Are Muscle Confusion Workouts Effective?

You have probably seen the infomercials talking about eliminating plateaus and now you are wondering are muscle confusion workouts effective or are they a gimmick?
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Photograph courtesy of Enid Yu

If you have ever opened any given fitness magazine you have probably seen sample workouts to help you build muscle mass.  However, practically every workout is similar if not the same as the one in a previous issue.  Eventually the people at the gym are giving the same advice as what is in the magazines.  The result is seeing everyone at the gym doing the same workout as the next guy.

Unfortunately humans are creatures of habit and we end up doing the same workouts day after day eventually hitting plateaus.  When someone comes along with a new piece of advice it is hard to change our perspective and try something new.  So what are you to do when everyone is doing the same workouts expecting new results?

The best way to see progress in the gym and in your workouts is simply by changing it up and tweaking the exercises.  This in effect is muscle confusion.  It is not a complicated or new concept.  In fact this is what body builders do all the time but is not discussed very much in magazines.

In order for muscle to see gains and make constant and consistent progress you have to shock the muscles.  If you are looking for ways to shock or “confuse” your muscles here are some ways.

  • Add some weight to each exercise with each workout.  I am not saying you have to double the weight but simply adding 5 pounds will work wonders.
  • Use a new piece of equipment:  this is one of the hardest things to change.  Perhaps you have been doing bench presses because you have heard it is the best for chest development.  Simply make an adjustment and use dumbbells instead of a barbell or a machine to confuse your body.
  • Change the order of your exercises:  if you always start with flat bench presses followed by incline and then decline try doing it in reverse order to switch it up.  Do this with all muscle groups once in a while.

Change your workouts every 2-3 weeks by making these small adjustments and your plateaus will disappear.