Differential Effects Of Attentional Focus Strategies During Long-term Resistance Training.

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy Research' started by _Simon_, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    A very interesting study, unfortunately using untrained subjects *sigh*.. but perhaps they use them to show a big enough and significant enough variance in result.

    The mind-muscle connection or internal contraction focus has always fascinated me... I know Bryan has stated it's not that important and that progression of load is key, but something in all this makes sense if tension/force needed to move the weight is directed primarily into/from the target muscle (or created by). Finding it hard to explain this haha..

    And like Bryan said in the other thread, it's more a matter of deactivating other muscle groups so the load is directed a bit more to your target muscle. You can't just contract a muscle like crazy and think it'll grow, but I think contracting it harder against load helps to direct it more to it...

    Anyways, an interesting study! Take from it what you will!


    Differential effects of attentional focus strategies during long-term resistance training.

    Schoenfeld BJ1, Vigotsky A2, Contreras B3, Golden S1, Alto A1, Larson R4, Winkelman N5, Paoli A6.

    Author information


    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of using an internal versus external focus of attention during resistance training on muscular adaptations. Thirty untrained college-aged men were randomly assigned to an internal focus group (INTERNAL) that focused on contracting the target muscle during training (n = 15) or an external focus group (EXTERNAL) that focused on the outcome of the lift (n = 15). Training for both routines consisted of 3 weekly sessions performed on non-consecutive days for 8 weeks. Subjects performed 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise. Changes in strength were assessed by six repetition maximum in the biceps curl and isometric maximal voluntary contraction in knee extension and elbow flexion. Changes in muscle thickness for the elbow flexors and quadriceps were assessed by ultrasound. Results show significantly greater increases in elbow flexor thickness in INTERNAL versus EXTERNAL (12.4% vs. 6.9%, respectively); similar changes were noted in quadriceps thickness. Isometric elbow flexion strength was greater for INTERNAL while isometric knee extension strength was greater for EXTERNAL, although neither reached statistical significance. The findings lend support to the use of a mind-muscle connection to enhance muscle hypertrophy.
    NWlifter likes this.
  2. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Don’t really agree with the sci-fi theory of mind-muscle connection...they’re called nerves, there’s the connection ;)

    Other than flow on effect of perfecting technique, I’m not a believer at all.

    Also, isolating muscles doesn’t produce better results, and the more compound an exercise beck was, the faster you will need to perform a heavier (80%+) rep. How to m-m in those instances?
  3. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Hehe yeah I think we've discussed this before hey ;). Something about it makes sense, as to me if the load is taken on by other muscles, they're getting the brunt of the tension. Not so much that they're fatiguing faster, but because OTHERS aren't fatiguing BEFORE it unnecessarily.

    Agreed that when a weight is lifted, there a certain amount each does in order to actually lift it, you can't isolate certain muscles to do the whole thing, and you can't do that without the mechanics of the lift completely changing, but to me it makes sense you can deactivate others that are 'overfiring' so to speak, thus more tension being directed into appropriate muscle groups.

    I don't know if that makes sense, and if course I have no evidence whatsoever (although the study at least shows a little something), just fun discussing it :)

    And as for heavier compounds it certainly becomes much harder, and perhaps maybe its only applicable to medium loads? Not sure. All I know is that when I do heavy bench I feel my chest is contracting primarily like crazy, is usually pumped after even low rep sets, and is definitely my most developed and largest muscle group. Whether relevant I have no idea. The more I got used to focusing on contracting a certain muscle, the easier I felt it was easier to do in heavy compounds (even though the focus is most definitely on getting the damn thing bar haha).

    I feel there's value in what's called an internal focus and an external focus in training. Internal focus is getting your focus right in the muscle and the contraction. Usually medium to lighter weights. For heavier weights it almost demands it to be an external focus, focusing on external performance and on where the bar etc has to go.

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