In most situations, you should try to apply maximum speed to the concentric portion of each rep, rather than focusing on “the mind muscle connection”.

With light weight bench press (50% of 1RM), trained participants slightly increased pec and triceps activation by focusing on the target muscle (“the mind muscle connetion”), but only when performing slow reps. When trying to lift explosively, actively focusing on using the pecs or triceps didn’t affect muscle activation. Trying to press the weight explosively resulted in more muscle activation than pressing the weight slowly, regardless of cues.

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Source: Influence of different attentional focus on EMG amplitude and contraction duration during the bench press at different speeds. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1363403.

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