Boxing Blog

    Mind Muscle Connection

    Mind Muscle Connection

    Happy Sunday Everyone,

    Thanks to everyone who has gotten along to Round 1 in the past week or so – and a particular thanks to everyone who got along for our 2nd ‘Friday BBQ’ on Friday night.  Whilst (obviously) we were all still AT the gym…and most of us were still IN our gym gear, it was still super nice to enjoy a beer and a sausage with you all rather than yelling at you from across the moat to ‘move harder/faster’ and generally just ‘be better’.

    I have a bit of (blog) stuff to catch up on right now but today’s post is all about the revisions we have made to our boxing sessions over the past 6-months and my thoughts on how it’s all going…honestly, I would really love to have your thoughts played back to me as well (email me – but in the short-term, I want to talk from my POV.

    What has the change been about?  I am not talking about the introduction of BoxFIT/split of BoxFIT and BoxPLUS etc – more the fact that the ‘TONE’ of our boxing sessions (and more specifically the BOXING-components of all of our boxing classes) has changed over the past 6-months.  And the changes is ALL ABOUT establishing and reinforcing the mind-muscle connection.  I’ve mentioned this a few times over the past couple of months and my intention today is to try and describe EXACTLY what I mean.  And I know ‘mind-muscle-connection’ sounds either like a ‘new-age’ concept or a ‘sci-fi’ concept (depending on where your brains base-level skepticism runs) but that isn’t it…the best way for me to describe it right now is to say that it’s IMPORTANT!

    The mind-muscle connection is the ability to engage specific muscles during training.  Think of it as a form of mental telepathy between your brain and your body.  One thing I notice when I am doing padwork in the mornings is that whenever someone ‘steps up’ who really has the pads ‘cracking’, you can sort of see everyone in the class look around to see ‘WHO’ that is and ‘WHAT’ they are doing.  What I can tell you right now is that if you want to be ‘THAT GUY’ (or ‘THAT GIRL’!) who throws those ‘mean’ combos, well, you first need to develop a strong mind-muscle connection.  You need to make sure your technique is ‘RIGHT’ (don’t be LAZY with turning your hands to the target, strong shoulder to chin-connection throwing jabs and crosses, elbows up parallel to the shoulder for hooks) AND you need to make sure your muscles are firing on all cylinders…when your technique, timing and effort/energy are all aligned, well, that’s the mind-muscle connection.  And THAT’S how you hit HARDER than a freight train.  

    What else?  Your core and lower body are part of all this.  You need to brace through your core, you need to engage those leg muscles and move – if not like Muhammad Ali in the ring, at least more like a baby horse than a baby giraffe!  Listen to the coaches, keep your feet OFF the tight-rope and maintain that shoulder width position at all times – be strong and balanced…and LIGHT on your feet.  CONCENTRATE.  If you find yourself walking, if you find your feet crossing, if you feel your hands dropping – re-establish the mind-muscle connection and get it sorted! 

    But hey, the mind-muscle connection isn’t just about power and speed. It can also help prevent injuries. Nobody wants to pull a muscle or hurt their back just because they are being careless/going through the motions – keep your mind switched on and your BODY will follow. When you are not concentrating (aka lazy), well, that’s when bad things happen. That’s when you punch poorly and hurt your shoulder or wrist. And in the strength exercises, well, that’s when you hurt your back.

    I guess the question now is how can you improve the mind-muscle connection in your own training? I thing that the shadow boxing round are a great place to start – YOU have full control so YOU have a choice to go through the motions or ‘do it right’. And if you do it right when ‘no-one’ is watching, you will 100% do it right when you are under the scrutiny of a coach. It’s why the warm-up rounds are so critical in the strength gym – because those are the rounds when you get your MIND RIGHT! Focus on engaging the right muscles with each punch and movement. And if you’re hitting the heavy bag, that’s the time when you need to channel your inner Rocky Balboa/Adonis Creed and visualise those muscles contracting with each hit.  And when it comes to Balboa – his famous training routine from Rocky 2 was ALL about the mind muscle connection – remember when he was chasing chickens? Yeah, that’s right. It was all about developing that mind-muscle connection. If you can catch a chicken, you can catch a punch. Or something like that.

    And the way we have modified our Combo-specific bag rounds, turning each one into a mini-game of “Simon Says” for your muscles. Your coach calls out the punches, and you engage the muscles necessary to make them happen. Everything is a CONSCIOUS effort – you think, you execute.  It makes everything a tremendous challenge and prevents people from just going through the motions…

    Now, some of you might be thinking, “This all sounds like a bunch of hocus pocus.” But trust me, the mind-muscle connection is a real thing. It’s all about activating the right muscles at the right time, so you can perform at your best and avoid injuries.  So there you have it, folks. The mind-muscle connection might sound like something straight out of a sci-fi flick, but it’s a real thing that can help you throw better punches, move like a butterfly, and prevent injuries. So let’s all start flexing those mental muscles, and let’s get training!

    See you in the gym,



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