Clearing the Air on Muscle Confusion

Exploring Intensity

Clearing the Air on Muscle Confusion

A common strategy when it comes to working out is to confuse your muscles. What that means is you aren’t spending too much time on one muscle group, so that your body doesn’t expect your next workout. Your muscles then get, as they say, confused.

P90x and other workouts like CrossFit employ this concept as part of their DNA. Have there been good scientific studies to show that muscle confusion is awesome for the body?

This article says, unequivocally, that muscle confusion is a bunch of hooey.

The article cites multiple studies to show that muscle confusion does nothing different than regular workouts. The science shows that increasing weight and time with weights and alternating harder days and then easier workouts, is the best way to get stronger.

So is there anything good about muscle confusion? Yes, but it may not be great in the long run.

Muscle confusion has gained so much attention because it adds a huge amount of variety into a workout. People like the variety provided by programs that tout muscle confusion. If constantly changing workouts keep you coming to the gym and exercising, then stick with it. Finding a workout you enjoy is one of the keys to keeping exercise part of your daily life.

So – the science says muscle confusion does not actually confuse muscles and make them stronger. And more studies need to be done to conclude whether variety in a program actually leads to better adherence. At Cardio High we see that clients enjoy variety in the programming – though we do try to hit all the large muscle groups in every workout vs focusing on arms one day and legs the next.