The Benefits Of Muscle Confusion For You Workout

We hear a lot of advice when it comes to working out. From what workout clothes to wear to whether or not we should go for distance or choose shorter intervals when running, the information can be confusing. In addition, when we work out, we all have our specific preferences. Some of us enjoy the same yoga class each week; some prefer to keep the treadmill at the same speed each trip to the gym, and still, others head directly for the free weights day after day. No matter what you choose, your motivation probably ebbs and flows. A way to keep motivation high and injury low could be a workout routine that focuses on muscle confusion.

Muscle confusion is a term that has been thrown around since 2010. It's a bit misleading as there really isn't a way to confuse your muscles (via Men's Journal). The idea is really about mixing up your workout routine to prevent plateaus and keep motivation high. There are varying reports on whether or not muscle confusion is good for the body (via Healthline). Some say it's not the best way to reach fitness goals, while others maintain that it is good for us to keep our bodies guessing and our motivation high. No matter the report, there are benefits that come from addressing different muscles in the body each week.

It prevents injury

By mixing up the muscles you work during your exercise, there is a better chance that you'll prevent injury (via Muscle & Fitness). Those getting back into fitness routines after a pause can injure themselves by starting too fast, lifting too heavy, or having incorrect form. Mayo Clinic recommends mixing up how you're working out to prevent injury. "Incorporating a variety of low-impact activities — such as walking, biking, swimming and water jogging — can help prevent overuse injuries by allowing your body to use different muscle groups and not overload any one particular group." Keeping variety in your workouts can ensure that you're working out longer and safer.

It prevents boredom

Exercising is something that we are all glad we did when it's over, but getting up the motivation to begin a workout can be difficult. By adding variety to your workout regime, you can prevent the boredom that comes with doing the same activity multiple times. Completing a HIIT workout on Monday, a Tabata workout Tuesday, and strength training or yoga the other days can keep you interested in getting fit (via Dynamic Strength and Conditioning). By stimulating your brain in this way, you'll look forward to a fresh workout, and you'll be more likely to commit to a life of exercise.

It increases endurance

Cardio endurance is not the only type of endurance we should seek. Muscle endurance is just as important. If the only workout routine you employ is weightlifting, your cardio endurance could suffer and vice versa (via Medical News Today). Finding a balance between strength training and cardio will ensure that you don't let either one lag. In addition, this kind of variety will make it, so you attack multiple muscles. Running will help your leg muscles, and completing lifts that work those same muscles will benefit your running endurance (via BodyTrack).

Know when to rest

Muscle confusion is a great way to add variety to your workout routines, but it's also important for those chasing fitness goals to know when to rest. Active recovery and muscle recovery workouts like yoga, walking, and light jogging will give your muscles the rest that they crave between your lifting and cardio days. Active recovery reduces lactic acid build-up and can eliminate toxins in the body (via Healthline). When you take time to rest your muscles, they are able to repair and recover from any fatigue the weekly workouts may have caused.

Muscle confusion bottom line

Muscle confusion is a term that is a bit misleading. Many trainers and health experts agree that the type of training that requires you mix up your workout can help for motivation and preventing injury, but it may not be the best way to achieve specific health goals (via Men's Journal). If you are trying to strengthen your upper body, continuously focusing on lifting for that purpose is your best bet instead of addressing multiple muscles throughout the week.

There are many benefits to mixing up your workout and keeping things fresh. You'll be less likely to overwork certain muscles, you'll keep cardio high while also gaining strength, and you'll be more motivated when your workouts change. Those seeking the benefits from changing workouts just need to be careful they don't change too rapidly (via Gold's Gym). No matter your workout preference, experts agree that finding fun and interesting ways to move your body will benefit you for years to come.