Do you want to lift more, gain more muscle, and prevent injury?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, keep reading, and let me ask you another…
Are you tight?
Not in the “cool” sense, but are you tight when you’re working out?
Are you consciously thinking about bracing your core, squeezing your glutes, and trying to activate as much muscle as you can when you work out?
If not, then you’re losing gains, slowing your progress, and asking for injury because you are not being tight.
So, what is being tight?
In my own words, being tight is:
when you are successfully able to “turn-on” (recruit and activate) as much muscle as you can, during a particular exercise, that results in more stability and balance, leading to optimal performance that increases desired results (i.e. increased strength and muscle gains).
This often means that your core (click HERE to learn more about core) is activated, like your inner and outer abs (i.e, transverse abdominis and rectus abdomins), your glutes are squeezed (contracted), and your body is rigid, or tight, overall, allowing you to maximize the benefit of the movement, or exercise.
This issue of being “tight” is the most common issue I have seen training my clients over the past 5 months.
It’s because many of them are new to working out, and also that they are not thinking about using as much muscle as they can by using their mind-muscle connection.
This mind-muscle connection is often referred to as neuromuscular efficiency, and refers to your body’s ability to activate as much muscle as possible, with the greatest efficiency, in a particular exercise, or any type of movement.
For example, if you’re doing the bench press, and fail to engage your lats when you’re pressing the bar above you, then you lack optimal neuromuscular efficiency in the exercise. A part of it is probably because of poor positioning in regards to technique, and also because that your body is not as tight as it should be. This increases the potential for strain and injury on the body, especially to your lower back and shoulder complex.
Being tight equals being protected, so do it!
In addition, failing to be tight also decreases performance, like not lifting as much weight or doing as much volume as you can, all because your lats, or other muscles, are “turned-off.” This is especially true since our bodies are naturally hardwired to find the path of least resistance when you’re moving.
This gives way to movement compensations that cause poor technique leading to overactive and under-active muscles that cause injury, poor performance and progress because the body is not tight.
This is why the mind-muscle connection is so important because it’s how we are able to be and remain tight and ensure good technique when performing exercises or movements.
And, if you’re still having trouble with this concept then think about it like this…
Pretend your muscles are like the supporting cables on a bridge. The bridge itself, the concrete, metal, etc., is like your body. If the cables are not tight then that means either the bridge is not straight, or not even possible to go across and do its job.
Now, if you tighten those cables — your muscles — the bridge becomes straight and it can support weight, like cars going over it.
In the case of our body, that means it can support, move, or resist weight or resistance being applied to it. The tighter and stronger the cables — our muscles — the more weight or resistance it can overcome.
Now, if you get too tight the cables, or muscles, might burst, which is not good. This is like a strain of the muscle. However, most cables will only attain too much pressure when other cables — other muscles — are not as tight and doing their job effectively like the ones working (think of overactive and under-active muscles that cause movement compensations).
This is why we should use as many cables, or muscle, as possible, so we give our bodies the stability and protection it needs when performing any exercise.
This is where the mind-muscle connection, or neuromuscular efficiency, comes in to play by helping our bodies remain tight and rigid, just like a bridge.
It will take practice to get better, but once you do, you will literally feel the difference.
This will lead to greater stability and balance, especially during strenuous exercises, like the squat, deadlift, and overhead press, which will lead to more muscle worked, increasing the likelihood of strength and muscle gains.
The next time you go in the gym, I want you to consciously ask yourself whether or not your body is tight.
Is your core braced? Are your glutes engaged? Are you in proper posture and position?
If you aren’t then you need to turn on more of your muscles by tightening them just like cables on a bridge. Do that and you’ll be in a much better position to continue making gains, progressing and improving, while preventing injury.
Now, what do you think?
Tell me by leaving a comment down below.
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.
Stay tuned, because my Lean Muscle Building program will be coming out in the next week or so. It will teach you all the fundamentals you need to know to get stronger, build lean muscle, and become more functional all around.
Until next time, be strong and be you!