Episode 2. The best way to build lean muscle mass faster with the mind-muscle connection

May 24, 2016 | Episodes | 0 comments

Show Notes

This episode was all about getting MORE from your gym training sessions using the mind-muscle connection. Scott and Kevin emphasized that building lean muscle tissue takes time. There’s no way to do it “fast.” That said, it is certainly faster to do it right than to waste your time in the gym with poor technique or a poor workout plan!

Building Lean Muscle Mass with the Mind-Muscle Connection (Notes)

  • The episode began with a realistic discussion of what’s needed to actually build muscle (time and consistency). Building muscle “fast” is a myth, but it is faster to learn important principles now, and use these principles in your training, than it is to ignore them.
  • The body wants to make things easier (by using gravity, easier leverages, etc.). Your job is to resist this, and to make things harder on the muscle, to work it through a full range of motion.
  • There was a short discussion about the importance of exercise sequencing (a topic that will be its own episode).
  • How to use cables to increase tension on the muscle for certain exercises (e.g. curls), where gravity often relieves some of the tension.
  • Scott referenced Pumping Iron a number of times as an excellent example of how to train. There were no “counting” tempos, but there was cadence. Watch Arnold train, and you can see he’s working the muscles through a full range of motion, not just worried about getting the weight from A to B in the easiest way possible
  • Towards the end, both Scott and Kevin both gave their own, full bodypart by bodypart rundown of how to get a better mind-muscle connection at your next training session.

Key Terms

“Higher-Threshold Motor Units”

These are the motor units in the muscle that are harder to activate. The threshold is higher, so it takes “more” to get them recruited. Experts used to think getting past this threshold was all about load (i.e. the weight on the bar), but as it turns out, it is actually the intensity of contraction, and this is possible with lighter weights.

The Size Principle states that motor units are recruited from smallest to largest. Or, in other words, the Type IIB muscle fibers come last (and they’re the kind you need to recruit in order to build muscle), so you really need to stress the muscle properly to get them firing. This is done with intensity, which isn’t just about load on the ar.


“Maximum Voluntary Neural Activation” (often “Maximum Voluntary Contraction” in The Abel Approach)

Getting more recruitment. Most people cannot do this. The longer you’ve trained, the better you get at achieving maximum voluntary contraction. It’s an adaptive process of the nervous system to training. Since most people cannot produce a 100% maximal voluntary contraction… one set ain’t gonna be enough to to force the muscle to response.


“Functional Differentiation and Segmented Utilization of Muscles in Action.”

Basically, the Central Nervous System is responsible for recruiting muscles, based on which muscles have a “favorable” line of action, which muscles are fatigued, which muscles have high- vs. low-threshold motor units, and so on.

Podcast quote: “If you overload a specific muscle in one plane, then it would make sense to follow that in a very specific other plane, to reach the belly of the muscle.”

Links / Resources mentioned

Scott’s Innervation Primer — click here.