A very important component and principle that contributes greatly to muscle growth and development (hypertrophy) is mind to muscle connection.
This process is the action of bringing attentional focus to the “working muscle” and/or “targeted muscle group”. There are two different types of attentional focus:
The first type is Internal Attentional Focus, which is the action of directing all of your attention to the muscle you want to target, develop and grow when you perform an exercise. Fully engaging your targeted muscles is key. IAF means less focus on flying through your reps and far more focus on feeling the tension and the engagement, the contraction of your targeted muscle. Controlling your muscle’s promotes efficiency. Concentration and visualisation goes along way here. Lastly, if you’re trying to isolate a specific muscle, find ways to eliminate the secondary muscles from being recruited by analysing your grip, stance and/or technique.
The second type is External Attentional Focus, which is focusing on something outside of your body that is motivating, not the muscle being worked. EAF is often implemented if the goal is orientated specifically around strength or power (e.g. 1 Rep Max) rather than for aesthetic purposes.
It is both important and advised to manipulate both variables! Regardless if your pulling, pushing, lifting, squatting, thrusting, etc, you need to ensure you’re feeling the exercise physically and mentally. A suitable warm-up circuit will contribute greatly to a successful mind-muscle connection later in your workout also and so its vitally important to pre-activate your muscles correctly before you workout (another day’s article!)