We all know the importance of having a well programming training protocol. Regardless of if your goal is to build strength or build muscle, you will need a properly programmed progressive overload training program to follow if you want to be successful.
But even if you have the most perfectly designed program, ultimately HOW you execute that program is going to be the factor that determines whether you see results or get stalled.
So how do you ensure that you are training correctly and not wasting your time?
Success in the gym comes down to your Mind/Body connection.
The Mind/Body Connection refers to your ability to activate your nervous system to stimulate the right muscles at the right time.
You want to be able to use your brain to send signals through your nervous system to the right muscles to tell them to activate in the right way to execute your training.
As you can imagine- THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! If you are performing a barbell squat- then it is important to ensure that your mind can tell the right muscles in your lower body to activate at the right time so that after you lower down into a squat, you can get back up again!
But like all new things- the Mind/Body Connection needs to be intentionally and mindfully implemented and practiced to be effective. The more you practice, the more you will be able to use this powerful tool to get amazing results from your training.
This means training with intention, using slow and controlled repetitions, being mindful that your body is properly aligned and braced for each movement.
If you are feeling stalled in your progress at the gym then lack of mind/body connection could be the reason and improving your mind/body connection could help you push past your plateau and finally start seeing the results you are working for.
How to practice the Mind/Body connection:
Conduct daily meditative “body checks.”
A “body scan” is a meditation practice that instructs you to lay on your back, close your eyes, and focus on activating (flexing) different muscles and then relaxing them. For example- many body scans begin with flexing each individual toe and then relaxing, then moving to your foot as a whole, then your calf, then your hamstring, etc. Body scans are a great way to assess your Mind/Body connection and practice outside of your training.
When training, perform slow and controlled reps.
Quick, uncontrolled, “sloppy” reps are not only a great way to stall progress in the gym, but also remove any mind/body connection from your workout. Often people move quickly through exercises in order to “get it done with” but taking the time to slow down, control the movement, and intentionally be mindful of which muscles are working will help you improve your Mind/Body connection and ultimately provide greater progress in fewer movements.
Be mindful of every day movements.
Think about your movements throughout the day and try to identify which muscles are working as you drink your coffee or walk up a flight of stairs.
Intention and Mindfulness are key; You need to be intentional in your training with a progressive overload program that matches your goals, and you need to be mindful how you execute that program in order to get the best results from it.
You could have the best program in the world- but if you are not executing it effectively then you can't expect to see the best results possible just as you can have the fastest car on the road but if you do not drive it intentionally and mindfully you can still end up in a ditch.
In the end, HOW you execute your program is going to have a greater impact on your ability to reach your goals than the program itself. But that doesn't mean your training program is not important. Having a properly designed progressive overload program sets the foundation for your success.
If you wan to ensure that your training foundation is well set, then hiring a properly credentialed coach to design a training program specifically for your goals and needs is a great place to start.
You can learn more about getting your own custom training program here.
Establishing a Mind/Body connection should be priority one for anyone serious about seeing results as doing so will not only help improve the effectiveness of your training but will help you establish a relationship with your body and it’s health that lasts a lifetime.