How many times have you gone to the gym just to check the box?
You know you need to get it done, you know the routine is in place, you understand the benefits and love the gains, but some days it just feels like you’re going through the motions. The same moves, the same weights. The fact is, some workouts are just … meh.
If more and more of your time spent in the gym feels like that and you notice that results have slowed, you could be missing an often overlooked piece of the puzzle. Motivation could be zapped and momentum stalled, but it could be the mindful connection with the muscle that’s really non-existent.
Studies have long since linked the value of a strong and consistent daily mindset practice to overall health. While we can’t think ourselves thin, we can shift the focus to a powerful psychological aspect of training called the mind-muscle connection, beyond lifting the weight and simply showing up.
Biologically, here’s what that looks like: When you do a biceps curl, for example, you communicate to the brain which then releases acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter, then, binds to muscle fiber receptors, which causes muscle contraction and you lift the weight.
Just like every other aspect of training, the more you do it, the better you get at it. The greater the level of communication between the brain and the muscle, the better it will perform. Through this mind-muscle connection, you’re teaching the brain to pay attention to the task at hand — a safe, controlled, effective movement pattern — every single time.
There are a few strategies to put into place to deepen the mind-muscle connection.
So instead of adding in another set or upping the weight, slow down and tune in. It’s the next level of training that could be exactly what your workouts need.
About the Author
Emma Aguirre’s training career began with spinning almost 20 years ago in a small women-only gym in South Texas. After a career in journalism, Emma switched to fitness full time, certifying in Practical Pilates, TRX and Jillian Micheals BodyShred program. She is also qualified as an AFAA Group Fitness professional and holds several personal trainer certificates, as well as Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 certification. She is currently certifying as an International Sports Sciences Association master trainer and spends her days coaching clients online as a Personal Health Advisor at Austin’s Wellthy Soul.