What Is Muscle Confusion?

by ered222

The theory of muscle confusion and how it can affect you.

Many people don't know whether muscles confusion is a myth or its real. Read on to let me clear up the confusion you may be having.

Muscle confusion is the theory that the more you change your workouts, the less you will have to worry about plateaus.  A plateau is when your muscles grow to a certain point and remain at that strength level and seem to never improve, no matter how hard you push yourself at the gym. 

The theory is that when you change the exercises you do, your muscles break through that plateau and they will increase in mass and you will be able to workout will more weight, as a result. 

I say this is a theory because as far as I know no one has proved any of this to be true.  But in my own personal experience muscle confusion is the ONLY way to break though plateaus.

Muscle Confusion
Muscle Confusion

I know this is bad but, when I first began to lift weights, I kept my workout the same for years, yes, years.  This is because I didn’t know the importance of muscle confusion and how it affected the way I built strength. 

It wasn’t until I read an article on this theory that things began to click in my head.  As I did the same workout for a couple of years I also wondered why I never seemed to be able to increase in size and increase the weight I worked out with.  It was because my muscles were so used to the workouts that I was doing. 

My muscles were used to the movements that I did in my workouts, so no new muscles were activated, which is vital in your workout progress.  So, not only was I not using my muscles to their full potential, I was also ignoring other muscles completely.  I only saw an improvement in my results when I tried a new workout. 

After a couple of weeks of doing a completely new workout regime I doubled the weight I worked out with and I gained a lot of lean muscle without changing anything else.

Muscle Confusion Techniques To Prevent Plateaus

If you want to prevent plateaus you need to change the workouts you do on a consistent basis.  I would say, depending on your workout goals and the exercises you do, change your workouts about every month to three months. 

If you do light workouts that involve resistance bands and body exercises, then I suggest you change your workouts every three months.  But if you workout with free-weights or machines that involve strenuous force on your muscles, then I would suggest you change your workouts every month or so. 

You should also take notice in your progress too.  If you don’t seem to make any progress in a month, then continue with that workout until you start seeing results and your muscles are used to the exercises.  But if you seem to be hitting a plateau after a month, then you need to change up your routine.  It usually takes me about a month and a half to really get all the movements perfected in every exercise that I do.

You can also try the program p90x, which is specifically designed to help you with your workout plateaus.  

Updated: 04/10/2012, ered222
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katiem2 on 09/20/2012

Sounds a bit like my attempt to work my smaller auxiliary muscles so's to remain small and firm not bulking up. It's important to understand what you're doing and how it will impact your muscle development. Great article. :)K

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