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Fitness & Health

30th Apr 2018

Mirror flexing boosts bicep growth by 12.4%, study shows

Alex Roberts

New research has shown that vanity can actually boost your muscle growth. 

Flexing in front of the mirror is often viewed unfavourably, but in terms of acceptable gym etiquette, it may be time for a rethink. According to new research, a little posing here and there could prove hugely beneficial in the pursuit of bigger guns. 

Aside from taking weight training into the mainstream, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a lot of other things to the fitness industry. One of the most notable of these is the concept of the ‘mind-muscle connection’.

The mind-muscle connection refers to the belief that you must feel and ‘focus’ on your muscles while working out. He felt that working out wasn’t as simple as shifting a dumbbell from A to B – you also have to concentrate on squeezing and contracting a muscle against the resistance of a dumbbell, barbell, machine or other kind of training apparatus.  

As exercise science grew into an academic discipline, many wrote off the idea of the mind-muscle connection as pseudoscience, due to the lack of research in the area. However, a recent study curated by renowned muscle growth expert Dr. Brad Schoenfeld has shown that maybe we should begin listening to Arnie and start flexing after all.

Published in the European Journal of Sport Science, Schoenfeld and his team of scientists took 30 untrained guys and split them into two groups. While lifting, one group focussed on the wider, external purpose of the workout, with group two concentrating more on the internal contraction – the ‘mind-muscle connection’. 

The participants trained three times per week for two months, after which it was observed that those following the mind-muscle connection experienced a 12.4% growth in bicep mass compared to members of the rival group. A similar effect was also noticed in the quads.

Despite the positives, don’t take this as a cue to spend all day in front of the mirror – muscle-building workouts are best kept between 45 and 60 minutes in length.