Lesson 9 is somewhat related to Lesson 2. And I’m going to steal the terminology that one of the first books I read used: “The mind-muscle connection”.
What is the mind-muscle connection? The basic idea is to concentrate on using the muscle you’re supposed to be exercising.
If you’re bench pressing, you’re supposed to be working out your chest. So, focus on using your chest muscles during your bench, and try not to incorporate other muscles into your movement.
This sounds like common sense, but it requires concentration and is harder and knowledge of this is rarer than you think it is.
I’m willing to bet that you have done exercises before without knowing what specific muscle group you were actually working out.
There are several benefits to focusing on the mind-muscle connection.
The first practical benefit is that it makes your workout more effective. If you’re supposed to be working out your biceps, but you’re incorporating your legs and hips and back in swinging the weight up, well then, you’re not working out your biceps as hard you could be. Remembering that you are supposed to be concentrating on your biceps will make you use better form, and thus work out your muscles more intensely.
Remember, the dream body mindset is NOT about finishing your sets, because finishing your sets is NOT the ultimate goal! The ultimate goal is to workout your muscle. You could finish all the sets in a workout and still not have accomplished much at all. The mind-muscle connection is a simply way for you to remember that you want to focus on using specific muscles.
The second benefit is that it gives you more awareness of the muscles in your body. This lets you potentially avoid injury, and gives you more confidence in pushing yourself harder. If you have no idea what muscles you’re even working out, you may strain your back or hurt a muscle you weren’t even supposed to be working.
Focus on the muscle you’re working out and often you can get it to fail faster.
The final benefit is more intangible, but still important nonetheless. The mind-muscle connection gives you a deeper appreciation of just what the heck it is you’re doing in the gym. It’s easy to forget sometimes what we’re working for in this case of distractions and long days at work.
I know I’m guilty of this when I’m tired. I’ll just go into the gym, step on a cardio machine, and zone out and watch TV for an hour. I won’t even be aware of what my body is doing. Hey, no one’s perfect. And sometimes that’s the best workout you’ll be able to muster. It’s sure better than nothing.
But there is an optimal way to workout, and we should all know how to do so. The mind-muscle connection is an important part of the Dream Body Mindset.