Any mental tricks I can use to focus on mind muscle connection?

  1. Any mental tricks I can use to focus on mind muscle connection?


    The heavier I go the harder it is to not involve my arms so heavily on bench press and chest exercises in general. My form is solid but I just find it extremely challenging to not have my arms override my chest muscle doing the work. Do you guys recommend going lighter for more reps or just cut down the number of reps per set when going my heaviest that I can lift with good form? Also any mental tricks I can use to focus on this while I am lifting? Possibly close my eyes visioning the chest muscle doing all the work? Thank you for your advice if you have any.


  2. I would suggest maybe lessoning the reps per set when heavy and slowing down the reps a bit to focus more on the movement.

    Interested to see if this thread generates other responses as well
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  3. I just covered this in one of my videos.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOO7FZts0n8

    hope it helps. But yes, lower the weight, eventually try to understand your muscle, how it moves, why it moves, and what is it ment to do! Master using it without weight, now add weight.

  4. I found that starting with an lower weight helps me get better contraction. So I pyramid my sets on chest day.
    You can also try looking at the muscle being worked, as that helps me.
  5. Any mental tricks I can use to focus on mind muscle connection?


    Quote Originally Posted by TheMaster View Post
    The heavier I go the harder it is to not involve my arms so heavily on bench press and chest exercises in general. My form is solid but I just find it extremely challenging to not have my arms override my chest muscle doing the work. Do you guys recommend going lighter for more reps or just cut down the number of reps per set when going my heaviest that I can lift with good form? Also any mental tricks I can use to focus on this while I am lifting? Possibly close my eyes visioning the chest muscle doing all the work? Thank you for your advice if you have any.
    You could try essentially squeezing the bar together while you bench, almost like you're doing a fly-type motion while benching. Try to bring your hands together and compress the bar throughout the entire rep (up and down). Also do slower negatives here (while squeezing the entire time), and don't hold a lock out (maybe even stop a hair short of locking out). Even with a light weight, I find it really emphasizes my chest and hits it hard. I wouldn't bench like this all the time, but it may be able to help you learn how to really feel and emphasize your chest when benching. Also, what is your grip like? I find a relatively wide grip works my chest well.

    On a related note, I do a similar-but-opposite thing for a lot of back training. When I want to focus on pulling with my lats (as opposed to using a lot of biceps) I use a hook/thumbless grip, and focus on pulling more from the elbows than the hands. Also, opposite to squeezing the bar for chest, focus on pulling/ripping the bar apart or outwards when doing pull ups. I find that it minimizes bicep involvement much in the same way that squeezing the bar while benching minimizes tricep involvement for me. Again, it's not something I do all the time, but I found it is a good change of pace, and carries over into normal lifts, helping me to focus on working the target muscles.
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  6. squeeze bar together, adduct elbows across body, keep scapula retracted,and DEPRESSED (shoulders toward hips). Keep core engaged by cuing ribs toward hips, shove back into pad. On eccentric, focus on squeezing inward on bar and contracting lats/rhomboids. If you lose tension in back muscles you are lowering the bar too far (even if it does not touch chest...you can hit the full ROM/ overload the complete strength curve through a combination of multiple chest exercises, not just bb bench.) Muscleupchron makes some good points. Check out some of Ben Pakulski's stuff on youtube. Game changing IMO, but you WILL have to lighten the load quite a bit.

  7. I remember when I started out playing golf and a guy changed my grip for the first time and the position of my eyes over the ball. It felt so odd to me but in 3-4 weeks I got it down and improved my game to a much better level. This mindset is the same with lifting. Its gonna take some hard work and dedication and I may get frustrated. But in a couple years I will look back and say " I am so happy I did what I did."

  8. Wait, lol...... didn't look to see who OP is. Color me trolled.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by banjobounce View Post
    squeeze bar together, adduct elbows across body, keep scapula retracted,and DEPRESSED (shoulders toward hips). Keep core engaged by cuing ribs toward hips, shove back into pad. On eccentric, focus on squeezing inward on bar and contracting lats/rhomboids. If you lose tension in back muscles you are lowering the bar too far (even if it does not touch chest...you can hit the full ROM/ overload the complete strength curve through a combination of multiple chest exercises, not just bb bench.) Muscleupchron makes some good points. Check out some of Ben Pakulski's stuff on youtube. Game changing IMO, but you WILL have to lighten the load quite a bit.
    I picked up a lot of that stuff when I ran Ben's MI40 a few years ago. I really had to lower the weight, but it hits the target muscles HARD. I still do bench presses with 4 second negatives while squeezing the bar hard the entire rep towards the middle of my workouts a lot. With the lighter weight and constant tension, it almost feels like an isolation exercise (especially after already hitting my chest hard with incline bench first). I also believe that flexing/posing a lot helps develop a good mind-muscle connection. I like to flex the muscles I'm working between sets and for a few minutes after my workouts.
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  10. Quote Originally Posted by TheMaster View Post
    The heavier I go the harder it is to not involve my arms so heavily on bench press and chest exercises in general. My form is solid but I just find it extremely challenging to not have my arms override my chest muscle doing the work. Do you guys recommend going lighter for more reps or just cut down the number of reps per set when going my heaviest that I can lift with good form? Also any mental tricks I can use to focus on this while I am lifting? Possibly close my eyes visioning the chest muscle doing all the work? Thank you for your advice if you have any.
    You can go light to really focus on the squeeze. Couple of things i do,hopefully some will help.
    For chest i always start with resistance band stretching and cable flies or pec deck. I find it really warms my shoulder and chest up and really helps me draws mind muslce connection to my pecs. Once again focus on the squeeze, not the weight for this. Another thing you can do is hit triceps first to pre exhaust them so they dont overpower your chest. Third thing i always do is contract my traps to spread my chest when pressing. This helps me as well. When it gets really heavy alot of this goes out the window and although you might be benching corrrectly, you might not be hitting the pecs fully. As you said drop the weight and focus on chest.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    I picked up a lot of that stuff when I ran Ben's MI40 a few years ago. I really had to lower the weight, but it hits the target muscles HARD. I still do bench presses with 4 second negatives while squeezing the bar hard the entire rep towards the middle of my workouts a lot. With the lighter weight and constant tension, it almost feels like an isolation exercise (especially after already hitting my chest hard with incline bench first). I also believe that flexing/posing a lot helps develop a good mind-muscle connection. I like to flex the muscles I'm working between sets and for a few minutes after my workouts.
    I still do my strength cycles like this as well. Everyone in the gym laughs at me when I am doing such low weight for 4 reps. I've only broken down and shown them that I can actually "move" more weight a couple of times. I do with I could get my bench numbers up a little faster though. Do you experience slower weight gains when using this method as well? I would imagine so seeing that the TUT and negative/ created tension is increased quite a bit, but your feedback would be appreciated.

  12. Thank you gentlemen for all your tips. I will be using them on Monday.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by banjobounce View Post
    I still do my strength cycles like this as well. Everyone in the gym laughs at me when I am doing such low weight for 4 reps. I've only broken down and shown them that I can actually "move" more weight a couple of times. I do with I could get my bench numbers up a little faster though. Do you experience slower weight gains when using this method as well? I would imagine so seeing that the TUT and negative/ created tension is increased quite a bit, but your feedback would be appreciated.
    I find that when I do this a lot, my heavy bench numbers don't go up as fast, but my rep bench and weight on this sort of exercise go up quickly. Same when I focus on incline bench a lot. Weight gain as in LBM and visual progress is still good, arguably better than when I focus on heavy bench. I've been learning over time that my body responds better to medium weight "bodybuilding" style lifting than heavy weight/low reps. It reminds me of biceps somewhat. I see a ton of people hammer curling a ton of weight, and they have big arms, but they have no shape when they flex them.
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  14. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    I find that when I do this a lot, my heavy bench numbers don't go up as fast, but my rep bench and weight on this sort of exercise go up quickly. Same when I focus on incline bench a lot. Weight gain as in LBM and visual progress is still good, arguably better than when I focus on heavy bench. I've been learning over time that my body responds better to medium weight "bodybuilding" style lifting than heavy weight/low reps. It reminds me of biceps somewhat. I see a ton of people hammer curling a ton of weight, and they have big arms, but they have no shape when they flex them.
    Thats what its all about bro. What works best for you. Personally incline bench made a world of difference for me. I hardly ever do flat or decline. All incline at a minimal of 5 reps and thats for my heaviest sets. Normal range is 8-12 to failure. Also tut has really been a game changer for me too.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by EMPIREMIND View Post
    Thats what its all about bro. What works best for you. Personally incline bench made a world of difference for me. I hardly ever do flat or decline. All incline at a minimal of 5 reps and thats for my heaviest sets. Normal range is 8-12 to failure. Also tut has really been a game changer for me too.
    I really like 3 sets of 15,10,5 reps on barbell incline to start my chest workouts, with 3 drops after the last set.
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  16. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    I really like 3 sets of 15,10,5 reps on barbell incline to start my chest workouts, with 3 drops after the last set.
    I do something similar as well. I also really really like 1 and half reps with incline dumbbells. Also been doing incline dumbbell sets of 100 reps with a weight i can get for about 50 reps straight. Then rest pause until 100. Give me a crazy pump and my chest gets so full after that

  17. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    You could try essentially squeezing the bar together while you bench, almost like you're doing a fly-type motion while benching. Try to bring your hands together and compress the bar throughout the entire rep (up and down). Also do slower negatives here (while squeezing the entire time), and don't hold a lock out (maybe even stop a hair short of locking out). Even with a light weight, I find it really emphasizes my chest and hits it hard. I wouldn't bench like this all the time, but it may be able to help you learn how to really feel and emphasize your chest when benching. Also, what is your grip like? I find a relatively wide grip works my chest well.

    On a related note, I do a similar-but-opposite thing for a lot of back training. When I want to focus on pulling with my lats (as opposed to using a lot of biceps) I use a hook/thumbless grip, and focus on pulling more from the elbows than the hands. Also, opposite to squeezing the bar for chest, focus on pulling/ripping the bar apart or outwards when doing pull ups. I find that it minimizes bicep involvement much in the same way that squeezing the bar while benching minimizes tricep involvement for me. Again, it's not something I do all the time, but I found it is a good change of pace, and carries over into normal lifts, helping me to focus on working the target muscles.
    LOVE the thumbless grip on back exercises. Pull-ups, cable exercises, rows are all done thumbless. The only time I wrap thumbs is when I am extremely close to my limit on barbell rows and that is because I have a wonky back. I can not have a break in form over my grip or I am screwed. Haha

  18. Flex the muscles without weight, place weight in hand and flex with weight haha works to help trigger the muscles. Also warming up smaller muscles you want to target/take the load before performing compound movements with a machine helps. Sorry if any of this was mentioned already

  19. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    You could try essentially squeezing the bar together while you bench, almost like you're doing a fly-type motion while benching. Try to bring your hands together and compress the bar throughout the entire rep (up and down). Also do slower negatives here (while squeezing the entire time), and don't hold a lock out (maybe even stop a hair short of locking out). Even with a light weight, I find it really emphasizes my chest and hits it hard. I wouldn't bench like this all the time, but it may be able to help you learn how to really feel and emphasize your chest when benching. Also, what is your grip like? I find a relatively wide grip works my chest well.

    On a related note, I do a similar-but-opposite thing for a lot of back training. When I want to focus on pulling with my lats (as opposed to using a lot of biceps) I use a hook/thumbless grip, and focus on pulling more from the elbows than the hands. Also, opposite to squeezing the bar for chest, focus on pulling/ripping the bar apart or outwards when doing pull ups. I find that it minimizes bicep involvement much in the same way that squeezing the bar while benching minimizes tricep involvement for me. Again, it's not something I do all the time, but I found it is a good change of pace, and carries over into normal lifts, helping me to focus on working the target muscles.
    Good answer!
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