You’ve probably heard practice makes perfect
I am taking that idea a step further to talk about intentional practice. In the exercise science literature, this is call the mind-muscle connection. Basically, when training smarter for better results, it helps to actively focus on the muscles working.
First step, get off your phone!
I see this all the time, people on their phones as they are on a machine. I understand using your phone on the treadmill or cardio machines. However, I am always baffled to see people distracted by their phone while on the strength training machines.
I know that part of the reason it seems so strange to me is because I learned about the mind-muscle connection early on in undergrad. Ever since, I make an effort to focus on which muscles I’m working as I am lifting.
When I discovered how plugged in to their phones some people at the gym are, I was surprised. I seriously had one guy approach me as I was on a machine to ask how I workout without my phone/music playing in my ears. For the sake of not having to delve into the science of the mind-muscle connection, I just told him that I listen to the music playing from the gym speakers. His response?! “Oh, I never noticed they have music playing in here”. Definitely a face palm moment for me.
Step Two: Learn about what muscles you are working
If you aren’t able to think about the muscles working as you lift because you genuinely don’t know, then learn! The internet has tons of knowledge. Just search “muscles worked during chest press” in Google and you have your answer. You can do this for any exercise!
If you don’t want to do that, get a personal trainer or exercise science specialist to teach you. (This is not an ad for my training services.) The point is to take time to learn about your body and how you are training it.
Final step: see better results!
I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one any more 😉