You are thrusting the weight up with your hips and feel the glute muscles contracting at the top almost crampy. In your head you think:
“Oh wow! I have a really good mind-muscle connection.”
Well, here is why you are probably wrong.
The mind-muscle connection is not supposed to be about feeling a muscle working.
It’s about controlling a muscle. It’s a mind-to-muscle connection, not a muscle-to-mind connection. Therefore just because you are ‘feeling’ a muscle working, it doesn’t mean you are controlling it and creating the right amount of tension to stimulate muscle growth.
Let us look at our example from above:
If you are performing a heavy-ass hip thrust or RDL you will probably not have this crampy ‘feeling’ in your glutes. Do you?
Does this mean it’s an ineffective exercise and your glutes are not growing?
Of course not.
A lot of people would call an exercise effectiveonly because they’re immediately ‘feeling’ the muscle working from rep one. If the sensation is not there they often think something is off or the exercise is crap.
On a side note: There are training programs where we are looking to create this burning feeling in your muscles as your muscles fatigue through sets.
But if you are starting your sets and in the first reps you already feel this crampy sensation in your muscles, there might be something wrong with your setup or exercise execution.
If this ever happened to you, start to see this crampy feeling as feedback from your body rather than thinking:
“Oh great. I hit the muscle in the right spot.”
When your set-up and execution are spot on, you will rarely have this crampy feeling instead you want to create tension in the muscles but this feels different.
Here are two examples you want to try right away:
As you are sitting in front of this post, try to straighten your leg in front of you and lift it up as high as you can whilst slightly leaning your upper body forward. You want to hold this position for 10 sec. How does that feel in your quads? Crampy? Hell yes.
As you are sitting in front of this post, try to perform an isometric biceps curl. Put your left elbow at a 90° angle next to your body and push with your right hand from the top as hard as you can down against your forearm. The feeling you now have in your biceps is not crampy but muscle tension. This is what we are striving for in training.
The next time you hit the gym, watch out what it is that you are feeling. Sensation or tension?
Make also sure to check out our FREE training guide ‘Skyrocket Your Training Results’ to learn how to pick the right weights and train with the right intensity. It includes a 4-week training program as well. Get it HERE.
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I'm a Health & Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer based in Berlin who loves to dance to Queen B tunes in her kitchen and eat salted caramel ice cream (or chocolate).
Back in 2016, I went from a full-time party girl to a sports enthusiast.
I was so sick of hangovers, feeling much older than I was, and not being able to wear my favorite clothes, that I took an U-turn.
I felt so in love with training & nutrition that in 2017, I quit my deadly boring office job.
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