The mind–muscle connection in resistance training: friend or foe?


The results of Calatayud et al. (Eur J Appl Physiol, 2015. doi:10.1007/s00421-015-3305-7) indicate that focusing on the pectoralis major and triceps brachii muscles during bench press exercise selectively enhanced their activation, and thus suggest a training strategy. However, the authors did not discuss the well-established negative effects that focusing on specific muscle groups has on exercise performance. For proper perspective of the results and their practical utility, it is helpful to note the interplay between negative and positive effects of different focus conditions.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Calatayud J, Vinstrup J, Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E, Brandt M, Jay K, Colado JC, Andersen LL (2015) Importance of mind–muscle connection during progressive resistance training. Eur J Appl Physiol. doi:10.1007/s00421-015-3305-7

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Gokeler A, Benjaminse A, Hewett TE, Paterno MV, Ford KR, Otten E, Myer GD (2013) Feedback techniques to target functional deficits following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: implications for motor control and reduction of second injury risk. Sports Med 43(11):1065–1074

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Wulf G (2013) Attentional focus and motor learning: a review of 15 years. Int Rev Sport Exerc Psychol 6(1):77–104

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Israel Halperin.

Additional information

Communicated by Klaas R. Westerterp and Håkan Westerblad.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Halperin, I., Vigotsky, A.D. The mind–muscle connection in resistance training: friend or foe?. Eur J Appl Physiol 116, 863–864 (2016).

Download citation


  • Attentional focus
  • Motor learning
  • Hypertrophy
  • Instructions