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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 3, pp 527–533 | Cite as

Importance of mind-muscle connection during progressive resistance training

  • Joaquin Calatayud
  • Jonas Vinstrup
  • Markus Due Jakobsen
  • Emil Sundstrup
  • Mikkel Brandt
  • Kenneth Jay
  • Juan Carlos Colado
  • Lars Louis AndersenEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

This study evaluates whether focusing on using specific muscles during bench press can selectively activate these muscles.

Methods

Altogether 18 resistance-trained men participated. Subjects were familiarized with the procedure and performed one-maximum repetition (1RM) test during the first session. In the second session, 3 different bench press conditions were performed with intensities of 20, 40, 50, 60 and 80 % of the pre-determined 1RM: regular bench press, and bench press focusing on selectively using the pectoralis major and triceps brachii, respectively. Surface electromyography (EMG) signals were recorded for the triceps brachii and pectoralis major muscles. Subsequently, peak EMG of the filtered signals were normalized to maximum maximorum EMG of each muscle.

Results

In both muscles, focusing on using the respective muscles increased muscle activity at relative loads between 20 and 60 %, but not at 80 % of 1RM. Overall, a threshold between 60 and 80 % rather than a linear decrease in selective activation with increasing intensity appeared to exist. The increased activity did not occur at the expense of decreased activity of the other muscle, e.g. when focusing on activating the triceps muscle the activity of the pectoralis muscle did not decrease. On the contrary, focusing on using the triceps muscle also increased pectoralis EMG at 50 and 60 % of 1RM.

Conclusion

Resistance-trained individuals can increase triceps brachii or pectarilis major muscle activity during the bench press when focusing on using the specific muscle at intensities up to 60 % of 1RM. A threshold between 60 and 80 % appeared to exist.

Keywords

Muscle activation Internal focus Strength training Bodybuilding 

Abbreviations

EMG

Electromyography

pectoralis

Pectoralis major

Triceps

Tricepsbrachii

1RM

One-maximum repetition

RMS

Root-mean-square

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the participants for their contribution to the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest or sources of funding are declared by the authors of this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joaquin Calatayud
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jonas Vinstrup
    • 1
  • Markus Due Jakobsen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emil Sundstrup
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mikkel Brandt
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kenneth Jay
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Juan Carlos Colado
    • 4
  • Lars Louis Andersen
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.National Research Centre for the Working EnvironmentCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Institute of Sports Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Physical Activity and Human Performance Group, SMI, Department of Health Science and TechnologyAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  4. 4.Research unit in Sport and Health, Department of Physical Education and SportsUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain

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