Are you in a rut? When you go to the gym do you do the exact same workout time after time? Of course, you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result...right? If you are stuck in a rut and you've hit a plateau, examine your workout routine and determine if you are void of variety and change. Muscle confusion is an important principle when trying to develop your physique. The idea behind muscle confusion is to keep throwing little changes to your muscles so they are constantly being "surprised" and stimulated in ways they are not used to.
This can be accomplished by doing several things. Some easy changes you can make to your resistance training workouts are as follows:
- Decrease the time between sets (take less rest than normal)
- Increase the reps per set. You can either increase the reps or decrease them. Be sure to adjust the weight so that the sets are still difficult.
- Do Giant sets. Giant sets are when you do 3 or more exercises in a row with zero rest in between. These are difficult and challenging, but very effective.
- Do Drop sets. Drop sets are when you do a weight for as many reps as you can do...then reduce the weight immediately with no rest and continue pounding out more reps. Peform this "drop" 3 to 4 times per set. The burn from this is amazing!
- Change the exercises so that you are doing completely different exercises than you performed the last time you worked that muscle.
- Change the order of exercises. For example, if you typically bench press with a bar first when you work chest, do it last.
There are other ways to keep your workouts different and confusing to the muscles. But these few methods can be used over and over to help keep your body responding. And don't underestimate the importance of making each workout slightly different from the last.
Finally, don't forget to stretch the muscle you are working after each set (or giant set). Proper stretching plays an important role in flexibility, injury prevention, mobility and muscular development. A good trainer will always insist that you stretch all throughout (during) your workout.