In Part 1 of this Series, we looked at what the mind-muscle connection is and why it’s important. We also provided some techniques you can use to help you mentally connect to your muscles. In Part 2, we will look at an example exercise, and what 5% supplements can help. Let’s get started!
The 5% Stack That Can Help
First, we need to understand that muscle activation is a biochemical process. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is the brain chemical that causes the muscles to contract. Your muscle receives a signal from a motor neuron telling it to contract. Next, a chemical reaction takes place that causes muscle fibers to shorten. As you increase your mental attention on the target muscle, more acetylcholine is produced. Therefore, your brain and nervous system work together to improve the quality of contraction. (1)
The B vitamin Choline is a building block for acetylcholine production. This is one reason many pre-workouts contain choline. The effective dose is up to 1g per day, more if tolerance allows. (2)
The 5% Nutrition Mind-Muscle Stack
Of course, the best pre-workouts belong to 5% Nutrition. Plus, you have more than one choice. Both Kill It Reloaded and 5150 provide 500 mg of choline bitartrate. To get even more choline, stack your favorite 5% pre-workout with Core Nootropic. This exceptional product contains another 100 mg of choline. There’s also 450 mg of Alpha GPC 50%. Therefore, we have a very solid dose of choline from this stack.
Mind-Muscle Example: Connect With Your Lats
One of the hardest muscles to connect with is the lats. Here’s how to mentally connect with your lats. The exercise we will use is lat pulldowns. First, make sure you take your 5% Mind-Muscle Stack. Next, perform this exercise as part of your warm-ups. To begin, hold your right arm straight up above your head as if you were about to do lat pulldowns. Put your left hand on your right lat. Slowly pull your right arm straight down, again as if you were doing a pulldown. Feel what your lat is doing? That’s your lat working through the range of motion.
Your Arms Are Hooks - Nothing More!
One function of the lats is to help your arms pull the weight of your body up, as in pull-ups. Lat pulldowns are a machine variation that’s often used to build strength for standard pull-ups.
The lats also help your shoulders extend back, as in the set-up for either pull-ups or lat pull-downs. (3)
Now, here’s how to establish a mind-muscle connection. Before you start the exercise, picture your hands and arms as hooks. That’s all they are.
Using a lighter weight than usual, focus your mental attention on your lats only. Flex the lats hard, and slowly begin the pull in the lats, not the arms. Hold and squeeze at the bottom. Then slowly allow the bar to go back up. Use your lats to resist the ascent the entire way. Right before you reach the top, hold and squeeze again. Is your mind connected yet? If so, great job! If not, practice until you get it.
Drop your weight and do all your working sets this way. Once you can feel the lats on every rep of every set, go back up to your heaviest weight. However, there’s one important thing to remember: if the weight is too heavy and you break form and use your entire body to pull the stack down, you’re using too much weight.
Follow this procedure for every muscle group until the mind-muscle connection becomes second nature.
It’s critical to establish a good mind-muscle connection with every exercise. Also, it’s important to understand the function of your muscles. This means not only what they do, but also how they feel when you work out. Follow the techniques and suggestions outlined in this Series. For the ultimate mind-muscle connection, don’t forget your 5% Mind-Muscle Stack!