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If when lifting a weight, I feel the muscle being tight, does it actually mean those muscles are more recruited? How accurate is sensation as an indicator for muscle recruitment?

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Not always.

These are not his exact words, but in his video from RP about exercise selection, Mike Israetel used the Plate Press, aka the Hex press as an example. There is a lot of tightness that occurs doing the exercise, when researched deeper the only stimulus the chest receives is from holding the plates, or dumbbells together rather that the pressing itself. Which means that instead of using the Hex press, just choose a full range of motion chest fly, which will stimulate the chest the same way and you will feel tightness, while also allowing the full movement not to be wasted. This was just an example, but there are other movements that can do this same thing.

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  • I believe you're talking about the "Afferent effect". Basically the nerves are "activated" which makes it "feel" like the muscle is working hard, but in reality there is very little work being done in comparison to other exercises. Other examples are toe elevated RDLs for hamstrings and cable pullovers for lats.
    – DeeV
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 14:39
  • Sounds about right, thank you. Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 14:54

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