Under most circumstances, you should probably try to apply maximum velocity to the concentric portion of each rep. When you do so, you probably don’t need to worry about internal cues (the “mind-muscle connection”). With low (50% 1RM) loads on the bench press, trained participants were able to slightly increase pec and triceps activation by focusing on the target muscle, 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.

Article from MASS – Monthly Applications in Strength Sport. The best tool for any serious athlete or coach to stay updated on the latest fitness science and how to use it, in-depth.

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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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