Muscle confusion isn’t real. Your muscles don’t have brains. They cannot be confused.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to do the EXACT SAME workout every single day; or every single Monday do the same upper body workout. However, weight training, like anything else that you want to get results from is a skill that must be honed.
By switching things up and doing some crazy funky combo exercises that you see on social media, you might look cool (or not) but you also might be wasting your time and delaying progress.
Our bodies don’t register exercises as “squats” or “bicep curls” – they register them as “quads lengthening, hamstrings shortening under tension, quads contracting…” or “bicep shortening, triceps lengthening, bicep isometric contracting…”
These various muscular contractions while under load (using weights) are what stimulates muscles to develop (through a much more complicated process).
If you are constantly mixing things up, and trying to do 3 exercises in one all the time (see BOSU step up to bicep curl to shoulder press to RDL to backflip) you are not focussing on improving your neural connections between your brain and your muscles, thus creating a better “mind muscle connection”.
Don’t believe me? If someone is injured and they go to a physical therapist, the PT will give them a set of exercises to do 2-4 days per week, for multiple sets and reps over and over again – why? Because this is what will build up that area and strengthen the area wherever the injury was aka BUILD MUSCLE.
The best way to build muscle (tone up) is to practice getting better activation and stimulation of the intended muscle group with slight progressive overload each time you hit it. Thats a mouthful.
Essentially what that means is if you want bigger biceps, then keep it simple and hit those bicep curls with pure focus, slow and controlled contractions, and FEEL each rep in the muscle.
If you want to grow your booty, then stop doing a million different banded step over kick back variations, and focus on hip thrusts, lunges, and deadlift variations and squeeze the hell out of your cheeks.
BUT MIKE, THAT SOUNDS BORING DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER!
I get it, I am guilty of getting bored on programs where it is the same workouts every single week.
But here’s the thing, you can still mix up minor variables without changing your entire plan.
You could change:
- The tempo at which you lift
- Your rest periods
- Your grip, or the cable attachment you use
- Where you hold the weight (front squat vs. back squat)
- The incline of a bench
- The implement you use (barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells)
- The order in which you hit the exercises
All of these could be changed in various ways to “mix things up” without completely changing your workout to the point of only hitting squats once a month.
Focus on feeling each lift, press, pull, squat, lunge, etc. and you WILL get the results you are after.
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Stay healthy my friends,