A new study by Professor Brian Clark, director of the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institution was recently published in the journal Neurophysiology1, and it is nicely summed up over at PsyBlog2.
In short, 2 groups had casts put on their arms for 11 weeks. The group who was asked to imagine exercising that arm lost half the muscle mass of the group who didn’t imagine exercising.
This study reinforces earlier, more dramatic findings, that —absent a cast— you can increase muscle mass through visualizations. ASAPScience has a nice video summarizing this using material from the book The Brain That Changes Itself — by psychiatrist and researcher Norman Doidge, MD.3