Repetitions – reps for short! – are the building blocks of a successful workout, but not all reps are the equally impactful. Every rep must be intentionally executed – simply going through the motions won’t cut it. Which is why we focus on the quality of each rep with our clients. Believe it or not, doing this one thing can have a greater impact upon your results than just about anything else. 

In this blog we will cover three key ways to maximize your reps and the importance of the ‘mind-muscle connection’.

The mind-muscle connection and why it's important

Key one: keep your mind engaged

Too often people fall into the trap of mindlessly going through their exercise routines, and neglect the significance of each repetition. In other words, you may be physically present, but mentally absent – perhaps you are too busy ruminating about something, thinking about what’s next in your day, or distracted by something else. 

Though better than not exercising at all, any degree of mental disengagement will affect your progress. So instead of allowing yourself to become distracted, aim to keep your mind in ‘real-time’ and actively focus on the movements and the muscles being targeted through each exercise. By being fully present, intentional and engaged during every rep, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your workouts.

Key two: Execute high quality reps 

A common misconception in the fitness world is that the more reps you do or the heavier the weight you lift, the better the results. However, this is not entirely accurate. Quality reps, which involve proper form, style, and technique are far more important than quantity. 

So instead of mindlessly counting your reps, or waiting for a buzzer, we recommend you execute each repetition with precision and control. Maintaining precision quality and control of your reps will shelter you from injury, and help you achieve your goals. Bottom line: it’s better to have spot-on form and a full range of motion than a ton of repetitions with poor technique.

key three: Squeeze at the peak 

Otherwise known as a peak contraction, taking a brief pause at the top of each movement – while your muscles are working their hardest – has numerous benefits. To start it will enhance your engagement by forcing you to control the movement, and increase the time your muscles are under tension. Taking a ‘pause’ and making your muscles hold at the hardest point will promote peak-strength, and stimulate muscle tone and joint stability. 

You’ll feel the effects in your first reps, and start to see and feel an increase to your muscle tone, strength, and overall control in the coming weeks as you move and lift things in life. Pausing within a rep while your muscles are working their hardest will allow you to squeeze the maximal amount of muscle recruitment you can within each rep.

Putting it all together: Visualizing the Results

The mind-to-muscle connection is a vital aspect of effective training. Following the tips above will strengthen your mind-to-muscle connection and you’ll achieve better results because of it. In addition, visualizing the impact each rep has upon your body can also play a significant role in the outcomes you can expect from exercise. 

For example, if you are performing a wrist extension exercise and also play tennis, we recommend you start to think about about the ways the exercise will benefit you. Start to think about the new strength and length your wrist muscles will develop, and how that will translate onto the tennis court. The muscle development will help your wrists absorb more shock, and you’ll get greater performance out of your back-hand shot with more explosive power and stamina.

Hope you found that helpful! If you could use some professional help wtih your workouts (and establishing hte mind-muscle connection), we’ve got you covered through in-home and studio training in Toronto and Collingwood and virtual training everywhere. First workouts are free – request yours here!