Is Mind Muscle Connection the Secret to Losing Fat and Building Muscle Faster?

  • By Brian Keane

What if I told you there was one type of training style that would speed up your body’s ability to burn fat or build muscle like no other, would you want to hear it?

There are so many amazing styles of training: strength, hypertrophy, HIIT, LISS- the list goes on; most work great and as long as the program is in alignment with your goals, then you are going to get good results. But what if I told you there was a style that could be incorporated into nearly any program you are following that would help you lose body fat and build muscle faster?

The secret is in the connection: 
I had such incredible feedback from last Friday’s Podcast episode; particularly the section about ‘what mistakes to look out for if you are not getting the results as quickly as you want’.

Before I go any further, ask yourself, have you ever just moved a weight from ‘A to B’ not really feeling any particular muscle? You know it hurts and you are clearly working out but you can’t really pinpoint what muscle you worked? I did this for years. That all comes from a lack of ‘mind muscle connection’.

Its exactly as it sounds, you want your mind connected to muscle you are working. For example if you are doing Dumbbell Bent Over Row- you want to feel your back on each rep. However, the closest muscles to your grip are your forearms and bicep so normally those muscles can kick in first and fatigue before you have even worked your back. This is where the tension style system really shines, because you are not ‘moving’ weight from A to B- you are moving a weight with perfect form, creating optimal tension on the muscle you are trying to work (back in this case) from A to B. This way, you can create more tension on the muscle without having to go ‘super heavy’, which increases your risk of injury, which will massively reduce your progress.

If you follow my snapchat workouts (briank019), you can see that I can only lift 4kg or 5kg on Side Lateral Raise for shoulders for example. If you are able to lift 35kg with perfect form on this movement, you either have super human strength or you are swinging with momentum, meaning that you are probably not working the muscle for optimal tension. The best piece of gym advice that I ever received was ‘leave your ego at the door’.

Swinging the weight is just bad form! 
Don’t get me wrong, you still want to find a weight that is heavy enough that you are failing at your given rep range, when I say I use 5kg on Side Lateral Raises, that’s physically the heaviest weight I can lift with perfect form creating optimal tension on the side deltoid (the muscle I’m working). You may need to use 10kg or 12kg to create the same tension, just be careful not to swing the weight with momentum. With the exception of a system called ‘cheat reps’ where you use a slight bit of momentum at the end of an exercise when you hit muscular failure- if you are doing it from your first rep, that’s just bad form.

Building a mind muscle with every body part doesn’t happen over night and you will find it much harder to ‘connect’ with certain exercises or body parts than others. For example, it took me years to learn to ‘feel’ my legs when I trained them, I would move a weight from A to B and my legs never really responded.

It wasn’t until I leant how to create optimal muscular tension and started implementing it in my own training that they responded. Now they are probably my strongest body parts, so if you struggle to feel your glutes, chest or biceps, remember that I was there too and with the right system, you can turn your weakest body part into your strongest body part.

Form: Its not about the weight, its about how you move the weight.

Try it out: 
In your next workout, try dropping the weight slightly and really ‘feeling’ the muscle you are trying to work. This style of training can speed up fat loss by increasing your metaboslim through the increased tearing of fibres (you are creating more tension on the muscle and your metabolism has to rise in order to repair from the workout).

The same principle applies to building muscle. Assuming you are in a calorie surplus and have your nutrition on point, the increase in fiber tears can lead to more muscular growth. This has been my main training philosophy (for aesthetic style training) for years as its the one that has allowed me to build the most muscle, keep my body low and never led to any gym based injury.

Try this out in your next workout and be sure to let me know how it goes 


Brian Keane Fitness Podcast

Brian is a qualified personal trainer, sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach.

He is the best selling author of the book The Fitness Mindset and currently travels the world as a professional speaker. He also hosts the #1 podcast The Brian Keane Podcast.

Follow Brian on:


The Fitness Mindset BookRewire your Mindset Book