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What is the connection between the brain and muscles?

5 min read

About such a phenomenon as the connection between the brain and muscles, you need to know not only doctors, but also everyone involved in sports. Everyone can face a halt in progress in training, this is called the plateau effect. The reason for the plateau is not always physical limitations; blocking can occur at the level of thinking, not in the muscular system, but in the head. We will understand how the mental connection between the brain and muscles is manifested, and how to use this knowledge to achieve success in training.

In order to see this connection and make sure of its existence, you need to observe how newcomers to the room work with iron. The movements will be asynchronous, the arms and legs trembling, the reason is not only the high weight of the projectile, but also the lack of mental interconnection. The nerve impulses transmitted from the brain to the muscles are weak, so a person knows the technique for performing the exercise in theory, but cannot apply it in practice.

How it works?

It is common for the muscular system to abide in three states: shortened, extended, relaxed. Reduction is a complex action that can be triggered in many ways. The most common types of muscle contractions are isometric, in which the length of the muscle does not change, and isotonic, when the muscle becomes shorter or longer under external influence. Isotonic contractions can be eccentric when the muscle lengthens, and concentric when the muscle becomes shorter, for example, when the athlete shows biceps. Skeletal muscles have many more ways to contract.

The command for any action comes from the brain, the more often it is performed – the stronger the impulses. A strong brain-muscle connection is the reason why a professional athlete can give his muscles a serious load with an empty bar, and a beginner will not be able to do this even with enormous weight. The brain plays the role of a control center, from its cortex there are stable impulse channels to each muscle unit.

There is also feedback, each cell of each muscle sends a response impulse, and the more active the system, the more stable this signal.

How to amplify the signal?

It turns out that the answer to the question, to make the muscles work, must be sought not in the hall, but inside your head. One of the techniques that bodybuilders use is visualization. In order to master it, you need to listen to your feelings in training, analyze the work of each muscle. When you remember these sensations, you will be able to reproduce the entire process in your head before training, clearly representing each tension and relaxation. As a result, you will understand that little is required of the muscles – just create a compressive force. Everything else is the moment of actions, their intensity and synchronism are determined and set by the control center.

As practice and experience are gained, such a thorough analysis is not required, the control center itself will know the sequence of commands for each exercise, the intensity of the necessary effort. You will not be aware of this in your report, the body will begin to work by itself, this is called working out the technique to automatism. You do not need to think about how to make the gluteal muscles or biceps work, the body will become a single system that can solve this problem on its own.

Everyone has heard about such a thing as muscle memory, it is based on exactly the same mechanism. In the absence of constant practice, the body loses its shape relatively quickly, but the skills remain, they are fixed by strong mental connections. In order to develop such a skill, an average of 3 to 5 months of regular training is required; not only muscles, but also the brain work in each lesson.

About the benefits of training for the brain

Among the components of success in power sports, it is customary to list regular exercises, recovery from them and enhanced nutrition, but this is not all. In order to become like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Wesley Withers, you need a connection between the muscles and the brain. Three of these items contribute to expanding the capabilities of the control center.

Any physical activity is good for the brain, especially if it is targeted regular program activities. The main advantages of sports:

increased blood flow;
increased oxygen concentration in the blood;
accelerated elimination of by-products of vital activity;
getting rid of stress, gaining psychological balance.

In order to pump the mental relationship, you need to train at least three times a week, so that physical activity lasts at least 40 minutes. The activity should be different, even if the goal is exclusively in the transformation of the muscular system, in addition to power loads, the program should also include cardio and coordination exercises, stretching.

man thinks

Additional recommendations


In order to expand the capabilities of your control center, it does not hurt to include several useful products in the diet:

blueberries, its antioxidants contribute to the purification of blood, improve memory and coordination;
fish of fatty varieties, these are both omega-3 proteins and fatty acids, which enhance neural connections and increase potential in any type of training;
lean meat, lean proteins are needed as a supplier of tyrosine, this amino acid makes the brain more alert and efficient;
bran and whole grains, fiber is needed to cleanse the blood and stimulate its influx to the brain;
dairy products, like meat, contain protein and the necessary acid tyrosine;
nuts supply not only protein, fiber and healthy fats, but also valuable vitamin E;
broccoli, a source of antioxidants and fiber.

To restore

Mental fatigue is as fatal as physical, so it’s important not to forget about quality recovery. After a hard workout, the brain should get at least two days to rest, but this does not mean that nothing can be done for two days. Light habitual exercises do not load the control center, since when they are executed, already established connections are activated. Daily recovery is a night's sleep, it should last at least 6-8 hours continuously, this is important not only for the regeneration of muscle tissue, but also for reloading the connection between the brain and muscles.


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