Flexing & its Benefits: Not Just For Selfies
By: Brock Ogle
August 3, 2016
We have all seen people flexing in mirrors at the gym. And these days, our social media feeds are flooded with people taking selfies while flexing. We may be even guilty of this ourselves. But flexing regularly is actually beneficial to you besides getting “likes” online or fueling your ego in the gym. In fact, it's crucial to your fitness results.
Mind-Muscle Connection is a phrase often heard in the fitness industry, and rightfully so. When you exercise, your brain sends signals to your muscles to activate creating movement & force. But what if you are activating the wrong muscles to complete an exercise movement? Unfortunately, this is very common. People can give 110% effort in the gym until they are exhausted and dripping with sweat; however, if their goal was to improve their back muscles, but instead their biceps do all the work when they do pull movements, then their goal wasn’t accomplished. You may even be able to relate to this yourself, but there is hope! The answer is practicing flexing. That’s right, I said practicing. Flexing is a skill and you have to work at it the same way you would learn how to play the guitar. Overtime, engaging the desired muscle becomes second nature and that’s when you reap the benefits.
Once you know how to engage the correct muscles you want to work, workouts are more efficient. And when I say flexing, I don’t mean just harden or tense up the muscle like most people do when you tell them to flex their bicep. I mean rolling that bicep into a ball where it is maximally contracted and you can feel it burn. There used to be no muscle behind my arm until I learned how to flex my tricep correctly. Once I learned, I was able to engage it while working out so my triceps now have the coveted “horseshoe” and there is no more fat on the back of my arm.
This brings up the next benefit – flexing burns fat! As I discussed in Target Where You Burn Fat, in order to burn fat more efficiently in targeted areas, you need to contract the muscle under the fat to increase blood flow. The better you are at flexing, the better your body becomes at spot-reduction fat loss. Flexing has been shown to harden & develop your body significantly, which is useful for the busy mother trying to tone-up or the bodybuilder trying to look his best on stage.
Once you know how to use the correct muscles during an exercise, your risk for injury decreases. Many injuries occur because people are using incorrect muscles when lifting. Your form could look fine, but if the wrong muscles are engaging, you are putting strain on areas of your body that they are not meant for. This is how people tear biceps during back exercises, shoulders during chest presses, etc. Your back is a bigger and stronger muscle than your biceps, so imagine how many more pull-ups you could get if you were using the bigger muscle. Imagine how much faster you could run if your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves all could be activated faster and more efficiently when sprinting. Flexing improves athletic performance by improving the neuromuscular dynamics necessary for movements.
Seriously, this is a concept more important than any other fitness fad out there. If you want results IMMEDIATELY, then flexing is your answer. 30 minutes of targeting the correct muscle until it is exhausted beats 3 hours of inefficient workouts every singe time. If you are not practicing flexing and improving your Mind-Muscle Connection daily, you are holding your progress back and not making good use of your time. Gain muscle, lose fat, improve muscular hardness & development, prevent injury, and increase performance . . . Do you even have to think about this? Get to flexing now!