Is there anything to the so-called "Mind-muscle connect

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Is there anything to the so-called "Mind-muscle connect

Post by KenDowns » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:01 pm

Back when I first started, before I settled on, I read somewhere about the "mind-muscle connection", which I then pretty much forgot about it.

The idea is that you are supposed to consciously concentrate on flexing/activating target muscles during a lift.

This came to mind today when I did a 1RM on bench. It was a real grinder, and when I got past the sticking point the bar almost stopped moving. Once I completed it I realized I had concentrated on pushing up through my hands, and had never thought of squeezing my pects.

So my question, if put another way is, would it have mattered if I'd concentrated on squeezing the pects? Or is this beyond our conscious control, so that once form is correct its whatever muscles you have doing their job regardless of whatever "mind-muscle connection" you may think you are creating.

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Post by NightFaLL » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:53 pm

I would say a better example of this might be glute-activation in squats... i'd say to a certain degree it's important, but mostly only if muscle groups have difficulty being recruited for movements that are designed for them... I'd say most bodybuilding types over-exaggerate it.

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Post by RobertB » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:21 am

I just put all that down to experience, on one hand my body is naturally performing compounds better (guess that's CNS) on the other hand I know what to pull in/tense during a row for e.g (I find DB rows a good example because I can perform them badly if I don't control the movement properly, same with DB kickbacks)

I realise I can't help you answer the question properly, but just highlighting that I consider such a connection/control something that naturally comes with experience... essentially it is form IMO.

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Post by KPj » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:14 am

This is something that interests me more and more. I definitely think there's value in it. Especially in Bodybuilding and also rehab situations.

I think in bodybuilding the MMC can help you figure out what will work for "you". Some people feel exercises working better than others i.e. some people feel their pecs workiing when benching and sometimes don't feel their pecs working at all. The "MMC" MIGHT indicate whether that exercise will be good for "you" or not. It's just theory, really. It can be shot down, too. It's technically "bro science" but, BB'ing evolved via bro science, so it shouldn't be ignored....

I guess in short, I "think" it's a good guide to finding an exercise that will isolate a muscle sufficiently enough to stimulate some growth.

In terms of Rehab I think it's invaluable. Some people, for example, can't "feel" their glutes working. You can't really go any further until they understand how to use their glutes, so you need to spend some time finding some movements that will allow the person to actually "feel" their glutes working.

On the other side of the coin, you don't "feel" much activation when doing max effort lifts yet, there's undoubtedly A LOT of activation going on. You don't "feel" your back very well in most back exercises yet it'll still grow or get stronger. You "feel" your abs more in crunches and don't feel them at all in weighted pull ups yet, weighted pull ups create more Ab activation.

So, yeah, i think it's important but I don't think it's the be all and end all. I think that about "activation", too.

In terms of grinding out max lifts where the priority is lifting the weight vs training specific muscles, I think things like "push yourself into the bench" or "pull the bar apart", or "squeeze the hell out of the bar", help much better than "feel your pecs working".


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Post by robertscott » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:53 am

i think for bodybuilding purposes, there's definitely something to it. the exercises I "feel" most tend to give me the best growth. I agree with what KPj said though about it not coming in to play when grinding out a max. Then it just feels like a strain over my whole body.

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