As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Preparation is the key to success”. It’s a big part of life – studying for exams, packing for a holiday, shopping for Christmas – but how much do we prepare for exercise? I don’t mean changing into stretchy clothes and filling up your water bottle. I mean how do we physically and mentally prepare our bodies for the growing demands of an exercise programme. Aside from certain situations, exercise should be progressive. We should gradually be able to run faster and further, lift heavier, punch harder or master holds and techniques. However, before we do this, we need to give attention to the ground work.
Preparing our bodies by putting in foundational ground work and revisiting it often, can help to reduce the risk of injury, allowing us to train more consistently, maintain the results of our hard work and progress forward more efficiently to our new goals.
A number of things constitute foundational ground work but one example is the mind muscle connection (MMC).
Movement is controlled by the brain which sends a signal to the muscle to contract. This creates a pathway which, like a pathway in the woods, becomes clearer and easier the more we use it. The more we can improve the MMC, the more muscle fibres we can recruit, which ultimately results in better and more efficient workouts.
Neglecting the important elements of neuromuscular work or MMC, can not only cause our workouts to be less effective but can also lead to serious injury when other muscles have to pick up the slack i.e. glutes that are not used to firing, can often cause our back muscles to become overworked, creating a strain which overtime manifests in pain in the back and legs.
If we don’t know how it feels to fire a muscle we have made redundant for so long, how are we going to get our body to give us the correct movement pattern, explosive response or balance we are expecting.
We want our bodies to work functionally but dialling it back a bit to allow you to develop awareness of MMC and focus on the long term goal, will get you to where you want to be safely and much more effectively.
I include MMC in the training I do with all my clients, so for more information on starting a training programme with me, please email email@example.com