Fibion Blog • 3 Best Ways to Improve Your Muscle Activation • Timo Haikarainen

3 Best Ways to Improve Your Muscle Activation

3 Best Ways to Improve Your Muscle Activation

3 Best Ways to Improve Your Muscle Activation

Muscle activation blog –series 4/4

General tricks to improve the ability of the activation are fairly straightforward. Accurate methods for exercise movements and choice of other training and teaching methods of course vary greatly. Here are few examples:

  1. Do strength training that includes loads that are heavy enough. For a beginner already over 60% from 1RM (repetition maximum) load is sufficient. More advanced needs regularly over 80% 1RM loads. It is impossible to accurately what these loads are as repetitions as repetition range with those percentages is very movement specific. Anyway for a beginner 8-12 repetitions are good. More advanced should use 3-6 repetition range regularly. Remember to be progressive. Increased training weights are good practical indication of improved activation of muscles.
  2. Do something powerful and movements that demand fast single-activation. For example speed strength elements can be incorporated to training program periodically (although within the limits of goals of training)
  3. Think, what you do. So called connection between muscle and mind has been labelled to body building myth, but that is not true. Commanding and activation of the muscles needs to be at least partly conscious. In fast movements commanding is automatic, but path to efficient automatic control usually needs to be done through conscious improvement of muscle activation. Normally in the long term it is best to combine ”feel and efficient blasting” to get optimal results in the development.

With all these points in mind, consider the muscle activation in your case, whether you can command to work optimally for the task in hand? This was just a scratch on the surface as the muscle activation theme is very wide. I will be examining it also from several other perspectives, for example psychological factors that affect muscle activation.

Timo Haikarainen
Timo Haikarainen

Personal Trainer

Fibion Guest Blogger


Connecting sport science research with practical applications

Timo started his coaching and instructing career in 1990s in martial arts, athletics and fitness exercise. From year 2002 he has worked as a gym instructor, personal trainer, and sport coach. Between 2002 and 2008 Timo studied biology of physical activity in University of Jyväskylä, where he graduated majoring in Sport Coaching and Fitness Testing. During the years Timo has accumulated over 15 000 hours of personal training. Practical coaching continues still active even though during last 6 years expert work and education as well as media work in TV and magazines take a big share of his time. Timo is educating personal trainers and gym instructors at SAFE Education, SATS Finland and Sport Center Pajulahti. Timo’s own sport background comes from martial arts, athletics and strength training.