Mind + Muscle = Money

For many people who frequent the neighborhood LA Fitness,(read the Southern and Mill LA Fitness), the sight of someone hoisting a load that is too heavy for them is commonplace. Whether one of their frat brothers is yelling in their ear “YOU GOT THIS BROZILLA!!” and lifting the barbell off their chest, or if it’s the washed up old guy doing a partial rang of motion movement, slamming the weight down with vigor, and then getting up and glaring at everyone else as if we were all responsible for killing his childhood pet with a flamethrower. Every so often I also see someone wildly gesticulating out of the corner of my eye, and I think, “wow, I must help that person, because I know CPR, and it appears that they are drowning.” I quickly remember that their is no water to speak of near the dumbbell rack, and this person is just doing some form of heavy curls meets jazzercise. Jazzercurls. There’s an article in Men’s Health about it I think…

When I see these things, I swallow my hatred (it has about 80 calories) and move on, but not before thinking that I would love to sit these fellows down and teach them a good lesson about the mind muscle connection.

One of the most overlooked and important parts of lifting weights is establishing a link between the movement you’re doing and the muscle you’re working. This does a variety of things. First of all, it helps ensure that your form is correct, which is a big deal, but only if you’re interested in being fit, strong, and staying healthy. Secondly, it helps more directly target that muscle, which increases the activation of the muscle fibers, and increases blood flow to the area, which helps with the healing process after the workout.

Now, how to do it. Get down on the floor and lay on your back. Bring your feet up and plant them near your butt. Put your hands behind your head, and do a crunch. Feel good? Do 9 more.
When you get done, take a second before you do another set. For you second set, get down in the same position, dig your heels into the floor to take your legs out of the picture, and squeeze your abs. Squeeze them like you think I’m hiding in your closet, and at any minute I could jump out and hit you in the gut. Got it? Now that you’re squeezing hard, repeat those 10 crunches, and concentrate on how your abs are pulling the entire time.

There should be a distinct difference in how your abs feel at the end of this 10. Unless you’re some kind of super stud and in that case, do 100 crunches. It’s really easy and self explanatory, but it’s something a lot of people gloss over in their training. Want toned legs? Think about them and squeeze during your lunges. Toned butt? Do the same when you’re squatting. It’s easy to get lazy and just push through the movement, but if you do that, you’re no better than the guy with a face tattoo who’s singing “Black and Yellow” and benching with his homies. Think about that.

Your muscle has no idea how much weight you’re lifting, and it doesn’t care. That’s why you see some guys who are ripped off of nothing but bodyweight exercises, and how someone else can bench their weight but have no visible muscles at all. Also diet is a teeny tiny factor, but that’s a different article.Channel Bruce Lee while you’re exercising, and you’ll never go wrong.

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