There are many fitness tips and infomercials that people tend to believe without investigating. In most cases, a quick fix is not possible, as achieving fitness results requires time and effort that can sometimes take months or even years. People often look for shortcuts in fitness by trying to stick to the latest diets or exercise fads. More recently, the media has talked about muscle confusion and whether or not this works for everyone is still up for debate.
Muscle confusion consists of using several different exercise programs and constantly changing exercises so that the body does not adapt to a particular program. Having trained clients for several years, I decided to do some research myself. Research shows that there are pros and cons to training in this particular way. I use various exercises when training my clients and one of the advantages would be that variety is important to any training program. People enjoy an exercise routine with a variety of exercises. This is mainly because most people do not want to consistently perform the same exercise routine. Boredom is a factor in an exercise program, and many people who become bored with an exercise program may lose interest or stop exercising. The next advantage of changing an exercise program is that our muscles will not adapt to a particular program.
Research shows that our bodies can adapt to the same exercise program over time. When our bodies adjust to an exercise program, it can be difficult for our bodies to change physically. This means that we will no longer see results such as changes in body composition or weight loss. In this case, it is essential to alter an exercise routine so that our body does not get used to a specific program. A change in a program does not have to be important and could be an adjustment of the rest periods, the amount of weight or the number of repetitions.
There are some downsides to changing an exercise routine. When someone is obese, it may not be a good idea to disrupt an exercise routine too much. A general level of conditioning should be established for someone who is very sedentary. This could consist of a basic program that uses machines and bodyweight exercises. A very obese person may not be ready to try several different exercises.
Changing an exercise routine may also not be good for someone with injuries. An example might be someone with knee injuries not responding well when performing several different types of squats and lunges. This can actually make a knee injury worse, as they may have started an exercise program with a pre-existing knee injury. An alternative exercise can be an upward step performed on a low step until strength is built up in the legs.
Another example could be someone with a pre-existing back injury who performs different types of weight deadlifts to strengthen their back. This can make a back injury worse, as it can put more stress on your lower back, which is not necessary. A better option might be to extend the opposite arm and leg over the knees, as it is safer. The exercises that make us stronger are not necessarily the best for us. Variety is important in an exercise routine, but it is not worth making an injury worse and opening up a new series of injuries.
We need to use our best judgment when starting an exercise program and using the appropriate exercise selection. It is also important to consult a doctor and speak with a fitness professional. Proper exercise selection is often different for everyone. Occasionally educated personal trainers and even the physical therapist may choose the wrong exercise for someone. There is no simple approach to exercise, and what works well for someone may not work for someone else.
The debate about muscle confusion will continue and exercise trends will continue to change. It is important that we do our own research before trying anything new with regard to exercise so that we are safe and avoid injury. As a fitness professional, it is important for me to stay up-to-date with the latest fitness trends to not only educate myself, but also to educate my clients.