Muscle confusion does NOT exist

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , |

For Pete’s sake, if I have to hear one  more person talk to me about ‘muscle confusion’ . . .

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with someone having a question about what it is or what it’s about.  What I do have a problem with is overhearing someone talk about it in a gym with an air of superiority.

Or some trainer or *shudder* an internet fitness guru using that as the selling point for their “cutting edge” program.  Let me state this as  simply, and respectfully as I can . . .

There is no such thing as muscle confusion. None, zero, zip, it’s just another buzz term like ‘super food’ being used to sell product or services.

Now if you are one of the people using this term, please stop it.

I understand it’s a marketing hook, and as long as you are helping getting people in shape what’s the harm.  Well every time you use these buzz words you reduce our profession to just another snake oil salesman with a gimmick.  Instead of professional advocate for health who people can trust and respect.

I mean, I get it.   One of the top selling DVDs out there is P90X.

Like, dislike, I’m not going to get in to that.  But in relation to this being a common sense health and fitness blog I feel the need to clear some things up.

I’ve noticed with the success of this DVD more “fitness experts” are using the term “muscle confusion.”

Apparently this is the secret of P90X success.  Personally I think the secret is photo shop, but I digress.  Let’s keep this blog respectful and above board.

You can not “confuse” a muscle. Mucles have no brain for that. It’s just a made up word that speaks to variation.  Now I have no problem with the P90X program in theory, aside from the obvious joint issues that will accompany it.  Yes, joint issues.  When an orthopedic surgeon tells you they have received a lot of business due to p90X, that tells you something.  But as a program, it’s as good as any that claims you have to work to earn it. So that’s good.  I’m all for earning your results

But any variation done properly is going to be good.

If someone comes to me and has been performing the same exercises over and over for years, the first thing I’ll do is give them completely different exercises, even if the ones they were performing were good choices!

The body (like the mind, emphasis on like) responds well to change, as long as it isn’t too frequent. If you’re changing your exercises every week, it’ll never have time to adjust and adapt accordingly to that new training stimulus. Hit an exercise just enough to get everything you can out of it, and then move on.

This could be anywhere from 3-6 weeks.

And even then you have to continually progress in your angles and your applications.  Every time you make one area stronger you create a deficit in another, it’s simply how the body works.  Now the variation does not have to be overly complicated.  It jut has to provide new stimulus, and be challenging enough to promote a response.

It’s what we coaches refer to as periodization.  It’s not magic, it’s not cutting edge.  It’s merely a principle of exercise.

There is a quote by Albert Einstein which I believe goes, “the definition of insanity, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Same thing goes for your workout routine, you can’t do the same routine for ever and expect all the results and health benefit you want from just that.  It has to be varied.  Doesn’t have to be a dramatic difference.  But it has to vary

So you coud do a few weeks of a routine as simple as:

A) Leg Press

3 x 10 reps

B) Dead lifts

4 x 8-10

Then you could switch up and go high rep,  mean really high rep:

A) Body weight Squats

4 x 20-30

B) Step up

3 x 20

C) Duck walks

1 x 50-100 feet

Then maybe go to a body weight circuit for a few rounds (3-4):

A1) Squat with a 3 second hold

15 reps

A2) Alternating lunges

24 reps (12  each leg)

A3) Alternating split squat jumps

24 reps total (12 reps each leg)

A4) Squat jumps

24 reps or maximum on the last round

Now there are three examples of variation which one could do every few weeks and will benefit your legs and body.  Not to mention put your HR through the roof.  Remember it’s about the variation, forget about the “confusion.’

Best Health

Coach W


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