Did You Know?
Muscle confusion originated from the concept of periodization which was created in the 1960s by Tudor Bompa, world-renowned sports training expert.
Following the same exercise routine everyday can make the muscles of your body accustomed to a specific kind of stress. The body becomes habituated with the routine to a point that exercise becomes ineffective. This is when you hit a weight-loss plateau.
You should not allow your body to get used to a routine as it causes the weight-loss to stagnate to a point where no further results are seen. One of the popular ways to deal with this problem is to switch to MCR (Muscle Confusion Routine).
MCR is an effective way of losing fat and building muscles or accomplishing both. When the same level of stress is exerted on the muscles from time to time, it ceases to have the desired effect. Hence, as per the techniques of MCR, it is advisable to undertake different forms of exercises, sets, repetitions and weight training to avoid such a stagnation.
About Muscle Confusion Workouts
The muscle confusion workouts include exercise routines, which change everyday. For example, you perform weight training on day one and continue with the same exercise for many days, then your muscles get used to this workout. However according to MCR, you have to confuse the muscles by doing some other cardiovascular exercises on the second day.
These workouts can be weight training on one day and can change to kickboxing or aerobics on the other day. Again, on the third day do some weight training exercises. This type of workout became popular after the P90X program which is a 90-day workout routine that involves focusing on a new body part everyday.
It is more effective because of the proven fact that our body gets used to doing the same exercises daily and, after a while, there is no effect on the body. MCR especially works wonders if you are undertaking 'General Physical Preparedness Programs (GPP)' or are trying to overcome a plateau during a 'Linear Training Program'.
Advantages of MCR
Let us take a look at the benefits of following a muscle confusion routine.
- It promotes a slow and steady enhancement of neuromuscular strength and not just muscular strength.
- It will also help in heightening the neuromuscular activity in the body.
- Having two or more variations in exercise models will make your workouts better.
- It will increase your output during the functional movement and help in burning calories faster.
- Performing various fitness activities helps to keep you mentally active and increases your motivation levels.
- A non-traditional approach towards exercise helps you to experience optimal performance.
- It also enables you to continually overload the muscles and break out of a weight-loss plateau.
- It increases your interest in fitness activities by adding variety and enables you to continue without getting bored.
- It also helps in improving endurance, strength and health.
It is always better to follow muscle confusion techniques that are a combination of body weight workouts, cardio workouts and less intense exercises. The MCR should also have short breaks for allowing the muscles to grow. Following is a sample muscle confusion routine.
Day 1: Upper Body Workout
Exercise upper body parts like your back, chest, shoulders and arms. Try to repeat as many exercises as you can by timing the duration of each activity. Do all kinds of pectoral exercises, lats, deltoid, triceps and bicep exercises.
Day 2: Elliptical Training
Workout using an elliptical machine, it can be a good alternative to jogging. The movable upper body handles of the machine will also help you to exercise your arms. Apart from exercising your legs, pedaling the elliptical machine in reverse order will also help to strengthen your calves and hamstrings.
Day 3: Aerobics
On day 3 you can do aerobics with tummy exercises to work your abdominal muscles and core strength. Aerobics is a good way of doing cardio exercises too.
Day 4: Jump Training
It helps to burn fat faster and is a rigorous form of exercise which stretches all the muscles in your body. It will also help to lose weight and build muscle.
Day 5: Yoga
Though yoga is not a rigorous exercise, it will definitely give you a break from all the heavy exercising. It will also help you to stretch your tired and sore muscles.
Day 6: Complete Core Training
It trains the muscles to work together efficiently. It also helps in balancing, tightening, toning and strengthening of muscles. Core training also enhances the neuromuscular efficiency throughout the body.
Day 7: No Workout Day
Take a break from your exercise routine. It helps your muscles to relax and recover after a week of heavy workout. It also allows your body much required rest.
Day 8: Stretching and Breathing Exercises
Stretch your sore and tired muscles by doing simple stretching exercises. Undertaking breathing exercises will also be helpful.
Day 9: Leg Exercises
Your legs require special attention as they house your body's biggest group of muscles. You can do swats, quadriceps flex, lateral squats, plié squats, lunges and exercises with Swiss ball, etc., for exercising your legs.
Day 10: Running or Spin-biking
The best and cost-effective form of exercise is running. Not only does it have health benefits but it also enables you to get fresh air and sunshine. You can also utilize a spin-bike to work those legs and abdominal muscles in case of inclement weather.
Day 11: Kickboxing
It is not only a fun activity but also helps to give your body an overall cardio workout. It is a combination of martial arts and cardiovascular exercise which accelerates the burning of fat in your body.
Day 12: Back to Day 1
Start your routine again with upper body workout.
Tips for Maximizing Results
- You must be having your daily exercise routine. However, the effectiveness of the workout is lost after a certain period of time. Therefore, you must perform different exercise routines. You can also add or remove a set and alter the number of repetitions to work different muscles.
- In resistance training, there comes a point where you get used to the weights. In such a situation, you must change the weights on different days. Thus, it will challenge your muscles every day with a new workout.
- Not only should you concentrate on the weights and exercises, but also on the exercise equipment used to perform the workout. You can alternate your routine by undertaking various exercise activities by using a jump rope, barbells, dumbbells, treadmill, battling ropes, StepMill, VersaClimber, steps, free weights, cables or resistance bands, etc.
- Lastly, the time for which your heart rate is elevated must also be changed. The resting period in between two exercises can be varied. Short breaks add to the effectiveness of the exercise by allowing the muscles to grow.
Many people think that muscle confusion workout program is designed only for bodybuilding. However, this is not true. It is beneficial for everyone. It helps to overcome a different stress everyday, which burns more calories than the usual workout. Also, the metabolism of your body increases with this workout.
However, there are many people who do not believe in the benefits of MCR. Opponents of MCR argue that it causes the body to give confusing feedback. Switching exercise routines too often does not let the body burn fat and form muscles like it does in regular routine workouts.
Definitely there are benefits of following a 'Linear Training Program' but undertaking a diversified and innovative workout can also help in reaching your fitness goal faster. Also, daily changes in exercise routine help to develop a positive attitude towards the workout.
So if you want to transform your body from 'flab' to 'fab', while enjoying an interesting exercise routine, switch to muscle confusion workout.
Disclaimer: Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.