‘Best Foods for Bodybuilding’: Here are some of my favorites
‘Nitric Oxide for Bodybuilding’: Good for anything but a photo-op?

The “Mind-Muscle connection”: How much ambiguous BS can we read?

Okay… so you’re doing online searches and reading articles on the “mind-muscle connection” and you feel you’re getting about as much useful information as you’d get from a zymurgist at an AA meeting (by the way – a ‘zymurgist’ brews beer). Well, maybe you’re not doing THAT badly, but the ambiguity and pseudo-information is enough to dissuade you from conversing with anyone about this topic. If you do, a lack of clear-cut definition and your own inconclusive results in its practice could lead to… well, some awkward moments. Here’s how one of those conversations went when a ‘wanna-be-bigger’ guy at my gym told me about his ‘mind-muscle connection’ technique:

Other guy: “I’ve been trying to make some gains by working on my mind-muscle connection.”

Me: “Oh great… how’s that going for you?”

Other guy: “Uh… yea, yea, pretty good. I think I’m feeling more of a pump when I do my sets.”

Me: (thinking) Uh-oh – he’s talking about ‘muscle pumps’ within the first sentence of that answer; he’s probably not making gains.
         
Me: (talking) “How do you go about getting your mind-muscle connection; what do you do?”

Other guy: “Well, between my sets, I just sit there and concentrate on the muscle. Instead of daydreaming – I just concentrate.”

Me: “And that’s leading to better gains?”

Other guy: “Uh… it seems like it.”


Mind_Muscle Connection

Develop a 'mind-muscle connection' that's centered on workout performance and watch your muscle gains increase


I’m not surprised at this guy’s explanation when I look at the ‘mind-muscle connection’ information online and in magazines. It’s fuzzy to say the least. It explains something we do automatically. Really, whose brain is disengaged from their muscles when lifting heavy weights? It’s our mind-muscle connection that is the cornerstone of every move we make; our nervous systems, the intermediaries.

Before I introduce you to my take on mind/muscle, let’s look at the common advice on this topic:

  • Slow down rep speed: This is probably good advice for some people. Those who pile on weight and perform cheat reps are missing out on more than just essential focus; they’re missing out on ‘fiber recruitment.’ That said, you can certainly improve workout focus with slower repetitions if you’re currently performing them quickly and sloppily. However, applying different rep speeds is a science all its own and taking this step might still leave your ‘mind-muscle connection’ mired in vagueness.

  • Lighten up the weights: Gee, doesn’t this kind of tie-in with slower rep speeds? You can’t really slow down your reps unless you at least slightly lighten the load. Again, this might be great advice for the complete novice, but your mind-muscle connection might feel no less tenuous while following this advice if you’ve been lifting weights for, uh… maybe… more than a few weeks?
  • Flex your muscles: “Hello” – I don’t think you need to encourage any guy involved in bodybuilding to do this more often; most do it instinctively any time they see an attractive female or a mirror.  Okay, I get the idea behind this; we ‘feeeeeel’ the muscles more when we flex them. Are you getting more connected yet?
  • ‘Squeeze’ the muscles on contraction: I’ll be blunt: this just seems like bad advice. Bodybuilding gains depend on successful overload and recuperation. If when going for that overload you hamper your muscle’s ability to get maximum volume because you build up lactic acid through unnecessary “squeezing”, you can end up “pumped” – with not much else. Muscles depend on real progress for natural gains – not short-term ‘pumps’ that only help you feel good while at the gym.
  • Utilize ‘visualization’: This is one bit of advice being dispensed that I can wholeheartedly agree with. However, simply telling people that ‘Arnold’ used to visualize his biceps as huge mountains isn’t enough. He has genetically gifted biceps; what’d he visualize for his weaker body parts? Bodybuilders need to know how and when to use visualization. Otherwise, they end up like my buddy at the gym – sitting there between sets, appearing like a zombie as he tries to “see his muscles” while not knowing if this cognitive activity is contributing to muscle gains.

So, here’s my short and sweet version of how to REALLY get a ‘mind-muscle connection:

1. Set a Clear, Compelling, Concise Goal: The premise underlying the descriptions I hear of unfocused workouts is that many people often just “go through the motions” while at the gym. However, I rarely see advice that nips this habit in the bud immediately: Setting a very clear and concise goal.  Believe me, when you know how you want your muscles to appear and you’re confident in your strategy to get them there – you’ll have no problem ‘connecting’ to them during workouts.

2. Set ‘workout performance quotas’ – not ‘appearance quotas’: In order to really make a valuable mind-muscle connection, you need to connect to your muscle’s workout performance more often than some static notion of their appearance. That’s because your workouts are the stepping-stones to your muscles getting bigger and stronger. Sure – seeing your biceps as “huge mountains” before you perform some barbell curls might help. But because that’s a ‘static image’, it might do very little during the heat a biceps workout or just before you perform a set. You have to know what you’re shooting for during each set – how that sub-goal fits into your overall goal – and how to get your subconscious mind to help you maximize the performance of that set.

3. Learn how to ‘jamb your internal dialogue’: This is something I cover in more detail in my book.  However, here’s the gist of it: Our outcomes in life depend largely on our performance. Our performance depends largely on our ‘mental game’; what’s going on in our heads from moment to moment. Our mental game is built of ‘internal representations’; what most people refer to simply as “thoughts.” Our internal representations are constructed of ‘submodalities’; different combinations of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. But… these internal representations built of our five senses are labeled and can be manipulated by the self-talk we attach to them; our ‘inner dialogue.’

When you learn how to subconsciously enhance your muscles to perform at their peak, you develop the ultimate ‘mind-muscle connection.’ This might require that you learn to jamb out any negative self-talk that can stand between you and your best bodybuilding set. That’s what’s referred to as “jambing your internal dialogue.”

I’ve recently developed a tool for doing just that, but it’s only available to those who have my book. They’re the ones who understand how to make this authentic ‘mind-muscle connection’ really work.

Comments

aldred

Hi Scott, I bought your book on ebay while in the US recently. Makes so much sense without an BS. I'm 42 working towards being lean and hard. I've substituted the leg routine with Deadlifts because of the wholebody philosophy. Since reading your book I realize I've overtrained-Now I take between 7-9days to recover from DL. I do find that I run out of gas if I do a 2hr WO; so now I do between 1 and 1.5 hrs. Also, I've split my squats and dls-doing it on separate days- thus quads and hammies. Think this is wise? I do it because of time. Thx for fabulous advice and being an example

Coach Bags Outlet

AS ALWAYS, OUTSTANDING INFO SCOTT!! I'VE ADOPTED THESE PRINCIPLES AS OF A FEW WEEKS AGO AND LOOK FORWARD TO RECIEVING THE REWARDS SOON! I'LL LET YOU KNOW HOW THINGS TURN OUT. LIFT STRONG AND BE BLESSED, DAVE.

DAVE SEGERS

SCOTT,

YOU ARE SUCH A PHYSICAL INSPIRATION TO US ALL!! YOUR INFO IS FUN TO READ & HELPS GET RID OF SOOOOO MANY MYTHS OUT THERE. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO TO HELP US REGULAR GUYS! BLESSINGS,

DAVE

Scott

Giles,

Also, thanks for the compliments on my opinions and writing; Just trying to keep it real; too much BS out there.

Scott

Scott

Hello Giles,

Thank you for stopping by. I haven't gotten the abreviated digital version done yet. I just finished recording and will edit an interview I did of a guy who's absolutely awesome in the 'mental training for pro athletes' profession. He had some insights on peak performance that I've got to share with others. I'll be providing that as an add-on for those who try my system... as soon as I can get it edited and online.

Hope your training's going well.

Scott

Giles

I'd just like to say that Scott's last paragraph really made me laugh "regurgitated garbage etc". Mainly because its so spot on. I'm no expert in body building but Scott's opinions and concisness never fail to impress me. I think I'm getting closer to buying your book Scott. Tell me, are you any closer to the edited version we discussed recently?

Scott

Hi Sandeep,

If you want, you can set your bodybuilding aspirations higher than having a physique like Brad Pitt - or any other Hollywood star, for that matter. Their muscle gains for movies tend to be exaggerated (Edward Norton gained "30 pounds of muscle" for 'American History X' - Yeah... right) and their little gains never seem to last past the time they played their role.

Should we suspect steroid use? Hmmmmm!

My advice: Stop working your entire body five days per week and doing cardio like a madman. If you don't normally have a propensity for gaining body fat, then you're merely taking in excess calories so you can waste time burning them off with cardio.

Eating like a pig will not make muscle gains come faster. It will only make you fat or cause you to need to waste your time with unnecessary cardio work. If you're not making steady gains in muscle - you're overtraining, undertraining, or "wacky training." That's a word I just came up with to describe the actions of millions of gym-goers who "workout" by doing sets of mindless exercise while expecting to produce motivating results.

The details are in my book - which has a guarantee that most online bodybuilding merchants don't have the the guts to extend. That's because my methods work and they're not the regurgitated garbage you could get out of a 7-dollar magazine.

Good Luck and Train Intelligently,

Scott

Sandeep

Hi Scot,

Really thanking you for giving me a reply... my ultimate goal is to gain lean mass without gaining fat( like Brad Pitt in TROY... i know this is too much..hehehe) i just mentioned it for you to get my goal... currently i dont find much improvement in my body... as i workout 5 days a week (2 part per day) and am following 5 meals per day.. one more thing i wanna ask is if i gain weight means will i put up fat too... Hope i will get an answer soon..

Regards
Sandeep

Scott

Hi Sandeep,

I'd love to answer your question about "whether you're doing it right or do you need to change your workout." However, you never mentioned the kind of results you're getting with your current routine; you only described the basic routine. I can answer your question if you tell me what your goals are and whether what you're doing is getting you any closer to achieving them.

Generally speaking, I'd say that performing bodybuilding workouts five days a week is overdoing it if you're working your entire body within those five days.

In answer to your second question: The low intensity exercise was simply a brisk morning walk.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Hit me back with more detail when you get a chance.

Scott

Sandeep

Hi,

I have read your artice l"YES, YOU CAN BUILD MUSCLE - LOSE FAT AT THE SAME TIME".. can you tell whats that low-intensity cardio exercise ..currently i will run 20 min cardio, 20 mins cyclying, 20 mins, crosstraininer....

Regards
Sandeep

Sandeep

Hi,

I find your site very interesting... i just wanna ask you one question that u always answer.. but am asking you this for my personal satisfaction as i gets lots of opinion regarding this.... am 5"11 tall and i weigh 82Kg.. i just want to gain lean mass without gaining fat... currently am doing heavy weight training exercise(weekly 5 times)...but before my weight training i do cardio for 20 min(running in treadmill) where i burn nearly 420-430 calories..i just wanna know that am i doing it right or should i change my workout..as the concern of putting fat and changing all my wardrobe really makes me tense...
Really thanks for taking time to read my mail... awiting your reply..

Regards
Sandeep

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