The greatest investment one can make is into their body. Enough said, right?
To reach your full potential in the gym, you need to understand some core techniques required to develop a mind-muscle connection. Muscle activation training, or MAT, helps you develop a strong communication between your mind, and your muscles.
So let’s get to the juicy details… If you have a joint with a weak muscle, your brain will signal for the other muscles around the joint to tighten up for safety. The actual problem occurs when only a portion of the muscles around that joint get activated. That particular set of muscles around the joint will be stressed and exhausted, while those that aren’t activated will work very little.
Learning about muscle activation techniques can help you identify and target needy muscles, and make them more responsive. This means the stress will be evenly distributed over all muscles. Muscle activation therapy has been gaining popularity and has been proven to be beneficial. It helps relieve pain as well as tackling any muscle weakness.
But before we jump into revealing the exercises that help with muscle activation, let’s go over five benefits you’ll enjoy when starting muscle activation training.
1. Helps Boost Strength
You’ll be taught how to get stronger and overcome your weaknesses. The majority of MAT trainers know that people with poor muscle coordination are not working at their full potential.
For example, if only 50% of your muscles are firing properly, you could essentially double your strength if you utilize MAT.
2. Develops A Better Brain-Muscle Coordination
Developing better brain-muscle coordination is crucial to your performance. MAT helps to develop better brain-muscle coordination and tells your body to use the strongest muscles for support. You will be able to do things much faster, and with better coordination.
3. Increases Flexibility
Poor muscle flexibility can potentially send the wrong feedback to your brain, and as a result, your range of motion might be hindered to a particular spot. MAT helps to increase flexibility and broadens that range of motion.
4. Prevents Injuries
Increased stability in your joints will keep your muscles and tendons safer. Enjoy the benefits of strengthening and stabilizing your joints for improved stability and balance. Your ACLs will thank you.
5. Enjoy Less Pain
Fitness experts say that pain usually results from long-term muscle dysfunction. The communication between your brain and your muscles will improve while your strength increases. This enhanced communication loop helps to decrease pain from imbalances.
That being said, here are some good exercises that you can perform at the gym for maximum muscle movement and activation.
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Lat Pull Downs
This exercise involves two main actions on the arms. It helps to pull the arms to the side of the body and at the same time exert extension. Latissimus Dorsi plays a strong action in adduction of your humerus.
To perform this exercise, you need to grab the bar with a pronated grip at six inches wider than your shoulder’s width. Your arms must be slightly bent with your elbows pointing away from the body. Support your body with the knee pads.
Pick your desired weight and pull your arms down until the bar touches your clavicle. While your scapula is retracted and depressed, gradually contract the latissimus dorsi while you relax your hands and arms.
Do three sets of 12 reps each.
Rowing is great for conditioning and increasing back strength and endurance. This exercise is very simple, but it involves a lot of muscle movement. The only downside is you will need a rowing machine.
Strive to complete at least 15 minutes.
Wide Grip Pull Ups
Pull ups are very effective because involves full body strength to pull your body up. To perform this exercise correctly, keep your elbows at 90-degree angle when pulling up. Don’t try to exert stress on your arms if you are unable to perform any more reps.
Do two sets of 10.
Deadlifts are a very common exercise in strength training. They are very technical, involve your whole body, and you need to treat them with respect. Learn proper form and slowly increase weight, otherwise you could end up with an injury. Don’t jump into too heavy of a weight without a belt.
Perform three sets of 12.