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Muscle Confusion

I first heard the phrase “Muscle Confusion” from fitness guru Tony Horton. The principle is simple, never let your muscles develop a memory. Muscles will respond much better to resistance they are not use to. Changing your workout on a regular bases to keep your muscles struggling with the workout, this will develop greater muscle mass.

Taking it a step farther, try not to repeat the same exercise in a given workout routine. If you need to repeat an exercise space it at different intervals through out the workout. Muscles can adapt to routines. It’s important to remember that 80% of your workout benefits come from the first set 20% from the second. By spacing the sets at different intervals you will maximize all your sets for the greatest benefit to your body.

Food for thought, it really works and is worth the effort to try it for couple of months. Make sure you keep a record of all your workouts so you can track your results. My muscles scream after every workout. Before I started this principle of muscle confusion I could complete a rigorous workout get all pumped up and thirty minutes later, nothing. Now my workout stays with me most of the day, the last one was yesterday morning and I still feel it, it is the most grueling routine of all the routines I do, chest and back. The over thirty lifer “need for speed” jan. 25/08.

Interesting stuff. Can you post an example of one of your work-outs.

thx

[quote]Bulldogge wrote:
Interesting stuff. Can you post an example of one of your work-outs.

thx

[/quote]

January 25, 2008 6:00 am

All Push-ups are done on three medicine balls with the exception of the dive bomber Push-ups (I’m sure that would be a face plant)

Pull-ups are strict form with no body swing and all the way down

Standard Push-ups X 22
Wide Front Pull-ups X 13
Military Push-ups X 16 (hands close to body below pecs)
Reverse Grip Chin-ups X 12
Wide Fly Push-ups X 11
Closed Grip Overhand Pull-ups X 10
Decline Push-ups X 16 ( three foot elevation )
Heavy Pants X 16 @ 35lb dbs ( bend over, squat and make like pulling up pants, stay bent over)
Diamond Push-ups X 8
Lawnmowers X 16 @ 30lb dbs ( similar to bent over lats but lift from an angle like starting a lawnmower)
Dive Bomber Push-ups X 10
Reverse Grip Bach Flys X 16 @ 20lb dbs

Second round, mix it up, alternate with every other one

Wide Front Pull-ups X 10
Standard Push-ups X 13
Reverse Grip Pull-ups X 10
Military Push-ups X 9
Closed Grip Pull-ups X 10
Wide Fly Push-ups X 10
Heavy Pants X 16 @ 40lb dbs
Decline Push-ups X 12
Lawnmowers X 16 @ 35lb dbs
Diamond Push-ups X 4
Reverse Grip Back Flys X 16 @ 20lb dbs
Dive Bomber Push-ups X 8

I post my workout on “Need for Speed” on this forum. This last workout was brutal so I’m off for two days back at it Monday a 6 am shoulder and arms, pump up the cannons.

thx for posting - I’ll keep an eye on your log for ideas as I need to change up my workout.

[quote]streamline wrote:
I first heard the phrase “Muscle Confusion” from fitness guru Tony Horton. The principle is simple, never let your muscles develop a memory. Muscles will respond much better to resistance they are not use to. Changing your workout on a regular bases to keep your muscles struggling with the workout, this will develop greater muscle mass.

Taking it a step farther, try not to repeat the same exercise in a given workout routine. If you need to repeat an exercise space it at different intervals through out the workout. Muscles can adapt to routines. It’s important to remember that 80% of your workout benefits come from the first set 20% from the second. By spacing the sets at different intervals you will maximize all your sets for the greatest benefit to your body.

Food for thought, it really works and is worth the effort to try it for couple of months. Make sure you keep a record of all your workouts so you can track your results. My muscles scream after every workout. Before I started this principle of muscle confusion I could complete a rigorous workout get all pumped up and thirty minutes later, nothing. Now my workout stays with me most of the day, the last one was yesterday morning and I still feel it, it is the most grueling routine of all the routines I do, chest and back. The over thirty lifer “need for speed” jan. 25/08.[/quote]

I’m not a big fan of the “principle of muscle confusion” but if it works for you, great. Knock yourself out. OTOH, I’m not a bodybuilder or going for bodybuilding types of results. But, when did Horton come up with that principle? I ask because it’s been one of Weider’s Principles since the 60’s.

Now, granted, if you do the same workout every time, your body acclimates. But isn’t that acclimation a good thing. That’s your body responding to the stress. If you do a single workout, your body won’t acclimate and you’re not going to get stronger. If you don’t do the same workout multiple times, then your body doesn’t really adapt.

What you’re looking at as a good thing, the amount of time it takes before you don’t feel it anymore, is something that I consider a bad thing. For the first couple of years I was working out, I believed that I could judge how good my workouts were based on how sore I was and how LONG I was sore. But in those years, I didn’t make a lot of progress.

Then I tried Korte’s 3x3 program where you squat, bench, and deadlift 3x a week. That first week, I was the sorest I’d ever been. I thought I was going to have to stop doing the routine. But after that first week, I adapated. And I wasn’t sore the rest of the routine and I made more progress on my squat than I’d made prior to that.

Now, I’m not a big proponent of Korte’s 3x3 for powerlifters because I don’t think it places enough stress on heavy lifts and there’s too much volume. But it did teach me a lot about how to schedule workouts and set me on the path that I’m on today. And, except for this recent routine where I’m trying something very different with volume and scheduling, I’m never sore and I make progress.

Now, what I’m saying here seems to really fit in with a lot of what Dr. Siff wrote in Supertraining. Especially his graphs on the responses to training.

[quote]The Pencil Neck wrote:

I’m not a big fan of the “principle of muscle confusion” but if it works for you, great. Knock yourself out. OTOH, I’m not a bodybuilder or going for bodybuilding types of results. But, when did Horton come up with that principle? I ask because it’s been one of Weider’s Principles since the 60’s.
[/quote]
I’m not sure where or when Horton came up with the principle of muscle confusion, that’s just where I heard it. I’ve been working it for eight weeks plus and have another three weeks to go, plus a week off. That will take me to the end of February.

I understand what you are saying here. I worked out there that principle was the result and I did get results as well.

I hear what you are saying. I am under the impression that you are to constantly feel it. Which I assume is the reason for the week off every three weeks, to allow for the healing. I’m still waiting to determine my progress at the end of the training routine. You may be right, and now that you have brought it to my attention I will be looking hard at the results.

Now this Korte’s 3x3 program does interest me. I will be doing a power and strength routine in March and this maybe just what I need. I have in the past had difficulties with my bench press because of an old shoulder problem, which has improved a lot. So I would very interested in hearing more on it. Are you saying squat, bench and deadlifts three times a week. And is it a max out or progressive workout.

I’m not a powerlifter or bodybuilder per say. I need power and strength in my legs. I believe my legs are full of slow twitch fibers. They won’t get big, which funny as it may sound is very good for what I do. I’m not worried about putting on size since my legs really are not that big. So I’m all ears on any advice on working legs.

This Dr. Siff’s Supertraining is it in the forums or a book. Thanks Pencil Neck.

Second mentioned of Dr Siff’s book I’ve seen today. A very respected colleges throws coach just recommended it on one of the throwing web sites.

[quote]hel320 wrote:
Second mentioned of Dr Siff’s book I’ve seen today. A very respected colleges throws coach just recommended it on one of the throwing web sites.[/quote]

I just googled Dr. Siff, sorry to hear he is no longer with us. Found a website with his articles, youronlinefitness.com. Just took a quick look, think I’ll go have me a browse. Thanks hel320

Two quick things - Supertraining is a great book to have and expect to read it several times to grasp all the knowledge. I have read it twice and will probably dig it out again after this reminder. Many modern concepts (westside training for example) in training have roots in this manual.

Streamline if you do decide to do Korte’s program or any other 3x per week SQ/BP/DL variation you need to underestimate your maximums when you assign the weights. These types of programs will run you into the ground quickly if you overestimate your strength. I have done several different ones (including Korte) and they do work great however they are quite a change from what you are doing.

[quote]streamline wrote:

I’m not sure where or when Horton came up with the principle of muscle confusion, that’s just where I heard it. I’ve been working it for eight weeks plus and have another three weeks to go, plus a week off. That will take me to the end of February.

I hear what you are saying. I am under the impression that you are to constantly feel it. Which I assume is the reason for the week off every three weeks, to allow for the healing. I’m still waiting to determine my progress at the end of the training routine. You may be right, and now that you have brought it to my attention I will be looking hard at the results.

Now this Korte’s 3x3 program does interest me. I will be doing a power and strength routine in March and this maybe just what I need. I have in the past had difficulties with my bench press because of an old shoulder problem, which has improved a lot. So I would very interested in hearing more on it. Are you saying squat, bench and deadlifts three times a week. And is it a max out or progressive workout.

I’m not a powerlifter or bodybuilder per say. I need power and strength in my legs. I believe my legs are full of slow twitch fibers. They won’t get big, which funny as it may sound is very good for what I do. I’m not worried about putting on size since my legs really are not that big. So I’m all ears on any advice on working legs.

This Dr. Siff’s Supertraining is it in the forums or a book. Thanks Pencil Neck.
[/quote]

I’m sure you’ve googled and found out that Supertraining is a book. But it’s not a “popular” workout book that has a lot of different routines in it. It’s more academic and discuses a lot of stuff related to training and is more geared towards training athletes for performance. Dr. Siff was an olympic lifter and his focus was on that sort of thing. There’s not a single workout in the book but tons and tons of scientific data. While he was alive, he updated the book frequently with the latest studies. My book is from 2004.

From this site, Christian Thibaudeau is a big Siff fan and a lot of his book, Black Book of Training Secrets, is a reworking of the data in Supertraining into less formal language. I love this book.

Another ancient site has several types of routines:
deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/index.htm

Korte’s 3x3 is there. As well as some of the early articles by Louie Simmons describing Westside.

There is some Westside information on T-Nation, check out Dave Tate’s articles, but the source of Westside is here:
http://www.elitefitnesssystems.com/

Louie Simmons was a close friend of Mel Siff’s and Dr. Siff frequently spoke at Westside seminars.

Personally, my approach to lifting is based on Stuart McRobert’s Brawn (check the book at Amazon) although Stuart doesn’t buy into his own system sometimes. But that’s another whole thread. Similar to the Brawn approach (and another full body bodybuilding routine) but more scientifically oriented is Bryan Haycock’s Hypertrophy Specific Training (HST). www.hypertrophy-specific.com/hst_index.html

I won’t even get into Sheiko.

My approach is basically Brawn and HST for powerlifters with occasional elements of Thibadeau’s ancient Canadian Autoregulating Routine. NOTE: This is not the routine in my log right now. I’m doing something different just as a changeup.

But as someone said, if you’re not used to working with maximal weights, you have to be careful. To do most powerlifting routines, you need to get 1 rep maxes in the big three and most of them assume that you’ve competed and have competition numbers to work from. Work yourself into doing limit strength workouts carefully.

If you’re looking for explosive power, then you might want to consider an olypmic weightlifting oriented routine.

Thanks for the tips Pencilneck. You can count on my easing into it, if it concerns my back I’m super careful. I really like the up right position. I understand the need to ease into this new type of workout, I’m already getting excited I like to try new challenging things.

I will really enjoy Dr. Siff’s book as I’m starting a personal trainers course next month. It’s time to live my dream, make the world healthier one person at a time.