Muscle Confusion Training Strategies

Vary your workouts to accelerate progress and prevent injury. Maximize results and minimize risk of overuse injuries by utilizing the muscle confusion principle. Train with a variety of different exercises and exercise forms to provide new physical and mental challenges.

The muscle confusion principle works by confusing the musculoskeletal system with varied stimulus. The human body adapts quickly to repeated exercise. Implementing an assortment of exercises combats muscle adaptation.

Overuse Injuries: Overuse injuries occur from repetitive motions and insufficient rest between training sessions. Constantly working the body with the same exercises repeatedly targets the muscles in an identical manner. This neglects other muscles and creates strength imbalances.

Develop a constantly evolving training routine to target your muscles at all angles. Continual change helps prevent strength imbalances and lowers the possibility of overuse injuries.

Strength Imbalances: Working the muscles in an identical fashion with no variety develops strength imbalances. A classic example is a trainee who performs set after set of bench presses and curls but doesn’t train the scapular retractors.

This damaging combination leads to a strength imbalance between the muscles that attach to the shoulder. The muscles which attach to the anterior aspect of the shoulder overpower the muscles that attach to the posterior shoulder.

Poor posture, unsymmetrical physique development and painful symptoms in the rotator cuff result from a shoulder strength imbalance. Shoulders rolled forward and winged scapulas are precursors for abnormal shoulder function and limited ribcage expansion.

Lack of Progress: New exercises produce results fairly quickly. After an initial growth period the body adapts to the repeated stimulus and progress gradually slows down.

Mental and physical challenges: Repeatedly performing the same tasks fails to develop new challenges. The brain and body require thrilling new reasons to grow. New opportunities to expand must be presented to maintain enthusiasm.

Training: Achieve your health and fitness goals by utilizing the muscle confusion principle. Constantly vary your training to confuse your muscles into growth and to prevent overuse injuries.

Multiple options exist to confuse and stimulate muscle growth. You can perform a different workout every day. You can execute change of pace workouts on a regular basis. You can replace exercises with similar lifts or you can vary individual exercises.

Never the Same: Apply the muscle confusion principle by performing a different workout every day. This exciting training style keeps your mind and body guessing. Incorporate a different routine each training day with a wide variety of equipment.

For example, on the first back training day of the month your program may include low reps and low sets. The exercises could be deadlifts, bent over rows and pulldowns.

The next back training session can be composed of high repetitions at a fast tempo. The exercise could be chin-ups, dumbbell rows and back extensions on the fitball.

The third back training sessions may consist of Olympic lifts and shrugs followed by resisted isometric scapular retractions. Use your imagination to develop a series of ever-changing productive back workouts.

Change of Pace: Utilize change of pace workouts to add fun and additional motivation to your training. Devise a plan where you perform an entirely different type of training one week each month. A change of pace refreshes the mind and shocks the body.

Target your muscles differently the last week of every month by using kettlebells or resistance bands instead of barbells and dumbbells. This fun training style provides a reprise from the same old routine.

If weather and location permit, go outdoors and run uphill sprints. Your muscles will be stimulated due to sheer shock. When the change of pace training week is complete, return to your regular training routine with a renewed tenacity.

Exercise Replacement: Hit the muscles with every exercise imaginable. Train your arms with barbell curls for four weeks then switch to dumbbell curls for the next time frame. Switch again to cable curls, then resistance bands before returning to barbell curls.

Sets, Reps, Rest and Tempo: Continuously change your set and rep ratio. Never let your body adapt to a specific number. Surprise your musculoskeletal system with ever-changing mixtures of sets, reps, lifting speed and rest time between sets. Employ supersets and giant sets for an even greater change.

Individual exercises: Slightly change each exercise to further your progress and prevent overuse injuries. Simple changes such as grip or stance width work the muscles at different angles. 

Performing pushups with your feet elevated on a fitball and your hands close together stress the upper body much differently than standard pushups.

Spice up your training to achieve their health and fitness goals. Utilize every training tool you can to stimulate progress and lower the risk of overuse injuries. Variety and imagination are the key ingredients to the muscle confusion principle.

Dr Donald A Ozello DC of Championship Chiropractic in Las Vegas, NV

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**Disclaimer: Always consult a medical professional before beginning an exercise program. Always work within your capabilities. Never perform an exercise that elicits or increases pain or symptoms. Reading this article and viewing the linked videos does not take the place of seeing a medical professional. Please visit a medical professional for evaluation, diagnosis & treatment.

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