Yesterday, in part 1, I touched briefly on the importance of tension.
Today I’ll take things a step further, while also giving you practical guidelines you can incorporate into your training TODAY for improved targeted muscle growth!
Taking things to the next level… building an elite Mind-Muscle Connection
One of the aspects of training that oftentimes sets a pro apart from everybody else is the pro’s ability to CONSCIOUSLY contract the working muscle!
Pro’s can typically create such high level contractions that they have at their disposal the ability to generate MASSIVE amounts of muscle-building tension in the muscle they’re aiming to hit during an exercise.
This is achieved in large part due to an unusually strong mind-muscle connection typically developed and honed over many years of training… and one of the reasons why a great number of (unnamed ;)) pro’s can lift with horrendous form, yet still experience tremendous results!
Just think what these guys could achieve if they did things optimally!!
So… can we shortcut the time it takes to learn how to actively ‘feel’ a muscle, and then to enhance this mind-muscle connection over time?
Am I going to share some of this information with you today?
You bet! That’s what I do, folks.
The goal will be to literally FORCE each target muscle to bear the load and do the work during each of its respective exercises, by way of ISOLATION!
By isolating a muscle and making it the only / prime mover, the brain will begin to learn how to ‘feel’ the muscle at greater and greater levels naturally, especially as the muscle fatigues, and as you’re able to lift more and more weight under control over time.
You may then one day join the ranks of the elite in possessing an elevated degree of conscious control over the level of muscular contraction you can achieve.
Of the progressively increasing levels of tension you can then create.
And of increases in hypertrophy that will NEVER be seen by 99.9% of trainees!
Sound good!? Excellent. Read on.
Isolation can obviously be achieved by using optimal movement patterns during the execution of each exercise (optimal exercise execution has been touched upon heavily throughout my programs, in particular in MI40-Foundation)… however, it all starts with IDEAL SET-UP!
We want to focus our time and energy each rep solely focusing on maximizing tension within the working muscle, therefore it is IMPERATIVE that we learn how to eliminate extraneous movement.
We want to create an ideal environment for success (think intra-set posture) before we even contemplate moving the weight. But creating a solid postural foundation is an aspect all too under-appreciated by the VAST majority of trainees. Most mistakenly don’t give it a second thought, or, just deem it as unimportant… and this is one reason why they will NEVER fulfill their muscular potential! They are selling themselves short…
Don’t let this be you!
You’ll regret it down the line, whether it’s because your results suck, or you just keep getting injured.
What I’m sharing here is not some second rate info all too prevalent in cyberspace. This stuff, applied correctly, will be GAME CHANGING for many of you!
So pay CLOSE attention…
I’ll give you a set of general guidelines to follow to create your optimal foundation. How to set yourself up to get the MOST out of the intended working muscle, during essentially EVERY exercise you ever perform for each respective body part.
Apply these IMMEDIATELY to the next exercise you do, and then forever. You’ll soon notice improved growth via the increases in intra-muscular tension in the target muscle, and, over time, in your ability to progressively improve your conscious muscle contractions.
PakMan’s Intra-Set Posture Principles for Targeted Muscle-Growth
* Always keep your chest proud and your torso ‘tall’.
* Keep your head neutral throughout (inline with your spine, relative to your torso) – no head bobbing!
* Ensure that your shoulders remain pulled-back and depressed.
* Retract your scapula allowing for zero internal or external rotation of the shoulders.
* Keep your abs / core tight and your spine stable throughout (no arching).
* For all exercises where you are upright, either keep the torso vertical, OR, try leaning forward very slightly (approx. 30º) PIVOTING FROM THE HIPS, not from the spine – bring your butt back just a little so that your hips move behind your shoulders. This will help to avoid hip movement and any backward lean.
* Whenever standing, contract the glutes and hamstrings, and shove your feet into the floor / platform… this will also assist in eliminating unproductive hip sway.
Being adept at isolating a muscle-group gives you a number of potential physique enhancement advantages, not solely limited to those we’ve discussed.
For one, having this skill would play a key role in helping you to re-model / re-mold your physique in WHATEVER direction you want (wider shoulders anyone?). This is because you will have much more CONTROL over WHERE the tension gets placed, not momentum, and not your brain that only wants to make moving the weight easier by using as much assistance as possible.
To sum up ladies and gentlemen… let go of the muscle stealing ego lifting and instead, set yourself up for success by learning to, “LOCK IT DOWN”!
… unless of course you don’t really care about building muscle and actually like getting injured 😉
Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s article, part 3 of Foundational Training for Muscle-Building Success! This time we’re getting to the action.. maximizing GROWTH by maximizing your EXECUTION! Stay tuned.
Get all of my best tips to optimize your execution and skyrocket your progress HERE