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What is Muscle Confusion? Is it a Real Thing?

Muscle Confusion

Are you currently stuck in a plateau and unable to build muscle despite your best efforts? If this is the case, you may consider trying muscle confusion. But what is it?

Will this training concept kick start your gains? Let’s look more closely to see whether it will work or not.[toc]

What is Muscle Confusion?

Muscle confusion is a training concept that works on the belief that changing your workouts will help you to avoid encountering a plateau during your training.

It is believed that if you perform the same workout for a long time then the results you will experience will stop completely.

For example, if you perform the same workout, using the same weights and reps then eventually you will stop seeing any benefit from this workout.

Claimed Benefits of Muscle Confusion

The biggest benefit is that muscle confusion will force your body out of a plateau. And that performing the same workout would result in muscle imbalances and injury.

One of the most famous training regimes (P90X) is based on the muscle confusion philosophy. It claims that performing various workouts will promote slow and steady muscle growth.

Finally, boredom is a major issue when performing the same workouts on a regular basis. This may lead many people to quit training altogether. Performing different workouts may prevent boredom from occurring.

Is Muscle Confusion Proven?

There is very little proof that muscle confusion offers any real benefit. Although it is hard to argue that changing workouts will certainly keep those easily bored more interested in exercise.

Speaking to experts, it is clear that many are not a fan of muscle confusion and its supposed benefits.

For example, Brett Bartholomew, director of performance at Unbreakable, an LA gym that has been called the most elite gym in America has stated that:

“All the crap you hear about your body needing a different stimulus each week or a new ‘workout of the day’ is garbage.”

“The number-one reason people don’t get results is that they don’t have the attention span to stick with something.”

Why Does Muscle Confusion Work For Some People?

You have no doubt heard about the many benefits of muscle confusion. That’s probably why you are reading this article in the first place.

If you are new to training regularly then any sort of training will give you results. But it may not necessarily be because of muscle confusion, but rather due to the regular training regime.

Many training programs that claim to work because of muscle confusion work because they are getting progressively harder. Not because of the variety of exercises performed.

What About DOMS?

Just because you are sore after a workout does not necessarily mean that you had an effective workout.

DOMS occur when your muscle tissue is torn but feeling sore after a workout may not be due to muscle tears, they may just be because you are doing a workout that you are not accustomed to.

Why Has Your Progress Stalled?

If you have hit a training plateau and not seeing muscle gains, then it is not because you are not switching your training every other week.

You have hit this plateau because you are not progressing forward anymore, you are not adding more weight to the bar or adding more reps, or possibly not training with enough intensity.

There is plenty of research showing that this is the best approach to take if you are looking to gain muscle, with a 2015 study showing that some of the best endurance athletes of the world following its principles [1].

In Conclusion – You Need Progressive Overload to Build Muscle

The truth is the muscle confusion is just a marketing gimmick to get you to try various workouts, usually at high expense to the user.

What you need to achieve is progressive overload, which basically means that you should be aiming to continuously increase either the amount of weight or number of repetitions performed.

If you are able to achieve this goal of increasing weight while simultaneously increasing the number of reps performed, then chances are you will build muscle. Of course, this will depend on your diet too.

I would recommend you check out the following article to see whether your diet is up to scratch.

Please leave a comment below if you have an opinion on muscle confusion.

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