Muscle to mind connection is another method of maximizing hypertrophy and neuromuscular junction - mental connection.
What is that mind to muscle connection actually means? As you know, movement is controlled by the brain. The first step towards muscular contraction is a signal sent by the brain to your muscles telling them to contract. You might say that the mind-muscle connection (MMC) occurs at something called the "neuromuscular junction". This is where the mind meets the body. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called "acetylcholine" to communicate with muscles in the body.
When acetylcholine is released at the neuromuscular junction it crosses the "synapses" (the tiny space that separates the nerve from the muscle) where it binds to receptors on the surface of muscle fibres and muscle contraction happens.
The better communication, the more muscle fibres you will recruit as single muscle head is made up of many individual muscle fibres. When you improve your muscle to mind connection, you are able to increase the number of muscle fibres recruited when you lift. This process leads to better muscle contraction, better awareness of what you are doing, and increases hypertrophy. It is also a great technique for those who are forced to train at home with limited equipment.
This method is not for lifting your maximum. It is designed for a weight that you are able to lift slowly through all contractions with the full range of motion. So forget your ego behind the door and focus on muscles and the movement that they performing. Your muscles don't grow because of the weight moving up and down. They grow because they're forced to contract by acting on that weight. If you maximize the force placed on your target muscles you will maximize your gains, and that's what it's all about: maximizing the work done by your target muscles. Not maximizing the weight moving up and down, this is secondary.
Internal vs. External Focus of Attention
Internal focus of attention means giving yourself internal cues when performing the exercise. For example, you may think about 'squeezing the glutes' at the top of hip trust, while focusing on actively contracting those glutes muscles (primary mover) and muscle fibres while minimizing involving of hamstrings (secondary mover). These internal cues may lead to increased activation of the target muscle, which tends to be the primary mover in any given exercise while reducing the contribution of assisting musculature in the lift.
An external focus of attention means using the environment for cues. An example would be “pushing the floor away” during a deadlift.
Developing The Mind-Muscle Connection
Developing the mind-muscle connection can be as simple as paying attention to the muscle being used and actively focusing on the contractions being produced. These include both concentric (lifting) and eccentric (lowering) muscle actions.
1️⃣ NO DISTRACTIONS
Leave your ego behind the door, turn off all distractions and don't think about what you gonna eat later on or how do you look in your new leggings. Simply focus on your workout so you get the maximum from your time you spend in the gym.
Use high reps (15-20) and low weights to warm up your body and prepare your body and mind for the workout. Already focus on technique, and muscles you are involving. This will already prepare you mentally as well.
3️⃣ FOCUS ON MUSCLE
Visualize your muscle from the inside and watch the fibres break down. Focus the muscle shortening, squeezing and lengthening.
Increased time under tension and slow movements will not only increase hypertrophy but will also help you connect, control, and feel each contraction phase of the lift.
5️⃣ APPROPRIATE WEIGHT
Choose weights that are between 30-65% of your 1RM to perform controlled, hypertrophy-focused movement. However, training for hypertrophy requires at least some repetitions that are performed to failure (your max. capacity), so make sure you don't go too light! There is a world of difference between simply getting 10 reps and actually doing 10 reps. Every repetition that you don't feel is a repetition wasted.
This is a great method to improve your motor learning, as well as perform the proper technique with the full range of motion while slowly contracting muscle. This method is great when exercising at home with limited equipment and wat to maximize your gains from workouts.