Clearing Up Muscle Confusion

Muscle Confusion

The concept of muscle confusion can be, well, confusing! What does it mean, why do you do it, and how do you execute?

If you’ve been a Max gym rat for a while, you may have noticed that certain moves have gotten easier over time. Maybe you could only use 10-pound dumbbells for shoulder presses when you started, but now you can push up 20s. Or you could only log 15 minutes on the treadmill, but now you knock out 30 with no sweat.

Your body is an amazing machine. It adapts to stress–that’s why your usual moves get easier. So you need to challenge it regularly. Mix up your routine to generate muscle confusion.

Beyond working different muscle groups every day, use different exercises for each muscle group. There are many ways to target your triceps. So try them all! Turn “Leg Day” into “Leg Days” and use two days a week to work through the vast variety of lower-body moves.

Even something as simple as changing your grip or your number of reps can offer an extra challenge.

Then, every four weeks, radically rework your workout. Start a new group exercise class. Download a HIIT workout. Add in body-weight moves. Bump up your weights. Sign up for a race or other community fitness event. Keep at it for four weeks, then switch things up again.

This kind of muscle confusion will not only stress your muscles enough to generate growth, but it also will work the full range of muscles, including the secondary and supportive muscles that aren’t always recruited in simple routines. In fact, discard the notion of routine, except for the routine of working out. You may spend a little more time planning your exercises, but your time in the gym will be far more efficient!

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