Arnold Just Explained the Secret of the 'Mind-Muscle Connection'

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Arnold Just Explained the Secret of the 'Mind-Muscle Connection'
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Movie star and bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger frequently shares insights into how he trains in his newsletter, including explaining how his workout routine has changed in order to help him stay injury-free at 74. In the most recent edition, he also responded to a fan who asked what exactly is the mind-muscle connection that is so frequently mentioned in bodybuilding, and offered his own thoughts, stressing the importance of routine and consistency.

"The first and most important muscle-mind connection is making it automatic that you go and do your training every day," he says. "It should require no thinking. It should become an instinct that you train no matter what. You do this by training every day and creating a real routine."

He also spoke about the mental aspect of training, quoting Plato and Socrates, who he believes were as buff of body as they were of mind. "Even the greatest philosophers of all time knew that you could have the smartest mind in the world, but you needed to build your body to have one worthy of carrying your strong mind," he says. "Just like muscles, the mind grows with resistance. Every mistake, every error, and every struggle builds your mind’s ability to deal with the future."

Ultimately, for Schwarzenegger, the mind-muscle connection is about being present and intentional in every single workout, comparing it to mindfulness exercises like meditation.

"Have you ever tried to workout when you are distracted, and you pace around for too long between sets, and then when you lift the weight it feels heavier than usual? This is because your mind is not connected to your muscles," he says. "In order to get the perfect pump, your mind has to be the body’s guide, thinking about every part of the movement, every contraction, every squeeze. If your mind is involved in your workout, there is no way you can lose. I look at it as a form of meditation! The more I focus on the lift that I’m doing, the more present I am in the moment, meaning I can feel exactly how my body reacts to the lift. Get to know your body, and get your mind working in sync with it."

"Yes, like all of you, I get distracted," he added. "But then I bring my mind back into the movement. You can call this meathead mindfulness."

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