Building Strength With Muscle Confusion: Science and Myths

To level up your muscle strength, many believe it is important to keep your muscles guessing- confuse your body and don’t get sucked into the same old routines. However, there are benefits to keeping a consistent routine. In this article, we will discuss both the science behind muscle confusion and where it fails. 

The Science 

One of the most important tenets of strength training is to add challenges to continue to see results.

“Fitness improvements are dependent on the body adapting to handle a new training stimulus,” David G. Behm, Ph.D., a university research professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, tells SELF. “Once it adapts to handle a stimulus, it doesn’t have the need to adapt any further.” Once your body gets used to a certain work out, it is hard to challenge yourself any further. 


However, muscle confusion isn’t the answer to everything. 

Where Muscle Confusion Fails

The problem is, if you switch up your workouts too much, you likely won’t be improving your fitness as much as you otherwise could. Many who subscribe to the muscle confusion idea get a good workout each time they exercise but over a period of time, they aren’t always making substantial improvements in their fitness. 


That’s because muscle confusion doesn’t ensure effective progressive overload, which is a strength-and-conditioning principle based on increasing challenge over time. 

Constant Challenge Is Important 

It’s important to understand that following a specific plan doesn’t mean you don’t challenge yourself. Doing the exact same exercise the same way every day allows your body to adapt to that level of stress and you’re less likely to see progression. The key is to challenge yourself by gradually increasing reps, intensity, and resistance. 

When To Switch Things Up 

Just because you need to follow a specific plan to reach your goals doesn’t mean you need to follow that plan forever. Instead, you should switch up your workout about every six to eight weeks to follow a more effective periodization program where reps, sets, recovery time, and volume are manipulated on a regularly scheduled basis. 


Of course, none of this progression works if you don’t stay consistent with your plan, which is why it’s important to craft it around exercises you actually enjoy. To learn more visit our blog.