Muscle Confusion: Is It For Real?

Tony Horton
Tony Horton has based his P90X workout on the premise of ‘Muscle Confusion’, in which the 3 month workout is broken down into different phases, each containing a different variety of moves. The idea is that constantly changing the nature of your workout will help you avoid the ‘Plateau Effect’, where your body grows accustomed to the nature of the workout being asked of it, and stops growing as quickly. Is this true? Is there science behind this claim? In today’s blog post, we take a closer look.It’s common sense that doing the same workout day in, day out will result in diminished gains. If you do the same volume and the same intensity, you will not improve, mostly due to the fact that you are not attempting to overload your muscles in any way. For muscle growth to take place, you need to constantly attempt to lift more than you did the day before. This forces your body to adapt to greater demands, and leads to greater muscle growth. But that’s just an increase in weight. It’s been shown that beyond the beginner level, where pretty much anything will help change your body, a change in routine also helps your body by challenging it to adapt to new stresses.

A study performed by the Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil, has shown that the more frequently you make alterations to your workout, the better. Researchers had 40 young men perform three different exercises for 12 weeks, the exercises being the basic bench press, 45 degree leg press and bicep curl. Half of the subjects trained with linear periodization, which means adding more weight every few weeks, and the other half did daily undulating periodization by altering variables on a daily basis. And guess what? The daily group showed considerable strength gains compared to the linear group.

What does this mean in terms of muscle confusion? That Tony’s idea of consistently and frequently challenging your body with different exercises, even within the same workout, is based on good, solid evidence of improvement. Varying your routine frequently, even on a daily basis, is the key to rapid gains, and that’s a fact that Tony has locked in on with PX90.

 

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