One of the most basic of the training principles is the muscle confusion training principle. This principle is about ensuring that you have variety in your training via sets, reps, exercises, and rest periods. The theory is that by doing so, your muscles will constantly be challenged and growing as a result.
It is also important in general to train the muscle from the most efficient position, in which it has the greatest mechanical advantage. It is equally important to supplement those exercises with others utilizing various angles. Muscles should not be allowed to adapt to an exercise to the point where the exercise is ineffective and doesn’t result in hypertrophy. The variety will also serve to improve motivation as well.
Muscle confusion works best for general programs, or for breaking out of a plateau during conventional periodization-based regimens. With traditional programs that are planned around specific cycles, it is possible to change a workout too frequently to experience optimal performance. In cases where the goal is hypertrophy or absolute strength, it is recommended to only use muscle confusion when the body has completely adapted to the training stimulus.
A good approach to employing muscle confusion is to design a weekly strength training routine that includes three or four radically different days. With such an approach, you’re entire training program is built upon the muscle confusion principle. You could easily maintain such a schedule for an entire 12-week training cycle.
After 12 weeks you then move onto a completely different 12-week cycle, focusing on an entirely different form of training. This takes the muscle confusion principle even further. Of course the principle applies to all fitness activities, including cardio, sprints, and core training.
Another way to use the confusion principle is to vary the exercises. For example, if you were doing a barbell incline chest press, you could use a hammer strength incline machine one week and then the following week you could do a dumbbell incline press. You’re still working the upper chest muscles, but you’re hitting them from a different angle, and this in theory will stimulate new muscle growth.
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