Muscle Confusion is the Key to Long-Term Workout Effectiveness
2020 is just getting started, but some people are already quitting their New Year’s resolution to get in shape. Why? It’s probably because they got bored with their workout regimen. No one wants to run and lift dumbbells in the same repetitive routine every day for the rest of their life. It gets boring, which means it becomes less and less a priority.
Getting back on track isn’t easy. You need to make it interesting! You need to mix things up and keep it exciting so going to the gym is less a chore and more an adventure.
The solution is muscle confusion. This tactic motivates you to reach your goals because it adds variety to your workout. It also builds muscle faster than doing the same exercises day-in and day-out. Muscle confusion switches things up, so you always look forward to hitting the gym.
What is muscle confusion?
Muscle confusion isn’t what it sounds like. It doesn’t mean you should do one type of exercise this week and something completely different the next. Instead, it means using a variety of techniques to get the same job done.
Maybe you want to build your cardio endurance. If you always go for a run, try going for a swim. Is it raining outside? Hop on an elliptical so you can still get those miles in. The point is to have multiple different exercises that serve one common goal.
It’s the same for strength training, too. Put down the dumbbell you used yesterday and pick up resistance bands today. Tomorrow, try dynamic exercises. Keep your movements and motions different, use vary your techniques and keep changing your approach.
Confusion can be a good thing
As mentioned earlier, muscle confusion gives you those gains faster. Your body requires new challenges every once in a while for growth to happen.
Let’s say you do the same workout routine every day: five sets of twenty pushups, three sets of ten bicep curls, and so on. You might be sore after the first week, but your body will get used to this routine over time. Weeks from now, a once-challenging routine will be too easy. You can keep adding weight or reps, but your muscles will become accustomed to the motion and you won’t end up getting a well-rounded workout.
There are many different ways to create new challenges. You can increase your number of sets, reps, dumbbell weight, or level of resistance. If you like running on treadmills, try adjusting the incline angle. If your workout is easy, something has to change.
How to make your muscles work smarter
Too many people believe muscle confusion is about constantly putting your body through vastly different exercises. They’ll do anything from weights to football to HIIT training, all within a matter of weeks.
But what’s their goal? It’s perfectly fine to try new things that grab your interest. However, doing a bunch of exercises that have nothing in common will get you nowhere. Before you create a workout plan, pin down one goal. Then, figure out what activities will help you achieve that goal. For example, your goal might be to strengthen your arms. If that’s the case, you should consistently do arm exercises until you see the progress you want to make.
Muscle confusion involves spicing up your workout with exercises that serve the same purpose. Every once in a while, you can isolate muscle groups in different ways. That way, your body doesn’t become desensitized to one unchanging workout routine.
Think of it this way: would you rather be mediocre at a bunch of different activities, or a master at one activity? Hopefully you choose the second option. The phrase “consistency is key” has never been truer.
An example of muscle confusion
You can incorporate muscle confusion into any workout. If you like yoga, try poses that engage muscles in ways you’ve never tried before. Or, you can alter the poses you normally do so they become more challenging. A yoga instructor can show you advanced versions of poses if the ones you’re currently doing are too easy.
For body builders, there’s an infinite amount of ways to strengthen specific muscle groups. Are you bored from doing hundreds of pushups every week? Experiment with different types of pushups. Diamond, three-quarter, and wide grip pushups are great for increasing difficulty and targeting different areas of your body.
No matter what activities you enjoy during your workout, be sure to try new things!
How often should you switch it up?
Your body will get used to doing the same exercises over and over. But it takes time for that to happen. When you start a new workout regimen, you’ll probably be sore after the first week or two. However, the workouts will eventually become easy. That’s great because it means you’re improving!
To move past plateaus in your fitness journey, switch up your workout routine. It’s recommended that you incorporate new or more challenging exercises every six to eight weeks. That way, you can strive toward your goal without getting bored.
Keep working hard toward your greatest potential. If you reach your goal, make another one. Remember, there’s always room for improvement. Whether you’re new to fitness or have been going at it for years, muscle confusion is the key to becoming the best version of yourself.