Feeling like you hit a plateau and not really getting the gains you want?
If you already read my article ‘6 Tips On What to Change When Hitting a Plateau’, I provided some strategies such as increasing your load or breaking out from workout routine by switching up your exercises to introduce a new challenge to your muscles. But what if you are pretty much at your max load that you can lift safely? What if you are changing your workout routine but still feel you have stalled? That’s how I was feeling with muscle development in my legs.
I talked to my sister about it to get her perspective and she said “Tanya, are you really squeezing and concentrating on your muscle”? I always thought I was, but I mulled it for a bit and thought I can probably do better. Maybe I’m not really focusing enough or I start off my set focused but then I lose that focus without noticing. So I did what some people in fitness feel is the unthinkable. On my next leg day I dropped my weight! Yes that’s right. Instead, I really focused on the working muscle and you know what? My muscles ached the next day despite dropping the weight. That’s the power of the mind-muscle connection.
What exactly is the mind-muscle connection?
The mind-muscle connection is maximizing the work done by your targeted muscles by actually thinking about the muscle you are working and ensuring you are contracting the target muscle on each and every rep. It’s not about just moving the weight and “going through the motions”. Yeah sure, you can look like a superstar in the gym and lift more weight by not really focusing on the contraction of the working muscle, but you sacrifice gains because if you aren’t focusing on the muscle contraction, in reality, your target muscles are only really lifting a portion of that weight.
Not convinced? Check out this excellent video a fellow fitness friend shared with me where Kai Green, American IFBB pro, speaks about the mind muscle connection by comparing a bodybuilder to a weightlifter.
If you feel you’ve hit your plateau or just aren’t satisfied with your gains, next time drop your weights. Instead, I challenge you to really focus on squeezing the working muscle and on feeling it work throughout the entire set. If you decide to give this a go, I’d be interested in what you thought of it. So drop us a line and let us know or share with others by replying to this post!
To fitness with love,