THINK BACK TO YOUR LAST LIFTING WORKOUT — WERE YOU 100 PERCENT FOCUSED on the task at hand, or were you contemplating what to make for dinner, stewing about work or daydreaming about a vacation? It’s easy to let your mind wander while doing an activity you’ve done a thousand times before (more biceps curls — zzz …), but switching your brain to autopilot could be negatively impacting your results and may be making that elusive mind-muscle connection even harder to establish.
“Some fitness enthusiasts are skeptical about the mind-muscle connection and think it’s bro-science quackery,” explains kinesiologist Jessica Kasten, MS, NSCA-CSCS, CPT. “But it’s been used for years by bodybuilders who swear by its effectiveness, and new research backs up their claims.”
THEY’RE CALLED “CONCENTRATION CURLS” FOR A REASON
Visualization is used by athletes of all levels, and the pros spend a lot of time mentally improving their performance by seeing the basketball go into the hoop, feeling their skis carve perfect turns and watching themselves cross the finish line first to win their 5K. A mind-muscle connection is a little different, however, and occurs when you actively think about and focus on feeling a target muscle contract and extend as you are actually doing a movement.
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