If you go into a gym and jog on the treadmill at the same speed, every day, you’ll find it’s not only mentally unstimulating — your body will be bored, too. To avoid fitness plateaus and lack of motivation, the process of muscle confusion can help. Put simply, this is done by switching up routines so the body keeps progressing to new levels, rather than adapting to one constant. And if that sounds confusing in itself, let us explain.
Muscle confusion is a fitness strategy that encourages mixing up your routine in order to keep your muscles “second-guessing”. But let’s be clear: muscles aren’t sentient beings. They don’t get “confused”. Muscle confusion is a well-meaning term that’s heard a lot in the fitness industry. Let us elaborate on the science behind it.
Think of muscle confusion as the opposite of predictable muscle movements. The latter can cause muscles to respond and adapt to the same exercises, potentially hindering progress. Whether you’re slamming the weights or focusing on cardio, muscle confusion is a more favoured strategy for gaining size and strength.
Purposeful, progressive and playful training is at the core of our philosophy here at EVO. Enter muscle confusion: building a regular routine that manipulates various techniques to make workouts gradually more challenging. By preventing complacent muscles from rolling their way through the same routines, muscle confusion is said to create a more functional body that can handle more and more in the future.
In a modern world full of instant gratification and constant stimulation, this approach also makes more sense for our brain. One of the main reasons for plateauing or slacking on workout routines is boredom and lack of motivation. However, studies have shown that exercise variation made participants feel significantly more motivated to work out compared to those who stuck to the same routine.
For best results, the key is to challenge your body with muscle confusion by gradually increasing intensity, volume, reps and resistance. Play around with variables – what works one week may not work the next. Likewise, specific goals may require different variables. Personal training plans and reactive support can be a huge help here. Your body can also be your greatest teacher. If workouts aren’t feeling as challenging or motivating anymore, it’s a sign that it’s time to switch things up.
Think of muscle confusion as learning a language. If you stick to the same page of words, you’re guaranteed to learn them, but you’ll never progress past that page.
On the other hand, constantly being shown a new language every time you sit down to learn can also be counterproductive. It’s like learning Spanish one day, German the next, and then Japanese after that. You can’t make much progress with any single language.
It’s the same with your fitness training. As touched on above, the pace is an important factor. Too slow and you can stagnate. Too fast and you can hinder progress, never spending enough time working on an exercise to truly master it, and also denying the rest your muscles need to rest and strengthen.
Many gym routines can keep you stuck in the same place. That’s why we offer a unique space, with skilful trainers and best-in-class equipment to focus on getting the most out of your fitness, health and performance. Click on the banner below and try a club near you for free. It’s time to start building a stronger, more progressive routine that you (and your muscles) can have fun with.