If you were a personal fitness trainer, how important do you think it would be, for the retention of your clients, to keep them from guessing your patterns? You know the patterns I’m referring to; the one’s that keep trainees wondering what exercise they’ll do next – at what number of repetitions – and at what level of intensity. I mean, being strategically obscure could have its advantages when building an aura of indispensability… right?
This appears to be the only motive for keeping the ridiculous “muscle confusion” principle alive. There is absolutely no scientific basis behind it. You can’t even support it with common sense and keep a straight face. Constantly mixing up one’s routine will not confuse anything except an individual’s ability to gauge whether he or she is even making progress. And if it actually were possible to ‘confuse’ a muscle or even one’s entire body, what reasoning could be revealed that this would lead to better muscle and fitness gains?
"Muscle Confusion"? I assert, without reservation, that the red tissue
in the above image is incapable of being baffled, perplexed, or
confused. However, it can be intermittently overloaded and recuperated.
“But Scott”, I hear people say, “… you need to shock the muscles and body by keeping them guessing…”
“No you don’t”, I answer with only a hint of irritation. “You need to keep the muscles and body challenged by ‘overload’ and then “rewarded with recuperation”.
But I can hear the predictable protests already. “Muscle confusion keeps workouts from getting stale by changing things around a bit”.
Let me tell you; I have a lot of workout experience. It goes back about thirty years when you count my teenaged experiences. At one time, I subscribed to the confusion of muscle confusion and changed my workouts often. Would you like to know what’s extremely motivating by comparison?
That’s right! Maybe I’m kind of a vain bastard, but if I’m going to take time to work out, I want to have a better appearance for my efforts. Changing my workouts around on a regular basis only gave me the illusion that I was making progress. It’s a real bummer to have that realization after wasting a lot of time.
Does this mean I don’t believe in changing a bodybuilding exercise here or there? Not at all. I used to do shoulder presses on a Hammer Strength machine. For some reason, my shoulders stopped liking that machine and I switched to doing presses on an old rust-bucket of a machine in the corner of the gym. Let me tell you, this thing doesn’t even have a brand name on its surface. Yet I’ve been using this contraption for shoulder presses for about two years now.
Do I need to confuse my muscles by switching to something else?
Why would I? My shoulders are turning into cannonballs and I’m getting stronger than ever by using my unorthodox training methods on this apparatus. Just a few days ago, a bodybuilder from way back saw me doing presses on that thing and asked me point-blank if I was using steroids.
What a compliment!
I know I hold some butt-kicking insights when a steroid-user asks a life-time nonuser (with lousy b.b. genetics) like me if he’s using those drugs.
And I keep doing this without any “muscle confusion”.
Here’s a piece of “buyer beware” advice for my readers: Think twice before purchasing any fitness course that purports to be effective on the premise of ‘muscle confusion’. This could save you time, money, and maybe a bit of heartache.