The mind muscle connection has seen a revival in recent years as the popularity of bodyweight exercises increases because of the functionality and convenience they offer. The use of the mind to voluntary control muscles to contract or relax at will was fist made popular by the famous Maxick a hundred years ago and it is a testament to him and his course that people still follow it so many years later.
When I first came across his theories of mind muscle connection several years ago I was immediately reminded of the infamous muscle men that used to appear on variety shows in the good old days when I was young and free.
I have to say it did put me of a bit as the idea of me contorting my body into all sorts of strange positions wearing only a leopard skin thong did not sit easy with me as I am sure it isn’t with you as you read this. However, once I had got over this image as I hope you are, I found the theories presented by Maxick to be a revaluation in the mind muscle connection.
In a nut shell Maxick hypothesized that the ability to control the contraction and relaxation of any muscle at will to be the number one determining factor in developing muscle growth, strength and ability in sport.
The theory he put forward suggests that because muscles come in antagonistic pairs one can inadvertently hinder the performance of the other because of unnecessary muscular contraction when exercise or sport is being performed.
For example when working the biceps the triceps will also be involved in the exercise but simply use up vital energy. However, by learning to relax muscles that are not needed to perform the task you can focus all your attention on the muscle required and therefore greatly improve your performance. Maxim also suggested that unless you possess the ability to control your muscles at will muscular growth and strength will cease once it has reached a certain level.
After studying the ideas of maxim I set to work on developing the mind muscle connection he advocates to see if it could benefit my own bodyweight exercise training. After weeks turned into months I too developed the ability to contract or relax virtually any muscle of my body at will but what surprised me even more was the muscular definition and suppleness that I had built up in just a few months practice of the exercises he suggests.
What I also noticed by using his methods was how my performance at bodyweight exercises had improved which I believe to be mainly due to the added focus and concentration you pay to your muscles when exercising with the mind body connection.
For example, now when I do exercises for my chest such as advanced elevated wall press ups or chest rollouts I find that I do not focus on the number of reps I am doing or how many sets I have left but purely and simply on how the exercise feels on the pectorals as they are being worked. The result is a far more productive work out that really lets you know you have exercised the muscles being targeted for that particular training session.
Another benefit of Maxim’s theory is the improved awareness of how your body moves through space that occurs using his methods. Anyone who practices gymnastic exercises such as the handstand, v sit or planche press up will defiantly gain from improving their mind body connection as the training to master the ability to contract or relax any muscle at will produces far more awareness of what muscles are being used and what your body is doing when you practice such exercises.
Why maxim’s theory works
Although just about every young bodybuilder spends most of every waking day (And night) in front of the mirror tensing his muscles for all he is worth he does not usually develop the muscle control advocated by Maxick.
Partly because he does not try to relax the muscles he is not trying to tense and partly because it is usually only his fascination with his bicep or pectorals that makes him instantly stop as though he had been shot by a sniper and strike a pose every time he passes a mirror that the control needed to contract and relax any muscle at will does not occur.
However, because of the attention that is given to the mastery of contracting and most importantly relaxing every muscle in the body that Maxim’s work advocates the ability to control ones body when participating in sport or exercise is taken to new levels by those who follow his theory.
Anyone interested in reaching their full potential in sport or fitness training would be wise to practice the mind muscle connection and get in tune with their body. Therefore I would recommend those who are interested to read Maxim’s course and practice his exercises as the result will be far more muscular definition, suppleness and control over ones body when bodyweight exercising, lifting weights, practicing gymnastics or indeed any sport that requires total mastery of muscle.
Will it make you superman?
As with most theories of exercise or indeed life in general there is always a tendency for some to exaggerate the benefits a particular type of training can offer. So can the mind muscle connection turn you into superman? Well after practicing Maxim’s course for several years now I still feel very much like Clark Kent and I believe champions are a breed apart and that no course or particular type of training can replicate.
Having said that I think Maxim like Bruce Lee was ahead of his time and the fact that we are still interested in his work so many years after its publication is a testament to the value of it. Therefore, I totally recommend Maxim’s exercises for the benefits they give to all those who train as the practicing of them will have defiantly have a positive effect.
The down side of Maxim’s course on the mind muscle connection is it requires considerable patience and daily practice to truly master the mind body connection he speaks of. The up side of it is it requires considerable patience and daily practice to truly master the mind body connection he speaks of which although a pain in the ars? develops the persistence and focus needed to achieve great things in sport and life in general.
Mastery of muscles is not the only requirement to reach your full potential in training but if you decide to practice the exercises needed to acquire it you will benefit in the long run as long as you show the persistence and patience you know will be needed.
Please remember that if you do master the mind muscle connection and fancy bringing the infamous muscle man back to prominence a leopard skin thong is mandatory.