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What is muscle confusion?

Most of the people who go to the gym and practice weightlifting in order to build muscular mass have heard about the term “muscle confusion." This term was initially coined by Joe Weider, who is also known as the co-founder of the International Federation of Bodybuilding, and publisher of some of the most respected bodybuilding magazines. Muscle confusion is a special kind of fitness approach that claims to be more efficient than high protein intake, calorie rich diet or intense carefully planned workout. The muscle confusion principle is based on a number of postulates. The most important one is that an exerciser needs to constantly change the workout routine in order to make some progress.

Apparently, if an exerciser sticks to one single exercising routine, the muscles will soon adapt to the pattern and simply stop growing. In other words, a muscle is able to get used to a type of exercise and simply become accustomed without even feeling any kind of effort. Therefore, people are advised to simply “shock” their muscles, by engaging in a completely different workout routine so that the muscles will not be able to “anticipate” what kind of physical challenge waits for them.

The muscle confusion myth

A lot of people are wondering if the muscle confusion principle is a myth or a muscle-building miracle. From one point of view, this has to be a simple myth, since there is no entity in a muscle that is capable of being “confused." Moreover, muscular tissue does not have any kind of memory nor it can remember any experiences.

On the other hand, muscle grows in response to lifting progressively heavier weights. This actually means that muscular tissue develops as an adaptive response to workout and recovery. This variety in a workout routine, or more precisely its gradual improvement in load, will boost muscle growth.

Therefore, no frequent changing of routines will trigger muscle growth and development. If someone swats squats for more simple exercises, or simply fail to lift progressively heavier weights, the muscles will not grow. The most commonly rumored version of muscle confusion principle claims that muscles will grow regardless of the exercise choice, by simply adapting to the new workout routine. However, this is not the whole truth. Muscles do need changes in the workout routine in order to grow, but these changes simply must include progressively heavier weights and muscular overload to make the muscle grow. In addition, muscle will grow only if it has all required nutrients, obtained by adequate nutrition, and only if it gets a lot of rest and recovery.

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