Skip to main content

New Chapter special

Time Remaining








Promotions available on all memberships

Unlock the Power of Your Mind-Muscle Connection With These 8 Strategies

Unlock the Power of Your Mind-Muscle Connection With These 8 Strategies

If your strength- or muscle-building gains have stalled, the solution isn’t just lifting heavier weights or doing more reps. Building a strong mind-muscle connection can significantly enhance your workouts and lead to faster, more impressive results. 

“Mind-muscle connection refers to the communication between what muscle you want to engage to produce movement (mind) and what muscle actually kicks on to produce the desired movement (muscle),” says Amy Schultz, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS, physical therapist for the Fit Body app. Think: A bodybuilder focusing on flexing each and every muscle fiber.

By improving your ability to focus on and engage specific muscles during exercise, you can maximize muscle activation and stimulate greater growth. You'll unlock your body's full potential, maximize muscle activation, and achieve your fitness goals more rapidly. 

So, let your mind lead the way to a stronger, more powerful physique.

Power Clean

1. Rely on Cues

“The two general ways we can try to strengthen the mind-muscle connection are through internal and external cueing,” Schultz says.

External cues direct your attention to a point of focus outside your body, she says. “For example, cues like ‘push the ground away from you’ or ‘squeeze the ball between your knees’ are external cues.”

Conversely, internal cues require directing your attention inward. “For example, ‘engage your core’ or ‘bring your shoulder blade back and down, are internal cues,” Schultz says.

2. Visualize Your Muscles Move

To establish a strong mind-muscle connection, it's essential to focus your attention on the muscle group you're targeting. Concentrate on the sensation of the muscle contracting and lengthening during each exercise. 

“Focus all your attention on the muscle you want to fire,” Schultz says. “You can even close your eyes and press your hand on the area you want to work, if the exercise allows for it safely.”

Visualize the muscle fibers working and envision your desired results. By bringing your mind's attention to the muscle being worked, you can increase its activation and optimize your training.

3. Use Slow and Controlled Movements

One effective technique to improve the mind-muscle connection is to slow down your repetitions and perform each movement with control, Schultz says. This deliberate approach allows you to feel the muscle contraction throughout the entire range of motion. 

“This will get easier with time, and you will be able to increase the rate of movement after,” she says.

Avoid rushing through exercises, as momentum can take away the focus from the targeted muscles. Emphasize the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement, paying close attention to the muscle lengthening and engaging.

4. Warm Up and Activate Muscles

Start your workouts with lighter warm-up sets that focus on activating the specific muscle group you'll be targeting. During these sets, consciously engage the muscles and establish a connection between your mind and body. 

“An example would be performing a few reps of a glute/hamstring exercise (ex. glute bridge) while focusing on your glutes and hamstrings contracting before performing deadlifts,” Schultz says.

Use lighter weights or resistance bands (even bodyweight exercises like squats or lunges work) to perform controlled repetitions, focusing on form and muscle engagement. This mental priming will carry over into your working sets, setting the stage for a more effective workout.

5. Perform Isolation Exercises

Isolation exercises are specifically designed to target individual muscle groups. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can enhance your mind-muscle connection. 

Isolation exercises isolate the target muscle, allowing you to concentrate on its contraction without assistance from other muscle groups. Examples include biceps curls, triceps extensions, or leg extensions. Remember to maintain proper form and technique throughout each rep.

6. Focus on Your Breathing

Proper breathing techniques can have a significant impact on your mind-muscle connection. Focus on inhaling deeply before the concentric (lifting) phase of the exercise and exhaling fully during the eccentric (lowering) phase. 

This controlled breathing pattern not only helps to oxygenate your muscles but also promotes better focus and concentration. By synchronizing your breath with the movement, you enhance your mind-muscle connection.

7. Listen to Your Muscles

Developing a better mind-muscle connection requires attentiveness to the feedback your muscles provide. Pay close attention to how the targeted muscle group feels during each exercise. 

Is it fully engaged? Are there any imbalances or weaknesses? Adjust your technique and form accordingly to optimize muscle activation. Over time, this feedback loop will help you develop a more intuitive understanding of your body's response to different exercises.

8. Practice Mindful Training

Consistency is key when it comes to developing a strong mind-muscle connection. Incorporate regular mindfulness practices into your training routine. Take a few moments before each workout to focus on your intentions and mentally prepare for the session ahead. Engage in mental imagery exercises, visualization, or meditation to improve your overall mental clarity and concentration.

Continue reading

Take Your Bodyweight Workouts to the Next Level — Without Adding Weights

Monthly Downloads 2024


Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.