having more intention with your workouts. It’s so vital to learn the concept of being mindful in all that one does and with yoga it can lead you in the right direction of building a stronger mind-muscle connection.
Give it a try this week and let us know in the comments how it worked out for you!