Why is it that some people can go to the gym regularly and get great results and others struggle? Sometimes the results can be traced back to diet and body type, but other times there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason. Sometimes, the issue is the lack of mind muscle connection when working out.


What is the Mind Muscle Connection?

Most people believe exercises done with proper form is all that’s required to activate the muscle. However, a lot of professionals and trainer believe in something called the mind-muscle connection (MMC). In simple terms, this is activating the muscle you are working on using your mind rather than just the weights, so you can “feel” it during the exercise. Have you ever done a really advanced exercise and noticed you couldn’t feel anything? That was me the first time I did nordic curls.


Let’s think about squats as an example. A lot of people only feel their legs working when they squat and finish their sets thinking, why can’t I feel my glutes burning? Sometimes it’s due to bad technique, but most of the time it’s because they simply can’t make the connection between their mind and the muscle.


Think about this; if you’re doing heavy squats and your mind muscle connection is poor, it’s possible your quads and hamstrings are doing almost all the work, so you’re glutes are barely engaged. Some people will say you just have lazy glutes and that’s all there is to it! But, by using a lighter weight and simply focusing on feeling your glutes while you squat, you can improve your mind-muscle connection and this will help you to use the muscle more.


Why does this help?

Rather than straining to get a certain number of reps, we’re fully concentrating to make sure every single rep counts. We’re not wasting a rep just to get a number.


So here are some tips to help make a better mind-muscle connection:

  1. 1. Start with a light weight. Using a lighter weight will allow you to concentrate on the muscle rather than the weight

  2. 2. Warm up. Use a few sets of quality warm ups to feel the muscle contraction

  3. 3. Slow it down. Go slower so you can feel the muscle working

  4. 4. Flex & squeeze the muscle between sets. It’s easier to connect to the muscle when it’s fully engaged



In order to reach your full potential you need to fully develop your mind-muscle connection, especially when you start using heavy weights and doing advanced exercises. If you’re struggling with your progress, this could be the reason. It’s sometimes just a matter of changing the exercises you are doing to help you.

For example, it’s easier to feel the muscles in one-arm lat pulldowns compared to normal pulldowns. You can even try putting your non-working hand on the working lat during the exercise as this really helps.