The human brain is considered the command center of the body. However, it is important to note that mind and brain are not the same. The brain is housed inside our skull, while the mind is something that bothered experts where it is located.
Our main focused here is the brain as it plays a huge role in influencing everything in our body like the gut-brain connection, the release of various hormones, and influence muscle development.
A study1 conducted by the researchers of Ohio University suggests muscles respond to thoughts of exercise. The trick is imagining exercise in delaying atrophy and getting the muscles stronger.
Hollywood actor, former California governor and bodybuilding champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the first to recognize the power of the mind.
Most likely, bodybuilders are taking advantage of this technique along with bodybuilding supplements to achieve desirable results.
It is the mind that creates the body. It’s the mind that really makes you work out 4-5 hours a day. It is the mind that visualizes what the body ought to look like as the finished product.
Prior to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eugen Sandow regarded as the father of modern bodybuilding also recognized it. In page 22 of the embedded book below, you’ll find these words from Eugen Sandow;
The muscles to the strain by concentrating the mind and will-power upon the manipulation of the weights …exercise should be systematic, persistent, and thorough.
Lead author of the study, Brian Clark, professor of physiology and neuroscience at Ohio University said;
What our study suggests is that imagery exercises could be a valuable tool to prevent or slow muscles from becoming weaker when a health problem limits or restricts a person’s mobility. The most impactful finding, however, is not the direct clinical application but the support that this work provides for us to better understand the critical importance of the brain in regulating muscle strength. This information may fundamentally change how we think about muscle weakness in the elderly.
In a separate and more recent study2 published in European Journal of Applied Physiology, Danish researchers confirmed the mind-muscle connection.
During exercise, the more focus established on the muscles being workout lead to more muscle fiber activation. Danish researchers concluded;
Resistance-trained individuals can increase triceps brachii or pectarilis major muscle activity during the bench press when focusing on using the specific muscle at intensities up to 60 % of 1RM. A threshold between 60 and 80 % appeared to exist.
Focusing while exercising is considered mindfulness. Mindfulness is also used in many areas of life including eating, stress management and even in sex. When it comes to building muscles, it works just as effectively.
Therefore, the next time you hit the gym, leave your problems at somewhere and deal with it later. If you exercise at home, exclude everything except thoughts of exercise and focus on what muscles you’re working on.
This is also true for doing yoga and other exercises. In yoga, the more you focus on your poses, the longer and perfect your poses. For some people, this may seem difficult.
But, keep trying not to think of your bills, mortgage and family issues while doing exercise either at home or gym. The more often you practice this habit, the better the results you’ll get in the long run.