It is funny how often I see people in the gym mindlessly working out on machines or using free weights. I can literally see them spacing out thinking about anything else besides the task that they are performing. Sometimes I even see them chitchatting with friends while mindlessly lifting weights or going through the movements. It is a very rare thing for me to see somebody actually focusing on what they are doing while performing an exercise. And when I do see people that are actually focusing you can tell by the physique that they have. The other type of individual that does not focus on a mind muscle connection are the people that are lifting way too much weight for their own good. When you are lifting a weight that is too heavy for the specific exercise your performing, you tend to bring every muscle group into play in order to lift the weight. In these situations the lifters form is absolutely horrible. There is no mind muscle connection in this scenario because your body is in survival mode and is recruiting every single muscle they can in order to essentially “not die”!
One other example of people that do not focus on the muscle group being trained are the “speedy Gonzalez” weightlifters. These are people that lift the weights as fast as they can because they just want to get the workout over with. These people are also not focusing on what muscle groups they are training. This article has one sole purpose and that is to get your clients mentally prepared for success by building the mind muscle connection between their brains and muscles for the exercises at hand. I have three essential tips to help you and your clients reach this goal. I became a personal trainer to help my clients get results, this is very important in helping them reach their goals! Let’s jump right into it!
1: Avoid weights that are too heavy for your clients
The quickest way for someone to lose their mind muscle connection while lifting weights is by performing a lift using more weight than they can handle. The only thing that your client will be thinking about if the weight is too heavy is “how can I get this weight up without it crushing me”! Even if the weight is too heavy, your client most likely won’t tell you because they don’t want to look wimpy in front of their personal trainer. It is up to you to start with a lower weight and progress them at a rate they can handle. They should be using lightweight and focusing on form the whole entire time. An easy way to tell if they are developing a mind muscle connection is if they are using light weights, have perfect form, are moving the weight slowly and come close to failure. If all of these are in place you can almost guarantee they are starting to develop the mind muscle connection that you want them to.
2: Slow down the tempo of the exercise
Just as I mentioned above this is incredibly important when it comes to developing a mind muscle connection. Most of the clients that I have ever trained tend to speed up the tempo automatically without even thinking about it. I’m not sure if this comes from the fact that they want the workout to be done sooner or they start spacing out and their body reacts by speeding up the repetitions. You constantly need to remind them to “slow everything down!”. You need to make sure that they are counting the seconds on the eccentric and concentric part of each movement. If you want you can have your clients go especially slow when you are just starting out with them so when they start speeding up, they will still be slower than if you had given them no instructions about repetition timing. Another tip I have is to have your clients focus even harder on the eccentric part of the motion. This is a great tip because most individuals let gravity take over and just let the weight fall. If they focus on controlling the way on the way down their muscles will do extra work and they will definitely “feel the burn”. This is a great start to building the mind muscle connection that they need!
3: Keep the talking to a minimum during their sets
As I mentioned in my introduction paragraph, it is very easy to spot people that are not focusing on the muscles because they are chitchatting with their friends. If you have a client that has a strong tendency to want to talk during the set, make sure to remind them to finish the set first before asking a question. They need 100% focus on the muscle group and exercise at hand. You need to let them know this first thing. Teach them exactly what muscle they should be focusing on for each exercise. Explain to them how one muscle group is stretching during the eccentric part of the motion while another muscle group is contracting! The more of a visual they have on what is going on with the muscles the better they will be able to connect the dots! If your client tends to wander around by looking at distractions at the gym, have them close their eyes and have them zone in without the visual distractions!
Conclusion on the mind muscle connection!
This is one of the most important skills you can teach your client in order for them to have fantastic results from an aesthetic perspective. This also comes in handy if you are teaching a large group. You could teach these principles to everyone at the same time before starting the class. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of personal training in my opinion and if you can master the mind muscle connection with your clients, they will see incredible results. Let me know if you have any questions by shooting me a comment down below. I would love to hear more ideas about the mind muscle connection, as well as tips for other articles I should be writing. What do you guys want to learn about? Also make sure to check out some of my other popular articles such as personal training salary, the best certifications as well is my most recent article on how to become health coach! Happy personal training!
Tyler Read has a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE, NSCA and NSCA CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers.