Get More Out of Every Workout with a Mind-Muscle Connection

Mind-Muscle Connection

Get More Out of Every Workout with a Mind-Muscle Connection

By Dominic Pereira

By now we all know that our brain is in charge of everything our body does and feels. It helps us think, walk, sit, talk, pick up items, etc. So it makes sense that your mind is able to improve the way you work out and help you increase muscle strength; aka having a mind-muscle connection.

What is a Mind-Muscle Connection?

According to Bodybuilding.com:

“As you know, movement is controlled by the brain. The first step towards muscular contraction is a signal sent by the brain to your muscles telling them to contract. You might say that the mind-muscle connection (MMC) occurs at something called the “neuromuscular junction”. This is where the mind meets the body. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called “acetylcholine” to communicate with muscles in the body.

When acetylcholine is released at the neuromuscular junction it crosses the “synapses” (the tiny space that separates the nerve from the muscle) where it binds to receptors on the surface of muscle fibers. Voila, muscle contraction.” [sic]

Neuromuscular activation is a well-known term often used by physical therapists when they are helping people with injuries strengthen their mind-muscle connection. According to Wellwood Health, “This brain to muscle connection happens naturally within the neuromuscular system when the nervous system (neural) and the muscular system (muscular) are working together effectively.”

In conclusion, the mind-muscle connection is merely focusing your thoughts on the muscle you are using during your workout whether it’s lifting weights, Yoga, Pilates, etc. to ensure you increase the muscle fibres used; allowing for a better quality workout.

“…almost like ‘flexing’ without actually making any large body movements.”

Alan Snyder, DPT, owner of Breakaway Physical Therapy.

interaction between nerves and muscle fibres
Image Credit: COR

The figure above displays the interaction between nerves and muscle fibres.

Benefits of a Mind-Muscle Connection

  • Better form – as you’re focusing on the movement, you’ll reduce your chances of obtaining an injury.
  • Enhanced performance – since you are focusing on your form and properly executing the movement, you’ll be more in tune with your body’s ability to either push harder or ease off.
  • Great stress relieving method – as you’re focusing on the workout, it can help you forget about things causing you stress (even if it’s just for an hour).

How to Effectively Develop a Mind-Muscle Connection

Here are a few tips and tricks to help develop a mind-muscle connection:

1. Clear Your Mind

In order to fully focus on your workout and your form, you have to try and clear your mind of unrelated thoughts, like your to-do list. This will allow you to fully connect with your body during your chosen workout.

2. Focus on Your Form

According to SkinnyMs., proper form is not just for creating an effective mind-muscle connection; it’s crucial to ensure you reduce the risk of injuring yourself during your workout.

If you’re focusing on the muscle you’re working on, you’ll notice if your form starts slipping or if you’re doing the exercise too quickly to really feel it working.

3. Gain Strength From Inside

According to Sheer Balance, by focusing on the strength you have inside, you’ll start to understand the deeper framework within your body and start correcting its imbalances, misalignments, etc.

“If we can manipulate our bodies with our minds, we can correct misalignments and unhealthy posture, balance muscle groups making sports or daily activities easier, safer, and more enjoyable, and we can remember how to feel the strength of our body and all that it’s capable of doing.”

4. Slow It Down

According to Bodybuilding.com, by performing exercises slower than usual, you’ll be able to concentrate on the movement and which muscles are being contracted. It will help visualise the muscles you are using. And if you’re unsure where certain muscles are, try researching them before your workouts to know where to feel the contraction.

5. Warmup Properly

Important for any type of workout or movement, warming up the body remains essential in order to properly wake up your muscles and ensure they are warm enough for a great workout.

For instance, if your focus is on your legs for a specific workout, doing small, unweighted squats, hip bridges, etc. beforehand will get them warmed up, allowing you to know exactly which muscles are working during your exercises.

6. Eccentric Exercises

According to My Fitness Pal, performing eccentric exercises will ensure your muscles are properly stretched before contracting. Eccentric contraction is when you slowly lower yourself or weights to really help you focus on the movement and ensure your muscles are working optimally.

The bottom line? There are immense benefits when slowing down and focusing your mind on your movements. You’ll be able to increase strength without having to start using heavy weights or additional equipment.

Looking for a way to stay fit and healthy at home? Rent or buy one of our pre-recorded, edited videos. Our library has a selection of Pilates (and Pilates Stretch), HIIT, and Yoga classes, which you can easily join from the comfort of your home. Start taking action to ensure you have your healthiest body and mind. Get in touch to make your booking or join an IN Studio class

Why Join Live Online Movement Classes?

Live Classes | moveOn 89 | Pilates | Yoga | Wellness

Why Join Live Online Movement Classes?

By Dominic Pereira

Why do Live Online Movement Classes?

That’s a good question. The web is filled with loads of free content that you can watch and use at your leisure. So why sign up for a live class?

As a studio owner and movement enthusiast I can only speak from my own experience and share how our live classes have worked during lockdown to keep our clients healthy, sane and strong!

I have been so impressed and honoured by our clients’ commitment to showing up on the virtual mat daily. Some keen beans even TWICE a day. Most of the regulars are doing at least one class a day, whereas in the days of IN studio classes most people did only one or two classes a week. Others have taken up HIIT for the first time and are happy to find that instead of it being scary and murder, it’s just murder! ha! Jokes, if you’ve never tried a HIIT, it’s 30mins well spent. Read our blog on the benefits of HIIT here.

We’ve had Movers from Paris, London, Lisbon, Colorado, Wilderness, Mpumalanga, Maritzburg, Cape Town and Ballito join us – just shows the beauty and blessing of this technology. All are welcome 😀

How an Online Movement Class Can Help You

This enforced STAYcation, known as Lockdown, might have caused some to lose the ability to move and quite possibly their marbles too, but a streaming live class forced others to make a commitment to a specified time when they booked their spot, and show up.

You show up because you’ve paid and the teacher is waiting for you. And you get to wave hello to other faces from around the globe or around the corner. In this way, we stay connected and the live experience makes us feel, just that, alive. We might still be in a virtual world but it’s happening in real-time which is refreshing in a time of so much fakeness and the inability to identify with a buff, half-dressed trainer. Which creates a lack of meaningful contact. There’s only so much Netflix you can watch and then you need real people that you can identify with!

There are lots of online movement options out there. YouTube alone has a gazillion videos. According to MerchDope, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and over five billion videos are watched by users a day!

Please use these videos if you can’t afford live classes. Just choose well 🙂

Benefits of Live Online Workout Classes

In a nutshell, these are the benefits of live online classes…

Personal Connection

The difference between our live streaming classes and pre-recorded videos are two things:

  1. The personal connection in this disconnected period. We have a relationship and therefore a trust and we can connect in class, say hello, smile at one another, and then get down to the business of good movement.
  2. The added attention despite the lack of eyes on your body: Your teacher will check-in at the beginning of every class and if there is a sore knee, shoulder or heart that we need to be aware of we try to address that during the class.

Beat Boredom

You’re home, bored, frustrated, the days are melting one into the other – Groundhog Day. After day. After day. But with a class booked into your schedule, you have something to do, to show up for. And not just something – but movement – the best gift, other than good nutrition and sleep, that you can give your body. Especially now that we have all this free time, it’s the perfect opportunity to improve your health.

Interact

You are able to see and interact with others at a time when many are feeling isolated and cut off.

Form a Healthy Habit

You will end up doing more classes than you would on your own because you’re now part of a community and it becomes a habit very quickly once you schedule it in and show up. A good habit. And wow, do we need more of those!

Instant Access

Access to your favourite class is at your fingertips. So no matter where in the world you are, if your time zone corresponds, or you don’t mind doing Pilates at 2 am! ha! So when you’re travelling (yes, that will happen again!), for work or pleasure you can still keep up with your fitness regime and your connection to your local studio.

Cost-Effective

Live online classes are generally more affordable than IN studio sessions since you aren’t getting personal attention from an instructor.

Build a Routine

Another beauty of working out at home is that exercise becomes less of a chore, which you resent and avoid, but it’s now part of your life and your home and your routine. You have seen how easy it is to exercise anywhere, all you need is a mat. You’ll continue to learn a lot even though you don’t have a teacher standing over you. With some guidance – you CAN do this!

You Can Choose

Post lockdown, when studios are open, you can do a combo of IN studio and live streaming, as we will continue streaming all our classes. This means that if you’re running late for a class or out of town, you can still do it from the comfort of your lounge or hotel room.

Our mantra for this loco lockdown is: Whether together or apart, let’s stay connected 💞

Please join us for live online HIIT, Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch sessions! Your first class is free, which is great if you’re not sure about the online experience but want to give it a try. Moving daily will definitely make your body feel amazing but it will ALSO get the endorphins flowing freely making that decision to be in a good mood so much easier.

We encourage you to join as many classes as you can. We have made the fees wallet-friendly as we know that it’s tough right now but we also know that our collective wellness is vital.

A Few Words From Our Streaming Community

At the end of the day the proof is in the pudding (no, don’t eat pudding!), the proof is in the human experience. This is what our regular streamers, have had to say:

“Thank you for the breath of fresh air you bring to my day when I attend your class.”

“The silver lining of this strange time is that Allison introduced me to Moveon89. If / when I come back to Cape Town I will definitely come to meet you in person, for a big hug.”

“I am really loving the stretch classes and find them super beneficial at the moment! I also really appreciate your positivity, the classes really set me up for a great day!”

“I have so appreciated the streaming sessions, they have been an absolute godsend in these times!”

“Hellooooo- you are such a light in these dark times- feel so much better after the workout.”

“Just want to say thank you so much for these online classes – it is amazing how every class has been exactly what I need on the day!!”

“so good to move, dearest. Thank you xxxx”

“thanks so much for these Pilates sessions. we are enjoying them together as a couple. And my body is feeling great.”

“I had forgotten how much I loooooooove your classes!!! So good to be active on the mat, even only once a week and with kids crying behind the door!”

“thank you for keeping us connected and moving. not once have you shown fatigue or fear – you are always smiling and ready to rock.”

“I loved our session and it made me realise how much I need to move…. looking forward to another class soon.”

“thanks for today. feeling amazeballs. I adapt where you recommend and don’t push beyond my limit…”

“…my core is so fired up now I could paddle the bay!”

HIIT vs Tabata – Is There a Difference?

HIIT vs Tabata | moveOn 89

HIIT vs Tabata
Is There a Difference?

By Dominic Pereira

Heart racing, muscles burning, sweat dripping into your already soaked activewear. You’re probably in a Tabata or HIIT class without knowing the correct terminology for your pain!

These two highly effective training methods are often used interchangeably but each has its own unique qualities which make them beneficial.

Similarities between HIIT and Tabata

  • Both HIIT and Tabata’s main focus is getting your heart rate up using maximum effort over a short period, with brief rest breaks.
  • Both workouts have studies that show they aid in fat burning, improved speed and endurance, and weight loss.

Which training method you choose is up to your fitness goals and preferences. Now let’s take a look at what makes these two training methods different.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

What is HIIT?

In a previous post–7 Exhilarating Benefits of HIIT that will jump-start your fitness journey–we discussed that High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, involves short periods of intense exercise followed by short, low-intensity recovery periods.

How does HIIT Work?

You’ll work hard for 30 or 40 seconds then rest for 10 to 30 seconds. An effective HIIT workout ranges from 10 to 30 minutes with 4 to 6 repetitions(reps) in total. You can do 30 or 40 seconds at one station, if in a group, and then move to the next exercise/station.

The fitter you get the less rest you will need between stations and the more rounds you will complete your allotted time.

Tabata

What is Tabata?

With Tabata training, you’ll take part in a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but you’ll execute exercises that last for four minutes. We know four minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it will be the longest four minutes of your life. If you’ve ever tried to do a one minute plank, you’ll understand perfectly…

How does Tabata Work?

The structure of Tabata workouts differs quite a lot from normal HIIT workouts.

Push yourself as hard as you possibly can for 20 seconds, then take a break for 10 seconds. That counts as one set. You’ll have to complete eight sets of each exercise. You can take a one minute rest after you have completed all eight sets.

Some great examples of a Tabata workout are as follows:

  1. Squats (bodyweight only) for four minutes
  2. Push-ups (modified or regular) for four minutes
  3. Mountain climbers for four minutes
  4. High knees for four minutes

Most Tabata exercises focus on working out large muscle groups and doesn’t really involve isolation exercises.

HIIT and Tabata workouts are perfect if:

  • You have a hectic schedule and can only squeeze in quick (but highly effective) workouts.
  • You want to change up your routine (hitting a plateau).
  • You want to improve your speed and endurance.

If you seek powerful exercises that won’t take up much of your day, try out our HIIT classes at moveOn 89 to push you beyond your perceived limits and give you a super-effective fat burning workout. Get in touch and come find your passion for a healthy, fitter mind and body!

7 Exhilarating Benefits of HIIT that will Jumpstart Your Fitness Journey

7 Exhilarating Benefits of HIIT that will jumpstart your fitness journey

7 Exhilarating Benefits of HIIT

that will jumpstart your fitness journey

Michal George

By MICHAL GEORGE

Fitness has become a major trend, but a lot of people still don’t like working out. For many, it’s a death sentence because the mere thought of exercising makes them squirm. In today’s fast-paced modern world, many also don’t have the time to fit exercise into their busy schedules. But we’re here to tell you there’s a great workout which is quick AND effective.

HIIT vs. Traditional Training

HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, involves short periods of intense exercise followed by short, low-intensity recovery periods. A good example of HIIT is sprinting. Sprint/run as fast as you can for 30 seconds (work period) and then rest or slowly walk for 30 seconds (recovery period). That’s one rep. An effective HIIT workout ranges from 10 to 30 minutes with 4 to 6 repetitions(reps) in total.

For the non-runners out there, HIIT workouts come in various other formats. Examples are cycling, skipping, or any bodyweight exercise. Because of the intensity of HIIT training, it’s usually done without weights.

The focus of HIIT workouts is to get your heart rate up into the anaerobic heart rate zone. HIIT training delivers maximum benefits for your health in minimal time, so it’s a great option for people on the go.

Traditional Training

Traditional training includes a workout which usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour, making a traditional exercise routine almost twice as long as a standard HIIT session. Traditional training can become boring for people who already hate exercise. This is where HIIT comes in handy.

If you’re still not sold on the idea of HIIT training, we’ve listed 7 of the most significant benefits of HIIT training.

1. HIIT Burns More Calories in a Shorter Session

With a regular training session, your aim is sustainability. Therefore you will be staying in your aerobic heart rate zone, and only occasionally will you push yourself into your anaerobic heart rate zone. With HIIT training, you are spending more time in the anaerobic heart rate zone, which means you are burning more calories, faster.


A study has compared HIIT workouts with other types of workouts such as weight training, biking, and running, and sure enough, HIIT easily beat the rest. HIIT sessions burned 25-30% more calories than the other forms of exercise.


So if you can find 10 minutes of your day, you can easily fit in a quick HIIT workout which will benefit your the rest of the day and night.

2. Higher Metabolic Rate Hours After your HIIT Session

The benefits of a HIIT workout actually comes after the workout itself. HIIT increases your metabolic rate which will benefit you several hours after your session. With HIIT, your metabolism uses the fat in your body for energy rather than carbs. But be careful, that doesn’t mean you can finish a whole bag of chips without throwing away the HIIT workout’s benefits!

BONUS BENEFIT: Because HIIT uses fat instead of carbs for energy, it means you can turn your body into a fat burning furnace!

3. HIIT Improves Oxygen Consumption

What is oxygen consumption?

It’s the ability of your muscles to use oxygen. The fitter you are, the better your oxygen consumption is.

People used to think that oxygen consumption only improves with endurance training like running or cycling, but it has been shown that HIIT sessions can also improve your oxygen consumption, but in a much shorter time span.

4. Tone up to Show Muscle

As we discussed, HIIT increases fat loss and will help tone your body. As a result, your body will show the muscles which were hidden away under the fat.

If you’re looking to bulk up, HIIT is not the ideal workout for you. If you want to get ripped you might want to consider starting with weight training. HIIT will not bulk you up but will tone your body.

5. HIIT can Reduce Blood Sugar

High blood sugar is quite a common problem in unhealthy individuals. If it’s left unchecked, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and many more serious illnesses. With HIIT training, blood sugar levels can be reduced and it can also improve your body’s insulin resistance.

6. Can be Done Anywhere, Anytime

HIIT can be done without exercise equipment and this makes it the perfect workout for people constantly on the move or without time to drive to the gym. All you need is your body and a safe, open space.

7. It Challenges You

You will never get bored with a HIIT workout in your exercise regime. There are so many exercise options for you to make your HIIT workout fun and challenging. If you constantly challenge your body, results will show faster than with traditional exercise. HIIT classes at moveOn 89 are never the same. Each session has new and varied stations to challenge you and keep things fun and interesting.

The Bottom Line

HIIT has many health benefits for anyone interested in trying it out. Adding short periods of exercise to your daily schedule can improve your health immensely in the long run. As  with all intensive exercise, you should first speak with your GP before adding any HIIT sessions to your workouts.

If you’re interested in the challenges of HIIT, join us for one of our high-intensity 30-minute classes. If you think HIIT isn’t quite for you, we also have Pilates and Yoga! Come find your passion for a healthy, fitter mind and body!

We use cookies to track visitors, measure ads, ad campaign effectiveness and analyze site traffic. We may also share information about your use of our site with 3rd parties. For more info, see, our Cookies Policy, our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept All” you agree to the storing of all cookies on your device. In case you don’t choose one of these options and use our website, we will treat it as if you have accepted all cookies.

We use cookies to track visitors, measure ads, ad campaign effectiveness and analyze site traffic. We may also share information about your use of our site with 3rd parties. For more info, see, our Cookies Policy, our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept All” you agree to the storing of all cookies on your device. In case you don’t choose one of these options and use our website, we will treat it as if you have accepted all cookies.